To help young adults develop relationships with peers who share similar values and beliefs which nurture and strengthen their faith, thereby creating communities of support.
- Forming Faith Communities of Peers: To provide opportunities for young adults to find among their peers the necessary support and encouragement as they journey through life and fulfill their mission to the world.
- Developing Peer Leadership: To help young adults become leaders, not only among their peers but also within the larger community.
- Identifying a Young Adult Team: To urge each parish, movement, organization, and campus to identify a team to advocate and respond to the needs of young adults.
Strategies to Implement Goal Four
1. Forming Faith Communities of Peers
Young adults express a need for support from and relationships with others who are their own age or are in similar situations. We urge pastors and other church leaders to develop specific opportunities for young adults to be together. While it will be helpful to have someone from the parish or campus staff as a point of contact, young adults should be the organizers and leaders of these efforts. We know from experience that they are effective ministers, especially among their peers.
Activities for Single Young Adults
Today, a sizable number of men and women remain single during their late teens, twenties, and thirties. It is important for the Church to have an appropriate ministry with single Catholics. Many single people speak of feeling left out of parish life when the focus is solely on families. Single young adults can be a rich resource of time and talent for the local faith community. Suggested strategies for the Church's ministry with single men and women include the following:
Programs to Assist Newly Married
Once the wedding is over and the honeymoon is a wonderful memory, the real work of marriage begins. The faith community should continue the hospitality and welcome offered during the marriage preparation period, so the couple remains part of the local church. In fact, we can describe Christian marriage preparation as "a journey of faith that does not end with the celebration of marriage but continues throughout life."41 Follow-up ministry with newly married couples develops what was begun in marriage preparation.42 Suggestions for follow-up include the following:
Encouragement for Families with Young Children
Young adults who are starting a family are entering a world that is quite unfamiliar to them. Finding support and affirmation from family, friends, and the church community can enable them to adjust to these new experiences, which are both joyful and stressful. In this manner, the Church supports parents as the primary evangelizers and educators of their children. Some of the ways to minister to families with young children include the following:
2. Developing Peer Leadership
If the Church is to continue to regenerate and renew its members, the training of young adults is key. Young men and women already provide valuable service in the Church. Parishes and campuses should provide them with leadership training, especially for core members of the young adult commission and parish staff.
Young adults recognize that training is central to competency. They have been trained for their job, profession, or trade. They continuously attend workshops and seminars to increase their knowledge and skills. They expect to be managed with competence and treated with respect and dignity. For the growth of the Church, continuing education is also necessary. Young adults who volunteer time for parish ministry will need to learn more about the Church and to develop the necessary ministerial skills. To develop peer leadership, include the following strategies:
What does the Church and the pope expect of the young people . . . ? That you confess Jesus Christ. And that you learn to proclaim all that the message of Christ contains for the true liberation and genuine progress of humanity. This is what Christ expects of you. This is what the Church looks for in you.
3. Identifying a Young Adult Team
In this plan, we suggest that each parish, organization, and campus, where possible, identify a
young adult team and/or a contact person. This team is the link between the Church and the local young adult community. The team advocates for the needs of young adults and works with someone on the staff as a point of reference. The team also can plan and implement activities and programs directed to the young adult community. The team should be given adequate training and be willing to collaborate with those responsible for the various ministries of the community. Young adult team leaders may wish to identify one contact person as a liaison with the diocese and other young adult efforts.