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Our Mission


To serve the United States Bishops, both collectively and individually, in their ministry to Youth and Young Adults.

Our Vision


In service to the Bishops of the United States, We, the Youth Ministry Office in the Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth aim to provide support and outreach to Bishops in their Pastoral Work towards Youth and Young Adults in their goal of advancing the New Evangelization.

Our Staff

 

Dr. Andrew Lichtenwalner, PhD
Executive Director, Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth

Mr. Paul Jarzembowski
Assistant Director for the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth
PJarzembowski@usccb.org
202-541-3229

Youth and Young Adult Intern
yyamintern@usccb.org
202-541-3044

 

Young Adult Ministry

 

couple at computer
bride-groom-getty-images-homeA man and his son kneel at a Mass celebrated at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay, Wis. on July 4 to close the U.S. bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom. (CNS photo/Sam Lucero, The Compass)

 

Who Are Young Adults?

Young adults are persons in their late teens, twenties, and thirties who represent diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, educational, vocational, social, political, and spiritual backgrounds. They are college students, workers, and professionals; they are persons in military service; they are single, married, divorced, or widowed; they are with or without children; they are newcomers in search of a better life.

The Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment will take place in October 2018. For more information, visit the Synod webpage.

About Our Office

In service to the bishops of the United States, the Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth aims to provide support and guidance for the pastoral work towards youth and young adults in light of the New Evangelization.By connecting with dioceses and Catholic youth and young adult ministry organizations across the United States, the USCCB offers a network of resources and information that can foster growth in the Church's outreach and ministry with youth and young adults.

Ministering to Young Adults

"There are many opportunities to touch the lives of young adults, and these should be seen as moments for evangelizing outreach. Some of these may require a change in the way we approach evangelization so our outreach is more dynamic, taking the Church into the community where young adults gather rather than waiting for these men and women to come to us." -Sons and Daughters of the Light
In ministry and catechesis with young adults, several important themes need to be emphasized: the formation of conscience, education for love, vocational discernment, Christian involvement in society, missionary responsibility in the world, the relationship between faith and reason, the existence and meaning of God, the problem of evil, the Church, the objective moral order in relation to personal subjectivity, the relationship between man and woman, and the social doctrine of the Church.

Goals

  • To connect young adults with Jesus Christ through spiritual formation/direction, religious education/formation, and vocational discernment.To connect young adults to the Church through evangelizing outreach, formation of the faith community, and pastoral care.
  • To connect young adults with the mission of the Church in the world through forming a Christian conscience, educating and developing leaders for the present and future.
  • To connect young adults with a peer community through developing peer leadership and identifying a young adult team for the purpose of forming faith communities of peers.

Challenges

  • Young adults have been captivated by the consumerism and materialism of the society in which they grew up and have became apathetic and cynical. 
  • Young adulthood is sometimes a world of boredom, disillusionment, and indifference to the Church. 
  • Young adults need a non-threatening place where they can freely express their questions, doubts, and even disagreements with the Church and where the teachings of the Church can be clearly articulated and related to their experience.
  • Young adults make some of the most important decisions in their lives about their Christian vocation, their career, and their choice of spouse.

For more details, read the complete entry on "Catechesis of Young Adults" from the National Directory for Catechesis; USCCB, 2005.

Sons and Daughters of the Light

Cover of Sons and Daughters of the LightIn 1996, on the eve of the third millennium, the bishops of the United States promulgated "Sons and Daughters of the Light," a document on pastoral ministry to young adults. Young adults, who range from 18-39 years of age, make up a large part of the Church and have the potential to contribute greatly toward the Christian mission. Noting that outreach to young adults has been largely neglected in the past, and that young adults provide a valuable and unique perspective to and for ministry that must be seriously considered, the U.S. bishops aimed to create a strategic plan to integrate young adults into the life of the Church in America, by taking into careful consideration the various stages of life and circumstances in which young adults find themselves.

