Pastoral Thought

3-18-18

 

Our staff and pastoral council have started an ad-hoc committee to survey the youth and young adults, age 18-30, who have grown up and been confirmed at St. Catherine’s. Our purpose is to understand the causes and extent of young Catholics leaving the Church. Recent studies show that at least 30% do so by young adulthood, say 25. We want to learn why. An equal number are inactive. It is too great a crisis for us to sit idly by.

            We will get contact information from families of our youth. Some of you will be involved. Some of you already have experienced grown children stepping apart from the Faith. I experience it among nieces and nephews. Some of the causes lie in our secular modern society. There is a certain suspicion among people that the messages coming from big institutions are self-serving. Not only government, commerce, the media and the professions are distrusted, but also the Church. This cynical view draws on many reasons, some valid, some not.

            There is a certain idealism among many of the young (“The Church should be doing more for the poor and the people who are on the margin of society.”)  There is also self-interest (“What is the benefit to me?”)

            I believe that new life-giving changes in the Church start from below, on the local level. If we apply ourselves to talking with our sons and daughters and their companions about faith, I think we can bring some light to this very dark part of our church life. I believe that “the Gospel of Jesus has not changed, but we are beginning to understand it better.” (Pope John XXIII). This survey is for that purpose:  to seek and to understand how the Gospel applies today.

                                    Father John Hynes