During the stages of adolescence up to young adulthood, a person starts to question the meaning of life as he struggles with three particular core issues: independence, intimacy, and identity. Ever since childhood, a person is taught by his parents, the school, and including the spiritual leaders on what to believe in this world. However, the question still lies in what beliefs will become part of the man’s personal identity(Doka, 2011). In fact, one of the ways in which a student finds answers to his search is through his spiritual life since spiritual development plays a huge part in the totality of a student’s growth, development, and learning (Capeheart-Meningall, 2005).
Helping students is a privilege, especially in higher education, in entering to an encounter with the mystery of God, the awesomeness of nature, and the richness of the human community through friendship, love, and finding the common human good in the human community. It is also the duty of the school to help students gain insight into the brokenness of humans’ relationship with God, the manner of abused nature, the many instances where destroying rather than building up human community is done (Tabora, 2014).
Catholic schools focus on instilling character so students make the right choices, no matter what the environment is dictating them to do. They provide the freedom to explore aspects of the world not found in state-mandated lesson plans; they incorporate spirituality into every aspect of the curriculum; and their teachers and leaders are held to a higher standard of professionalism, morals and ethics, both in and out of the classroom(Sanderson, 2015). They expect to produce students who are already strengthened in spirituality and values formation.
However, despite the importance of spirituality in adolescent development., research showed that less than 1% of the literature on children and adolescents had examined issues on spirituality and religiosity(Benson, 2003). In addition to this, the spirituality and religion of the adolescents have been relatively neglected by the developmental sciences(King and Boyatzis, 2004).
In view of the fact that spirituality is now being neglected, in Australia, young adults are grouped as “under-represented in church life.” They stand in stark contrast to older generations. Fifty-eight percent believes that their most important value is to enjoy life while only 27% of the older, retired generation agrees with this. On the positive side, the survey indicates that 82% of youth has a strong sense of meaning and purpose in life. However, the meaning and purpose are not expressed in church allegiance. They hold a range of spiritual beliefs. A research conducted by the Christian Research Association reports that only 15% see religious belief as important in their day to day living. A further 21% has an interest in new-age or alternative religious practices. Only 14% claims to attend church frequently. A very low percentage, 39%, of those who attend the church witnesses friendships being formed with other church attendees. This is in contrast to an older generation where 63% of older adults have friends who attend the same church(McQuillan, 2006).
In a research done by the Center for Global Education, it has been stated that in the Philippines, 86% of its population falls under the Roman Catholic. However, the young people who are mainly students, are not active in religious activities like attending mass every Sundays. But, they are active in other outreach activities organized by their peers. Young people nowadays are approaching to more personalized and different approach to their religion, considering a new approach to morality. In addition, they have more personal and experiential relationship with God(Cornelio, 2017).
Dr. Jayeel Cornelio, director of School of Social Sciences’ Development Studies Program, upon hearing complaints about the decrease of religiosity among young people and their negligence to spirituality is not surprising anymore. Youth do not go to church, understand their own beliefs, and take faith as a serious matter Educators in higher education need to appreciate the value and virtue of the spiritual dimension and other value-added aspects of life for the students. Examining Roman Catholic students in a Catholic institution is a good stepping stone in examining where to adjust and change in order to develop and sharpen their strong spiritual and moral formation. On the other hand, if this becomes neglected, it may lead to rejection of faith of one’s self (Buttery, 2005).
Thus, the researchers will attempt to present a summary of the views and perceptions of the students enrolled in San Pedro College on their own youth spirituality. It presents both the challenges and realities between the youth, the church, and the honing school. Moreover, the researchers aim to find possible solutions to fill in the space between the church and the youth through spiritual programs offered by the school and decide the current and provide new knowledge of society in the spiritual mindedness of the students. Most importantly, the Spirituality and Formation Center (SPICE) will be the school organization of San Pedro College in which this study centers to.
Review of Related Literature and Studies
Presented in this section are the syntheses of the literature about the possible factors that determine if there is truly a relationship between the spiritual programs and spiritual development of students.
2Adolescent spirituality can be seen through everyday experiences or spiritual activities. Some common practices performed by adolescents in nurturing their spirituality is by being with nature, listening to music, serving others, and solitude. These are ordinary experiences that facilitate spirituality; reading books, praying or meditating alone, expressing love, or compassion (Roehlkepartain, 2006). They do express their spirituality through participation in spiritual activities such as spending time with people with similar beliefs, attending spiritual classes, workshops or retreats, engaging in civic activities, and helping friends with problems (White et al., 2007). Additionally, survey data reveal that more than 70 percent of new college freshmen believe that spirituality and religion are important, guiding forces in their lives as students(Nash, 2008).