Recently I was in Chicago to participate in a Colloquium on Young Adult Catechesis. The colloquium was held at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago. ACTA sponsored the Colloquium in an effort to identify initiatives the foundation and sponsoring agencies could publish or implement. ACTA is a foundation for adult catechetical teaching aids. Sadlier and the National Pastoral Life Center were the sponsoring agencies. The Colloquium’s organizing question was “How can catechesis promote and sustain engagement of young adults in the life of the Catholic Community?” My specific role during the event was to take notes. So, I spent two days listening and typing notes into my computer. I can name at least two insights I took from my participation in the colloquium. The young adults of the millennial generation are not interested in the boomers stories. The work and struggles surrounding Vatican Council II are, well ancient history and it is time to move on.
Bob, as a listener to the process, speaking to the participants said You’ve been asked to think outside the box. But thinking outside the box may be difficult since you work for the box. People who work in the field of adult catechesis, regardless of the age, have a difficult task. One thing seems clear, our current efforts have not produced the results we intended. Doing more of the same and working harder are most likely not the answer. It will take time to determine if the colloquium does produce any efforts that will make a significant difference in the field of adult catechesis especially those efforts directed toward young adults.
The second insight was an affirmation of my belief in the importance of community. The importance of community was the seasoning of our conversation. The voices of all generations seem to speak of the importance of community. I’m convinced no matter what we do or attempt if a welcoming, supportive and worshiping community is not part of the effort as environment or goal our efforts will be so much dust in the wind.
I left Chicago feeling or maybe better said knowing that a significant change has taken place and paraphrasing Dorothy, “We aren’t in 60’s any longer.” There have been a number of unintended consequences born out of the catechetical ministry over the last 20 years. Consequence that were not simply the result of inadequate catechesis. But consequences made worse because of the significant changes in the culture the catholic culture in which that catechesis took place. My experience growing up in a catholic culture was not and is not the experience of my children and their peers. What I gained from that culture was not accounted for or addressed in the catechesis provided in or by the catholic community to my children and their peers. We have a lot to learn and I think the Colloquium was a positive step.
|ACTA Trip in Chicago|