1 Demographics and Summary of Respondents Habits and Experiences. To see summary of Demographics, habits, and experiences, click here. Survey Results. After each question below, there is a link to the detailed survey responses. Question 1 includes a chart, questions 2-10 include the detailed survey responses by age group. 1. In what manner does the Church listen to the lived situations of young people? On a scale of 1-10 the average response to the question of How well does the Church listen to the needs of people your age? The following results are reported: The mean response was 4.89, with a median response of 5 out of 10. The average scores were as follows: year group was was to 30 was Over 30 was To see charted survey results for Question 1, click here. 2. What are the main challenges and most significant opportunities for young people in the United States today? Challenges: Year Old 1) Pressure - fitting-in, school, parents, grades, drugs, alcohol, sex. A concerning challenge for 10% of this group was Depression. 2) Relationships - Family relationships, friends, divorce, self-confidence.
2 19-24 Year Old 1) Pressure social media, drugs (heroin), sex, employment, financial debt, societal influences. 2) Relationships - Family relationships, friends, divorce, finding life partner with shared values Year Old 1) Financial Challenges Student debt, financial obligations and cost of living, independence from parents 2) Relationships- Finding a life partner, dysfunctional families, sense of belonging and meaningful relationships To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 2 Challenges, click here. Opportunities: Year Old 1) Service serving others in the community and serving the church and its various ministries. Offering their ideas, energy, and talents, participate in youth ministry 2) Evangelization talk about God, attend Mass, pray Year Old 1) Energy and Talent- Enthusiasm to share their faith and relevant and contemporary gifts with the church and others 2) Service, Youth Perspective, and Evangelization/Faith These priorities are equally important to this demographic. There is a great sense that a youthful perspective is critical Year Old 1) Service willing and able to serve church and community 2) Energy and Talent very enthusiastic to share their youthful energy, a fresh perspective, and skills (tech) to help the church become more relevant To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 2 Opportunities, click here. 3. What kinds and places of group gatherings of youth, institutionalized or otherwise, have a major success within the Church, and why? Year Old: 1) Antioch, Youth Group and Confirmation retreats have resonated with this age group. 2) Attending Mass or serving as a lector, Altar Server or musician.
3 19-24 Year Old: Adult Groups primarily reached through the college or University; both faith sharing community and service and caring for others made an impact on this group. 1) Campus Ministries 2) Catholic student association at Rutgers (Rutgers) 3) JusticeWorx 4) Center for Faith Justice in Lawrence Township, NJ 5) CSA/Young Adult groups at St. Peters 6) Saint Paul's Outreach 7) The Catholic Student Union at Florida State University 8) The Young Adult Men's Group at St. Peter's 9) Catholic bible conference Year Old: Retreat/Conference, Caring for Others, Youth/Adult Groups Adult Groups/Organizations and opportunities made an impact for many during their college/post college years: 1) Catholic Student Association (CSA) at Rutgers 2) Engaged Encounter 3) Women s Group 4) Approach Retreat (College Kairos Retreat) 5) Salesian Lay Missioner program 6) Guatemala Mission Trip 2014 To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Questions 3 & 4, click here. 4. What kinds and places of group gatherings of youth, institutionalized or otherwise, have a major success outside the Church, and why? Below summarizes the results of responses for all under 30. 1) Service and Caring for others through various organizations have been successful with attracting (age appropriate youth). Such organizations as: - Interfaith Hospitality Network - Habitat for Humanity - Workcamp - Helping veterans - Helping in Soup Kitchens
4 - Visiting Elderly - Serving in Community Organizations 2) Interfaith Groups/Organizations - Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship (Assemblies of God) To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Questions 3 & 4, click here. 5. What do young people really ask of the Church in the United States today? Year Old 1) A majority were very satisfied with what their local church offered or did not have a strong opinion either way. I can't think of anything. There is nothing I would want to change. 2) A youth group. Some kind of a youth group where I could talk to other kids my age about my faith and beliefs and not feel like I'm being judged or spoken down to by adults Year Old 1) A majority would like a Young Adult group with an opportunity for faith sharing. A vibrant young adults group that meets regularly for faith-sharing, community, scripture study, service, and worship. 2) The remaining over 20% are satisfied with their local church offerings. My church satisfies all of my faith based needs Year Old 1) Young adult ministry topped the list. 2) Young adult events. Groups/Events geared at young adults. There are ministries for youth, and groups that tend to be concentrated with older adults. There is not the opportunity to question and explore Catholicism in the modern-twenty-something experience. To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 5, Part 1, click here. Further to what are young adults looking from the church today, more specifically: What do you want Pope Francis to know? Age year Old 1) Many struggle with Church doctrine; lack of acceptance of all people regardless of gender preference. It is hard to accept a church that doesn't accept gay people because they are also children of God and the church should be able to accept any willing followers of God no matter gay or straight
5 2) Faith is very important, but can be a struggle and we need support. It can be difficult to find God when surrounded by so many pressures. Age19-24 Year Old 1) We struggle reconciling Church doctrine with our beliefs. We want to be engaged, but we need to feel like our voices matter. Our questions on the church's teachings should not just be ignored, they should be openly discussed because it's important that we rationalize our personal beliefs with that of the church's in order to create a strong base to build up our faith. 2) Young people are looking for support and a place to fit in the church Young people have tremendous faith we just don't have the outlet to express it. Age Year Old 1) Many feel Catholicism is lacking relevance My generation is moving away from faith, not because values are degrading; instead, it is because many feel there are other sufficient ways to live a moral life, and that organized religion is no longer relevant. 2) Many want a strong stance from the Catholic Church, an opportunity to serve, and return to traditions that seem to be getting lost or watered-down Some feel there is no place for them with older generations not making room for younger generations looking to serve. We are ready for the fullness of truth. We want to lead through service. We want to become the best versions of ourselves. We don't want a lukewarm Catholicism or a liberal spirituality. We want fullness of faith. To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 5- What do you want Pope Francis to know?, click here.
