Young Adult Ministry is Critical to Evangelization—Here’s Why

Recently, I have become extremely frustrated with the lack of young adult ministry in my city, and I know I am not the only one in my city (and in others, perhaps) who is also frustrated. It is not hard to believe that there are others in other cities who share my concerns.

There is no one right way to accomplish it. The Diocese of Green Bay does it on both the parochial and diocesan level (and when a Minnesota Vikings fan praises anything related to the city of Green Bay, you know there is something special occurring). Kidding aside, the parishes of Rochester, Minnesota have banded together to do young adult ministry. There are various parishes across the nation that have their own group.

But, I think the main reason there are so many places where young adult ministry is non-existent is the fact that some do not see the need for it. Young adult ministry is seen as unnecessary. I beg to differ.

Why is it needed?

Your Parish: Maintenance or Mission?

“Throw open the doors to Christ!” Pope John Paul II inaugurated his pontificate with
this invitation to the world; now he inaugurates a new Christian millennium with the
same invitation. And, throughout the Church, we are witnessing a remarkable
convergence of signs of renewal of the Church in her mission to the world. The apostolic
role of the laity has been resoundingly affirmed and promoted at the highest levels of the
Church for the first time in our history. The Holy Father has called the whole Church to
re-dedicate all her energies to the new evangelization. Lay Catholics who assume
personal responsibility for the Church’s evangelical mission are emerging by the millions
all over the globe. A dramatic shift in the historic relationship between clergy and laity is
well underway, which has important implications for all Catholic leaders who work with
lay people.

Will you be the one to introduce this culture to Jesus?

Readings for Today

Have you ever seen yourself as a person who is called to introduce others to the person of Jesus? Most Catholics do not. They do not envision that they are the ones to go door to door to talk about Jesus. This is often seen as something “the Protestants do”, or the Mormons. But as Catholics, we are not so likely to view ourselves as those door to door evangelists. But if not us, how is it that people are to get to know Jesus? How is it that others will be brought to our Church? How is it that Jesus can get more disciples? Today’s readings issue a profound challenge to each of us to see ourselves as missionaries.

Homilies given at St. Pius V Parish, Saint Louis, Missouri, on Saturday, July 7, 2018 and Sunday, July 8, 2018.
Image courtesy Pixabay.

Matthew Kelly is on a Mission to Bring People Back to the Catholic Church

But to call this 44-year-old a successful entrepreneur, public speaker, and author is telling only part of his story. He’s a practical philosopher, too—many would say profound; a voice that guides millions of lives nationwide. In an era when thousands of people struggle to brand themselves as these things every day, he’s the real deal. The irony? He spends little time promoting himself; that, he would tell you, is not the point.

So nobody knows that he printed his 30 millionth book last October. Or that this year he’s on track to release three new titles (including Culture Guru, for business) and sell 5 million books more—a feat few other authors will accomplish. Or that, in 2018 alone, his 25th year as a published author and motivational speaker, he will address 225,000 people in person and another 1.3 million subscribers via inspirational videos—more than triple the number he addressed three years ago.

Dominican friar sings on the streets of Manhattan

 “I want the Church to go out into the streets,” declared Pope Francis at a youth gathering in Argentina. “I want us to defend ourselves… from all that which means being closed up in ourselves. Parishes, schools, institutions are made in order to come out.”

The Dominicans of the province of St. Joseph took heed.

So, Blackfriar Films — the province’s media division — hit the streets of New York City with Fr. Austin Dominic Litke, Fr. Bob Koopman, O.S.B., and Leah Sedlacek as they performed a new arrangement of the beautiful 17th-century hymn “The Call,” composed by George Herbert and later made famous by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Scenes were filmed at the Brooklyn Bridge, Our Lady of Good Counsel parish, Grand Central Station, Columbus Circle, and the Staten Island ferry.

Read the whole story here.

