My sons are 22 and 19…they have not believed in God in at least 3 or 4 years…with the 19 year old he went to Mass until he was about 17…but neither attend now… they were raised in a totally Catholic family…went to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day…talked about religion …I am so afraid for their souls…I really do not have anyone to talk to about this…do not like the priest at our church…too pompous…sorry if that offends anyone…my husband and I are at our wits end…what can we do?
Pray and sacrifice . . . everyday.
Seek out a vibrant parish where you can find support for your own faith journey before trying to help your boys. Get deeply involved with sacramental prayer like the rosary and go to Adoration and confession.
Teens (and young adults) can sniff out pompous behavior and falseness better than older adults. How are they supposed to believe in God when a man that is supposed to lead their faith is pompous? How can you expect them to believe in the ways of the church when all they see is a leader who is aloof? Its hard enough for you…never mind young adults with not-yet-fully-developed brains.
Find young adult groups and make it easy for them to attend, realizing they may not like it and want to leave. Approach them at their level. Are they logical and need to argue it out? Are they emotional and need to have an experience where they feel something? Are they rooted and want deep, meaningful traditions to have their faith? Are steeped in relevantism? Are they interested in other religions(hinduism, etc)? Are they opposed to some sort of moral teaching? Are they exhausted in their spiritual journey? Each boy probably has separate and valid reasons for leaving the faith and to find out what each needs you need to attack the root of the problem, not focus on the fruit of the problem. (eg. not going to Mass).
You probably should talk to the priest anyway–or approach a priest at another parish. At 22 and 19 you cannot control your sons’ behavior. The priest will be helping you to know how to pray and approach them in love. I would suggest that you begin to pray a specific prayer for your sons–a daily rosary, a regular Holy Hour, a special novena. Pray that God keeps them close to His heart. Let them know you are praying, invite them to Mass (and then out to lunch!) with you, but don’t nag or fuss. Their faith has to come from their own hearts.
Well, I figure I’m only a few years from your situation. My plan. Model after the father in the prodigal son parable. Pray and place their problem in the hands of God. With a good foundation, they, like many here, may find their way home again.
We as parents can not make our children have faith. We can only plant seeds and pray for thier eventual harvest. Every child can wander. Every child can find their way home again if the get one of those “ah-ha!” moments. I suggest you put this on the prayer intentions list.
I know it’s hard to “let go and let God,” but that’s where I believe you to be. You are in good company, BTW.
Have you read the life of St. Augustine? And of his mother, St. Monica? She went through the same.
You might want to read about Blessed Pier Giorgio too who, hopefully, will be cannonized and be a role model for people the age of your sons.
Have you asked them why?