A recent survey by the U.S. Bishop’s Subcommittee on Youth and Young Adults found that a growing number of activities exist for post-college aged young adults--an age group reported to often see themselves as particularly disconnected from church activities.
The survey showed that some of the Church’s offerings include the popular Chicago-based Theology on Tap series, which feature engaging Catholic speakers and theologians who gather in local brew pubs to speak on different topics of interest to young adults--currently active in some 73 dioceses around the country.
Other popular activities, according to the survey, include leadership training programs, retreats and service opportunities.
“Young adults have a lot of energy and will accept their responsibility for spreading the faith if we provide opportunities for them,” said Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Duluth, Minnesota, chairman of the youth and young adult subcommittee.
“We need to capitalize on the interest in the church shown by young people who by nature are idealistic and on a spiritual search. Recent experiences, including the turnout of young adults to pay their respects when Pope John Paul II died in April and their interest in the forthcoming World Youth Day, August 16 to 21 in Cologne, Germany, testify to this.”
Historically, the unmarried, post-college age group has been one of the hardest for the Church to minister to, mainly due to the awkward social situation of no longer being in college, but also not yet having a family of their own. Many young people see this period as a sort of limbo--making the Church’s role in drawing them in all the more pressing.
117--sixty percent--of the nation’s 195 dioceses responded to the survey, which reported that 91.5 percent of dioceses employ a person specifically designated to work with young adults.
The Vatican estimates that nearly 1 million young adults plan to travel to Cologne, Germany this month for the World Youth Day celebration. Some 24,000 of them are expected to be from the U.S.