Attendance was up noticeably at the abbey on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, four days after Pope Francis was elected. Singing was more enthusiast than ever. I wanted to think it was about the new pope, that everyone else felt the same relief and hope that I did, but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions.  Maybe I was seeing what I wanted to see, I cautioned myself. Then it was the same on Palm Sunday. And every day of the Triduum. I don’t know when I’ve last heard the abbey church ring out with such joyful, exuberant singing from such a large group.

Then I read Fr. Ron Krisman’s comment here, “Something is happening, that’s for sure. I have spoken with both family members and friends. They all said that their parish churches were SRO (“standing room only”) for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper this year, as they had not been in previous years.”

An organist friend just wrote on Easter Sunday night, “We had numbers that have not been seen for years, despite it being spring break here.”

Some of this is inevitable after all the media coverage, to be sure, and not all of it will last. But the intensity of it is quite surprising to me. For now I’m just enjoying it.

What is the Francis Effect like at your place? What do you make of it?

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