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In February 2008 CARA surveyed 1,007 self-identified adult Catholics from Knowledge - page 3 / 10

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  • Older Catholics are more likely than younger Catholics to have celebrated their First Reconciliation, First Communion, or the sacrament of Confirmation. With each generation the percentage having celebrated each of these sacraments decreases. For example, 99 percent of those of the Pre-Vatican II Generation have celebrated their First Communion, compared to 94 percent of the Vatican II Generation, 91 percent of the Post-Vatican II Generation, and 85 percent of the Millennial Generation. The differences between generations for the sacrament of Confirmation are even larger. Ninety-five percent of those of the Pre-Vatican II Generation have been confirmed, compared to 91 percent of the Vatican II Generation, 79 percent of the Post-Vatican II Generation, and 69 percent of the Millennial Generation.

  • Respondents were asked how meaningful each of the seven sacraments are to them. More than eight in ten adult Catholics say the following four are either “somewhat” or “very” meaningful to them: Marriage (89 percent), Baptism (88 percent), the Eucharist (84 percent), and Confirmation (83 percent). Nearly all Catholics (90 percent or more) who attend Mass weekly or more often say all seven sacraments are at least “somewhat” meaningful to them.

  • Of the seven sacraments, Catholics are least likely to say the sacrament of Reconciliation is “somewhat” or “very” meaningful to them. Only two-thirds (66 percent) of adult Catholics responded as such (39 percent “very” meaningful).

  • When asked which of the seven sacraments was personally “most meaningful” to them, Baptism is selected most often (39 percent). However, weekly Mass attenders are more likely to say the Eucharist is personally “most meaningful” to them (52 percent). Catholics of the Millennial Generation are most likely to select the sacrament of Marriage as being the “most meaningful” (43 percent).

  • Respondents with children were asked about the importance they place on their children celebrating their First Reconciliation, First Communion, and Confirmation. These parents are most likely to say it is “somewhat” or “very” important that their children celebrate First Communion (81 percent), followed by Confirmation (78 percent), and finally First Reconciliation (77 percent). Nearly all parents who attend Mass at least once a month say it is at least “somewhat” important that their children celebrate all three of these sacraments.

Mass and Eucharist

  • More than three in ten adult Catholics (31.4 percent) are estimated to be attending Mass in any given week. This is equivalent to 16.1 million adult Mass attendees per week. Twenty- three percent say they attend Mass every week (once a week or more often). This has remained unchanged—within margins of sampling error in the last five years. Mass attendance is highest among Catholics who are older, female, married to another Catholic, who have a college degree or more, and who attended Catholic educational institutions— especially a Catholic college or university.

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