6 6. What possibilities for participation exist in the United States for young people to take part in the life of the ecclesial community? Over 20 survey respondents skipped this answer which is an indication of uncertainty or possibly lacking opportunities. The majority of people responded in all age groups felt their parish offered opportunities to participate in parish life. Age Year Old 1) Altar serving opportunities, choir and volunteer opportunities were identified as the primary parish outreach to this group. Altar serving, youth group, church teen choir 2) Youth group and events, clubs, camps There's youth group and retreats and a camp over the summer Age Year Old 1) The response was almost the same as the previous age group; liturgical opportunities and young adult groups/events. The youth group, mass, prayer service 2) More young adults in this age group noted Mass as an opportunity to participate in church, which is clearly a distinction from the younger group, which noted as opportunity to SERVE at Mass or a youth Mass. They offer daily mass, retreats, etc Age Year Old 1) This age group also mentioned Eucharistic Minister as a liturgical opportunity to serve, along with many other opportunities extraordinary ministers, readers, parish council, YA leadership, etc 2) There is a sense of welcome to participate in ministries and committees; although there was a lack of time for some or interest, due to demographics. Bible studies - but only old people attend. To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 6, click here. 7. How and in what manner is contact made with young people who do not frequent Church surroundings? Sadly, the overwhelming response in all categories was they don t know or they don t do anything. They college age students (19-24) had the most outreach from campus ministry and programs with intentional evangelization.
7 Ages Year Old 2018 SYNOD SURVEY RESULTS 1) Over 65% of the respondents weren t sure or said there was no outreach. That's an issue. After elementary school, my parish is silent when it comes to young people. 2) The outreach that did occur was through activities where people are encouraged to bring a friend. Other forms of outreach included social media, s and church bulletins. Through the kids inside our church, we invite others to come experience our faith. Ages Year Old 1) 50% of the respondents weren t sure or said there was no outreach. However, this group of college age respondents reported effective campus ministry outreach through groups, ministry fairs, retreats and programs. By providing college and on campus outreach ministries. 2) This group was eager to offer suggestions on how the church could outreach: I would think through mainly social events that can then draw people into a one on one conversation and a authentic relationship. Ages Year Old 1) Over 72% of the respondents in the group reported they don t or they don t know. This survey is the first hand that extended to me. Our church seems very passive at times. 2) This group recalls campus ministry outreach or is aware of social media/bulletin outreach Some dioceses do strong social media outreach, Theology on Tap, etc. Diocese of Metuchen has improved in some ways on this. Generally, though, the Church does not do so. They reach out to high schoolers through the bulletin. Older than that and they get left out. To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 7, click here. 8. How does your community care for young people who experience extreme violence (guerrilla warfare, gangs, prison, drug addiction, forced marriages) and accompany them in various ways in their life? The majority of responses in each category indicated they either didn t know or felt it wasn t something that was a problem in their area; it was not something their community dealt with. Of the community that did respond, outreach services, such as community resources, AA or NA, food pantries, shelters, support groups, etc.
