The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has defined young adults as “people in their late teens, twenties, and thirties; single, married, divorced, or widowed; and with or without children.” This includes people in Generation X (born between 1963 and 1979) as well as the Millennial Generation (born between 1980 and 1995). Within this incredibly broad category, there are several dimensions and demographics including, but not limited to:
As well as different ethnicities and cultures, economic and social classes, and various degrees of connection to the Catholic faith.
But what connects all these men and women together is the experience of transition – to discover their identity as adults; to find a place of love and belonging; to achieve a sense of purpose in their work; and to spiritually explore the meaning of life and the divine.
To help young adults in their journey through this period in their lives, the Roman Catholic Church has developed an intentional outreach and pastoral ministry to men and women in their late teens, twenties, and thirties – called “Young Adult Ministry.”
What is Young Adult Ministry?
Ministry to and with young adults is an intentional outreach of the Catholic Church. Successful ministry with these men and women achieves four basic goals:
Young Adult Ministry should take a dynamic, multi-faceted, and inclusive approach to its outreach and pastoral care, not a single approach or program – especially since young adults are so diverse and since the Catholic Church has such a vast collection of spiritual and corporal works.
Comprehensive Young Adult Ministry includes the following aspects of ministry:
Some initiatives and programs of Young Adult Ministry are appropriate for all those in their late teens, twenties, and thirties; however, many times, it is necessary to offer ministry to specific demographics of young adults including college students, young singles, and young couples (as well as parents, twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, and so forth).