I graduated school in 2007 after spending by whole schooling life at my Catholic school. No one in my graduating year attends Church. I also fell away for some time but thankfully God brought me back. From my own experience young people leave the Church for two main reasons, and we must admit our problems before we can solve them.
Im not sure what it is like now but for the 12 years I went to a Catholic school the religion classes were simply a free period where we could write in our journals and draw pictures they were not read by the teachers. Then for our final two years of high school religion classes were about life in general rather than christian life. Students need apologetics because young people crave knowlege, and we are taught not to follow things blindly. We were never taught that religion actually has logical reasoning as well as faith. I always questioned how do we know Catholicism is the right religion. And we were simply not taught these sorts of things.
2. Engaging in Church Life and Mass
In my country (Australia) I can see protestant youth groups growing by the masses, yet our own Catholic youth groups appear to be dying. Young people need to be engaged. In this case I think we need to look at the protestant denominations and learn something from them. I also think music could be a great draw card into the Church. But as soon as someone mentions using contemporary instruments in the mass people get up in arms.
I went to mass today, looked around, 99% of the people attending were over the age of 40, with the majority of those looking to be older than 60. Before i continue i want to say the miracle of the mass is beautiful and in no way is what im about to say meant to take away from it. The music was utterly horrible. An organ playing, with a chior of 5 people singing the blandest music I ever hear. Mass is meant to be something powerful. I honestly believe that if we improved our music minisrtys we could engage so many more young people. But because the mass music can be so dry people stop thinking what the mass is about and start thinking they cant wait to get out of there. Loosing focus on the mass, what it is about, and eventually start leaving.
For once i think we need to look at the protestant churches who in my country are growing in numbers in every day. Although they are not Christs church, they sure do know how to evangelise young people, and this is what we need to start doing.