The book is one of a series of books that has emerged from the research done for the ‘Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project’, conducted by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. Both authors played prominent roles in this research study. The late Dean Hoge was the lead researcher and analyst of the study of the next generation of pastoral leaders and Marti Jewell served as director of the project from 2003 to 2009.
The Next Generation of Pastoral Leaders: What the Church Needs to Know showcases the voices of Catholic young adults in the US, most of who are active at least to some extent in the Church. Their views and opinions about various aspects of Church leadership and discussions of their current and/or future personal involvement in Church ministry are an attempt to understand what the future of pastoral leadership might look like.
Chapter 1 introduces us to the current scene of the US Church with its many changes since Vatican II, and describes Catholic young adults in their state of ‘emerging adulthood’. Through Chapters two and three, their interests in lay ecclesial ministry and in ministry as a priest, brother, sister or deacon, are explored through excerpts from their interviews. This is followed by a discussion of their attitudes towards the future of priests and lay ministry. Chapter five portrays the daily experiences of young lay ministers as theyare taken on the joys and challenges of their work, and in the concluding section we read about their opinions and recommendations for the future of the Catholic Church. The narratives throughout the book provide a comprehensive picture of what young adults think and feel about their faith and their engagement with it. They reveal real challenges that future leaders might face but they also offer the opportunity for discernment and preparation for what lies ahead. The book will be particularly helpful for pastors, pastoral planners, ministry directors and others interested in developing effective pastoral leaders among religious and lay people in the Catholic Church.