Why young adults and their peers often struggle to stay in the Church and ways to rekindle the fire of faith will be the focus of a young adult conference this weekend.

Dr. Ansel Augustine, the director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, will be the keynote speaker for the Young Adult Conference from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 1927 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave., Milwaukee. The free conference is open to all adults from 19 to 39 and will feature Dr. Augustine’s talk, “Sparking the Fire of Faith: Say Not I am Too Young.”

“It is a national trend that young people ‘decide’ whether or not they will stay in the faith around eighth grade,” Dr. Augustine said. “With limited resources allocated for effective young adult ministry, many have already decided that the Church has no place for them to share their gifts.”

Not only are resources scarce for young adult ministry, but there is also a scarcity among the ordained, Dr. Augustine said.

“With only a limited amount of clergy and lay leaders willing to walk with young adults through the ‘messiness’ of the transitions that they are experiencing, many young adults find it difficult to see where the Church actually cares about what it is they are dealing with in their own personal lives, such as finding meaningful relationships, career/school transitions, buying a home, starting a family, single life and really seeing the Church preaching about current events in the world,” he said. “The key is to allow for spaces where young adults can authentically be themselves and explore, and share, their gifts with a church in their unique ways. Let them lead themselves with the assistance of others.”

In addition to his role for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Dr. Augustine is the author of the book “Leveling the Praying Field: Can the Church We Love, Love Us Back?”

To register for the Young Adult Conference, sponsored by the Office of Black Catholic and Ethnic Ministries and the Black Catholic Ministry Commission, visit https://archmil.regfox.com/sparking-the-fire-of-faith-young-adult-conference.

Dr. Ansel Augustine