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      Sunday mass attendance declines, youth programs remain steady

      The amount of Catholics attending Sunday mass nationwide is on the decline. A new survey of American Catholics reports attendance has fallen from 64 percent to 50 percent in the last 10 years.

      The Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette says their youth attendance at events like Saturday's "See the See" rally remains steady. There wasn't an empty seat at St. Peter's Cathedral in Marquette, and most of the attendees were sixth, seventh and eighth graders. More than 600 people attended from all over the U.P.

      It's been part of Bishop Alexander Samples' mission since 2007 to get the diocese's youth engaged in their communities, which is not always an easy task.

      "We have a lot of small communities, separated by a lot of forests," says Director of Youth Ministry Greg Gostomski. "Young people often think they're the only sixth, seventh and eighth graders interested in their faith."

      The full day of spiritual workshops and speakers is meant to show them they're not alone.

      "I love hearing everyone's stories because it inspires me to do more in my life to serve God," said attendee Jackie O'Driscoll. "It's easier to know somebody with similarities that can experience the options of life with you."

      Half of all U.P. parishes participated in the rally...that's more than ever. Organizers believe it's the 'See the See' experience, which is slightly different from a formal worship, that keeps them coming back.

      "We strive to offer a high energy, interactive program with good music," Gostomski says. "We've always got positive feedback."