PALM BEACH GARDENS | Faced with the challenge of figuring out how to reverse the exodus of young people from the church, Catholic leaders are exploring new models of ministry. A centerpiece of their efforts “is to recognize that the young church is not the future, but the church of today, and they need us now — today, more than ever,” said Andy Baker, youth and young adult ministry coordinator for the Diocese of Palm Beach.
“Young people, by virtue of their own baptism and sacraments, are fully initiated Catholics, and as so, have every right and responsibility that every Catholic has,” he said. “And so, at the parish level, we need to recognize the importance of their participation and help them fulfill their baptismal promises.”
Since being hired a year and a half ago, Baker has been working on changing the way parishes view youth ministry. He is especially alarmed by the statistics showing that about 80 percent of Catholic youth leave the church after the sacrament of confirmation.