When Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., then a 28-year-old priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, founded Notre Dame in 1842, he established it to serve the Church and society in many ways. The launch of this platform is among the ways the University continues that mission today.
The generation of millennials are young adults who want to make a difference, seek meaning in their lives and exhibit genuine spiritual longing, yet they are less engaged with religious institutions and practice. Grotto Network seeks to provide a resource for this generation, and particularly those who identify as Catholic, in their search for meaning and spiritual sustenance, conveying to them the beauty and mystery of the faith.
“For 175 years, the University has sought to educate the minds and inspire the hearts of young people,” said Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “Grotto Network is our effort for this time as we — in partnership with many others, but especially local parishes — employ technology with which this generation is conversant, help millennials live richer lives, experience the joy of the Gospel and use their talents in generous service to others.”
Through video storytelling, authentic online conversations, social campaigns and practical tools for navigating career, finance, personal wellness and relationships, Grotto Network will engage Catholic millennials’ desire to make an impact in their communities and cultivate their spirituality — ultimately encouraging them toward deeper participation in their parishes.
“I am a firsthand witness to the power of digital media to embolden young adults to become agents of transformation,” said Sarah Yaklic, director of Grotto Network, who developed social media campaigns that yielded global and national trending in her former role as the director of digital media for the Archdiocese of Washington. “Through a robust digital strategy, the Grotto Network team will accompany young adults where they are — online — as we share a message of God’s healing love.”
“There is no mistaking the pastoral challenge that the Catholic Church and other religious communities are facing today,” said Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., vice president for mission engagement and Church affairs. “Despite changes in religious practice, young people still long for meaning. Grotto Network will seek to increase young people’s attentiveness to how the hand of God is at work in their lives.”
Contact: Amanda Skofstad, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4313, firstname.lastname@example.org