My phone has every piece of information I ever will ever need within it, so why do I feel like I know less now than I did ten years ago? Why do I no longer know my way around town without my phone? Why am I at a loss at a break in conversation at dinner and feel a compulsion to reach to my phone just to occupy the silence? I think many people ask the same questions that I often ask and many people, like me, both love and hate the technology that drives our society.
What our phones give us is instant gratification, but what they can never recreate is human accompaniment. The conversations, relationships, journeys that we take with one another and the knowledge that we are truly known by another cannot be replicated, and they make us whole. God wants to walk with us on our pilgrim journey of faith, but we have to give him the time and the space to speak, to listen and to encourage us. For young men and women who have grown up even more attached to their devices than a millennial like me, accompaniment becomes paramount.
This is why my approach to vocation promotion has to go far beyond making flyers or sending out bulk emails about events or making a great website and updating social media. Young people need to be accompanied. They need to be listened to, and when they are, it is inspiring to hear how deep their faith is and how much they want to know about God’s will for them. Our wider society may be moving further away from God, but young people are very open to hearing the Gospel and they are looking for ways to grow in their faith and support one another. Our diocesan SEARCH retreat proves this twice a year. The high school juniors and seniors are always inspired by their time away together, and then they take leadership positions and help with the next retreat.
Parish leaders are stretched in a thousand different directions, but if I give one piece of advice. Don’t worry so much about which programs you use, but ask yourself, are my people being accompanied within these programs. Are they able to get real support from parish leaders, from priests and catechists? That is what this generation needs, a connection that is not technological, a connection that is human. And that human connection will help them to feel less alone in an increasingly isolated world and your sacrifice will show them God’s love for them as well and encourage them to consider whether they are being called to be a priest or nun called to accompany God’s people in a special way in the Church.
– Father Nick Adam
Friday, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2020 – Annual Notre Dame Pre-Discernment trip. Open to men of any age who are open to a call to priesthood, we will spend three days on the campus of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.