By Fr. Hien Nguyen
For the college-aged Young Adults, we do not have a collective effort to provide a faith formation for them. At the moment, the campus ministry is growing steadily, largely due to the missionary work of Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). There is an intentional focus by the diocese at the moment to find an effective way to help this age group especially in the parishes.
These are the results of a quick survey focusing the needs of Young Adults:
- Many more young adults need to be re-evangelized especially those without any parish or youth ministry connection
- This age group is looking for catechesis that is relevant, current and can speak to their everyday lives. They want to belong to a community, have a deeper relationship with Christ and feel they can make a difference in our world.
- Need a place to discuss and share their faith. They wrestle with what the Church teaches and what their friends are experiencing (i.e. moral issues of the day). They also need to learn what our Church teaches in the way of new technologies, sciences and business (i.e. ethics courses).
- Want a community to belong to so they can learn and discuss their faith.
- Looking for other ways to learn faith than in a classroom environment. Would like to see more online media where they can learn and discuss their faith (i.e. webinars, websites and other online media).
- Many young adults who grew up Catholic would like to connect, but don’t have the means or don’t know how to do so (i.e. like in youth ministry).
- These young adults are looking for spiritual direction (i.e. may include vocation discernment).
- Providing opportunities for service is also a growing need for this age group.
We have a common complaint in our diocese that by the time the students get to colleges and universities, they are no longer practicing their faith. In a report done by the Higher Education Research Institute found that “most of the respondents acknowledged a decline in religious practice during their college years. More than half (52%) reported attending religious services frequently before entering college, but by their junior year less than one-third (29%) attended frequently.” The contributions to this sad phenomenon are links that connect together from a shaky foundation of faith from the home, to the lack of knowledge of the deposit of faith, to the loss of identity as a Catholic, that is being thrown into a hostile environment such as a university where pluralism, individualism and other ideologies are so prevalent. These results are found from the study. The young adults just go with the flow and do what they feel like doing, and when it comes to faith, they would say: “I want to be spiritual but not religious.
”T. P. Rausch, Being Catholic in a Culture of Choice,
To be continued…