Young Adult Catholics and the Preacing Opportunity
Catholic Coalition on Preaching

This is what is needed: a Church for young people, which will know how to speak to their heart and enkindle, comfort, and inspire enthusiasm in it with the joy of the Gospel and the strength of the Eucharist; a Church which will know how to invite and to welcome the person who seeks a purpose for which to commit their whole existence; a Church which is not afraid to require much, after having given much; which does not fear asking from young people the effort of a noble and authentic adventure, such as that of the following of the Gospel.
–Pope John Paul II, 1995 World Day of Prayer for Vocations

They are married, single, divorced and of every nationality and ethnic group. Their ranks include professionals, laborers, students, military and immigrants. Some are straight, some gay, some are parents and some have disabilities. The common ground is that they are Catholic young adults, defined by the U.S. bishops as men and women between the ages of 18 and 39. — Mary Anne Reese, “Refracting the Light: The Broad Spectrum of Young Adult Catholics.

General Young Adult Population
This generation is made up of more than sixty-six million people and has a combined spending power of over $125 billion.
90% of young adults believe in God and 36% strongly agree that the Christian Faith is relevant to the way they live.
71% of young adults have done volunteer work and 37% average ten to twenty-five hours each month.
More than 46% of single young adults in their twenties live with their parents.
Over 80% of young adults say that having a clear purpose for living is important to them.
75% of young adults believe that one person can make a difference.
Young adults see their family relationships as the most important ones in their lives and more than one third chose a family member as a personal hero and almost all surveys rate personal relationships and community as the defining characteristics of today’s young adults.

Catholic Young Adults
Now more than 42% of the Adult Population in the United States is of the Post Vatican II Generation.
Post Vatican II Catholics are the most diverse cohort of Catholics in the United States: Diversity includes: Race, Ethnicity, Socio-Economic, Education, and Sexual Orientation.
90% of Catholic young adults say they have a responsibility to reach out to the poor or struggling.
Young Adults in their 20s place a slightly higher value on helping the needy than do young adults in their 30s.
90% of the young adults who were confirmed (in high school) continue to identify themselves as Catholic, and a majority consider themselves active and are registered in a parish.
Generally religious identity for young adult Catholics rests on three basic elements: 1. Belief that God is present in the sacraments (including Christ’s presence in the Eucharist); 2. Charitable efforts toward helping the poor; and 3. Devotion to Mary.
Top Three things young adults look for in a parish community: 1. A welcoming sense of belonging; 2. Meaningful, lively, participatory liturgies with preaching that touches their lives; and 3. Opportunities to serve the community and especially the poor.
A significant but declining minority of Catholic young adults attend church regularly: A. About 26% of YA Catholics report attending mass each week; B. About 60% of YA Catholics in their 30s report attending mass at least once or twice a month; and C. About 50% of YA Catholics in their 20s report attending mass at least once or twice a month.

The older categories of conservative and liberal, based on responses to Vatican II, are no longer adequate to describe millennials, who have no experience and little knowledge of the Council. They have a new set of challenges and diverse ways of relating to the Catholic tradition, but they are empowered by the same Spirit, who is the real basis of our hope for this generation of collegians. — Rev. James J. Bacik.

More tomorrow….

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