C21 Student Voices Project

C21 Student Voices Project


Boston College Students at Mass


The Student Voices Project

Understanding that young people are the future of the Catholic Church, the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College launched the Student Voices/Future Church Project (SVP) in 2019 to engage young people in conversation about their faith and the Church's future. The SVP sponsored small focus groups and recorded more than 540 students' experiences through brief surveys. SVP focused on a few major questions: 

What have been your best experiences in the Church? What have been your worst experiences in the Church? What are your hopes for the Church? What challenges do you see for the Church today and tomorrow? What are some ways to renew the Church? What nourishes you? If you could tell Pope Francis one thing, what would you tell him?

How Students Participated:


They completed brief online surveys.


Students who filled out our online survey were entered into a raffle to win a Boston College prize pack or gift card.

They joined us for small group luncheon discussions.

At the end of the survey students could register to attend a 50-minute conversation over free lunch on campus or through Zoom. (All social distancing protocols were practiced.)

They were also entered into an additional raffle for Boston College Bookstore gift cards.



Boston College Students at St. Ignatius Church


What We Learned

The first phase of SVP data analysis revealed how students' experiences at Boston College helped to nourish their faith. Here is what we found: 

Boston College students desire a sense of community on campus and around their faith.

Boston College students are willing to and interested in engaging with questions of faith outside of the Mass.

Boston College's coursework and distinctive academic programs are major sites of engagement with questions of faith.

Boston College students believe that hospitality around the Mass and other Catholic programs is important. 


Pope Francis with Students


Answering Pope Francis' Call

The first phase of the SVP demonstrated the unique faith needs and desires of young people, as the hopes they have for the future Church. Now, the SVP model is supporting Pope Francis’ call for Catholics around the world to share their ideas to help shape the future Church.

Now, the SVP model is supporting Pope Francis's call for Catholics around the world to share their ideas to help shape the future Church. Through small group conversations and a brief survey, the SVP now invites high school, college, and graduate students from anywhere in the United States to participate in the preparation for the 2023 Synod on Synodality.

Just as we listened to the voice of every student who participated in the first phase of the SVP to help inform ongoing campus initiatives, the expanded second phase of the SVP will allow young people to communicate their ideas directly to the Vatican, inspiring what may become a pastoral conversion in the Church toward a greater appreciation of the experiences and ideas of the next generation. 


New Student Voices Project: For a Synodal Church