Leaders Gather to Encourage Young Adult Ministry

June 29-30, 2011

Archbishop Broglio hosted a young adult ministry roundtable gathering this week in Washington, DC. Active duty young adults and church leaders from around the country offered insights to reach out particularly to those 18-26 years old serving in all branches of the armed forces.

The roundtable began with a presentation by Amy McEntee who serves as the Assistant Director of Evangelization and Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who provided a survey overview of the book Souls in Transitions: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults written by Christian Smith and Patricia Snell. Amy is also the Board Chair of the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association.

Father Jesus Navarrete, USAF, a priest-chaplain at Eielson AFB, Fairbanks, Alaska followed with a presentation of the pastoral needs of young adults serving in the military. Father included the transition stressors and challenges particular to military life. An explanation of visitations and pastoral diagnosis highlighted the importance of planting seeds among young adults. Father began by showing a DVD of interviews with young adults on base regarding their thoughts about church.

Following these two presentations the active duty young adults were invited to share their reactions and responses. Each gave a real life account of the gifts and challenges among the various branches of service. This provided an important context for beginning to think about reaching out to young adults in their lived experiences.
The remainder of the gathering focused on brainstorming effective ideas to encourage Catholic young adults in the military to encounter Jesus Christ and to be involved in the Sacramental life of the Church. These outcomes will be gathered to develop multiple resources and strategies to reach out to the 300,000 Catholic young adults serving in the military today.

One important area of discussion focused on the need for the Catholic Faith Community to articulate answers to basic questions such as: Why go to Church? and Why get married in the Church?

You can help by keeping young adult ministry in your prayers and by taking the time to listen to the many gifts that young adults have to offer the Church.