Holy Cross Family Ministries Report: “The Catholic Family: 21st Century Challenges in the United States”

illustrationEASTON, Mass. A New Study on Catholic Parents conducted by CARA – Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate – was released by Holy Cross Family Ministries, the organization that commissioned theresearch, at the Catholic Media Convention, in Buffalo, NY, on June 26. Entitled, “The Catholic Family:21st Century Challenges in the United States,” the first of four special reports shares an overview of the entire study. Three additional reports will be disseminated over the next three months, leading up to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, PA, in September.

“Deepening our knowledge and understanding of these young families is central to our development of activities and initiatives that enhance their spiritual well-being and health.” said Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C., president of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “They are the future of our Church and society. Some of the data is remarkably different from the studies on Catholic adults as a whole. This information is invaluable as we plan and grow our outreach to families. It will also be of great benefit to all those who are ministering to these young families.”

Holy Cross Family Ministries has been serving families for more than 70 years. The ministry helps families pray through research, face-to-face events as well as with many forms of media. Its planning for reaching contemporary families will b
e rooted in the survey data.

The Survey: How Families Live, Pray and Use Media In fall 2014, Holy Cross Family Ministries commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to conduct a national poll of adult Catholics, ages 25 to 45 who are parents of a minor child, to measure the practice of faith and use of media in families. CARA conducted the survey in September and October 2014 with 1,014 randomly selected respondents resulting in a sampling margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.Sixty-nine percent of respondents took the survey in English and 31 percent in Spanish. Similar questions to those used in other recent CARA Catholic Polls (CCPs) were utilized making comparisons possible between Catholic parents and all Catholic adults. The reports on this survey include, where possible, comparisons to findings from other recent national surveys of self-identified Catholic adults.

“This study gives us specific insight into what is happening in Catholic families today,” said Mark Gray, CARA Senior Research Associate. “We don’t often have the opportunity to do an entire survey on one sub-group of the Catholic population. However, doing this research during the Synods on the Family seemed especially important. I’m glad we were able to do it because we ended up being surprised by many of the findings.”


While more than 93 percent of parents say it is “very important’ for their children to celebrate sacraments, most Catholic parents today do not currently have their children enrolled in Catholic school-based or a parish-based religious education programs. In all, more than two-thirds, 68 percent, do not have any of their children enrolled in formal Catholic religious education.

A majority of parents report that they eat dinner together as a family every night (51 percent). More than a third say they do so a few times a week (35 percent). Three percent indicate they only do so on weekend nights and 4 percent once a week. Seven percent say they rarely or never eat dinner together as a family.

Applying and Sharing the Research:

While Holy Cross Family Ministries is currently reviewing the research and utilizing it in their strategic planning process, it knows this data will also be of significant assistance to other organizations that serve families in the US. To that end, Holy Cross Family Ministries has commissioned CARA to develop the four Special Reports that Holy Cross Family Ministries will share with other organizations. The first report, “The Catholic Family: 21st Century Challenges in the United States,” was released on June 26 at the Catholic Media Convention in Buffalo, NY.

Three additional Special Reports will be released:

July: The Catholic Family Today – demographics
Aug: Practice of Faith in the Catholic Family
Sept: Catholic Families and Media Usage

To subscribe to the Reports or for more information:www.HCFM.org/FamilyResearchor use this QR code:


CARA is a national, non-profit, Georgetown University affiliated research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church.Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission:to increase the Church’s self-understanding, to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers, to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism.For more information on CARA:cara.georgetown.edu or 202-687-8080.

In the spirit of its founder, Servant of God Patrick Peyton, Holy Cross Family Ministries serves Jesus Christ and His church by promoting and supporting the spiritual well-being of the family. Faithful to Mary, the Mother of God, Family Rosary encourages family prayer, especially the Rosary. Family Theater Productions uses media to entertain, inspire and educate families. Holy Cross Family, with mission in 17 countries, reaches out through prayer events and media for families to fulfill the founder’s vision that “the family that prays together stays together.”

For more information on Holy Cross Family Ministries: www.HCFM.org or 800-299-7729.

More Related Articles