Opinion of young Ukrainians will be taken into account at Pontifical Synod on Youths
In 2017, the young Ukrainians of the Roman Catholic Church were asked to fill in the questionnaire which became the preparatory material for the Pontifical Synod of Bishops on Youths, Faith, and Vocational Discernment, scheduled for October 2018. The Catholic Media Center presented the results of this survey.
It was mainly filled in by young people aged 16-29 who live in different regions of Ukraine, although Ukrainians from other countries - Poland, Italy, Germany, and the USA - also participated. In total, approximately 1,200 questionnaires collected from August 2017 to February 2018 were processed.
The questionnaire consisted of 54 questions in 7 sections: “Who am I”; “How do I see myself and the world around me”; “Me and the others"; “My life choices”; “Religion, faith and Church”; "My presence on social networks”; “Concluding Questions”. This survey allowed to see the views of modern young Ukrainians on the core values and role of the Church in their lives.
Among the greatest values, young people chose family, self-realization and freedom.
The best age to leave a parent's home is 20 years old and to give birth to the first child is 25 years old. Most of the respondents would like to have three children (at least two). The respondents do not see their future for the most part without creating a family and are not ready to devote themselves to a career.
Young Ukrainians perceive work first of all as a source of profit, and then as a way of self-realization and the opportunity of public service to others. Volunteering is not very popular among young people, most of the participants in the poll never participated in such actions, but as of recently the situation has begun to change – and this fact is facilitated by the active work of the Church in the field of philanthropy.
Despite the fact that educational institutions are not the most authoritative institutions in the view of modern youths, young people are convinced that education increases professional knowledge and skills, teaches to interact with others, prepares them for adult life, and helps to find work in the future.
The research showed that the religious formation, family, reading, clubs and youth groups (sports, educational, church), music, hobbies and free time, as well as friends, contributed most of all to the personal development of the polled young people. The respondents trust the church more than the hospitals, state and research institutions. In making the decision, the youth heed to the opinion of their mothers the most, the second place in authority is the opinion of clergy, and in the third –that of the father, husband or wife, a boyfriend or girlfriend, friends.
The interviewed young people live their faith experience as a meeting with the Living God. God is associated with love, life, salvation, fatherhood and truth. Jesus Christ for the new generation is their Friend, Savior and the Son of God.
The most valuable elements of the Catholic Church are youth, worship, preaching and catechesis, Catholic educational institutions, missionary activities, the activities of devout teachers and educators. The most actual tasks of the Catholic Church according to young people are the correlation between behavior and preaching, interreligious dialogue and attention to human life issues.
Young people consider different church communities, prayer meetings, chanting, trips, Taizé, spiritual guidance, and communication with consecrated persons to be the most effective ways of helping them make a worthy life choice. In order to become closer to the youth, the Church, in the opinion of the young people themselves, has to communicate more with young people, using modern forms of meetings, and to answer vital life questions.
In addition, young people are ready to help their peers to be closer to God through testimony and personal example of life, prayer for peers, invitations to mass, and various events in parishes.
According to the report, the results of this survey will be useful not only during the Synod of Bishops, but also in the subsequent pastoral activities targeting the youths.
Answers to the open questions of the questionnaire are available on the website of the Commission for Pastoral Care Youth.