WASHINGTON(August 8, 2005)—The Catholic Church's outreach to post-college adults spans a variety of activities, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Bishops' Subcommittee on Youth and Young Adults.
The survey, which was conducted in May and June 2005 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Youth in Washington, found the most popular programs involve leadership training, retreats, and social activities.
Other activities include service opportunities and speaker series, such as the popular Theology on Tap program, a Chicago-based effort for young adults.
Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Duluth, Minnesota, chairman of the youth and young adult subcommittee of the bishops' Committee on the Laity, was heartened by the results and hopes dioceses and parishes will build on them.
"Young adults have a lot of energy and will accept their responsibility for spreading the faith if we provide opportunities for them," he said. "We need to capitalize on the interest in the church shown by young people who by nature are idealistic and on a spiritual search. Recent experiences, including the turnout of young adults to pay their respects when Pope John Paul II died in April and their interest in the forthcoming World Youth Day, August 16 to 21 in Cologne, Germany, testify to this."
The survey sought to ascertain services that dioceses offer young adults, generally defined as the 22-35 age group. Of the dioceses that responded, 91.5 percent reported that they have a person designated for young adult ministry. Of them, 65.8 percent were employed fulltime for this work. More than 10 percent were part-time. In two dioceses, young adult ministry was overseen by volunteers.
The dioceses reported that they offer the following programs:
Leadership Training 65 dioceses (56 percent of respondents)
Prayer Groups 42 dioceses (36 percent of respondents)
Renew Program 14 dioceses (12 percent of respondents)
Retreats 79 dioceses (68 percent of respondents)
Service opportunities 53 dioceses (45 percent of respondents)
Social Activities 65 dioceses (55 percent of respondents)
Speaker Series 39 dioceses (33 per cent of respondents)
Theology on Tap 73 dioceses (63 percent of respondents)
Renew is an international program that fosters greater intimacy with God and involvement in the larger Catholic community and promotes service locally and globally. Participants engage in the process through small faith communities.
Theology on Tap, founded 25 years ago by the Chicago Young Adult Ministry, is a speaker series that has been duplicated throughout the nation.
The survey also indicated that 50 dioceses host young adult Web sites.
Sixty percent – 117 of the nation's 195 dioceses -- responded to the survey.
For information on Catholic Church young adult programs go to