A “mob” of students, teachers, parents, administrators and alumni from Elk County Catholic School System has descended on daily Mass at local parishes for the past week.

The movement started with an idea from ECCSS President Sam MacDonald. “We have all this technology that helps us communicate. People use it to meet up at bars, restaurants, camping spots, you name it. I thought, what better place than Mass for Catholic school people to meet and celebrate together?”

Using email and social media, MacDonald reached out to the ECCSS community and asked people to meet him at a daily Mass at their own parish. “We are doing it at every parish in Elk County, so the three in St. Marys and the ones in Ridgway, Johnsonburg, Force and Kersey. I also added St. Callistus in Kane and St. Mark’s in Emporium, because we are seeing more students from those communities.”

The results have been remarkable, said MacDonald. “Some places, especially with early Masses, have had lighter turnouts, but I have never been on my own. We even had students at the 6:15 am Mass at Sacred Heart. I was really proud of those kids. Even when there were just a few of us, we were all wearing ECC gear, so people came up, introduced themselves and asked what we were up to every time. When I tell them we are from the school and we are just there to celebrate Mass with them, they thank us and ask us to chat with them about how things are going, how our students are doing.

“Sometimes people talk about how we can get more people from the parishes interested in the Catholic schools,” MacDonald added. “That’s an important question, but it’s also kind of backwards. The real question is how can we get more people from the schools even more deeply and intimately involved in their parishes? How can we get kids in these desks to fill these pews? Most parishes have a Mass almost every day. You want to see the heart of a parish, go to Mass on a Wednesday morning and talk to people. That’s really what the Mass Mob is all about.”

The final destination is St. Boniface in Kersey on Friday, August 4. They do not normally have a Friday Mass in the summer, but Fr. Ross Miceli has scheduled one for 11 am that day to accommodate the Mass Mob. “He put it later in the morning to appeal to our teenage students,” MacDonald said. “Fr. Ross is pretty crafty. And he’s pretty competitive. He wants the biggest Mob. He’s proud of his church and his parish, so he wants to share it with as many people as possible. I invite any and all to come celebrate with us.”

Pic: A few of the Mass Mob participants at St. Leo Church on Thursday, July 27.