The annual October Count tabulation for all parishes and institutions where regular weekend Masses are celebrated begins the weekend of October 1-2. As a reminder, all regular scheduled Masses that fulfill the precept should be included as well as all special Masses that occur between 3:00 p.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday.
Click below to access the instructions and the online form. Please SUBMIT the completed form by Friday, November 4, 2022.
NOTE: As was requested last year the form is to be completed online. For your convenience, a worksheet is available as well to help keep track of your weekly count. If you have questions, please contact the Center for Parish Vitality.
While looking at your Mass schedules and parish facility utilization you may also be looking at your worship space capacity number and determine that it needs to be updated. As a rule, the Fire Department provides the occupancy number which is a calculation of space per person, available exits, and other structural characteristics. These occupancy numbers could be larger than what your parish seating provides. When considering parishioners per pew we might have used 18” or 22” in the past but we can see that our parishioners regularly use more space than that today.
If we considered other venues and situations, we see that stadiums are using 24” for their bleachers. Interlocking chairs might have seating dimensions range from 18.5” to up to 27” wide based on the brand and type. Even our office chairs range (based on how they are constructed) from 24” to 27” from the outside of one arm rest to the outside of the other armrest. Yes, we all have arms and elbows to consider. Other factors also play into the additional space needed such as items for babies and young children, security sensitivity regarding purses and personal items no longer placed on the floor or under pews, not to mention coats etc. Small adjustments of this type can have a significant effect on the capacity number and result in a change to the facility utilization.
The Center for Parish Vitality is asking that you now use 27” to measure seating capacity for pews. This may be seen as generous but likely represents the reality of what we see used at each Mass. For those churches using chairs you would count the chairs set out.
Since we don’t want to propose a number above the formal occupancy number set by the Fire Department, once you have determined your new capacity number assure the following:
Is the number you determined larger than the Fire Department occupancy number?
- If yes, then use the Fire Department occupancy number. We cannot legally exceed this number.
- If no, then use the new number as the parish capacity.
If you have an update to your parish church seating capacity, click here to let us know.