What happens to the religious and spiritual lives of our children and grandchildren as they graduate from High School? What becomes of their beliefs and values when they start leaving their homes to launch their own new adult lives? How do the peer group and social pressures influence the lives of our young Catholics during this phase when they emerge as adults? Does their participating in the Weekend Experience – Sunday Liturgy, as children make a difference in their spiritual and religious outcomes? What percentage of our teens and youth regularly attend the Sunday worship? If a sizeable portion of that age group does not participate in our Worship, then what’s it that turns them away? What makes our Liturgy less attractive to them? And finally, what can we do to offer them a God-experience through a meaningful and relevant Weekend Experience and invite them to take their rightful place in the Parish Community?
These are some issues that we grapple with as Christian families and as a Parish Community. The many conversations and consultations that we’ve had and the surveys that we’ve taken from our parish youth, their families and our Parish Community bring home to us the urgency and necessity of being present in a meaningful way to our youth, young adults and young families. Attending to their religious and spiritual needs is of paramount importance. Failing to plan for the nurturing and grooming of the youth, the young adults and the young families of our Community is planning to fail. Do you agree?
With this in mind, we have decided to re-energize the efforts towards our teens and youth, our young adults and families with an updated evening mass setting on Sundays at 5pm. This, we believe, is one step in the right direction. Through our numerous conversations with families, we realized that Sunday evenings are the most conducive time for this age group for worship. We hope that this youth mass, to which all are welcome, will attract our younger generation and offer them an avenue to rally together, celebrate and give expression to their life of faith.
I invite you to spread the word that St. John Vianney cares for its young; that we will leave no stone unturned to be an effective pastoral presence to them. Even as I write this column, I’m aware of the initiatives that are taken and the efforts that are made to organize our youth and invite them to a “full, active and conscious participation” in the Sunday Liturgy and other activities within the Parish Community and the neighborhood. May God bless our youth; may they grow to be good Christians and responsible citizens, thereby making the world a better place. May God grant success to the work of our hands!