Keeping the Faith

By Kim Roberts

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I have three children – two out of college and one in high school. All three have been, and are currently, active in our parish CYO.

Since this is my second go-round through CYO with my youngest child, I’ve noticed some changes in the makeup of the group. First and most noticeable, there are fewer young people involved in CYO now than in years past.

When my older two were involved, the room was full with large groups of kids that attended meetings, Mass and activities. Currently, numbers are much lower; noticeably lower. Yet, it’s a great group of kids who gather for fellowship and service, but not as large as before.

I can’t help but wonder why that is.

The Pope actually provided me with the answer. According to Pope Francis, today’s youth group numbers are shrinking because Satan’s youth group is so much bigger than ours.

Well, that’s disheartening, but if I stop and look around at the world today, I see his point. Satan is everywhere, social media, influencers, government officials, television shows, music and movies, to name a few.

But the Pope advises youth ministers that they don’t need to keep up with the latest trends or be worried about being out of touch with mainstream media. They just need to return to the source – God. That is what draws people in. Create a place where young people can feel at home and welcome so that they want to keep coming back.

Activities and events don’t need to be flashy and trendy; kids know what’s genuine and real. It’s important to be a mentor, teacher and friend and relate to the young people of the parish to keep CYO alive and thriving.

I, for one, am so grateful for my children’s time and experiences in CYO. It has definitely helped shape who they are today.

 

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