The Role of the Church in Evangelizing Urban Youth: a Case of St. Peter Claver’s Catholic Parish, Nairobi County
The study examined the role of the Church in evangelizing urban youth focusing on St Peter Claver’s Catholic Parish, Nairobi County. It looked at the nature and problems faced by these urban youth and gave recommendations on how best they can handle current and emerging disturbances for a more significant evangelization. It examinedrelevant Church doctrines and theologians’ reflections on evangelization of people in general and Nairobi urban youth in particular. The study soughtto find out how the youth can be empowered to face their challenges and thus be better evangelized within the “Family of God”. This was achieved through the above objectives which are hypothesized accordingly below. It also served in scrutinizing the multi-ethnic urban youth in St Peter Claver’s Catholic Church, Nairobi County, the diversified evangelization activities they are engaged in and the reality of their situation in life. The Study created awareness that implantation method of propagating Christianity contributes greatly to ineffective evangelization of urban youth in St Peter Claver’s Church as it verified that the RCC has well trained agents of evangelization, comprehensive doctrines, theologians’ reflections towards evangelization of people in general and St Peter Claver’s Nairobi urban youth in particular and to draw out the arising implications of the Study and emerging recommendations in tandem with areas for further research. The main hypothesis of the Study was that St Peter Claver’s Nairobi urban youth are not adequately evangelized to empower them to live in accordance with Christ’s standards in their concrete day to day lives in the City and elsewhere. The specific hypotheses were that despite their peripheral pastoral involvement in ministry, the numerous urban youth in St. Peter Claver’s Catholic Church Nairobi are poorly evangelized in integrated pastoral ministry which is of little or no use in their situation in life; that the impoverishing implantation method of evangelization did not end with early Christian missionaries but it is still noticeable in pastoral ministry to St. Peter Claver’s Nairobi urban youth; that the RCC has well trained agents of evangelization, comprehensive doctrines, theologians’ reflection towards evangelization of people in general and St. Peter Claver’s Nairobi urban youth in particular; and that the emerging recommendation can and may be used to assist agents of evangelization to empower the urban youth to effectively handle the crisis they are faced with so that they can be youth who live in accordance with Christ’s ideals thereby striving to be role models to others within the “Family of God”context in the above locality and elsewhere. The Study is guided in its methodology by three complementary theories in order to pursue the aforementioned objectives and hypotheses namely: Social learning theory which is propagated by Bandura; Mediation theory whose exponents are Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff; there is also the redaction criticism theory expounded by the likes of Kasemann, Bornkamm, and Conzelman et al. Social learning theory helped in examining the causes and nature of some of the contemporary problems encountered by urban youth .Mediation theory guided the method of collection of data, analysis and way forward through the three aspects, known as socio-analytical mediation, hermeneutical mediation and practical mediation or praxis. Redaction criticism theory complemented the first theory as a very important tool for scientific drawing and in a scholarly manner from Christian main sources namely Scriptures, Christian Tradition, and traditions. Both primary and secondary sources were used for data collection. 2 Sampling of respondents was done through non-probability purposive sampling technique. The findings and analysis of the Study created awareness that urban youth are of diverse categories, that the challenges they face are not uniform in nature and that they vary according to their individual circumstances thus in great need of specific, rather than en masse evangelization. Expectation was, therefore, placed on the pastoral agents to pay attention to these peculiar categories of urban youth and their accompanying existential problems thereby striving to find out relevant more effective ways of assisting them in the endeavor of addressing these challenges in the contemporary society as individuals within the context of the “Family of God.” The Study Furthermore explicated some of the contemporary insidious problems that these urban youth encounter particularly as Christian youth in a “worldly” society which is both secularized as well as facing the strong wave of relativism and dangerous individualism. A conclusion was drawn that the RCC is well endowed with qualified agents of evangelization, theologians’ reflections, papal encyclicals cum Exhortations and comprehensive doctrines towards evangelization of people in general and urban youth in particular at St Peter Claver’s Catholic Parish but the implementation needs to be attended to taking to account the changed generations and the “signs of the times” which call for authentic inclusive Inculturation intertwined with genuine liberation. The Study further conscientizes the agents of the Good News,both ministerial shepherds and common priests, to pursue various ways of sound love, interpersonal relationships, accountability, evaluation, and proper Inculturation of the Gospel to reach the urban youth and in essence seek to achieve their proper new evangelization. The SCCs and well guided and informed devotional groupswere recommended as invaluable basic levels where the above will be achieved and the true experience of the “Family of God” be reflected while all the concerned guard themselves from hurting or wounding such a family through scandals that undermines the mentoring and role model expectations as lamented about by Pope emeritus Benedict XV1 that is highly detrimental to the youth in St. Peter Claver’s and elsewhere.
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