8 14-18 Year Old 1) Over 53% of the respondents were unaware of support or did not think their community dealt with the issues. 2) Of those that recognized there were issues, they felt their community offered some type of community support through outreach services and prayer to those in need. My community offers many facilities to support these people that are put in these difficult situations. Also, many support groups have been created to help these people. Age Year Old 1) While many of this group did not know, most recognized that these issue were addressed with some type of outreach. My community cares for situations like these through social service agencies, mental health agencies, hot lines, community task forces, and food banks. 2) In addition to outreach services, there is community/prayer support, along with pastoral care. My community cares for people who have experienced difficult situations by supporting them and praying for them. Age Year Old 1) Almost 45% of those that responded were unaware of any support or assistance from the church. Not very well - usually responds well to tragedies involving these things but the Church often doesn't have on the radar the people who are experiencing them. 2) Of those that recognized support, most was in the form of community resources, food pantries, AA, shelters. The church community offered prayers and some offered parent education My community offers many resources, my church does not. To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 8, click here. 9. What formation is offered to support the engagement of young people in society and civil life, for the common good? There clearly is an awareness that if someone is looking to serve others, there many opportunities available, however, several respondents made the point (in all age groups) these opportunities did not exist through their church or that is was not well communicated. Ages Year Old 1) Inside the church the following engagement opportunities were noted: BOLD Youth Ministry, REACH work camp, Cape May Marianists, mission trips, food (SHIP) and clothing drives, soup kitchens, liturgical
9 ministries, teaching religious education and community service through youth group and confirmation programs. Our youth can altar serve, be Eucharistic ministers, be part of youth group once they go into high school, the boys can be sacristans, everyone has the opportunity to volunteer to be a CCD teacher, everyone can go to mass and pizza, and can go to occasional bible studies and talks with guest speakers. 2) Outside the church, involvement was noted in Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, local animal shelters, homeless shelters, impoverished areas, Key Club in the High School as well as National Honor Society, Missions, Operation Smile, Center for Great Expectations, nursing homes. Ages Year Old There was an awareness noted by several of the respondents that was particularly insightful and noteworthy The following sums it up: Every encounter with another person are opportunities to do this, because in every interaction we can share the love of Jesus. 1) There is an awareness of service opportunities available inside and outside the church but there is a sense that the opportunities are not well communicated. There are a lot. Some affiliated with the Catholic Church, others not. But, there is not enough advertising done in parishes to help promote these three things. Churches are not doing enough to promote youth involvement. In addition to the engagement from the church noted above, the following were mentioned: St. Vincent de Paul, campus ministry at college, and service retreats through campus ministry. 2) In addition to the organizations/opportunities mentioned in the category, this group noted: Interfaith Hospitality Network, Peace Corps, Elijah s Promise. Ages Year Old This is the first age category that education was introduced as a vehicle for engagement; whether it be books, podcasts, book retreats or school/college. 1) Working in positions of leadership at the church, such as youth minister, leading a men s group, Theology on tap, Frassati Fellowship in NYC. Working in youth ministry lends itself to service, but I would say if you are not working in ministry, the opportunities are actually harder to find. For instance, I do service within my work as a youth minister, but as a parishioner at my parish, I would not really have many opportunities to serve. 2) Additional engagement opportunities noted included: teaching at community college, volunteer.org is a resource with many service opportunities, attending school, educational materials such as books and podcasts, trips to Tanzania, the Internet makes many good resources available (videos by priests, Church fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas' writings, and so on), letters to the military. Reading/Podcasts are great learning materials and can really help develop understanding of the faith. To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 9, click here.
10 10. In a world which is greatly secularized, what pastoral activities are most effective for continuing the journey of faith after the Sacraments of Christian Initiation? The following statement summed up what our church should strive for to support the youth in continuing their faith journey: The most important thing for any person after the sacraments, is a strong authentic catholic community Year Old 1) Transitional challenges about church and our society were identified by this group. Helping with figuring out where to go from here and how Faith fits into life in High School and beyond. 2) This group is looking for continued support and encouragement from the church community. Be still encouraging us to keep practicing our faith and instill an attitude of evangelization and trust in God Year Old 1) This group is looking for a support system of like-minded Catholics. Service projects, faith groups, praise and worship, just any get-togethers that allow us to be in communion with each other and by extension, Christ. 2) Groups and activities that deal with societal pressures and how their Catholic faith fits in. More young adult youth groups and addressing problems that we are dealing with especially with how the teachings of our faith differ from society and societal pressures Year Old Young Adult Groups, Community and community building was a theme throughout the responses from this group. 1) Young adult groups and activities to get together and serve as a community and for faith sharing. Perhaps forming groups that host discussions among initiated about spiritual experiences related to graces received during those Sacraments. 2) Education was consistently mentioned as a way to continue to engage young Catholics. A series of age/place in life based groups to help support people in their journey. Continued learning/teaching, along with building a sense of community that welcomes and attracts all members of faith and those interested in the faith. To see detailed Synod Survey Response Results for Question 10, click here.