"And the Survey Says..."
Insights from the Diocesan Synod Surveys
At the 2017 Ministry Day workshop with Fr. Chris Luoni and Cindee Case, we discussed some of what we learned through the input of nearly 500 teens, young adults, parents and Church leaders in preparing for the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops focused on "Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment."
We laid it out as a bit of a game show, inviting attendees to guess at the responses of the high school teens, young adults (20s and 30s) and sometimes parents/family members of the youth and young adults on a few key questions. The results surprised a few folks.... but do keep in mind that the surveys were completed voluntarily for the most part (a Catholic school religion teacher may not have given an option, and perhaps a few parents may have insisted, but it is mostly from volunteers.) Responses also came primarily from people who are very or somewhat connected to a Catholic parish or school, but I was pleased with some very honest responses on what that connection may mean for the individual.
In any event, why not test yourself? Let me know if the comment section how you did, what you thought, or how a survey result might impact your ministry.
And come back to this blog page for more updates throughout the year.
The Powerpoint presentation is attached below (large file) and has been posted online for quick viewing at: (Click on link address or black button)
Youngstown Synod Survey Insights, Part 2
What are the main challenges and most significant opportunities for young people in our Diocese today?
The challenges that young people face are many and varied. The most common challenges in general listed were social pressures, such as negative peer pressure (40), bullying (12), and anxiety (12), especially around subjects such as drugs and alcohol (33) and human sexuality (8). School was also listed as a common challenge (10). These responses were concentrated among the high school age youth.
For those in their late teens and 20s, the challenges shifted more so to challenges of finances (12), not being recognized as adults (9), jobs (5), relationships (5), lack of community (4) and finding one’s path in the world.
In the Church context, a lack of faith was cited most often as challenge to staying connected (23). Specific issues with the Church included that it was boring and non-engaging (26), more so for the high school teens, a lack of connection or belief in God (17), and the perception that the Church was too strict (16). Lack of support from parents and leaders contributed to this disconnect for many, as well not feeling part of the community. When stating why young people drift away from Church, a sizeable portion listed the parents’ lack of faith and practice (13), while many did not feel engaged or an important part of the community for Mass.
For the opportunities, the survey focused on the question of how young people are active in their parish. For those that took the survey, there were about 15 that indicated they were not active. The vast majority reported being active in at least some way, and many listed several ways they were involved. The most reported activities were:
· Liturgical ministries (65), such as altar serving, choir/music ministry, Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, lector;
· Volunteer and service (40), including parish volunteering and mission trips;
· Youth ministry programs and retreats (26);
· Catechetical roles (11).
Editor's note: I am excited to see that such a great number of young people who are engaged in the various ministries of the Church took time to complete the Synod Surveys. There were also a good number (about 8%) who completed the survey stating they were Catholic but not involved; they helped give insights though on challenges (which we in ministry know we can work to convert to opportunities!) Personal invitation remains key for our ministries, so be sure to continue to be on the look out for talents of interests of teens and young adults then connect them to ways to utilize those within our faith communities!
I attended Catholic school from mid-first grade through my freshmen year of high school
(St. Joseph in Cuyahoga Falls and St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron).
I cannot recall in which year
we had to memorize the Memorare, but I know that it was in grade school and
to this day, when someone begins the prayer,
my mind automatically continues on as the words are etched in my mind (perhaps even my heart, as that makes for a better prayer.)
While memorization is difficult for many (at least for me),
I do have to admit that it is nice to have some things ready to recite
at a moments notice! I have been able to pray the Memorare
(and MANY other prayers) in times of stress, anxiety, uncertainty
and even boredom.
Of course, as with many things in life, I will admit that I did not understand the prayer when I memorized it. Besides not knowing what implored or incarnate meant, as a child, I was fortunate to now have much need to "Fly" to her. However, as I lived a few more years,
I experienced more need for a feeling of protection,
I now wish that I'd had an opportunity to re-learn the prayer as a teen, with focus on a deeper understanding of what we were praying.,
Of remembering the need for God in my life,
and the gift of having Mary to pray with and for me to her Son.
Truly understanding that she will not give up on her children,
and will help us really can boost our "confidence" of faith!
With October being a month dedicated to Mary,
what is YOUR favorite Marian prayer?
(You can list it in the Comments section below.)
Seek ways to break this prayer open with the
teens and/or young adults with whom you serve.
Dig for that deeper understanding of memorized prayers
(and maybe even learn a new one!)
While you consider this,
why not pray the Memorare with me?
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help,
and sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother,
to you I come,
before you I stand sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate!
Despise not my petitions,
but, in your mercy, hear and answer me.
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.