Do you have millennials on your catechumenate team?

10 thoughts on “Do you have millennials on your catechumenate team?”

  1. Sr. Emily Morgan, RSM

    Interesting statistics. I do not have any millenials on my catechumenate team. BUT most of the catechumens and candidates ARE millenials! That would be another interesting statistic. One more point of interest……some asking for RCIA sessions are kids 13, 14, 15! None of these are ‘many’ but those are the ones asking. Parents with older children are also requesting the RCIA sessions and they would also be millenials.

  2. I would have to agree with Sr. Emily. I am noticing the same thing with our Catechumen and Candidates. They seem to getting younger. (I thought I was just getting older!)

  3. I think part of the explanation may be that like Baby Boomers it’s a very large age cohort. It dwarfs Gen X so it can look like a large spike as they start entering ministries and using resources like Team RCIA. While their numbers may appear large they may not represent an unusually large percentage of Millennials.

  4. As an older millennial, and parish coordinator of the catechumenate ministry, I wonder if there might be a couple of things at play.

    I think there is a real hunger to understand they “why” of what we do. Why does the Mass look and sound the way it does? Why those prayers? Where did our practices come from? I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere, but religious education for me and my peers in Catholic schools was more focused on teaching us about other faith traditions and less about understanding our own faith. We learnt how to do our faith (how to say the prayers, sing the songs, what actions to do when) but not the heart and history behind it all. As we journey with seekers, we get to find (and renew) understanding of the richness of Sacrament, Liturgy and tradition we are part of. The number of times I’ve seen faces light up as connections of understanding are made – both in people seeking to become part of our faith community and in people who are already part of it. These connections of understanding have, time and again, drawn our catechumenate ministers more deeply into the practice of our faith and (I think) this in turn keeps bringing them back to catechumenate ministry.

    I do think you are right about a sense of attraction to flexibility. I also wonder if it’s not also an attraction to a sense of empowerment as lay people. In order to be flexible, our priests entrusts much of this ministry to me and I have to trust much of the day to day engagement with seekers to my team. I can’t possibly meet everyone individually all the time or answer every question, before and after their initiation journey. But empowering others as sponsors (or even less officially as simply “co-travellers”) creates networks of relationships for the seekers but it builds a sense of empowerment and connection into our ministers that I think is really attractive for millennials too.

    Finally, I suspect there’s something in the sense of community and real connection that builds in Catechumenate ministry, both within the team and with the seekers, that is incredibly attractive to millennials. We talk about millennials being digital natives, and living much of their lives online, but I think COVID has shown us all the intrinsic need for tangible connections and relationships as well and I’ve seen and heard this desire constantly reiterated by millennials and younger generations as we have come in and out of lockdowns.

    Just some thoughts.

    1. Wow, Pauline, there is so much here to think about. I’m going to have to re-read this a couple of times. Thanks for the deep thinking.

  5. Anthony Spellacy

    Not to be the pessimist here, but I think, at least in part, this can be attributed more to the millennials being allowed to participate finally. For so long, we have been dismissed by the “older” people in parishes that were leading the ministries (not just RCIA). We were not part of their “click”, or we were too young to know anything, or we were the wrong kind of people (liturgical proclivities, or personal style, or school/work schedule). Now the “older” people are starting to “retire” from ministry (or literally die off) and parishes are in need of people to help out, and we millennials are finally being given the chance.

    For what its worth, my wife, a convert herself, had to get a Doctorate of Theology, and become the diocesan coordinator for RCIA before anyone would let her participate in RCIA. I had to get two masters degrees in theology, before anyone would let me participate.

    1. Hi Anthony. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. i’m sorry that happened to you and your wife. Cliques can be a big problem in parishes. Thanks for hanging in.

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