Counter-cultural young Catholics emerging in Ireland

young Catholics

Young Catholics are creating a stir in Ireland.

Catholic youth groups are experiencing a resurgence. Hundreds of young Catholics are being drawn to faith-based activities and community service, the word from youth groups says.

Hope is in the air

Bishop Fintan Gavin of Cork and Ross says the resurgence makes him feel hopeful.

“I am very hopeful.

“We had last Sunday the Eucharistic procession (pictured) and we had more than 4,000 people.

“Many of them were young people who were living their faith on the streets.

“It is not about numbers, but it is about being there… We need to find a way where young people can be in the culture of today and be a life-giving force within that culture.

“Not running away from the culture but not embracing every aspect of the culture either. That is why young people need the support of one another.”

Counterculture recognised

Presentation Brother Martin Kenneally who works with youth leaders says he sees “a young Catholic counterculture emerging in Ireland.

“They are genuine young people searching for meaning.”

Some of the young Catholics he works with are involved in a Leadership Education and Formation project.

There are also several prayer groups. Like Kenneally, organisers say they also are seeing a resurgence of interest among young people.

A parish catechist in County Dublin says about 60 young people packed into a small café for a talk on ‘Does God exist?’

“We as a Church need to be creative in our apologetics and getting back to what it means to be a Christian…” he says.

“The younger people who are making the jump to come to church want community, but they also want the answers to their faith. We are in the position to give 2,000 years of philosophy and theology on the good life.”

Be signs of hope

Gavin notes that “Maybe we come from a picture in the past that we had too much support from the culture, and we keep contrasting things.

“This is where we are called to be ‘the Church of the here and now’ as St Joan of Arc said.

“We need to be signs of hope. A Christian without hope is not really a Christian.”


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