The best Catholic resources for reaching young adults

Defining ‘Young Adult’

Introduction

The term “young adult” is widely used to describe everyone and, simultaneously, no one at all. It has been used to describe kindergarten kids and pre-adolescents, teenagers, middle-aged singles, and just about anyone else who considers themselves young and an adult. The U.S. Catholic Bishops can offer us some help. Their 1996 document on Young Adult Ministry, Sons and Daughters of the Light, defined young adults as “people in their late teens, twenties, and thirties; single, married, divorced, or widowed; and with or without children.” The bishops were quick to note that “more significant than age, the young adult years are best described through the various developmental tasks undertaken” and that the term “Young adult” has various meanings in different cultural traditions. It is the bishops’ definition above that should help you settle any argument from here on out…

About the Author

Paul Jarzembowski

Paul Jarzembowski is the Program Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Paul has served for over seven years at the helm of the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association (NCYAMA), which networks, trains, and resources church leaders across the country in the field of young adult ministry. He has been a contributing author to several books, blogs, and publications including The Next Generation of Pastoral Leaders (Loyola Press, 2010) and Young and Catholic in America (Paulist Press, 2010). He has been a contributing author to several books, blogs, and publications including The Next Generation of Pastoral Leaders (Loyola Press, 2010) and Young and Catholic in America (Paulist Press, 2010). He is a regular columnist and film reviewer for Faith Catholic. He received his M.A. in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University Chicago and is married and lives in the greater Chicago area. 

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