Last evening a few of my classmates joined me for dinner. One of them was very outspoken about how young people today are alienated from the Church, have no use for the Church, are put off by priests and Church leaders, and feel the Church has really nothing to say that is relevant.
I spent this morning visiting Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville. I should have brought my friend from last night. These young men and women are full of life, committed, interested and interesting.
I asked a group of seniors and juniors what they thought of their Catholic school. Great answers: I love the community; I am in theater; I like the teachers; it’s a place where we really get along; my faith is stronger. At Mass with a group of seniors and sophomores, I witnessed youngsters of real faith, entering into the Eucharist with prayerful understanding, and attentively participating in Mass. Finally we did questions to the bishop with twenty kids from all four years of high school. The questions ranged from what made me want to be a priest to how can we get young people to be part of the Year of Faith.
Please don’t tell me that kids today don’t. They do. Don’t tell me they are not open to Jesus and His Church. They are. And stop beating up on a Church that old people may have issues with, but young people are open to listening to, questioning, discussing, and sharing their faith, their friendship, and their generosity in the name of Jesus and in the name of His Church. Three cheers for our young people. They certainly make my life richer and happier and full of hope that we all can belong more deeply to Christ, His Church and one another.