The Roman Catholic Church in the United States has been losing members rapidly, a trend that may lead to big changes in American religion in coming years.

Tim Pereira was an altar boy and his father played guitar in the church’s folk music group. The family often gathered in the church basement after Mass to drink coffee and eat doughnuts with friends in their tight-knit parish. They ate spaghetti dinners with the rest of the church, browsed church bazaars, and went on family retreats. Their priest was a caring man who oversaw a close congregation.

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