The Catholic young adults of today can often feel alone and excluded from many parish activities. What can we do to meet their needs and ensure they grow spiritually in their Catholic faith? Below you’ll find six suggestions that have proven to be successful in the Diocese of Orange, California.
6 Essential Ways To Engage Catholic Young Adults
- Utilize technology and digital spaces. Young adults are constantly chatting, watching, listening, following via multiple platforms. We must be present to communicate and engage where they are. While acknowledging the challenges of the virtual world, take advantage of its incredible opportunities to outreach to Catholic young adults. In the ever-changing era of technology, we must find practical ways of bringing the Gospel to the spaces where young adults spend their time. Digital Evangelization is critical and helps us reach outside of our geographical boundaries!
- Offer Service Opportunities Invite Catholic young adults to put their faith in action – and go out and be the hands and feet of Christ by SERVING. Young adults deeply care about the communities where they live and about our brothers and sisters in need. When our parishes serve others, we concretely live out our calling to love our neighbor and, by engaging young adults in this endeavor of service, we provide them with concrete practices to live out our faith. We must continuously witness serving others!
- Foster Authentic Parish-based communities of young adults Young adults value authenticity as a marker of a community that cares about them and cares for them—of a community with no hidden agendas that is ready and willing to walk with them on their journey of life and faith. Additionally, there is a deep desire for connection and intimacy, and an authentic parish-based community is able to offer just that. In this way, the Church creates a true spiritual family; a “home” within the Body of Christ – that all people, especially young adults, yearn for.
- Lead with the Spirit of Accompaniment Pope Francis invites us as leaders in the church to be companions of faith – to accompany young adults in a real way – wherever they are. While we meet at the parish to worship God, young adults can also be found gathering, thriving, and living out their faith outside of our parish walls. Look for ways to accompany them by going for a hike, meeting at a bar, or attending a concert together; this companionship creates spaces to talk about faith, pray together and remind them that Christ is in our midst. Every space where young adults currently meet – is a space where accompaniment and ministry can happen.
- Listen to their Needs and Invite them to be Protagonists Often, we approach young adults with preconceived ideas of their needs, challenges, concerns, etc. A Church that listens is a Church that genuinely can engage with the lives of young adults better. If we can find solutions together, we will activate them and make them part of discovering their role, responsibility, and vocation. As young adults—they are men and women with multiple gifts, talents, careers, expertise, and more – and they are ready and willing to engage in solutions. If we open the doors of our parishes to their contributions, we will be surprised by how revitalized our parish life can become.
- Engage young adults in the National Eucharistic Revival We are witnessing a revival of our faith, of our love for Christ in the Eucharist across the United States. Find ways to engage our young adults with these efforts! Here in Orange County – we have various opportunities including the YOUNG ADULT EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL CAMPOUT (March 10-12) at Santiago Retreat Center in Southern California. Speakers like Fr. Stan Fortuna, C.F.R.; James Wahlberg, filmmaker, author and evangelist; Dan DeMatte, Damascus executive director of Missions and Advancement; and others will join together for an unprecedented 3-day campout for friendship with Christ and each other. Join the revival from California or wherever you are in the world by registering here! Watch Fr. Stan Fortuna’s welcome video here and James Walhberg’s invitation here. Follow us on Instagram if you want to connect and/or know more about the campout and other events for young adults @socalcatholic