Difficulties of Catholic Living is a feature meant to attack the problems recent converts, cradle Catholics, and critics of the faith may have. These entries are based on my own life experiences and are meant to show that you are not alone in this struggle. Being a Catholic or Protestant Christian is a beautiful thing, but there are times you will need comfort and discover you are not alone. I hope you can find peace in my journey and discover you are not alone.
Of all the topics I could have tackled and there were many I wanted to present to you, this one I struggled with the most. I wasn’t certain if it was the right thing to share this particular strife of mine. A part of me fears by sharing this struggle, some may think, “See, this Catholic thing is kinda not worth it,” but after mulling over this subject, I came to the conclusion many people could benefit from it. All that mattered was if you were willing to listen.
Oddly enough, to me one of the most challenging aspects of living a Catholic life is being a leader in Young Adult ministry. No, there are not oodles and oodles of young twenty somethings having secret love affairs or doing drugs on the side, living the Rock ‘N Roll lifestyle. My concern with this ministry has always been much more mundane, but at the same time emotionally and spiritually draining.
How can you say that about a Catholic ministry?
Easy, my friend.
Young Adult ministry happens to be one of my favorite ministries as it was an easy step for me from RCIA/lapsed Catholic to fully confirmed Catholic.
The problem is the faithful may enjoy the content and socials provided, but it’s become too much of a popularity thing, with certain churches getting more members and those struggling to create an active parish life losing members to other more “popular parishes.”
Sometimes as a leader you’re forced to take responsibility for those around you. Those who come to socialize do not understand the responsibilities and particular hurdles you are faced with. For instance, at a social event hosted by the Young Adult group I help lead, there was a lot of active movement at a late night event. Everyone is a grown adult, responsible for themselves, but I also didn’t want us leaving without accounting for everyone. As it was loud outside and my voice wasn’t being heard, I raised my voice (to others it sounded like I was yelling) as I expressed my concern about the group leaving without knowing where exactly one of the ladies was. If she went home with a separate group or decided to stay, I was fine with that, but not with the larger group leaving without knowing her whereabouts. One of the parishioners of the groups apparently was not happy at me having raised my voice to get the attention of 10+ people. It didn’t matter that I explained I needed everyone’s attention and wanted to account for the safety of everyone. I was at that point a “rude woman.”
She then immediately stopped attending all of the events and services related to the church I help volunteer at, which is strange as she was an actual parish member. I volunteer there, because I want it to be successful like the church where I attended RCIA and mass. The parish goal of bringing members together to create a community cannot happen if one happenstance causes members to leave their home parish. I may burn out and need to take a break from it, but eventually I will come back or someone else will need to take over. Our local churches are only as strong as our members when it comes to evangelizing and creating a community. God is still there at mass, but the real question is does church end at the end of mass or does it extend beyond service hours?
I think it should.
Which is why I get so frustrated when I do not see young adults and even older members give the time necessary to make this parish successful.
I only ask that you pray for me and the local struggling parishes. Everyone deserves to be at a church with an active community, but it must start somewhere and once you see the beginning of growth, nourish it lest it die due to neglect.