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Nearly half of all Australians would come to church this Easter, if only someone would invite them

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Pope Francis at an audience in St Peter’s on 29 March. Photo: OSV

Inviting family and friends to church this Easter might feel intimidating, but a recent survey from NCLS research shows that nearly half of all Australians would attend church this Easter, if only someone would invite them.

In December 2022, the Australian Community Survey (2022 ACS) asked Australians if they would go to church this Easter if a close friend or family member invited them.

Four in 10 (42 per cent) Australians would go to an Easter service if invited. A further 19 per cent of those surveyed said they were unsure.

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Three in ten (29 per cent) Australians said they would not go to an Easter service if invited, and 10 per cent said they have no close friends or family who attend church.

While up to 42 per cent of Australians might go to church at Easter if invited, the actual numbers of Aussies attending Easter services over the last three years are much lower: at just 17%.

“People are more receptive to attending church at a significant time like Easter—so go ahead and invite them,” says NCLS Research Director, Dr Ruth Powell.

The 2022 ACS also identified that religion and spirituality make a significant contribution to wellbeing, with Australians identifying as Christian or religious reporting a higher level of life satisfaction on average than others.

“More research is needed to disentangle the factors that might drive the difference that faith practices make,” Dr Powell said.

“But positive psychological behaviours such as gratitude, mindfulness and living in the moment, are frequently expressed in healthy faith communities.”

After the Mass of Palm Sunday, Pope Francis offered a brief reflection on the invitation of Holy Week.

“I invite you to live Holy Week as the tradition of God’s holy faithful people teaches us, that is, accompanying the Lord Jesus with faith and love,” the Holy Father said.

“Let us learn from our mother, the Virgin Mary: She followed her son with the closeness of her heart; she was one spirit with him and, although she did not understand everything, together with him she surrendered herself fully to the will of God the Father.

“May Our Lady help us to be close to Jesus present in the suffering, discarded, abandoned people. May Our Lady take us by the hand to Jesus present in these people.”

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