Venus De Coy is from Our Lady of Grace Parish in West Sacramento. She is a project manager for a printing company, president of St. Vincent de Paul Society (Yolo Delta District), and involved in young adult ministry.
I would define my experience as blessed. It’s been a learning process and a blessing to be a part of so many amazing communities and to see so many young adults create their own communities. The challenging part has been getting more brothers and sisters on board, and sometimes our own church.
Sometimes our churches are not fully open to youth and young adult ideas and there is so much room for growth. This is the church we inherit. If you want us to be invested in our churches, we have to be able to have some ownership. Our church is all about “yes,” but getting to “yes” can be a challenge due to bureaucratic, legal or simply doubtful reasons.
Our generation works and thinks a little differently from our older and wiser brothers and sisters. There is an openness and fearlessness that our church is ready for, and needs now more than ever: openness about the tough stuff, openness about evangelization and openness about our faith.
We’re not afraid to talk about problems and we understand that everyone is broken and everyone needs healing. We have to start trusting God and living this. For example, I have friends within the LGBTQ community and many have left because there is no bridge or place for them. There is no room for Christ to come and heal with the open arms of love.
The beauty of our church is so resonating and so universal and it draws people. It’s the reason I converted. But we must meet our brothers and sisters where they are, otherwise we will never reach them.
My biggest worry and concerns are that our church is failing to engage our brothers and sisters – and I’m not saying entertain us, because there is a difference. Obviously our liturgy and who we are should never change, but as the world evolves our church must be ready and willing to do the same. If we’re engaging them, they’re saying “This is who we are and part of our salvation, and Mass is the source and summit of our faith.”
At the end of the day, only Christ can change hearts and minds. Sometimes we stop hearing God’s voice when it comes to certain topics and issues. If we harden our hearts, it makes it harder to reach our brothers or sisters. Whether they’re right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we be open.
How easy it may be to defer to labels and blanket definitions to understand people. The complexity of the human mind warrants a summed-up assessment of generational groupings, doesn’t it? Not so fast. Danger lurks in this approach for the simple fact, that it may prompt a dismissing attitude at the least, and close-minded denial at worst.
Catholic Herald magazine talked with “millennials” -- young adults born between 1980 and 2000 – about their Catholic faith. The Pew Research Center goes further and refers to “younger” and “older” millennials. Birth year aside, all represent the promise of the Catholic Church, deserving of time, attention and intentional listening. Here they share what’s on their minds; candidly, wistfully and bluntly. Cradle Catholics and converts, their faith stories, experiences and longings paint a vivid picture of the body of Christ – emerging adults in love with their faith, in love with Christ and each on an authentic journey to heaven.