Do we really need young people in church?
The cry is always going up all over the Church: “We have so few young people in the congregation. We are going to die”
My (helpful as usual) reply has always been “What a load of male-cow droppings”.
I hasten to say that this is not at present true of St Clement’s, Philadelphia: we have a good percentage of young(ish) people in the congregation. But even if it were true, I would still say the same. To put it at its most extreme, if your congregation consists of only 60 or 70 year olds, why should you worry? They have a lot of experience and wisdom in them, and the delightful thing is – there are a lot more 60 and 70 year olds coming along! So it takes a really depressive outlook to think that your congregation will get any smaller. In fact, if you get out there and evangelise the 40 and 50 year olds, your congregation might grow considerably, even though it will still be made up mainly of 60 and 70 year olds.
But that is an extreme example, aimed to make you laugh. For most congregations the reality is that there are people of nearly every age group in them, and that is how it should usually be. It is a healthy and happy group that has children, teenagers, young adults and the older generations all mixed in. There is so much that they can learn from each other and teach each other. But if one age-group predominates, take Our Lady’s advice and let it be. Use the gifts of all, and tell them all to bring in some friends, and make sure that what you offer in the way of Word and Sacrament helps them to grow closer to Jesus Christ. He is the Centre of our Faith, and if they are growing closer to Him, they will inevitably be growing closer to one another.
Then you may well be surprised by how well the 90 year old gets on with the 18 year old.