St. Louis Review: The Mass Mob Movement


The Mass mob movement has spread across the United States in the past few years. The effort became popularized after the media took notice of Mass mobs in Buffalo, N.Y. Other major cities have taken part, including Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Chicago.

Christopher Byrd, who helped organize the first Mass mob in Buffalo in November 2013, said part the mission has been to highlight the struggling, historic churches in the inner city. “A lot of these churches have parishioners, but you have these thousand-seat churches with 75 people for Mass on Sunday,” he said. Buffalo held its tenth Mass mob this month.

Mass mobs in Buffalo have attracted different groups of people: the proud parishioners eager to show off their parish, Catholics who return to a childhood parish to relive the memories, and a group Byrd described as “mobsters,” people who have no personal attachment to a church but attend nearly every Mass mob.

What’s made it a success here and in other parts of the country is that “we’re not asking people to come and take a tour and take pictures,” said Byrd. “For Catholics, it’s a chance to celebrate our faith together in one of these glorious, historic churches … and it captures people’s imaginations.”

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