Thomas Cronin
Thomas Cronin
There has been much coverage about our diocesan young adult events and strategies thanks to the hard work from both our diocesan Communications team and The Evangelist. During recent travels, many conversations have ensued about how critical these engagements are to the future of our Church.

My perspective is that young adults are not the future of our Church, they are the presence of our Church today. Our strategy defines “young adults” as 21-to-39 year olds since attempting to engage with a larger demographic would dilute the mission of this initiative, but no one will be turned away. I pray that our youth are being adequately served through parish faith formation and youth ministry programs; and that our college-aged young people are being served through campus ministry, but there is a ministerial abyss after college. Some parishes have invested staff and resources to engage with the young adult demographic and are doing a wonderful job, but most parishes cannot due to limited resources and funding. 

In conversations with this demographic, several recurring needs surfaced — especially the quest for community and desire to “belong.” From that feedback, the “What are you seeking?” campaign and #YouBelong RCDA was born. The goal is to implement a strategy to engage or re-engage with young adults. Challenge them to look intrinsically at what may be missing in their lives and create opportunities of accompaniment. I am not looking to foster a consumeristic mentality, just being proactive to meet them where they’re at, but as Bishop Ed reminds me — “let’s meet them where they’re at, but let’s not leave them there!” We must accompany them to a better place. We must connect them with others and journey together so the spiritual tide rises for all.

Building a sense of community is only the beginning. Community fosters friendships, which in turn offers hope, compassion, mercy and healing. “What are you seeking?” is a deep question to ask oneself and one in which many of us don’t know the answer. We also may not realize that it is not a “what,” but really a “who” that we are seeking. Finding Jesus, celebrating in the Eucharist, and developing a personal relationship with Christ is our mission. 

The relationships being forged at these gatherings are heartwarming and gives me hope for the future of our Church. We are tilling the soil for the next generation of faithful Catholics. The secular world is trying to squelch the flame of the Holy Spirit, but truth, faith, hope and love will prevail.

So, the next time you look around your Church, let our youth and young adults know they are needed, they are loved, they are valued, and they are integral to the life of their parish today! 

Keep an eye on our website: www.rcda.org/found.

Please contact me with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at Thomas.Cronin@rcda.org or by visiting https://www.rcda.
org/evangelization. Follow me on Instagram: tom_rcda.