WASHINGTON, (March 12, 1997) — The U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Laity has set up a toll-free 800-number, 1-888 YG ADULT (1-888-942-3858), for people seeking information on Church efforts for young adults.
The Committee took the action as a means of implementing Sons and Daughters of the Light, the U.S. Bishops' recently published pastoral plan for young adult ministry.
The Committee also has provided training for several men and women, known as the implementation team, to assist dioceses, parishes and campuses and to respond to inquiries about the plan's content and practical implications.
Callers using the toll-free line will hear a taped message and can leave inquiries on a message line. The tape will be monitored to facilitate a quick response by someone from the implementation team.
Persons seeking information on young adult ministry also may e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann, Chairman of the Laity Committee, praised the effort to communicate.
"In approving Sons and Daughters of the Light, the Bishops signaled our commitment to hear and respond to the needs and concerns of young adults," he said. "Now we need to move ahead with creative ideas and programs that will attract and keep young adults in the Church."
Sheila Garcia, Assistant Director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' (NCCB) Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth, said the Committee established the toll-free number because interest in the area has grown since World Youth Day '93 in Denver, and especially with the publication of the Bishops' young adult ministry plan.
The 888-number is intended for persons interested in the pastoral plan, setting up young adult ministry programs or other efforts in this area.
"This is a vehicle for church professionals, people seeking young adult ministry programs and those willing to put effort into establishing programs in their area," Ms. Garcia said. "It's becoming clearer that the Church needs to do all that it can for young Catholics, who sometimes feel left out of the parish world. In the last five years, we've seen ample evidence that young adults have much to offer the Church and are willing to do so. They also enjoy opportunities to share their faith and life experiences with people of their own age and religion."
Young adult ministry is intended for single and married persons in their late teens, twenties and thirties and includes everything from prayer groups, study groups and community service projects to marriage preparation programs and leadership development.
Members of the implementation team include several diocesan young adult ministry staff, among them Father John Cusick, Archdiocese of Chicago; Notre Dame Sister Diane Guy, Diocese of Richmond, Virginia; Marilyn Hagerty, Diocese of Brownsville, Texas; John Caslin, Archdiocese of Baltimore; Jim Breen, Archdiocese of Boston; and Jeffrey Cordner, Diocese of Camden, New Jersey.
Other team members include Delis Alejandro, St. Monica's Parish, Santa Monica, California; Father Edward Branch, Catholic Chaplain of the Atlanta University Center, Georgia; Annette Turner, African American Catholic Ministries Office, Archdiocese of Louisville; Steve and Kathy Beirne, Family Life Ministry, Diocese of Portland, Maine; Ursuline Sister Karen Klaffenbach, Catholic Campus Ministry, University of Kansas; Michelle Miller, Catholic Campus Ministry, George Mason University, Fairfax,Virginia; Peter Choe, Resource Center for Ethnic Youth and Young Adult Evangelization, Orange, New Jersey; Andy Thompson, St. Vincent Pallotti Center, Washington, D.C.; Joan Weber, Center for Ministry Development, Naugatuck, Connecticut; and Ursuline Sister Margaret O'Brien, who works in religious formation for her order in Jamaica, New York, and is author of Discovering Your Light: Common Journeys for Young Adults.
Father Charles Hagan, of the U.S. Catholic Conference Department of Education, and Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, NCCB Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs, also serve on the team.