During the month of April we pray in a special way for those who enter the faith at the commencement of the Easter season. Many Catholics regard welcoming new members into the Church as a high point in the liturgical year, especially given the recently reported on trends of religious disaffiliation. In today’s world of competing idols, young people in particular are losing sight of their vocational call and the ability to coherently discuss faith.
“To each one of you Christ says: ‘I am sending you.' Why is he sending you? Because men and women the world over—north, south, east and west—long for true liberation and fulfillment. The poor seek justice and solidarity; the oppressed demand freedom and dignity; the blind cry out for light and truth (cf. Luke 4:18). You are not being sent to proclaim some abstract truth. The Gospel is not a theory or an ideology! The Gospel is life! Your task is to bear witness to this life: the life of God’s adopted sons and daughters. Modern man, whether he knows it or not, urgently needs that life – just as two thousand years ago humanity was in need of Christ’s coming; just as people will always need Jesus Christ until the end of time.”
For the past four weeks, we've published a series of articles from Echo Associate Director Katie Diltz on the importance of not just participating in parish life at a surface level, but diving deep to embrace life in one's parish community more fully and fruitfully.
In thinking about writing a series for young adults on embracing parish life, I began by informally surveying young adult Catholics in my social networks. The 85 people who responded to my Google survey represent an atypical sampling of millennials (my social networks are exceptionally Catholic-y): 80% attend Mass at least weekly, 80% are registered at their parishes, and 83.5% donate to their parishes at least occasionally. And, yet, only 55.3% of this group can definitively say that they feel like part of their parish communities.
We go to Mass, we’re registered, we donate, but we don’t feel like we belong. What are we missing?
I love budgeting. It might be a slight obsession. My friends and co-workers can attest to my willingness to tell anyone and everyone how wonderful and important it is to budget.
The first expense category on our monthly budget is “Giving,” which includes two separate items: giving to our local parish and giving to a charity or cause (we choose something different each month). I share this not to gloat but to share our strategy; if giving wasn’t the first thing on our budget, we’d easily find other ways to spend our money.