I celebrated my 70th birthday this month and I am a member of the “baby-boomer” generation. But guess what? I may be in that age group, but my thinking as an Associate of the Dominican Sisters of Peace resonates with three “millennials” (born between 1975-1995) and I think we have lots in common! Annie, Michelle and Russ were featured on a Future Church teleconference titled “Millennials Speak for Themselves.” I sat eagerly anticipating their individual responses to the question of the moderator “I am a Catholic because….” With ease, confidence and thoughtful articulation, each speaker gave their own personal reasons.
Annie gave examples that being Catholic is “messy”because it is a “both-and” religion, meaning that you can love and critique at the same time; you can desire to be available, live simply and follow Jesus knowing that you are both sinner and beloved.
Michelle drew on her experience in El Salvador and understands that God is made manifest in the poor and marginalized. She seeks “to be God’s hands on this earth,” and she seeks healing and connection with all others as she lives out Gospel values in a community of prayer.
Russ, as an older millennial, stated that being a Catholic is a call from Jesus “to conversion and transformation whether it be in El Salvador or the streets of Cleveland in daily encounters with the living God.” The mantra WWJD is always the source of his actions, responses and decisions.
As I listened to these three young people, I heard examples of the Dominican pillars of prayer, study, community and ministry in their explanations of why they were Catholics. It seemed to me that the Dominican charism “to preach the Gospel message with our lives” was evident in what they value in their life experiences. I hope that millennials and Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates keep speaking and listening to each other. We have a lot in common!