The Future of American Catholicism: Lessons from the Young Church

Jeffery Kaster, Ed.D.

Adults often have negative views of young people. This quote from 400 B.C. from Socrates still has a ring of truth in it: "Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers." Even though young people have been portrayed negatively through the centuries, there is another side to the coin. Young people have amazing gifts and talents. They have much to teach us. They are seeds of the future unfolding before our eyes. Over the last twenty years the Lilly Endowment has invested a hundred million dollars fostering the next generation of young leaders for church and society. This presentation will discuss the amazingly positive lessons learned from Lilly's youth theology initiative and explore its implications for the future of American Catholicism. Time will also be spent reflecting on how these insights can impact our own children and grandchildren.

Jeffery Kaster



Jeffrey Kaster, Ed.D., is the Director of Youth In Theology and Ministry Program for Saint John's University School of Theology and Seminary and an adjunct professor of theology at Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict. Jeff completed an M.A. in scripture from Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary in 1984 and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Minnesota in 2008.

Dates & Locations

Saturday, October 18, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Drury Inn & Suites, 1118 Central Park Dr., O'Fallon, IL 62269 (I64 to exit #16, not to be confused with location off exit #14)

Friday, October 31 - 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Emmaus Hall, 31802 County Road 159, Collegeville 56321

Friday, November 14 - 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Emmaus Hall, 31802 County Road 159, Collegeville 56321

Thursday, November 20 - 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 N. 17th Street, Minneapolis 55403


A typical Theology Day consists of registration and refreshments, followed by a period of conversation/presentation/lecture. The conversation then continues as participants are given a chance to continue their discussions with one another. Morning presentations are followed by a complimentary lunch for all participants, and most evening sessions also include a meal.

There is no fee for Theology Day, but registration is required.  Free-will offerings and gifts to support the mission of the School of Theology·Seminary are gratefully accepted.

For more information, contact our Development Office at 320-363-3570 or [email protected].