Building faith community by fostering personal relationships with God

Dear Helias Catholic family,

Over the past year I have taken part in a number of conversations with members of our diocese about how to engage young people so they will attend Mass regularly at their parishes. That question — why aren’t there more young people at Mass — is not unique to our diocese. Across the country the number of teens and young adults who attend weekend Mass in their parish has declined due to the increasingly busy lives of families, the influence of social media, the rise of a secular worldview and the lack of a connection some young people feel with their parish.

As one of our local priests told me, we need to give young people an experience of God: we need to help young people see God alive in their daily lives. One of the great gifts my time in Jesuit seminary gave me was the insight that God is all around me. Growing up in a traditional Catholic family in the 1960s, I understood that God was found in church and in the sacraments; I did not understand that God was also present in my relationships with family and friends, that God was found in the beauty of nature, music, dance, the visual arts, Scripture, literature, participating in service for those in need, and in the quiet moments sitting our own thoughts.  

My relationship with God grew over time once I began to reflect on who God is and the unlimited ways God is present in my daily life — a transformation in my understanding of God that took years. I am pretty certain my experience is not that unusual. Each of us has our own faith journey. Each of us has the opportunity to look for God in our daily lives, if only we stop, reflect and take the time to seek Him.

We are blessed at Helias Catholic to accompany students on their faith journey — a journey with a lot of twists and turns. There are moments when our spirits are uplifted as we witness a connection a person has made to their faith, and there are moments of sadness when we witness a person drifting away from the faith. Yet in the midst of it all God is present, loving us. It is in God’s time, not our time, that one comes to understand God alive in his or her life.  

It will be a personal relationship with God that ultimately leads one back to Mass and their parish community. This does not mean we should not continue to encourage attendance at Mass and active participation in the life of one’s parish. It does mean, though, that each person — especially our young people — needs understanding, love and companionship along their journey to more fully come to know God alive in their life.  

Thank you for accompanying the men and women of Helias Catholic’s faculty, staff and administration as we journey with our young people toward a greater awareness and understanding of God alive in our lives.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts — forever!

John Knight
Helias Catholic High School President

In this blog, Helias Catholic President John Knight and guest writers share updates about ongoing work to advance Helias Catholic High School’s mission to provide excellence in Catholic education and vision to build a community of saints and scholars for Christ. Please send responses, ideas, questions and friendly greetings to Mr. Knight at