Category Archives: 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

In light of faith: Reaching young people who have left the church

In a study released last month surveying young people who have left the church, its authors posed two important questions about the individuals behind the data: “Do we know who they are — the depth of their life stories — do we know them by name?” and “Do we miss these individuals now that they are gone?”

      The study, “Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics,” released by St. Mary’s Press of Minnesota, in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, categorizes its respondents into three major groups: the injured, the drifters and the dissenters. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

In light of faith: How can the church support young people during the ‘defining decade’?

Meg Jay, author of “The Defining Decade,” claims that “our 20s are the defining decade of adulthood. Eighty percent of life’s most defining moments take place by about age 35. … Personality can change more during our 20s than at any other decade in life. … When it comes to adult development, 30 is not the new 20.”

      Pope Francis has called a synod on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment” to discuss how the church can help young people live their faith “through a series of choices that find expression in the states of life.” In short, the synod wants to help young people live out their vocation to holiness as lifelong adult Catholics by learning how to discern God’s will in daily life. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials