Catholic church reaches out to young people
St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Colorado Springs was full Wednesday, as parishioners celebrated Ash Wednesday.
The day marks the beginning of the Lent season, a time of prayer and penance that lasts until Easter. Christians have ashes in the form of a cross placed on their foreheads, symbolizing their mortality and acceptance of their sins.
"The church invites us to be renewed, to be converted again to God, to turn away from sin, to turn away from whatever could lead us away from God," said Bishop Michael Sheridan, of the Diocese of Colorado Springs.
For Bishop Sheridan, it was good to see young people in the crowd. He said the church tries to get young people involved in the church all year, not just during Lent. To do that, St. Mary's Cathedral offers campus ministries at different colleges in Colorado Springs, youth and young adult groups and Bible studies.
"I talk about a chain, that we need to create a chain, that you need to have stuff for elementary school kids, middle school kids, high school, young adult and then adults," said Nate Rose, director of catechesis for children and young adults.
He said there needs to be diversity in the programs offered to young people, and that if parents want their children involved in the church, they must be involved, too.
Young Catholics at St. Mary's said Pope Francis is giving the faith a boost.
"He's really connected with the youth, and I know he's really trying to get people to come back to being Catholic or being Christian," altar server Kaylin Gentz said.
"I know a lot of young people at my college aren't as involved, and I know I'm not 100 percent involved all the time and I need to be more," Olivia Myers said. "And I just think it's wonderful he's trying to include us."
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