Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Connecting Young People to the Eucharist

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BRIDGEPORT— Writer and youth minister Kevin Dowd said Millennials are “a generation of brokenness,” who also represent the “the highest population of devout Christians than in the past three generations.”

Speaking to more than 100 directors or religious education (DRE’s) at an end of the year gathering in The Queen of Saints Hall at the Catholic Center , Dowd, a Harvard graduate, youth minister and researcher, stressed the importance of connecting today’s generation to the Eucharist.

He said there is a desire in youth for the communion with Jesus and for the Eucharist, and there is a need to nurture their interest beyond simply providing information.

He praised the men and women who are responsible for coordinating the religious education of more than 30,000 young people in 82 parishes across the diocese.

Those who are called to do spread the word of Jesus at a time when many people are not accepting of the message might often feel “like lambs in the midst of wolves,”.

Dowd told them that anyone who works in ministry may from time to time feel unworthy to follow in Jesus footsteps and finish his work on earth.

Urging them to take heart in the Gospel, he referred to a passage from 2 Corinthians 12:9, “my grace is enough for you, ” emphasizing that with the help of the Lord, people can act as Jesus did, even in situations that seem hopeless.

Dowd’s presentation reminded DREs that they are called to do something great, but in this they are not acting alone, but with the grace of God.

Throughout his presentation, Dowd emphasizes the importance of not just teaching theology and providing information, but to nurture the spirit of particular individuals.

He said that youth have a desire to serve, and that many volunteer service projects “form good humanitarians,” but in order to have fully formed Christians, the service must be rooted in the Eucharist.

Quoting Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter,” Dowd said that service shouldn’t be about “resume building or personal gain,” but rather should reflect a genuine concern for others and love for the Lord.

After working with youth for a number of years at the Capuchin Youth Center in New York, Dowd said he is familiar with the struggles that the Millennials go through.

While he referred to Millennials as “a generation of brokenness,” he was also quick to point out that they have the highest population of devout Christians than in the past three generations.

He said there is a desire in youth for the communion with Jesus and for the Eucharist, and there is a need to nurture their interest beyond simply providing information.

“People may be receiving the body of Christ without being the body of Christ” Dowd said, clarifying that while teaching the information is good, in order for faith to grow it has to be nurtured.

As faith must be nurtured in youth, it is also important to nurture the faith of DRE’s and others lay ministers, he said.

He encouraged them that even in times of struggle they are making a difference in someone’s life as long as they remember the one whom they are ultimately serving and that wholesomeness comes from Christ, the Eucharist, and the Church.

For more information contact Rose Talbot Babey, Coordinator of Childhood Faith Formation in the Diocese of Bridgeport rtalbotbabey@diobpt.org

Pictures by Michelle Babyak