Sons and Daughters of the Light: A Pastoral Plan for Ministry with Young Adults
November 12, 1996, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
To invite young adults, through healthy relationships, work, and
studies, to embrace the mission of Christ to promote the building of the
kingdom of God in the world today, thereby bringing about the
transformation of society.
- Forming a Christian Conscience: To help young adults form their conscience based on the Gospel and on the Church's moral and social teachings.
- Educating and Working for Justice: To provide
educational and service opportunities for young adults to practice the
gospel values of justice and peace and to care for the less fortunate in
the workplace, at home, and in the local community.
- Developing Leaders for the Present and the Future: To invite, train, support, and mentor young adults to be leaders in society and church life.
Strategies to Implement Goal Three
1. Forming a Christian Conscience
In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Laity, Christifideles Laici,
John Paul II speaks of the role of the laity as the evangelizers of
society through the home and work. Faith communities have a
responsibility to prepare and support the laity in this task. In our
meetings with young adults, we heard their desire to learn more about
the Church in order to make sound moral decisions. Conscience formation
is one of the most important aspects in ministry today. Some strategies
for helping young adults to develop a Christian conscience include the
- Offer adult religious education programs that connect contemporary life issues to the teachings and traditions of the Church.
- Provide seminars and discussion groups to examine the
relationship of faith to work, including ethics in the workplace. These
can take the form of a breakfast with a speaker from the local business
community or university or as a lunch presentation for downtown
- Make use of homilies and sacramental celebrations,
where appropriate, to incorporate a discussion of the role of the laity
as evangelizers of society.
- Support and facilitate scripture study groups and small groups for married couples.
- Support the formation of ongoing, intergenerational small faith communities.
2. Educating and Working for Justice
Throughout our history, we as Catholics have been driven by a mission to
care for the least among us. In 1991, we celebrated the one hundredth
anniversary of the encyclical Rerum Novarum
, a landmark document
on social justice and the workplace. This ministry of justice and
service is both action on behalf of the poor and education. Programs,
homilies, and retreats must educate people to the demands of the Gospel
toward our neighbor. Some suggestions for action include the following:
- Motivate young adults, through catechesis,
preaching, and music, to be just and to work for peace in their
relationships with others, especially in their jobs and in the
- Invite young adults to be members of the parish or campus social justice committees or other social action organizations.
- Identify opportunities for immersion experiences during academic breaks or vacations.
- Invite young adults individually, through the
workplace or through the church community, to donate services to social
3. Developing Leaders for the Present and the Future
A key way to form leaders for the present and the future, for both
society and the Church, is through mentoring relationships. Mentoring is
a significant way in which we equip young adults with the values,
beliefs, ideas, and learning necessary to be mature Christians. Young
adults can benefit from mentoring relationships connected with their
career and job, especially when we share the values and wisdom that
spring from our belief in the Gospel. To develop mentoring
relationships, include the following:
- Establish a committee to connect older and younger adults in like professions in mentoring relationships.
- Reinforce the leadership role that each
Christian is asked to undertake as a citizen through preaching and
- Form discussion, support, or prayer groups for those in like professions and trades.
- Ask young adults to be mentors for high
school youth, especially youth in confirmation programs and those from
different ethnic groups, including immigrants who need to learn how to
succeed in a new and different culture.
For me, I can get through the tough times of life better when I know that there are people I can go to for support or just to talk.
Cynthia Standt, Salem, OH
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