The Future of Church? Bright!


Sister Hannah, right, was one of the mentors (along with me) for the high school students responsible for prayers at NCYC.

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Recently one of the sisters in my community sent me an article about a conference called “New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church: An Exploration of the American Catholic Church Going Forward.”

Our church is certainly in a time of change. We are moving to something new, which is all we know for sure.
But change is nothing to despair over. In fact, I have hope for our future. I have hope that families and young people will continue to create a church of love and service … despite the complaints that they are absent on Sundays from the pews.
How do I know?

Well, last weekend I spent 3 days with 56 high school students who were leading prayer for more than 20,000 of their peers and chaperons at the National Catholic Youth Conference.

There, in front of me, beside me, and in back of me was the future. Young people everywhere!

These high schoolers were excited and happy to share their faith. They participated in prayer, adoration, Eucharist and Reconciliation.

NCYC-They listened to speakers who challenged them to not be scared to answer God’s call. To be proud to be followers of Jesus.

The 56 high schoolers I mentored as they worked to create and lead prayer (alongside 9 other vocation directors) served with the love of Christ.

They inspired us all to deep and joyful prayer!

The whole conference was a beautiful example of what our church is becoming. I thank those young adults for showing it to – and sharing it with – me.


Students with Benedictine Sisters Stefanie, left, Hannah, center, and Belinda, right.



The students sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” for one of their prayers.


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