Guide A Catholic Spirituality in an Age of Recession

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Other studies indicate that 83 percent of Americans report that they belong to a religion; 40 percent report attending a religious service nearly every week; 59 percent pray at least weekly; 33 percent report reading scripture at least weekly; and 80 percent are sure that there is a God. Christian Smith distinguished a diversity of types and trajectories as he described six different types of emerging adults in America today: 1 Committed Traditionalists who have a strong religious faith, have well articulated beliefs, and live out their lives practicing those beliefs.

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Those in this category are a small minority, comprising about 15 percent of emerging adults. This group comprises perhaps 30 percent of emerging adults. This group comprises about 15 percent of emerging adults. They comprise perhaps 25 percent of the emerging adult population. They comprise no more than 10 percent of the population of emerging adults. He writes:. More broadly, if anyone in the future is ever to know what is really good, right, and true, the challenges of the crises of knowledge and value that beset American culture today.

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What congregations can do. There are few institutions that are prepared to provide the institutional support that young adults need to discuss such issues and the decisions they make in relation to them. Congregations could provide settings in which young adults could discuss such matters in the company of other adults of the same age. Two colleagues and I concluded from interviews we conducted of participants from seven of the campuses involved in this project [34] that traditional college age men value their spirituality deeply, but many had little use for organized religion.

These men found their spiritual lives and values nourished by sports, music, intellectual debates, intimate friendships, social service projects many found fulfillment by working in soup kitchens or building houses in Habitat for Humanity , and deep discussions with close friends.

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What kind of person was I born to be and how can I become that person more fully? What interconnectedness or wholeness is there between all things? Is this related to what some may call God, the life force, a higher power, ultimate reality, cosmic nature, or the Great Spirit? For college age students—women as well as men—such questions shape their understandings of spirituality, and they want to explore these questions for themselves.

Maintaining a prophetic stance, nurturing intergenerational communities, being broadly ecumenical and open to inter-religious dialogue, being serious about spirituality but committed to playing the crucial role that religious institutions play in pluralistic societies, respectful of tradition but open to social change, promoting tolerance, inclusivity and generosity may be the most effective way for these congregations to reach out to the nones among the Millennial generation.

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We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person--questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God's work in Christ's name for the life of the world.

Guide Auswirkungen der Wiedervereinigung (German Edition)

Virgin Islands But as she met different people outside that community — some of whom were "rubbed the wrong way" by FOCUS — Angevin began to distance herself from the group because it felt exclusionary, rigid and not open to different ways of being Catholic. But a lot of student leaders looked down on other people who didn't have the same passion.

You know the difference. How cool is that? Martin, a father of nine, an author and an EWTN television host, proceeded to describe how FOCUS' process of "spiritual multiplication" is akin to Jesus' "finding 12 guys and going camping for three years. While name-dropping his friend George Weigel, a conservative Catholic columnist, and recounting a story of meeting St. Pope John Paul II, Martin is enthusiastic in his attempt to both encourage and challenge a generation from which he, at 56, is now a few decades removed.

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Sri is now a faculty member and vice president of mission at the Augustine Institute , a conservative Catholic graduate school dedicated to the "new evangelization" in Denver. FOCUS started with two missionaries and 24 college students, and in two decades has grown to more than missionaries on campuses in 38 U. An estimated 24, students have been involved with FOCUS, and the organization claims have decided to pursue vocations to the priesthood or religious life.

Those numbers wow Catholic bishops and other leaders, who likely are weary of hearing about the "nones" and the growing numbers of young people who don't even believe in God. FOCUS plays on those fears, with marketing materials that stress the loss of an idyllic time when "we had a mother and a father together under one roof" and good role models like Archbishop Fulton Sheen. FOCUS promises to "fight for this generation," and transform lonely, disbelieving cellphone addicts into joyful, God-fearing kids who get excited to spend part of their Christmas vacation standing in line to get a book on chastity signed by the author, as happened at the Student Leadership Summit.

That promise is reminiscent of Martin's own conversion story. Raised Catholic, he drifted away from religion during adolescence. In college, he discovered evangelical Protestantism and even became anti-Catholic. Eventually he found his way back to Catholicism. But he took a page out of the evangelicals' playbook in founding FOCUS, which is clearly modeled after the much larger Campus Crusade for Christ now branded as " Cru " and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship , which have been around since the s and '50s.

Both use small-group Bible studies and one-on-one mentoring to build Christian disciples. It also occurred during the sex abuse crisis and economic recession, both of which contributed to financial shortfalls in many U.

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  • Campus ministries around the country were not immune from these influences, said Kevin Ahern, assistant professor of religious studies at Manhattan College in New York and co-editor of the forthcoming book God's Quad: Small Faith Communities on Campus and Beyond. Critics are reluctant to speak publicly, given the organization's financial resources and connections to prominent Catholic leaders, but even FOCUS admits that its model may not be a good fit for all schools. An analysis of its existing programs reveals that the organization tends to thrive at large state universities, and that it currently does not employ missionaries at any Jesuit or Lasallian institutions.

    Michael Sheeran, president of the Association of Jesuit College and Universities , but rather the result of a commitment to Jesuit-focused campus ministry at those schools. Sheeran also noted that campus ministers at Jesuit colleges and universities and many other schools as well receive much more training than the four weeks received by FOCUS missionaries.

    FOCUS' summer training, currently held at Ave Maria University in Florida — the traditionalist Catholic school started by Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan — is partially dedicated to fundraising, since missionaries are required to fundraise most of their own salaries. Lack of training and experience in pastoral counseling has resulted in some reports of FOCUS missionaries giving overly simplistic advice, especially in matters of sexuality, some campus ministers said.

    Patrick Marshall, chaplain and executive director of the St. Although clearly trained in apologetics and church teaching, they often were not experienced in pastoral application of those teachings. So Marshall instructed the missionaries to refer students with those issues to the professional lay campus ministers, who were trained in helping students form Christian consciences to make their decisions. The FOCUS program attracts young people "who wanted certainty," said Marshall, who has worked in campus ministry for 27 years.

    I'm not sure how much of that is long-lasting. Earlier in its history, the organization had a reputation for missionaries being heavy-handed in their evangelical zeal, or for not working well with existing campus ministries, though even critics admit FOCUS has made improvements in those areas more recently.


    FOCUS missionaries are not trained — and are not expected — to assist with liturgy, sacramental preparation or RCIA, service projects, retreats and other event planning, or to keep "the Catholic center afloat," Draftz said. Much of a missionary's day is spent just hanging out with students in the dining hall, rec center or coffee house. But despite FOCUS' promises to increase the number of students attending events at the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University , those numbers did not materialize, according to Mary Deeley, a pastoral associate at the Evanston, Illinois, campus.

    Deeley admired the missionaries for "trying to live a godly, righteous life and for challenging the culture," she said. Learn more. FOCUS leaders say missionaries come from different backgrounds with varied spiritualties and liturgical tastes. And the program's emphasis on relationships transcends differences, even political ones, since "Christ is the common denominator," said Fr.

    Still, a lack of racial, ethnic and economic diversity among students served by FOCUS is another criticism — and somewhat evident in the faces of the Student Leadership Summit participants and presenters.