Young adults don’t feel at home in many church communities

young adults

“Young people don’t feel particularly welcome” in many church communities, says Isabella McCafferty.

She said young people are looking for an encounter with each other, with the church and with the sacraments, in ways that are relevant for them.

It requires a willingness to “interlink with each other more and hold each other up.”

McCafferty was one of two young adults selected by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference to participate in the international forum held at a retreat centre just south of Rome last month.

The forum followed up on the Synod of Bishops on young people, faith, and vocational discernment which took place last year.

She said Catholic young adults felt the hierarchy had started listening to them in preparation for the 2018 Synod.

And they will do whatever they can to make sure their voices continue to be heard.

But they also want to be part of the actual implementation of the changes.

Young people want authenticity
McCafferty says the greatest desire of young adults is for the church to be authentic.

“Authenticity is about transparency, it’s about vulnerability at times, but it’s also about ground level, about being community.”

It always involves person-to-person contact.

“When a young adult goes to a parish church regularly for months and only one person talks to him or her — it happens,” she said, “it tells the young adult that an authentic, caring community does not exist there.”

280 people between the ages of 18 and 29 from 109 countries took part in the Forum.

Following the Synod, Pope Francis published Christus Vivit, a 50-page letter to “all Christian young people” on April 2.

McCafferty called Christus Vivit “a constant source of encouragement in my own faith journey and inspired me in my ministry.

“The challenge of course now is to enable its richness to reach those who need to hear the heart of the document.”

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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