By Elizabeth Krump
"Keep the youth close to you: they will keep you young and faithful." These are telling words that Blessed John Paul II shared with Fr. Thomas Rosica in the later days of his pontificate. John Paul II had a great love for all young people, until the very end of his life.
There are some who suggest that the Church is dying, that our pews are emptying of young people and that faith has become a disposable good in our modern times. Blessed John Paul II believed just the opposite.
Last weekend, Fr. Tom Rosica visited Vancouver to speak about the upcoming canonization of John Paul II. As he spoke of the life of this modern day saint, he reminded his audience that the young people of today who do fill our churches are very serious about their Catholic faith. One only has to Google images of Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro from July 2013 to get a sense of the young Church, alive.
Here are three reasons why I believe young adults take their faith seriously:
- We are ambitious. We have high ideals. We like to challenge the impossible and we want to change the world. This is part of our Catholic calling! Pope Francis said it clearly at the Prayer Vigil during WYD in Rio, "Your young hearts want to build a better world.... It is the young who want to be the protagonists of change... Through you the future is fulfilled in the world." The mission of the Church is not fulfilled until Christ has been proclaimed to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19). Talk about an ambitious Church. We fit right in!
- We are curious. We have a desire to know about our world, ourselves and God. We will break our bank accounts to travel to new places to see them first hand. We like to take on new hobbies, meet new people, try new foods. The Catholic Church has a depth to it that allows us to keep asking questions... and it also has answers to the deepest questions of our hearts.
- We are passionate. The Catholic faith is founded on self-less love and zealous missionary disciples. When we discover our identity in Christ – our calling to be witnesses in word and action – that same passion, joy and zeal in every area of life are even more real to us because we have the hope of eternal life.
Today too, as always, the Lord needs you, young people, for his Church... he is calling each of you to follow him in his Church and to be missionaries. The Lord is calling you today!"
Pope Francis, Prayer Vigil at WYD Rio
Elizabeth Krump is a student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where she has been involved with Catholic Christian Outreach. Elizabeth has written for the B.C. Catholic and with two friends started Live 31 Vancouver, a blog/social group/discussion group for women trying to live their faith in the modern world.
CNS photo/Paul Haring
Polish pilgrims in Rio de Janeiro cheer as Pope Francis announces that World Youth Day 2016 will take place in Krakow, Poland.