The Synod question asked was:
How and in what manner is contact made with young people who do not frequent Church surroundings?
From the surveys of parents/families and staff at parish and school, the most cited way to make contact with young people was through invitation (56). Within this answer, many people specified that personal invitation was best (28), while a significant number stated the importance of peers inviting their friends (21). Social media was also a common suggestion (21).
Many responses including having more programs, activities, events, or socials, only specifying that they be fun and engaging and offer youth a wide selection. Specific elements mentioned were music (7), food (6), and sports (5). Social justice and service were mentioned by 20 people as a way to reach out to youth.
Other responses include:
How does your parish reach out to teens?
How does your parish reach out to young adults?
How do you prepare your parishioners to provide hospitality
and invite others to participate in Church activities?
(If you do have an answer to this question,
does that include preparing teens and young adults to evangelize as well?)
What do young people really ask of the Church in your diocese today?
In asking high school and young adult youth directly what they would like the Church to offer them, the overwhelming response was that they want more!
The most common response was for more activities to help them grow in their faith (23), including opportunities to learn about aspects of the faith or to experience retreats. An equally occurring response was for more activities of fellowship and fun (23).
Related was the call for true community, with the call for groups that are supportive, honest, accepting, and relatable (16).
Fourteen youth mentioned Mass in what they want the Church to offer.
However, the specific comments about Mass were divergent.
Nine suggested making Mass more engaging in general, or specifically through music or participation in liturgical ministries.
There were also 3 suggestions for a separate Mass for young people.
Two young people suggested more solemn and reverent Mass.
Ten youth suggested allowing for more input and suggestions from youth as well as youth leadership.
Responses also indicated service opportunities (8) and opportunities to learn about vocations (3).
The surveys also included an open ended question about what they would like to share with Pope Francis. Suggestions for Pope Francis included:
Considering this quick snapshot of what some teens and young adults
are asking of the Church in the Diocese of Youngstown,
what AFFIRMS your ministry efforts?
What challenges you?
Cindee Case, MAPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.