Family life ministers are deeply concerned about the decline in Church participation by youth and young adults. We may not identify ourselves as "youth ministers," but the families with whom we minister include the parents of these young people, engaged couples in marriage preparation, volunteers in marriage ministry, and family members for whom this is a grave concern. If you gather grandparents for support groups, the faith practice of their grandchildren is a pressing issue.
Fortunately, our church is ready to respond, and you can make all the difference. At Pope Francis’ request, the church in America is engaging in a dialogue with young Catholics. More than 80 Catholic ministry and education organizations about this issue. The National Dialogue partners are seeking to understand more clearly what the church can do to better engage youth and young adults in missionary discipleship.
The National Dialogue offers questions for conversation with young people, with their parents, and among ministry leaders. Feedback from those conversations is being collected by the ND team. As a result of the conversations the facilitators will identify what they learned and how they as individuals—and we as a church—can change our ministry practices to reverse this trend of dis-engagement and dis-affiliation. Most importantly, we want to identify how we might transform our ministry so that we may accompany all youth and young adults to grow as missionary disciples.
Your diocese, parish, or organization is invited to hold a National Dialogue conversation and submit your insights to the National Dialogue project. The questions for the conversations with the different groups, directions for facilitating, and method of reporting the conversations are all available to you at https://www.nationaldialogue.info/conversation
If you wish to host a National Dialogue conversation, you are welcome to contact me for more information by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.