Thinking about opening a Catholic church? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
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Can I Start a New Catholic Church?
The Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest religious institutions in the world. It is also one of the largest with more than 20% of the U.S. population (68 million) claiming a Catholic religious affiliation.
Catholicism is extremely hierarchical; the church's 2,800 dioceses around the world are each led by a bishop who is functions under the authority of the papacy in Rome. In America, many administrative activities are carried out by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Based on Catholicism's tight hierarchical framework, planting a new Catholic church is significantly more involved than planting a small, independent Protestant church. These days, many dioceses are closing and consolidating parishes in the U.S. rather than planting new ones. However, in specific geographies, an underserved cluster of Catholics may call for the establishment of a new parish.
Although it isn't possible for religious entrepreneurs to launch a new Catholic church independently, there have been many instances in which Catholic laity have worked collaboratively with diocesan leadership to build a new Catholic ministry from the ground up.
Funding a New Catholic Ministry
Unfortunately, funding is frequently the deciding factor in the decision to launch a new Catholic ministry. Without an adequate funding plan and seed resources, it can be difficult to muster the capital resources it takes to plant and operate a new church or ministry program.
Special events serve a dual purpose for Catholic church planters. In addition to raising funds for your new church, the right special event can raise the visibility of your work and attract supporters to your cause.
Special event fundraising is an art form that requires skill and experience to master. If you've never done it before, it's easy to create a classy event that generates a net loss to your organization. Before you go too far down the special event path, do your research and enlist the aid of a special events fundraising veteran.
These additional resources regarding starting a religious organization may be of interest to you.
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