Young Adult Education
Young adults have many gifts to offer the Church: their faith, their hope, their desire to serve, their spiritual hunger, their vitality, their optimism and idealism, their talents and skills. The world also looks with hope to young adults to bring about a better future. Many young adults have vast reservoirs of goodness, generosity, and enthusiasm. They earnestly search for meaning in their lives; they value solidarity with the rest of humanity and seek to commit themselves to the cause of social justice. On the other hand, many young adults have been captivated by the consumerism and materialism of the society in which they grew up and have become apathetic and cynical. Young adulthood is sometimes a world of boredom, disillusionment, and indifference to the Church.
Catechesis with young adults should form them in Christ, helping them to make moral decisions in light of the teachings of Christ and the Church. It should draw them into the liturgical life and mission of the Church. It invites them to commit themselves to Christ, live fully Christian lives, and carefully consider their vocational call, whether it be to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, married life, or chaste single life. This can also be an opportunity to consider a future of lay ecclesial ministry in the Church. Young adults should also be given the opportunity to receive formation and training to serve as liturgical ministers.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is an especially fruitful experience for young adults. It provides the opportunity for some young people to enter into the Catholic faith and for others to be sponsors or catechists. It is especially important that parishes and campus ministry programs offer sacramental preparation to young adults who have been baptized but have not made their First Penance, received their First Communion, or received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Outside of Sunday Mass, marriage preparation often is the most significant point of contact for young adults and the Church. Marriage preparation is a significant opportunity to learn more about the Church, especially the teachings of the Church on marriage and family life. For some, marriage preparation marks their first experience of church life in many years.
Preparation for the Baptism of their children is also an important opportunity to evangelize young adults and draw them closer to Christ and the Church. Effective baptismal preparation programs offer parents a chance to continue their formation in the Catholic faith and ordinarily include a more developed catechesis on the Sacrament of Baptism and on the Church's teachings on marriage and family life.
It is important that the Church find attractive ways to let young adults know that Christ loves them and needs them and that they are vital members of the body of Christ, the Church. Young adults are the hope of the Church.