Young people seen as urgent crisis at Notre Dame pre-synod conference

Katharine Argulo, Associate Director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Atlanta

A great deal of dialogue is being exchanged among Church leaders regarding ways to curtail the number of young Catholics leaving the faith they were baptized into.  Several church initiatives are underway to address the issue of “exiting” young Catholics:

In advance of the Pre-Synod meeting scheduled for late March in Rome, Notre Dame hosted a conference in early March entitled “Cultures of Formation: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. The goal of the conference was to “examine cultural influences shaping young people and how the church could respond or ‘create a culture’ in which it’s easier to be Catholic.”

One conference presenter, Katherine Angulo from the Atlanta Archdiocese, cited a need for “greater resources, including fair salaries, for those in youth and young adult ministry.”  Angulo continued: “The U.S. church does ‘okay’ with ministry for high school and college students, but does very little for young adults and middle school students.  That latter demographic is important, as the median age of a young person who leaves the church is now 13.”

A Pre-Synod meeting will be held in Rome from March 19-24, in preparation for the October Synod of Bishops “Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.”  Young adults from across the globe have been invited as delegates regardless of their religious affiliation.  A website was set-up allowing young people to voice their opinions on church matters through social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter. This pre-synod meeting is in keeping with Pope Francis’ wish that the October synod not be just a meeting among bishops, but one that will include young adult voices.  Results of the pre-synod will be available to the Bishops prior to the October gathering.

Click here to review article on the Notre Dame conference published in the National Catholic Reporter