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.


Searching for Mass online…

If you needed to find a Catholic Mass what would you do? If you said “I’d Google it.” You may be like many other Catholics in the United States—at least on some days.

Google dominates the search engine wars, garnering nearly two out of every three searches done on the Internet in the United States.  Google Trends (example) provides a window into the search behavior of its users.

So when are Catholics looking for “Mass times”? (...not to be confused with, which can help you find a Mass if you have the URL bookmarked or memorized)

The search volume for Mass times on Google is always highest the week of Christmas.  On average, users are more than twice as likely to be searching for this during that week compared to the average week. If you guessed Easter Week as the next busiest week for this search you would be wrong. Instead it is the week of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

Holy Days of Obligation that could possibly be abrogated when falling on a Saturday or Monday get more search traffic for Mass times when these fall on other days of the week.  However, the Feast of the Assumption is the only Holy Day of Obligation which draws significantly more search traffic for Mass times than in the average week.

During the January 2004 to September 2009 period, no week matched the week that began on December 21, 2008 for the volume of searches for Mass times (2.4 times as many searches than in the average week).  The lowest traffic week during this period was the week beginning on May 6, 2007 (0.6 times as many searches than in the average week).  Of the top ten weeks for searches of Mass times all are in weeks for Christmas or Ash Wednesday with the exception of Easter Week in 2004.

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