You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one (John Lennon)
Which generation of Catholics do you think this data describe?
- 66% believe in God and are absolutely certain
- 58% say religion is very important in their life
- 38% attend a religious service at least once a week
- 60% pray at least daily
- 48% meditate at least once a week
- 58% experience a feeling of spiritual peace and well-being at least once a week*
If you guessed the Baby Boomers, you would be right! They are between 57 and 75 years of age (born 1946-1964). They represent 30% of the adult population in the U.S.
The movements and events that were formative include:
- civil rights
- Vietnam War
- women’s liberation
- rise of television
- Second Vatican Council
Leonard Steinhorn is the author of "The Greater Generation; In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy". He shares his thoughts on what this generation as a whole (not just Catholics) values.
This generation values a freer, more open society: “Personal freedom, tolerance, openness, transparency, and equality – these are the values of the Baby Boom era, and we live them daily at home, work, school, and in our many relationships.”
This generation values the role of women: “For women, the Baby Boom era has been one of breathtaking change – in a single generation, American women have effected one of the greatest social metamorphoses in recorded history. What women are able to do today would have been unimaginable four our five decades ago, at best the stuff of utopian fantasy or science fiction.”
This generation views diversity as a moral value: “For too long, America denied blacks, gays, and other minorities their dignity and rights, but in the Boomer era, we have enlarged the melting pot to include those once scorned and excluded.”
This generation values the environment: “Under Boomers, environmental protection has become a powerful new norm in American society. No longer do we tolerate toxic run-offs and progress at any cost.”
Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs, 29:18)
I do not know how many of our missionaries went to Woodstock (1969), celebrated the first Earth Day (1970), or campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment (1971-72), but I do know they share a dream with our Baby Boomers. It is a dream for a world of greater equality and tolerance, a world that is more open and inclusive. It is a dream for a world that respects the inherent dignity of every human being regardless of gender, race, culture, religion, or country of origin.
Inspired by their faith in Christ, our missionaries put these values into action every day in places ranging from the food pantries in West Virginia to parish outreach programs in the poor neighborhoods of Kingston, Jamaica. Our ministry is made possible by partnering with like-minded supporters. If you would like to learn more about Society of the Divine Word missionaries, please click here.
*(Pew Research Center)