How are Parishes Welcoming Young Adults?

Millennial writer Christopher White and Elise Italiano write:

For me (Christopher), growing up in a Protestant church, coffee hours after church were a regular function. It was an occasion where cross sections of our community could gather and continue our fellowship beyond the church service. It was, in some respects, a chance to build that culture of encounter that Pope Francis speaks about so frequently.

After converting to Catholicism, I was dismayed that my parish failed to offer anything similar. So, I urged our parish council to institute a wine and cheese hour after the Sunday evening masses.

It was here where I met not just other members of my parish, but my neighbors, as well. This would later lead to subsequent dinner party invitations, concerts and shows, art gallery viewings and, ultimately, new and true friendships….

I have been incredibly blessed to attend a parish in the greater Washington metro area where being a single professional is the norm. The genius of this particular parish is that it engages its parishioners (more than 50 percent of them are between the ages of 25-50) with a variety of options:

There are adult catechetical series for those interested in study; small faith groups for personal support; a weekly event in which confession and adoration are followed by drinking at the local Irish pub (and the priests do come); and there are opportunities for local service and international mission trips….

But these events cannot merely be instituted from on high; they must take into consideration the needs and realities of young people.

That’s why we believe it’s critical for young people to be given a welcome spot on parish councils.