He sat in my office, his body tense with anxiety. He had years of training in theology, but nothing had prepared him for this. As he spoke to me, his eyes darted around the room, as if he was hoping to find some kind of answer written on the walls. “How do I reach them?” He asked with such sincerity that tears were almost welling up in his eyes. “I know I’m telling them about the faith. I know what they are hearing is true. But it’s like I’m speaking a foreign language.” And then he looked up at me, hopeful that I could answer his important question: “How can I talk to teens about the faith in a way that they will listen to?” His experience (and frustration) is hardly unique. Many adults who try to pass the faith on to youth feel like they are speaking to people from a different planet. The General Directory for Catechesis tells us that to pass the faith on to young people, we “must adopt a missionary dimension rather than a strictly catechumenal dimension.” (GDC 185) As catechists to youth, we cannot envision ourselves as people who are teaching a group of “little adults”. Instead, we must view ourselves as missionaries to a foreign culture.
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