However at the back of my mind I knew that his need to learn more about the faith would largely remain unaddressed. Now outside of the seminary, such familiarity with formation in the Catholic faith, rooted in the Scripture, passed on to us by the living Tradition of the Church and her teaching office (Magisterium), celebrated in its sacred liturgy and made alive in our present social, moral and economic millieu, would be very hard to come by. However, the fact is, such education in the faith of young people need not be confined to seminaries and other religious houses of formation. It is a need being increasingly felt by young people and their guardians everywhere. I would be limiting my view within the domains of the Palo Archdiocese. It is very evident that this formation in the faith given to young people within our local Church is largely inadequate, without prejudice to the efforts of many of our religious workers, whether they be priests, religious or lay. This is a need that is largely felt and sorely needed especially among young adults in the collegiate level, who are trying to look for a rock upon which they could stand on while being perfectly secure that it IS a rock that they're standing on. This is the solidity which Catholic faith would certainly furnish the upcoming generation with a sure criteria for life. This is precisely that which is being inadequately served, if not totally missing, in the eduction of our youth. Even in so-called Catholic institutions I would dare say that such instruction is inadequate (well, at least most of them). to add to the urgency is the fact that other Christian denominations and sects are getting the upper and in forming these young people, many of whom are supposedly (or where once) Catholics.
To what kind of instruction am I referring to? With regards to Catholic institutions, this would not be just values education, nor religion classes, but the catechism of the Catholic faith, pure, unadulterated, without exempting the challenges that accepting would necessarily entail. In the non-sectarian educational institutes, a formation in solid human and Christian virtues. Well, you don't have to be Catholic to be diligent or prudent or have a strong sense of commitment.
This all boils down to the point that we need to rethink and study the way we give this kind of formation and education in our centers of learning here in the Archdiocese. And I would not be just talking about studying and rethinking it, but most of all in making it work in favor of our young people; to make it not just a sporadic thing for our youth such as summer youth camps youth encounters (which hold a privileged place in their formation), but a constant and permanent feature of their education. This has been the itch that I've been feeling ever since I began to be acquainted with students while conducting recollections and retreats in different schools, and in listening to their confessions, in answering patiently their questions and in listening to their views and concerns. I think it's high time to revive the Campus Ministry once again as a formation of the human person in the faith. Anyway, isn't this one of the reason why we said "yes" to the call of the Lord in the first place?
I bid good-bye to the boy as we were going out of the bookstore, promising him that I would be keeping him in my prayers, as usual. And through him, I would be praying for his companions, and for theirs in turn, that very soon we would be able to address this screaming need among our young people.