How Are Teens “Capturing the Faith” Today?

How Are Teens “Capturing the Faith” Today?

At this past week’s Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles, I was drawn into a discussion about how well I was catechized as a teen. It wasn’t a perfect experience: we did not have a Catechism, like today’s teens, but we did have the Bible and books like Believing in Jesus. When I was a teen, I was not encouraged to attend teen Eucharistic Adorations, but I did attend prayer meetings and Bible studies. We did not wear rosary rings or bracelets, but we did wear wooden crucifixes and we covered our Bibles in burlap.

As the discussion progressed, I realized I was taught by my parents and my Catholic high school teachers to know and understand God’s holy Scripture.

Perhaps this is why I ended up with a career in Catholic book publishing?

In my opinion, each new generation of teen Catholics considers their parent’s faithfulness. Then, these teens, along with their teachers and youth ministers, develop newer ways of understanding and living the Church’s faith with new devotions, emphases and direction. I believe this is a normal part of a teen “capturing” the faith and making it their own faithful experience.

What was your experience of “capturing the faith” as a teen?

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About the Author

Barbara Baker works in Marketing in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Marivelcastillo

    I remember just hanging out in CCD with friends and being able to freely express my thoughts about the faith with them. Hanging out and going to church together helped built that friendship with God. We had a common ground. I later became very involved in our youth group and became a leader.

    • BarbaraKB

      Marivelcastillo, “hanging out” is one of the best gifts our Church can give teens. In catechetical circles, it’s called “community.”

  • rationalist

    I’m unfamiliar with the term “capturing the faith.” I think you should use the more common terms, such as “indoctrination”, “brainwashing”, or “believing unsubstantiated nonsense.”

    • BarbaraKB

      Welcome, rationalist! Perhaps your other terms are why I believe faith is to be captured and not forced.

  • Lisa M. Hendey

    Barbara, I love this topic! Like you, my experience was very dissimilar to today’s way of teaching the faith. The nuns, priests and laity who taught me in Junior high and high school had different teaching styles, but the truth of the matter is that they instilled in me a deep love for Christ and for his church. I hope some day my sons will say the same… 

    Ours was a “hands on” learning approach – service to parish and to the poor, involvement in liturgies and music, and lots of prayer. My high school had a daily Communion service that most of us never missed — just a quick fifteen minutes but it was the way we started each day’s lunch break. I guess I didn’t realize then what a gift that was, but it paved the way for my daily mass habit in college.

    Great question!

    • BarbaraKB

      Well, Lisa, it can be revealed, you were one of the four others I was discussing this with at LAREC. Your “hands on” insight is interesting: perhaps this is why you are so hands on “helpful” to so many online at!