Greater NY Division - YL and the Catholic Church final

Young Life &
the catholic
Michael A. Havercamp
A Story . . .
The “Missional Moment”
1.2 Billion Catholics
“Because many of those baptized
as infants are culturally or nominally
Catholic and may never have
internalized their faith, they need to
meet the person of Jesus Christ
through a new proclamation, so that
at the root of their relationship with
Jesus will be an authentic
conversion of heart and mind.”
~Bishop Samuel Jacobs,
former chairman of the USCCB
Committee for Evangelization
“The majority of Catholics in the United States are
sacramentalized but not evangelized.”
-Sherry Weddell,
Catherine of Siena Institute
Shoot Christians say…
Language to avoid…
Getting “Saved”
“Jenny became a Christian at
“Have you been born again?”
Note: Many Catholics won’t
have the language that you do
to express their faith. But
don’t assume that they lack
faith altogether.
Catholic language:
a whole new world
Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office
The Our Father
Paschal Mystery
Vatican II
Catholic quiz:
true or false
Young life’s objective
Is to convert catholics:
true or false
Catholicism teaches
personal relationship
with God:
true or false
true or false:
Catholics believe in
salvation by works while
Protestants believe in
salvation by grace.
Sacraments are
“objectively efficacious,”
so they automatically
produce holiness in people.
true or false
true or false:
Protestants are all
about scripture.
Catholics are all about
All catholic teaching comes
from what popes say
true or false
true or false:
catholics worship saints.
Catholics believe that mary
is the fourth person of the
true or false
true or false:
You must pray the
rosary to be a “catholic
in good standing with
the church.”
Young life & the
Catholic church:
Five points of common
YL & The Catholic Church:
1) A personal relationship
with Jesus
The essence of
is Christ –
not a doctrine,
but a person.
~ Pope Benedict
Pope John Paul II,
Novo millennio ineunte, 29
“We shall not be
saved by a formula
but by a Person.”
“Being Christian is not the
result of an ethical choice,
or a lofty idea,
with an event, a PERSON,
which gives life a new
horizon and a decisive
Pope Benedict XVI
Deus caritas est
(God is love), p.1
Cardinal Timothy Dolan,
New York
“We are all about a person.
We are all about a
relationship of faith,
hope and love
with a person,
who happens to be
the greatest person
who ever lived…”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan,
New York
“. . .who also happens to be my best friend
who knows me and calls me by name,
who looks me in the eyes and invites me
to spend eternity with him. . .
Cardinal Timothy Dolan,
New York
. . .and that
person is
the pastoral reality
Only 60% of Catholics believe in a personal God.
Only 48% of Catholics say they are absolutely certain they
can have a personal relationship with God.
There is a direct relationship in young Catholics between
Mass attendance and their certainty of a personal
Unique Challenges
to the Evangelization
of Catholic Youth
“Cradle” Catholicism
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Culture
Historical Overemphasis on catechesis
“Cradle” Catholicism
• “I was born Catholic.”
• You are not a Catholic because your grandmother was
born in County Cork or Palermo or Guadalajara and
your parents submitted you to a certain religious ritual
when you were an infant. You are a Catholic because
you have met the Lord Jesus and entered into a mature
friendship with him.
~George Weigel, Evangelical Catholicism, p.34
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
• “For many Catholics, it’s a scary thing just to mention the name
‘Jesus’ in casual conversation.”
• Most Catholics don’t know that normative Catholicism involves:
- a living, growing relationship with Jesus Christ
- a deep and personal knowledge of the Scriptures
- a unique, personal calling (or vocation) from God
- fellowship with other Christians that are equally excited about their
• *This is so distant and unreal to them that they have come to regard it a deeply
Catholic thing NOT to talk about their faith with others.
historical overemphasis
on catechesis
• CCD and DRE
• “I learned all that in Catholic school.”
• Catholicism begins not with knowing about Jesus, but
with knowing Jesus personally.
• **Doctrinal formulas are merely intellectual
expressions of a fundamentally personal encounter with
the Lord Jesus who invites every person into intimate
YL & the Catholic Church:
Joint Declaration on
the Doctrine of
Lutheran world federation & Roman Catholic Church
“Together we confess: By grace alone, in
faith in christ’s work and not because of
any merit of our own, we are accepted by
God and receive the holy spirit, who
renews our hearts while equipping and
calling us to good works.’”
YL & the Catholic Church:
3) Prayer
To be a Christian without
prayer is not more
possible than to be alive
without breathing.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
St. Therese of Lisieux
“For me,
prayer is a surge of heart;
it is a simple look
turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition,
embracing both trial and joy.”
St. TeresA of Avila
“Prayer in my opinion is nothing else
than a close sharing between friends;
it means taking time frequently to be
alone with him who we know loves us.”
Pope John Paul II
“How to pray?
This is a
simple matter.
I would say:
Pray any way you
like, so long as you
do pray.”
YL & the catholic church
4) Scripture
Dei verbum
(Dogmatic constitution on
divine revelation), 21
“The Church has always venerated the
divine scriptures as it has venerated the
body of the lord…it follows that all
the preaching of the church, as indeed
the entire christian religion, should be
nourished and ruled by sacred
YL & the Catholic Church
5) Spiritual
Mother Teresa
“The most terrible
poverty is
“Where two or more are
gathered together in my
name, I am there in
the midst of them.”
Matthew 18:20
Pope francis & commonground
1) Reach out personally
to your local Catholic
youth minister, priest or
diocesan director of
evangelization or youth
2) Be prepared. Read key
Catholic resources:
-Beating with one Heart
-A Practical Guide for Ministering To and
With Catholics
-An Ecumenical Gift Exchange
-Catholic & Christian
-That They May Be One:
-Evangelicals and Catholics Together-The
Christian Mission in the Third
3) Get Catholics on
your committee
4) Pray for and welcome
Catholics onto your
leadership team
Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris missio, 3
“The moment has come to commit all of
the church’s energies to a new
evangelization and to the mission to
the world. No believer in Christ, no
institution of the church, can avoid
this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ
to all peoples.”
The End

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