Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lancaster Young Adult Catholics

Friday night was such a blast!

We had the kick-off event for Lancaster Young Adult Catholics, a new ministry formed to unite people in their 20s and 30s from various parishes in the county for food, fellowship, faith, and fun!

Twenty-six young adults came out!!

To form a group like this has always been on my heart. But, in particular, I have felt impassioned about it since August, when I moved into this cute little house across the street from St. James.

I was specifically asked by the Director of Religious Education and the Director of Youth Ministry if I would try to start something up. My "Yes!" was quite an excited one!

Unbeknown to me, the Holy Spirit was stirring the hearts of others for the same vision, too.

In November, I found myself having dinner with our diocese's Director & Assistant Director of Youth & Young Adults.

There I met Andrea and Chris, two wonderful young adults who were hoping to start the same thing in their counties.

A few weeks later, I met Peter. His parish was my childhood parish (Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church, which is just in the next town over), and the Holy Spirit was calling him to the same ministry. So we decided to start building together!

We had many challenges to overcome when we first began. But the Holy Spirit orchestrated it all perfectly.

Every detail came together with ease in the last week, with people volunteering their time, money, and talents.

Eucharistic Adoration--which hadn't originally been on our agenda--ended up being the very BEST part of our night.

Thank God for the Jesus Retreat and its focus on Adoration in the previous weekend, for this prompted me to realize that indeed Jesus's Real Presence simply MUST be at heart of our activity!

And thank God for Shawn who recommended his roommate Nate, a wonderful musician who lead us in praise and worship at the retreat and then agreed to do so for Lancaster Young Adult Catholics also!

As the date approached, I was so nervous and worried, but the kick-off went off as well as could be expected!

When the tablecloths were on the tables, the poinsettias and candles were in place, the PowerPoint was set to go, music and videos were cued, and it was finally 6:30 PM, I knew this vision was about to become a reality!

We began the night with a fun ice breaker activity so that people would get to meet everyone else in the room.

Then my beloved spiritual director, Father John McLoughlin, lead us in prayer before we began our dinner.

After dinner, Father spoke to us about what it means to be a young adult Catholic today. He spoke about us young adults as being a significant part of the Body of Christ, one that a lot of people tend to overlook.

Then Peter and I gave our PowerPoint presentation, outlining our vision for the group and the 8 facets that we hope to attain: fellowship, prayer, theology, volunteerism, worship, retreat, pilgrimage, and social networking.

We showed 3 short video clips. One was called "The Top 7 Reason to Be Catholic." The second was a cool promo for World Youth Day 2011 that had very inspriational music. And the last was a conversion story about a young adult girl who joined the faith and absolutely loves it.

After this, we collected surveys from attendees and then invited them over to the church for Eucharistic Adoration. Nate did an awesome job playing the guitar and singing. Father did an awesome job leading us in a reflection after listening to words from Scripture.

At 9:15, our night in the church ended. Father thanked everyone for coming out, then apologized for not being able to join us at Annie Bailey's, his favorite Irish pub.

Before going, we stopped at my house across the street so that I could unload my car and hug Macy.

I don't think I've ever had so many people in my house, as I did that night, other than my moving day!

Marian couldn't stop cuddling with Macy, several people played my green piano, and the doves were cooing and flying joyfully overhead.

People were closely examining all my fake food, and everyone seemed to like my Prayer Room. It was so much fun!

Once at at the pub, we laughed and talked till about 1 AM. What an awesome night!! Thank you, God, for making it all possible!