In an attempt to increase awareness of, and attendance at, grand old parish churches a continuing series of mobs came to be formed. A group of Catholic church enthusiasts wanted more people to experience, and re-experience, the beauty of Catholic community and parish life. They appropriated the idea of a ‘flash mob’, and created the Catholic Mass Mob. Its first child is the Buffalo Mass Mob. After the Associated Press wrote about the Second Buffalo Mass Mob, the rest of America began learning about it. Immediately, people from other metropolitan areas wanted a Mass Mob for their gothams and burgs. After Buffalo, there first came Rochester, and then rapidly: Cleveland, New Orleans, Columbus, Wilmington, Covington, New York City, and Philadelphia.
In the different cities, different organisers have different goals. In some, such as Buffalo and Cleveland, the intent is appreciation of the aesthetic and the spiritual in these churches — a celebration in sacred space. Both of these cities have had Vatican intervention to keep churches open. The prime case is the Basilica [first in the USA] of St. Adalbert in Buffalo. For the second and third Buffalo Mobs, an internet vote determined the church to be mobbed.
The Cleveland Mass Mob wishes “to attract people to come for a Mass, a celebration of Liturgy and Eucharist, in a parish community of an historical, and beautiful church”. The initial field of candidates for future Cleveland Mass Mobs will be selected from the eleven Lazarus parishes that had Masses of Homecoming in 2012 after ‘the hiatus’.