Several American dioceses are using social media to promote “Mass Mobs”: flash mob masses to draw suburbanites to worship in poorly populated or sometimes closed urban parishes.

Old and New: “It seems to me there is a real interesting mix of the old and the new,” Archbishop Vigneron said in an interview. “It’s driven by the latest, up-to-date social media, and yet it’s using that to work toward some pre-media goods.”

Religious Tourism: He added, “It doesn’t bother me that there might be some kind of touristic curiosity, because people through that are led to be in touch with God and with one another.”

Civic Value: “We want to show that these parishes do have value — to the people within them, to the greater community and to the city itself,” said Stanislav Zadnik, 54, a union electrician from Parma, Ohio, who has organized the Cleveland Mass mob movement. “It’s a grand shame to make them go extinct.”

Bonus: A side effect of the Mass mob phenomenon is that people often donate during their visit’.