Proclaim: Tell your family: Homily for Monday, January 30, 2017

(Listen to today’s homily, by clicking the links above.)

Today’s Readings

What a powerful line in today’s gospel.  “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”  When we consider this man’s situation, how long he had been separated by this possession from his family, how kind Jesus is.  He has freed this man.  He has made him whole again.  Understandably, this man now wants to follow Jesus wherever he leads.  Who wouldn’t?  But as always, Jesus sees the bigger picture.  This man who has been made whole is now a disciple of Jesus.  Proclaim to your family what God has done! Help them to be made whole!

How often do we make clear to our families all that God has done for us?  How often do we ourselves even know what God has done for us? Proclaim! Tell the Good News that Jesus is in our midst.  There is nothing more wonderful than that!  Proclaim that Jesus is alive and the kingdom is in our midst!

Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Advent: Have you heard? (December 7, 2016)

“Have you heard?” This question can be quite popular. It may signal some wonderful piece of big news.  Sometimes, the news is gossip.  Sometimes, the news is major, something tragic or happy. Whatever, this question get attention.  People want to know the latest news.  No one wants to be left out.

In many respects, today’s first reading is about this question.  Have you heard? What big news follows this question? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth.  Wow.  That’s big.  Have you heard?  When was the last time you asked someone this question  as a faith question? Have you heard? God is the eternal God. Have you heard? God has created the world.  Share your faith.  Ask the question.

Most of us have friends, acquaintances, and others who may not believe.  They may not know God id the Lord, the eternal God, the creator of the ends of the earth.  They may not be aware that God longs to comfort, to heal, to provide rest.  God longs to remove from us our burdens, and those things that make us weary.  So, have you heard?  God is looking for you.  God wants to enter into an eternal relationship, because God is the Lord.

Readings for Today

Homily for Friday, April 24, 2015

Readings for Today

Have you met Jesus? Do you have a personal relationship with him? Or, is it the case that when you encounter the Lord that like Paul you ask, “Who are you sir?” I am coming more and more to the realization that I have spent too much time worrying about knowing the right things about Jesus, but not really seeking the type of freedom that comes when I focus more simply on knowing Jesus. I am probably not that much different than many Catholics who never really heard much about getting to know Jesus, about having a personal relationship with him.

But today’s readings are about encounters. Neither is meant to be an abstract theology lesson, but rather it is to be a personal encounter that challenges the heart. Paul has been persecuting the Church and Jesus. Today is called to serve the Church and Jesus. Those in the gospel struggle to grasp what Jesus means when he talks about eating flesh. In both instances, there is initial difficulty not first with an intellectual idea, but with a relationship.

While I certainly am not suggesting we should not strive to learn more about our faith, I think all too often we start too soon in the evangelization process with what is rightly called catechesis. Or, at the service of generating interest, we advertise a very controversial topic before there is a foundation of the relationship with Jesus through prayer. The thinking is that if people know about Jesus they will come to love Jesus. But I think that is backwards. If people know and love Jesus, they will be able to know what is important and what matters to Jesus.

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Homily for Saturday, July 12, 2014

Readings for Today

Catholics are not very good at talking publicly about their faith. And be sure, for many years really was not a pressing need for Catholics to think of themselves as evangelists. After all, parishes were filled, priests were abundant, and Catholic schools did not lack for students.  and perhaps in these days of abundant, at least in the United States, we lost sight of the gospel mandate of Jesus: go, teach, and make disciples of all nations.

Both the first reading of the gospel today speak of this type of reluctance on the part of those called to proclaim the life of faith which God calls everyone. For Isaiah, it is his wickedness that stands in the way. In the gospel, disciples are afraid because of the immense task of confronting evil in their day. What stands in the way for us?

For if we believe that we have found a tremendous and new way of life, one that is the pathway to living forever, to finding deep fulfillment, and discovering the purpose for which we were created, I would we not want to share this with others? Perhaps for the same reasons we encounter in today’s readings.

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