Category Archives: focus on millennials

In light of faith: The life-changing power of joy

When you’re in your 20s and 30s, you often feel invincible — like there’s so much time to make mistakes because you’ll fix them tomorrow. It’s easy to boast that this is the time to do whatever you want.

      But then something happens. Maybe you lose your job or your longtime friend stops returning your texts. Or, maybe you learn at age 35 that you have breast cancer — and that’s what happened to me. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In light of faith: How the church can welcome young families

Many people have assumed that once millennials started to grow older and have kids, a large number would return to the church or become more actively engaged. This has not materialized — the numbers are troubling. And there are certainly many reasons why, from changing social norms to mistakes the church has made.

      As the church prepares for the upcoming synod on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment” and looks to “encounter, accompany and care for every young person without exception,” it would be helpful to consider what more the church could be doing to welcome and support young families. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In light of faith: What I learned at the presynod gathering

It has been nearly a month since the beginning of the presynod gathering on “Young people, the faith and vocational discernment,” in Rome, and other than the palms from the Mass in St. Peter’s Square still sitting on my dining room table and the magnet of a Swiss Guardsman stuck to my fridge, the physical remnants of that remarkable trip have been put away.

My suitcase is unpacked, my (mostly) normal day-to-day schedule has resumed, and save for the occasional tweet about #synod2018, it seems that the presynod gathering of young people, the first of its kind, has largely faded from view. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In light of faith: Three takeaways from the presynod gathering in Rome

The very fact that over 300 young people — joined by another 15,000 virtual participants via social media — came together to produce a document to be read and studied by bishops around the world in preparation for the Vatican’s 2018 synod on “Young people, the faith and vocational discernment” is no small feat.

The near-unanimous consensus on a range of issues facing young people in the church today also is a small miracle in itself and offers an example to the rest of the church at a time when some of its more established leaders, continuing to fight old battles, are adding to the climate of polarization rather than overcoming it. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In light of faith: The church as field hospital for the wounded

“Can I keep you?” Casper whispers into Kat’s ear, and she ever so softly agrees. Somehow in that moment it didn’t matter that Kat was human and Casper was a ghost — an attraction crossed that very real divide. The most powerful messages of the movie “Casper” relate to love and belonging, giving and receiving … and even letting go.

      These themes always captivate the human heart. People are searching for love and ways to give themselves away. At times they are even eager to say “yes” when they hear the proposal, “Can I keep you?” Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In light of faith: ‘Make some noise!’: Pope Francis at five years

Finishing off his first international trip as pope at the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis looked to the young people present and in his native Spanish beckoned, “Hagan lio!” which has been translated as “make some noise” and “make a mess.”

      Some prominent Catholics balked at his comments at the time, saying that the last thing young people need is a faith that is ambiguous or imprudent. That criticism certainly didn’t quiet the pope, as he has returned to this expression several times in the past five years — and it’s one that we, as millennials, intuitively understand. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In light of faith: Investing in young women in the church

In a 1965 speech to the National Union of Townswomen’s Guild Conference, Margaret Thatcher quipped, “If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.” Though she was speaking about politics, it’s safe to say that many pastors across the country can sympathize, since women have traditionally taken the lead in the work of parish ministries and religious education.

      But this might not be the case in the future. In a recent survey conducted by America Media in collaboration with the Center for the Applied Research in the Apostolate, more than 67 percent of all the Catholic women who were surveyed reported that they have never participated in parish ministry. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials