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INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- At a time when an estimated 50 percent of Catholics 30 and younger no longer identify with their religion, the U.S. bishops June 14 discussed the need to reverse that trend and why the consultation process for the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on youth and vocations is crucial to that effort.
On the first day of the bishops' spring meeting in Indianapolis, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia opened the discussion with a presentation on the consultations and questions for the bishops to consider in preparing for the synod.
"The synod indeed comes at a critical time," Cardinal Tobin told his fellow bishops in his opening remarks. "We know that there are both challenges and opportunities here in the U.S. The increased amount of disconnected millennials is certainly a concern for us, as is the decline and the delay of marriage among young people. Still there are various positive signs to build upon."
Those signs, he said, include "the high interest among millennials during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent" and "the continued importance in our ministries and outreach to young people which have a positive effect on vocational discernment."
"The church in the U.S. is poised to engage this conversation for and with young people," he added.
Listening to young people is essential to the conversation, Cardinal Tobin noted.