The following is a letter from Patrick Cashio who addressed participants at the National Conference on June 15 alongside former PCUSA National Council member Adrienne Alexander. Patrick is a former Pax Christi USA intern and the current director of young adult ministry at the Romero Center in Camden, New Jersey.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I want to thank you so much for your welcoming spirit at this past year’s Pax Christi USA National Conference. I was truly honored to be among you. Your work over the years has led to countless social changes. You have been on the frontlines of the “good fight” of peace and justice. For all the experience and powerful witness that your lives bear, I can hardly do justice.
I am writing this letter to give you some other resources for finding and inviting young adults into the incredible work of Pax Christi. While Adrienne and I gave you some insight into the lives of young adults, we also wanted to follow up with ways that you can find and invite other young adults.
One of the best ways to find young adults is to find the local, year-long volunteer communities. Many of these volunteers are living in urban centers surrounded by poverty and violence. They are also experiencing a Gospel of compassion and non-violence for the first time. In my own year of volunteering with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, I learned for the first time about the Jesuit massacre and the School of the Americas. I grew up 2 hours from Fort Benning, GA and had no idea what was going on around me. These volunteers are primed to listen and learn from you and have the energy to join in your work. You can find a volunteer community near you by heading to the Catholic Volunteer Network’s website. (https://catholicvolunteernetwork.org/)
Another way to find young adults is to look for folks in your parish that have recently been married or have had children baptized. Usually young adults get married and have their children baptized at a parish and then may never return. It is important to find these young people in those few moments that they return. That is the time to introduce yourself and invite young adults to dinner. Form those friendships quickly to invite them into your good work.
If you want to take a look at that handout I mentioned at our keynote on Saturday from the Universalist Unitarians, you can find it here. These are great talking points for engaging young people. Remember: be vulnerable and honest and respect boundaries as best you can.
If you are looking to read up on what young adults are thinking about and discussing you could check out these websites:
- Millennial Journal – This is a web journal that has a series of young adult blog writers engaging society and their faith. There are some really engaging thoughts here.
- Busted Halo – This is an online ministry formed specifically for young adult people. They’ve got great resources from prayer to catechetical videos.
- Young Adult Ministry in a Box – This is a great resource for minsters engaging with young adults in the Catholic Church. It might give you some ideas for how to invite young people in to your work.
- The Jesuit Post – These young Jesuits write some incredible reflections on pop-culture and faith.
Thank you so much for all the work you have done and continue to do through your faith and your beliefs. I would be glad to help you develop strategies and brainstorm ideas to attract young adults to your local groups. Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give my office a call 856-964-9777 x616.
Peace in, through, and with Christ,
Director of Young Adult Ministry
Romero Center Ministries
P.S. Thanks so much with your patience through all my corny jokes at the conference. I was truly honored to be so privileged to share a common forum with you. Thanks so much for everything you are!