Pastoral Thought



            During the next six weeks we will conduct a survey of all the young people who were confirmed at St. Catherine of Siena in the past 15 years. Our reasons:  thirty percent of persons baptized Catholic in our country no longer are Catholics; the percentage of persons professing “no religious identification” (‘None’) has risen steeply since 2000; the number of marriages in the Catholic Church has dropped by 60% since 1980. Studies show that this “disaffiliation” happens most frequently between 18 and 25, others that it happens between 13 and 18. So we are concerned about the way we communicate the Faith.

            Our pastoral council agreed it was important to survey our own young persons. We decided to ask if they have remained Catholic, and what reasons have influenced them in their choice. The survey will be anonymous and will be followed by selected interviews.

            While many of us are aware of our adult children’s aloofness from the Catholic Church, few of us understand the reasons. It is a reality of our time which affects almost all religions, but the Catholic Church above all. We see many of the generation behind us living ethical, worthy lives but doing so without religion, and we ask ‘Why’?

            The Gospel—our faith in Jesus and our commitment to His way of life through Church, community and sacraments—does not change. Yet the way it is understood, expressed, and lived out must take on new features as human consciousness develops. The human soul has infinite desires; these can only be fulfilled in God. Yet the language for the Gospel in today’s world needs new translation. So we reach out to grasp how we—as missionary disciples—can share God’s Good News today.

            Father John Hynes