For the first time in nearly 60 years, the Archdiocese of St. Louis will report fewer than 500,000 registered Catholics.
Parish status animarum reports (a parish register, which means “state of souls” in Latin, of people living in a parish and events related to them) are nearly completed and show that the archdiocese will report approximately 490,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
This is the first time since the early 1960s that the archdiocese has reported under 500,000 Catholics, according to John Schwob, director of pastoral planning for the archdiocese.
Out of 186 reporting parishes, missions, chapels, and oratories, 130 churches reported a decrease in the number of Catholics for the year. Those 130 parishes reported an average loss per parish of 50 Catholics. In addition, the closing of Holy Trinity parish in St. Ann resulted in a net loss of nearly 2,000 Catholics after less than half of their former parishioners registered at neighboring parishes.
The archdiocese reports statistics to the Vatican, which are revised over time because of parishes doing routine cleanup of their registered parishioner lists. The following are estimates of the last five years, compared to 2000 and 2010.