The #1 prayer request we receive at Relevant Radio® is parents asking us to pray that their children come back to the Church. It is a heartache for many, and an important issue for all of the Church as we seek to pass on the Catholic faith to the next generation.
“This is a critical issue, because 80% of Millennials are leaving the Church by age 23. Bishop Robert Barron says that the most significant challenge facing the Church today is the attrition of our own people. So this is a very critical topic, a very important topic.
I don’t think there’s a family out there that doesn’t have at least one child, or godchild, or grandchild that isn’t away from the faith. In fact, some say that half their kids are away, or all of them are away. We raise them all the same, but the world gives them a lot of distractions, and free will causes many of them to leave.”
Peterson shared some tips for parents and grandparents to keep in mind when seeking to invite their children back to the Catholic Church. He said:
Trust in the Lord
God loves our children more than we could ever love them. And part of it is spiritual warfare, that the evil one wants us to be frustrated, and in despair and angst over our children who are away, especially.
God is taking care of them. He may put a St. Ambrose in their life, like He did for St. Monica during her many years of prayer, when she was praying for her son, Augustine, to come back.
Begin with Love
We have to always remember that when we evangelize, when we pray, when we do anything, it has to be done with humility and love. God is in control, we’re not, and we have to be humble enough to know that it’s according to His plan. And we have to be humble and loving when we speak to others who are away from the Faith.
That has to be the basis of everything. It’s better to shut our mouths and pray than to say the wrong thing that is going to offend and drive people away. There comes a tipping point when you have to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to resort to prayer, and I’m going to speak with love. If I plant a seed, it’s going to be done with humility and love.’
Plant Seeds of Hope
Ask questions like, ‘Are you curious?’ ‘Can you imagine what your life would be like if…?’ And plant those seeds of hope in their life, because a lot of our kids feel like they don’t have hope. And they’re off-track because they’re overwhelmed with the world. Counselors are seeing so many more Millennials who are cutting, who are suicidal. They just can’t handle the stress. Christ is the answer! But we have to present Christ to them in a relevant and appealing way.
Find Common Interest
Millennials love Pope Francis, and some may have a warped view of Pope Francis and the Church, but what they like about him is his social justice heroism. Washing the feet of the women in prison, helping the poor, living humbly – they love that.
So, you know what? If that is a door opening, and I think he’s brilliant, and wise, and holy and he knows it is. He knows the problems we face. He’s a very smart man and a very holy man. I think he knows that we need to emulate that too, and use that as a possible bridge to help invite others back.
Be a Light
Our society, with Facebook, selfies, and all that, has made us a very self-centered generation and culture. And when a true Christian shines the light and does something out of love for another, it really stands out.
What did they say about the Early Church? See how they love. We need to love more, and we need to do that with humility, and we need to do that more often. I think when we do that more often, more people, including our young people, will come back to the Church.
Remember – One Step at a Time
We need to come across as agreeable, we need to listen to our children, and we have to know to take this one step at a time. It’s not going to happen overnight, we need to build that relationship with trust and love.
Millennials more than anything are looking for authenticity. They want us to be real, and they don’t want to be lied to, they don’t want to be sold. And I think when we start humbling our hearts, speaking with love, serving, and then just praying for God or someone else to come into their life, then good things will start to happen. But it’s slow.
More resources on bringing your Millennial children back to the Faith can be found at CatholicsComeHome.com
Listen to the full conversation with Tom Peterson below:
Morning Air airs weekdays at 6:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio.