MASON CITY, Iowa - Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent just before Easter.
But a new report is showing more and more Americans are not affiliating with any religion.
According to the General Social Survey, which measures religious identity, 23.1% of Americans surveyed identified as 'no religion', the first time in the survey's 47 year history. Catholics came in right behind at 23%, and Evangelicals were at 22.5%.
Father Jacob Rouse is a priest with Mason City's Epiphany Parish. He says the growing number of those who don't identify with a religion may have something to do with the way the church as portrayed itself in the public eye.
"I know I'm a Catholic priest, but I'm the first to say that we haven't done the best job in the past 50 years of our public image or even being warm and inviting. We want to show people that the things we do are contributing to people's ultimate happiness, which is fullness of life and Heaven."
He encourages those who have questions or have turned away from the church to look into reconnecting by doing some research.
"I'd like to give the encouragement to people who say that 'those young kids don't come to church anymore.' We need to give them a reason to come to church. And also for young people that may be questioning...come. Come read some of our books. Come talk to one of us as priests or some of the people here."
The study predicts that 'no religion' will be the largest group within the next 4-6 years.
- More Americans are identifying as 'no religion'
- There are now as many Americans who claim no religion as there are evangelicals and Catholics, a survey finds
- The Great American Smokeout
- 42nd Annual Great American Smokeout
- Ventura settles "American Sniper" lawsuit
- Impact of Arthritis on Americans
- May proclaimed 'Older Americans Month'
- NIACC's Peka named All-American
- Officer identified in deadly Minnesota shooting
- UPDATE: Motorcyclist in Mason City crash identified