Coming of age in the Church, young Catholics find their own path

18 April 2019

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

Young people are rediscovering sacred music, learning the beauty of the pipe organ, and young women are veiling for Mass.

These all familiar among the devout Catholic teens and young adults in the Edmonton Archdiocese.

Many of us come from out of town to spend the second Saturday of the month at St. Joseph’s Basilica. Here, we chant the night prayer, pray for our Pope, go to confession and participate in Benediction.

As I turn 18 this Easter, I realize this is what it’s like to come of age in today’s Church.

This time period will be known for the many scandals that have come to light and how we choose to move forward from it. This has also been the time period in which Rome has shone the light on youth and youth ministry.

What has fallen under the radar for many people is that there are many young Catholics who are experiencing a social dynamic that is vastly different from the one in which our parents were formed.

Lately, many have taken notice of youth and young adults who are taking up old Church traditions our parents never followed. I actually think it is more common for a young adult to have attended a traditional Latin Mass without their parents even realizing this was something still offered.

My age group is unique because we are the ones who remember a time without touch screens, but we have also been connected with the online world since we were about 13.

We are the ones who have been raised in schools and a society that taught us to reject absolute truths, accept moral relativism and believe beauty is subjective.

However, many of us have been delighted to discover, through questioning, this philosophy we are bombarded with is actually wrong. Our world is actually wrong. We can know truth, seek goodness and embrace what is beautiful.

I think many of us have been delighted to discover little Easter eggs that point us to something greater. As we discover that objective beauty is attainable, we are attracted to more traditional liturgies. When we start to understand the deep theological roots of morality, we wish to attain the goodness that comes from it.

Those of us who have been formed in a secular society with such an overpowering philosophy are well aware how much we oppose it as practising Catholics.

When it comes to remaining Catholic, it no longer matters if our parents are the ones teaching us the faith. Those of us who leave the faith are the ones who fail to fully question it.

This, I think, has made many of us strong when we face other confusions that challenge us. Because we are used to being challenged.

I come of age during a time that will likely be remembered as a time of scandals, confusion and societal revolutions. However, I will remember this as a time that we are not being distracted from tradition.

– Katherine Szojka, 18, is a Grade 12 student at St. Gabriel Online School in St. Albert and a Youth Speak News columnist. This column was originally published by The Catholic Register.