According to one recent study, fully half of the twentysomethings who were raised Catholic no longer practice the Catholic faith or name themselves as Catholic. Half. That’s troubling, isn’t it? Other recent studies have tracked the rates of disaffiliation from the Church and tried to identify some of the root causes of that disaffiliation. It is important for us to understand why young people are leaving the Church, but it is perhaps even more important to show young adults a Church they want to be a part of. That they desire to be a part of. That they are invested in and which is worthy of their investment and even their sacrifice.
Nicole Perone is working toward that end. She is the National Coordinator of ESTEEM, a faith-based leadership program for Catholic students at colleges and universities across the United States. She joins me to talk about the challenges and opportunities of forming young adults for lifelong affiliation in the Church, the importance of mentoring and of developing leaders, and how we move together from being satisfied with cozy religious experiences toward becoming fully committed, courageous Catholics.