Theme 2022: The Liturgy and the Experience of the Youth
The rapid decline in the practice of the faith among the youth is a crucial challenge that the Church needs to face. However, it is essential to know how to respond to the problems. When a recent poll indicated that only a third of Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, much was said about renewing catechesis. When another study indicated than less than 10 percent of young people raised in the Church still practice their faith as adults, much was said about new evangelization initiatives.
While all that has an important place, it is significant that not much was said about the centrality of renewing the celebration of the liturgy itself. In fact, liturgical renewal and evangelization are intrinsically united, as St. John Paul II said to a group of American bishops: “It is essential to keep clearly in mind that the liturgy is intimately linked to the Church’s mission to evangelize. If the two do not go hand in hand, both will falter.”
This is particularly true for young people: liturgical renewal is the source and summit of a renewed evangelization of the youth. It is in the faithful and living celebration of the sacred liturgy that Christ can most effectively touch the true experience of the youth, while offering through the Church the hope our society so urgently needs, as Benedict XVI said to young people gathered in New York: “The Church’s liturgy is a ministry of hope for humanity. Your faithful participation, is an active hope which helps to keep the world – saints and sinners alike – open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone.”
The 2022 Society for Catholic Liturgy’s Conference to be held in Denver will feature papers and pastoral presentations that explore different aspects of the theme of the liturgy and the experience of the youth, in the context of the process of Eucharistic revival promoted by the U.S. Bishops. Topics can include the authentic celebration of the liturgy; the sense of mystery; the richness of tradition; the relations between liturgy, evangelization, and service to the poor; the right place of Eucharistic adoration; liturgical music, art, and architecture; community and liturgy; preaching; the connection between adventure, longings and liturgy, among others.
Presentations are expected to be 30 minutes in length for full panels, 20 minutes in length for student panels. Each panel will be followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Papers can be submitted for publication in the Society for Catholic Liturgy’s journal Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal.