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April 27, 2020

Moving Beyond a Life on Hold

Young Catholics in a Time of Crisis

Young woman at supermarket wears protective mask during coronavirus

This Salt and Light Gathering for Catholics under 40 invited young Catholics to reflect on how the COVID-19 crisis has changed everything from how we work, play, and socialize to how we worship God and serve our neighbors. Many young people are working at home, others have lost their work, and some have no home. Many face an uncertain future, with work occurring at a distance from colleagues and friends. Academic programs now take place in a virtual environment that works for some but not all. Distance and separation have amplified a crisis of loneliness as young people miss opportunities to gather with friends and family. And as always, the poor and vulnerable, including those who face racial injustice and discrimination, are hit the hardest.

Faced with these challenges, Pope Francis reminds us that “this is not a time for indifference.” This online gathering explored how our Catholic faith and its teachings can help inform young people’s response to this crisis. How can we shore up relationships and community in a time of physical distancing? How can we best serve the poor and vulnerable at a time when we can’t leave our homes? How can we uphold human life and dignity at a time when the sick and elderly are faced with the reality of the “throwaway culture?” How can we best live out a faithful, principled, and effective response to the crisis? How can we live with hope in a time of fear and loss?

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Tara Isabella Burton is the author of Social Creature (2018) and Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless Age (May 2020) and a columnist for Religion News Service.

Kimberly Mazyck is the senior manager for engagement and educational outreach at Catholic Charities USA.

Ashley McKinless is an associate editor at America Magazine and co-host of the podcast Jesuitical.

Darius Villalobos is the director of diversity and inclusion at the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.

Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative, will moderate the online conversation.

This Salt and Light Gathering was for Catholics under 40 years old to explore the links between faith, Catholic social thought, and their lives and work and was co-sponsored by the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies and Office of Mission and Ministry.