Ministry with Young Adults

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, young adult and Pastoral Juvenil 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 our young people throughout the country.

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.

Christus Vivit: Pope Francis on Young Adults

Through his landmark apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis has given the Church a foundational text that now illuminates the Church's ongoing ministry with young adults. Christus Vivit (Latin for "Chris is alive!") was the Holy Father's pastoral response and contribution to a global Synod process that took place from 2016 through 2019.

This Synod, under the theme of "Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment," sought to provide a Catholic response to the realities of youth and young adults in connection to Jesus Christ, the community of the Church, and each person's vocational calling. The synodal journey included a worldwide consultation on the topic, continuing to a Pre-Synod Meeting of young adults in March 2018 in Rome and the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2018, and onto and beyond the release of Christus Vivit, written “to young people and to the entire people of God,” in March 2019.

We recommend visiting our online guide for Christus Vivit, and our Upcoming Opportunities page for more resources related to discussing and implementing this foundational document.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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