Recently, I sat behind a group of six young people (four guys, two girls) in Church.
They obviously were heading to Prom after Mass, and they looked superb.
The girls’ complexions were clear, their makeup and manicures were flawless. Their thin young bodies had been spray-tanned, their hair was swept up with dangling ringlets.
Their earrings sparkled. Their floor-length gowns were stunning, and they were modest enough to cover up their bare shoulders with light jackets.
The young men wore tuxes and boutonnieres, fancy shoes and ties. Their hair was combed, their faces freshly shaven.
They whispered quietly to one another and nodded at their friends seated in other pews.
The nervous anticipation practically crackled from them.
Prom is an exciting rite of passage for a young person.
And I never went.
Back in the day, if you didn’t have a date, you didn’t go to Prom.
That meant lots of us stayed home when we should have been with our classmates. Dancing. Snacking. Having fun.
How refreshing it is today that young people ALL go to Prom.
Date or no date.
Some pair off with a special someone; others go in groups.
No one has to feel left out, unless they choose not to be there.
And it’s wonderful to see so many of the teens from our Church making time to attend Mass before the festivities.
Our priest never fails to acknowledge their presence, either.
He always tells them how splendid they look, cautions them to be watchful and prudent while having fun, and reminds them that their parents — and the entire community — love them.
A few of the kids snicker. They’ve heard this message before.
The older adults nod their heads and smile. They have, too.
But it’s a message that never grows old, no matter how often it’s spoken.
These kids are our future.