by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism
This book, Connecting Young Adults to Catholic Parishes: Best Practices in Catholic Young Adult Ministry was developed to help faith communities implement Sons and Daughters of the Light, the pastoral plan issued by the Catholic bishops of the United States to promote ministry with young adults. This book complements Young Adults Works, the five binder comprehensive resource developed by the Center for Ministry Development through its Ministry with Young Adults: A National Catholic Initiative which provides specific programs and resources focused on ministry to and with young adults. This book strives to help parishes be more responsive to: 1identity what they already are doing for young adults; 2.assess how responsive to young adults; 3.make changes to become more responsive and 4.offer particular programs and resources to meet the unique needs of young adults. Only then can parishes credibly invite young adults into their communities, welcome them unconditionally, and challenge them to take the initiative for making ministry with their peers the best it can be.
Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of church life as it relates to young adults and includes real-life examples of successful ministry with them. Experts in ministry with young adults from across the country, many of them young adults themselves, share their insights into how the various elements of ministry with young adults can be developed more strongly in positive, creative and faithful ways. Most chapters include a special section at the end. “The Campus Connection which explores the chapter’s topic to the context of campus ministry. The concluding chapter, “Taking the next step” summarizes the Initiative team’s projections for the future and is helpful to all ministries. You may wish to read the first and the last chapter, and then other chapters as needed for your particular ministry.
This book challenges all parish leaders to think of the Church in the first person as we not as it or they. We are all members of the Catholic Church and the Body of Christ. Not only does the Church have room for all of us, it needs all of us as well. When all can embrace the Church, the Body of Christ, in the first person, God’s amazing grace will transform this world. Being more responsive to young adults throughout the Church will benefit more than just young adults, the more the entire intergenerational parish will be renewed and blessed. Ultimately what young adults want from the Church, a sense of community and belonging a chance to grow more deeply into a relationship to Jesus. And an opportunity to serve and lead, is what all Catholics want. Are you ready to do your part?
This is a great book for those involved in youth ministry as it outlines specific ways of engaging the young adults.