Read Sons and Daughters of the Light
(online version)

Order your own copy of Sons and Daughters of the Light

 U.S. Bishops' Prayer for Young Adults

Gracious and Loving God,
Help these young men and women to be a light for all the world to see,
in all the places they live and work. Let their light shine for all peoples:
for their families,
for their church communities,
for their cultures and societies,
for the economic and political systems,
for the whole world.
Coming into the room where the disciples were gathered after the resurrection,
"Jesus, your son, said: Peace be with you!" (Jn 20:21).
Make these men and women bearers of Christ's peace.
"Blessed are the peacemakers,
Teach them the meaning of what was said on the mountain:
for they shall be called sons and daughters of God" (cf. Mt 5:9).
Send them, Father, as you sent your son:
to free their brothers and sisters from fear and sin.
We ask this of you, in Christ's name. Amen.


Adapted from the Papal Homily for WYD 1995, Manila

Pope Francis embraces a young woman during the World Youth Day welcoming  ceremony on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) World Youth Day

After two major gatherings with young adults on Palm Sunday in 1984 and 1985, St. John Paul II announced the institution of a regular "World Youth Day" in December, 1985, as an annual gathering of youth and young adults (between the ages of 16-35) for prayer, worship, service, and a celebration of Christ and the Catholic faith. The event is observed annually in dioceses and every three years at an international gathering.

The name of the event ("World Youth Day") may be misleading for some - as the word "youth" in the United States connotes teenagers (junior high and high school students). However, the key audience for WYD is both older youth and especially young adults. The age range is 16 to 35. The majority of U.S. pilgrims that attend WYD are between 18 and 25.

For over 30 years, World Youth Day has been impacting the lives of young adults, allowing them to witness around the world to the Gospel and to the Catholic faith.  The most recent international WYDs over the past decade have been held in Krakow, Poland (2016), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013), Madrid, Spain (2011), and Sydney, Australia (2008). The two World Youth Days in North America, where the U.S. had the most youth and young adults attend, were in Denver (Colorado), USA in 1993, and Toronto (Ontario), Canada in 2002. The next international World Youth Day will be held in Panama City, Panama, in January 2019.

To learn more about the upcoming World Youth Days (in 2017, 2018, and internationally in 2019), well as other WYD opportunities and information, visit the official websites (for the USA engagement and for the international event):

www.wydusa.org and www.panama2019.pa

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Conn., speaks to World Youth Day pilgrims at Sacred  Heart Church in Krakow, Poland, July 28. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)


Resources and Opportunties

Looking for a young adult ministry in your area?

View our diocesan list below to see if your diocese has a young adult ministry and how to contact them.

Please note that not every diocese has a webpage, or sometimes even an office appointed for young adult ministry. For such dioceses on this list, the links provided direct you to the office that currently handles young adult ministry (e.g. adult faith formation, evangelization, youth ministry, etc.)

U.S. Diocesan Young Adult Ministries

*If you notice that your diocese's information is incorrect or needs to be updated, please contact our office for edits.


Young Adult Ministry in a Box

Busted Halo Ministries, in collaboration with the national and diocesan young adult ministry leaders, has developed a collection of the best practices in young adult pastoral ministry and evangelization called "Young Adult Ministry in a Box." This resource includes easy-to-follow young adult activities, tips from experienced veterans, and a guide giving an overview and basics of the ministry field.

Learn more about the resource and sign up at: youngadultministryinabox.com.


USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry

In 2016, the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have set up a special National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry to serve as nationwide network, resource group, and consulting body on the issues of young adult ministry and evangelization. This was developed in the wake of the dissolution of the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association (NCYAMA), which served Catholic leaders across the United States 1982 to 2016. The Advisory Team's mandate from the Committee includes:

  1. To provide ongoing input and feedback on young adult ministry to the bishops
  2. To provide pastoral support to parish and diocesan leaders in the field
  3. To develop a national coalition of young adult ministry leaders

The Advisory Team is comprised of about 20 parish, campus, diocesan, and organizational representation from across the United States. The chairperson of the team is Mr. Nicholas Stein, who also serves as the coordinator of young adults for the Bon Secours religious community. He can be reached at yam@usccb.org.

Pope Francis walks with World Youth Day pilgrims as he arrives for a July 30 prayer vigil at the Field of Mercy in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)


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