Millennial Catholics: Meet Donovan Serrano, 22

Donovan Serrano is from Divine Mercy Parish in Sacramento. He is a youth ministry leader, catechist and Knight of Columbus (third degree).

I consider my church experience joyful – very joyful. Getting more involved, being part of the Christian community, making so many friends and building up a spiritual family have been great experiences for me. They still are.

I serve on the youth ministry council and I belong to the “Beloved” young adult ministry. I have also been an altar server since my youth and continue to this day, both serving and training. I also belong to the Knights of Columbus and I have served as an adult chaperone for the Columbian Squires for several years.

There have been dry periods in my spirituality, but even then I continue to go the Mass and serve. Eventually I get that fire back. I keep moving forward. It’s very important.

I know a lot of young people who put faith first as their priority. Growing up, the priorities were God, family and then school/work, in that order. But I also have met many who struggle with the church on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

Just listening to young adults will help bridge the gap and help them to feel they have a home in the church. A lot of young adults have questions: Why do we do this? What is the reason for that? Understanding where they’re coming from — heart to heart — and answering with the reasons and truth is so important. I also encourage young adults to minister to youth, so the youth can look up to young adults and know how to live their faith.

It’s sad to hear negative news about the church, but the apostles didn’t leave Jesus because of the sins of Judas. One of my favorite quotes (from Father Mike Schmitz’s video) says it best: “When the church struggles through hardship, don’t leave it. Lead it.”

I hope young adults will get involved and meet their brothers and sisters. Dive into it. And practicing Catholics, share your stories to attract millennials. What we bring is valuable. We’re the now.”

How easy it may be to defer to labels and blanket definitions to understand people. The complexity of the human mind warrants a summed-up assessment of generational groupings, doesn’t it? Not so fast. Danger lurks in this approach for the simple fact, that it may prompt a dismissing attitude at the least, and close-minded denial at worst.

Catholic Herald magazine talked with “millennials” -- young adults born between 1980 and 2000 – about their Catholic faith. The Pew Research Center goes further and refers to “younger” and “older” millennials. Birth year aside, all represent the promise of the Catholic Church, deserving of time, attention and intentional listening. Here they share what’s on their minds; candidly, wistfully and bluntly. Cradle Catholics and converts, their faith stories, experiences and longings paint a vivid picture of the body of Christ – emerging adults in love with their faith, in love with Christ and each on an authentic journey to heaven.

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