Friday, March 06, 2009

Post the second, Boston Symposium

So. This was the Boston Symposium on Adolescent Catechesis, offered by a bunch of different offices from the RCAB. The original speaker was to be Fr. Brian Bransfield, who I've never heard of. I wonder now what his take on the subject matter might have been. He was called to a big meeting, though, and we were glad when it was announced that Sean Reynolds would take his place.
The day opened with an address by Cardinal Sean, who urged us to make Catholic Identity a priority, by going back to the Sacraments, Marian devotion, and the Papacy. Yeah.
The rest of the day was divided into segments:
Session One: FORMING YOUNG DISCIPLES- a quick review of the NSYR
Session Two: The Conclusion Chapter of Soul Searching
Session three: Are we asking the right questions?
It was interesting to watch people's reactions to what Sean presented. He gave us some fascinating insights into the faith lives of kids, like;
  • When it comes to faith, Most teens pretty much follow the faith of their parents.
  • In most variables measuring religiosity, Catholic teens, in comparison to other Christian denominations, are worse than all others.
  • Most American teenagers were found to be not very spiritual or religious.
  • Most American teenagers are remarkably inarticulate about their faith (particularly Catholic teens).
This means, of course, that the way we've been doing faith formation for teenagers in the Catholic Church needs to change, not soon, not now, but 30 years ago!! This comes as shocking and unwanted news to the DRE's in the room who have used the same textbooks for 40 years and felt like they were doing a pretty good job.
The thing of it is, the whole day ended very much to be about ADULT faith formation. If we find that kids basically do what their parents do, then WHY are we using the bulk of our resources on children?
Of course (my words here), ministry to youth is important- vital. Necessary. And... it had better be good. Because when our young people become parents, they'll be passing along what they believe. It can't start with a Young Adult Hootenanny Group, and it can't wait until they stumble back to the church to have their kids go through First Eucharist.
I wonder what people there thought of the presentation. The group was a mix of Youth Ministers, DRE's, and Catholic School teachers, and I bet they expected something a little bit more centered around... well, how to do catechesis with youth. But as for us Whole-Community-Catechesis people, us Lifelong Faith Formation people, I think we were certainly affirmed. I was one of only a couple of people who raised their hands when they asked if anyone's job involved working with parents. I wonder, too, what the Cardinal thought... he was supposed to give some kind of reflection at the end, but instead sent us off with a thanks and an Our Father...

1 comment:

InsideYMStudio said...

Thanks for the report.
I was interested in seeing what Father Brian said, but...
I imagine Sean told the "too much water" story which is devastating, isn't it?
At least the topic was deemed important in the RCAB to rate an overflow crowd.