HomeWorldItalian priest starts preaching in bars after church attendance wanes

Italian priest starts preaching in bars after church attendance wanes


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Since starting his 7.30pm sermons two years ago 10 bars in Bitti have signed up to the initiative.

“People have welcomed this proposal, they listen to me with sympathy and respect for 40 minutes or so and at the end we have one or two beers together,” he said. “The Gospel plants the seed and God does the rest.

“I thank the baristas of Bitti and all the people who welcome me, for their hospitality and the opportunity they give me to bring them the word of Jesus,” said Mr Cossu. “I am optimistic that our town will retain its faith.”

Mr Cossu, who was born in Sardinia, has been a priest for 44 years. Before arriving in Bitti he worked in other parts of Italy and also served as a missionary in Argentina where he met Pope Francis.

“I remember him, but I don’t know if he remembers me,” he laughed.

According to a Pew Research Centre survey in 2023, 78 per cent of Italians say they are Roman Catholic. But the statistics agency, Istat, says only 19 per cent attend services at least weekly while 31 per cent never attend.

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