‘Hope’ as young countercultural Catholics are emerging in Ireland

‘Hope’ as young countercultural Catholics are emerging in Ireland Bishop Fintan Gavin chatting with a young man.

Catholic youth groups in Ireland have said they are experiencing a resurgence, drawing hundreds of young people to faith-based activities and community service.

Bishop Fintan Gavin of Cork and Ross said the resurgence gives him hope: “I am very hopeful. We had last Sunday the Eucharistic procession and we had more than 4000 people. Many of them were young people that were living their faith on the streets. It is not about numbers, but it is about being there… We need to find a way where young people can be in the culture of today and be a life-giving force within that culture. Not running away from the culture but not embracing every aspect of the culture either. That is why young people need the support of one another”.

Bro. Martin Kenneally, from the Presentation Brothers who celebrated the profession of a new brother last weekend, points out that “There is a young Catholic counterculture emerging in Ireland.  They are genuine young people searching for meaning.”  Br Kenneally works with many youth leaders in Cork, including those involved the Leadership Education and Formation Project at Mardyke House.

Several prayer group organisers interviewed by this paper also say they are seeing a resurgence of interest among young people.

Eoin McCormack, a parish catechist based in Rathmines, Co. Dublin said that sixty mostly young people, packed into a small café for a talk on ‘Does God exist?’

Mr McCormack said: “We as a Church need to be creative in our apologetics and getting back to what it means to be a Christian… The younger people who are making the jump to come to church want community, but they also want the answers to their faith. We are in the position to give 2000 years of philosophy and theology on the good life” he said.

Bishop Fintan Gavin notes that “Maybe we come from a picture in the past that we had too much support from the culture, and we keep contrasting things. This is where we are called to be ‘the Church of the here and now’ as St Joan of Arc said. We need to be signs of hope. A Christian without hope is not really a Christian.

Read the feature piece here – Young Catholic counterculture emerging in modern Ireland