By Natalie Bauman, Columnist
As modern Americans, we are constantly consuming news. On a single day, the average American will be fed the newest drama from Capitol Hill, Kim Kardashian’s newest workout secret, and which kind of kombucha might actually be slowly killing us. Even among all of this instant and constant information, something is clearly missing.
In our age of worshiping media, technology, and wealth, another kind of worship lies unnoticed. From an outsider’s perspective, it may look as if American Catholicism has faded with its elderly members, leaving behind a trail of empty pews. It is easy to believe in this idea, for the media we are surrounded with does not acknowledge the truth or highlight the activity of Catholic youth. The true fire that burns in the faith of young Catholics is hidden, quelled by fear and disbelief of the common public. The average American does not know that the national Catholic population has steadily increased, rising to 74.3 million in 2017 compared to 51 million in 1970 (CARA). Even Catholics do not fully understand the current state of the Church in America, for much of the truth is masked. However, despite the positive or negative statistics, the current state of the Catholic youth is something that can be observed on a personal level.
Before moving to Washington, DC and starting as a student at CUA, I believed that my faith was shared with few people my age. I attended Catholic schools my whole life, yet among most of my classmates faith was not discussed, whether it was present or not. I knew that other Catholic young adults existed, yet I was fully unaware of the impact they were making on our society. Upon coming to Catholic University and attending my first campus ministry Eucharistic adoration, I quickly realized that not only are there many young, practicing members of the Church, but that these members hold power that our mainstream media has never attempted to encompass. What I saw in Caldwell Chapel just a few weeks ago was incredible. I saw the faces of dozens upon dozens of students, who knew what it means to be in the presence of God, and who knew that the prayers they were offering up have the power to change our world.
I understood then that the Catholic youth are not fading away into the dejected trail of empty pews. Instead, they are filling them. Even if their doings are concealed behind our world’s veil of passiveness and relative morality, they are still leaving a mark on our country.
As young Catholics, it is important for us to never forget that our faith does matter. We should not concede to hiding our faith to please others, but instead should use our knowledge of our faith to create bridges with those who fear it. We should see the strong faith community we have here at CUA as a blessing, one that has been given to us for the purpose of lifting that veil of misunderstanding. Let us not fall into the shadows of society, but instead be a living example of the vibrant youth of Catholicism, using our faith and the gifts we have been granted to lift up not just ourselves, but our world.
“Frequently Requested Church Statistics.” CARA, 2018, cara.georgetown.edu/frequently-requested-church-statistics/.
Pictured: CUA Praise and Worship Adoration