Nineteen Sixty-four is a research blog for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University edited by Mark M. Gray. CARA is a non-profit research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Catholic Church's self understanding; to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers; and to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism. Follow CARA on Twitter at: caracatholic.


Mary Queen of Parishes

Back in 2011 we posted data showing the decline in the number of Americans naming their daughters Mary (...the name has remained outside the top 100 names for girls since 2009). Last week CBS Sunday Morning noted a statistic in a story about Mary that was provided by CARA showing where that name remains strongest. One in five Catholic places of worship in the United States (20%) has a name that specifically references Mary. The next most numerous reference is to Joseph (6%).

The figure above shows all references that appear in the names of at least 100 Catholic places of worship in the United States (...these include parishes, cathedrals, basilicas, missions, and chapels). Most of these sites are parishes (approximately 17,300 or 86% of all places of worship in 2013). Just 41 names or phrases cover 80% of all places of Catholic worship in the country.

Of the names listed in the figure above, including worship sites referencing Mary, about a third (32%) specifically refer to a female name. Just under half (47%) specifically refer to a male name.

After Mary and Joseph, the names most commonly referenced include John, Paul, Peter, Patrick, and Francis.

Photo above courtesy of ecastro from Flickr Commons.

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