Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

How do we evangelize youth of today?

Nov. 20, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Last week, I spent a bit of time watching the Meeting of the United States Catholic Bishops Meeting in Baltimore on television. I found it rather good to see and listen to some of the Bishops from other dioceses. Actually, I did want to catch a glimpse of our bishops. However, they weren’t there in person. Our bishops, the bishops of the New York State District, were in Rome on their ad limina visit to the Holy Father. All the Bishops of the world are required to visit the Pope and the various papal congregations every five years. However, our bishops were able to participate in the bishops’ meeting by way of a long-range connection from Rome.

I want to tell you about one session I found most interesting and helpful. On one afternoon, there was a presentation on the evangelization of the young that was led by Bishop Robert Barron. This was obviously a question of great importance to the bishops, as it is to every Catholic. There is much concern for our Catholic Church concerning the number of young people who have left their participation in the Catholic Church and no longer want to be considered Catholic. This number continues to grow.

I found it even more shocking that they have information that now many young people are leaving the Church at 13 years of age. They no longer want to be considered as Catholic. I was surprised but probably should not have been. I know only too well how few teenagers attend Mass or participate in parish activities, even with their own families. They find no reason to be Catholic.

In this session on evangelization, Bishop Barron and his committee spoke of a series of initiatives that are being investigated to develop a means of evangelizing our young people, ways to reach out and lead them back. I am certain every pastor is keen to learn and develop ways to reach these high schoolers.

Bishop Barron laid down several basic tenets for study. I would like to share just a couple of these with you. It is also an opportunity for me to consider them myself.

They spoke of young people as deeply concerned with justice. There is a hope that our young people will recognize the numerous efforts of the Catholic Church to bring justice to a divided society. Parishes everywhere in our country want to do something to speak out and work for justice, especially to those peoples who suffer discrimination and suffer other forms of injustice. We know there are many young people who are courageous and ready to speak out. They should find within our Church the readiness to work against anything that is definitely injustice.

While there are many other such tenets, let me mention one more: Our Church must help our young people to understand and be committed to the message of Jesus and the teachings of the Catholic Church. I believe we hear too often a young person leaving their involvement in the Catholic Church because they say they do not understand what it means to be Catholic.

This has to be a concern for our Church and our parish programs. The power of a relationship with Jesus changes all Catholics, young and old. Our task is to be carefully and prayerfully led to discover the power and joy of being close to the Lord. Their lives will be transformed. They will become more alive as a person. In this way they will find peace and love, and a meaningful life as a Christian and as a disciple of Jesus.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.