According to HCFM’s President, Reverend Willy Raymond, CSC:
Deepening our knowledge and understanding of these
young families is central to our development of activities
and initiatives that enhance their spiritual well-being and
health. They are the future of our Church and society.
Some of the data is remarkably different from the studies
on Catholic adults as a whole. This information is invaluable
as we plan and grow our outreach to families. It will also be
of great benefit to all those who are ministering to these
The study's overall finding? Even though the number of U.S. Catholic infant baptisms celebrated annually are similar to the period preceding the Baby Boom (~720k), that's where the similarity ends.
- A majority attend Mass at least once a month.
- 40%+ of parents regularly read their parish bulletin.
- Parents are just as likely as older Catholics to believe the Church’s core teachings without doubt.
But, in contrast:
- Many of their children aren't enrolled in religious education programs because their parents believe that religious education happens at Mass and perhaps in the home.
- Catholic parents are unlikely to use Catholic media—especially online.
- They pray infrequently with their children.
- Some express indifference about their children celebrating First Holy Communion.
What about their children? The findings:
- They have never used a television without hundreds of channel options.
- They have no memory of a time before the Internet.
- Many have coexisted with the creation of YouTube, Twitter, iPhones, the Xbox, and the widespread adoption of Wi-Fi.
- They are inclined to believe they will come of age during a time of virtual and augmented reality devices, self-driving cars, and intelligent robots.
Obviously, without Catholic parents--one obligation being the commitment to raise children as Catholics--the population of Roman Catholics in the United States cannot grow. Given these findings and in this rapidly evolving digital environment:
- How will the Church connect with these young Catholics?
- Will they choose to be members of a local brick-and-mortar institution?
- Will they attend Mass weekly?
- How will they come to know what their faith is about? Wikipedia? Siri?
- Will they pray? marry in the Church? pass the faith on to their children?
These are important questions for anyone who is concerned about the future of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The data suggest it will be a tough job to evangelize this generation of young Catholics, especially with many of their parents having not stepped up to the plate.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the HCFM study, click on the following link:
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