Fr. Hoffman reaching out to young adults at WSU parish
Fr. Drew Hoffman said priests don’t remember the specifics after hearing confessions, but themes do emerge.
“Kid after kid walks in and says, ‘Father, I haven’t been to church for months, maybe years. I act out sexually in a bunch of ways. I’m drinking…and then they get quiet and say: I am so miserable.'”
The pastor of the St. Paul University Parish at Wichita State University said Thursday morning at a Catholic Assembly for Business meeting that young adults seem to believe that everyone around them acting similarly is not miserable. “And the next person says the same thing – and the next person – and the next.”
“I deal with young people who have fallen away from the church and from morality in general and are miserable,” he said. “A there’s a great lie, a great conspiracy, to make sure that nobody really talks about that out loud.”
Many leave church during college years
Seventy-nine percent of the people who leave the church do so by age 23, Fr. Hoffman said. “So the vast exodus you see this is during college years.”
It’s is not that there won’t be people to pay the bills if these young people don’t return to church, he said. “It’s a search and rescue for young people who are miserable and they deeply, deeply desire not to be that way,” he said.
“We’re not just working to fill our churches, we’re not just working, necessarily, for the future of Catholicism, although I deeply believe that’s true, we’re working for the future of functioning, happy human beings.”
He closed his brief talk to explain that the parish and the FOCUS missionaries are working to help WSU, Newman University, and Butler Community College students understand that true happiness is found in Jesus Christ.
He added that about 200 students are enrolled in Bible studies and that St. Paul’s hosts the latest Mass on Sundays: at 9 p.m., which drew chuckles from throughout the room.
Nearly 90 attended the meeting in Good Shepherd Hall at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. The main speaker was Matt Schlapp, a political activist and lobbyist.