"Where are the men?"
asks Juliana Bogle. She has some interesting thoughts:
You will see some young dads with families. You will see some small boys. But once a lad gets to about 12 or 13, and is of an age to protest and to exert his own ability to refuse to cooperate in some family activity, then Sunday Mass is definitely off his agenda.
Why is this? Take a look at your parish liturgy. Often it is very female-oriented. Most of the readers at Mass are women. Most of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are women. Probably most of the altar servers are girls. This used to be the one area that boys could claim, but now many — maybe most — parishes have girls, which naturally means that boys think that serving Mass is girlie and so they swiftly disappear.
Most of the hymns are pitched for female voices and often are led by a woman at a microphone. If there is a folk group with recorders, guitars and flutes, it will consist mostly of girls. A boy who offered to play the recorder for Mass would be regarded, in teenage parlance, as sad.
Ms. Bogle also offers some interesting solutions, which would no doubt get pitched into the circular file at most parishes. It's worth a read.
And it's nice to know that it's not just me, either.