Would that there was one silver bullet or magic potion to encourage our youth, and families with youth to attend Mass more regularly!
Unfortunately, we cannot berate or cajole or demand or intimidate or shame families into attending Mass more frequently. We cannot offer prizes for attending, and we cannot demand that families punch cards to Mass in order to receive the Sacraments. It is not what Jesus did during his time walking the Earth, and I cannot believe that he would want it now.
We need to look at the cold hard facts that attending Mass is not important to more families because Jesus is not more important to more families. And, that is a much more difficult question to answer.
There are some things that we can do, however:
- Can we be welcoming to young families whom we do not recognize? Can we be patient with them as they struggle with inattentive and disruptive children? Can we greet them and let them know that they are welcome here?
- Can we offer Liturgical Music that would be more attractive to younger families? There is always a tough balance to find between the contemplative needs of some Parishioners, with the desire for more upbeat music that might be more appealing to some younger folks. The word “Funky” was used at one of the listening sessions, and I will leave it there. 🙂 This is a conversation that we are going to have to enter into sooner rather later if we would like to see our churches flourish.
- Can we widen our view from “How do we get them to Mass” to “How do we offer them Jesus?” Yes, we can meet them at the door of the church, but what about when we meet them at Market Basket, or on the Soccer fields, or at the Library? What can we offer our younger families to make them want to choose Jesus over Hockey/Soccer/Dance/etc.?