The transition to adulthood leaves many young people feeling disconnected. The structures that supported them as children remain, but they look different. Their relationships with family, the community and the Church begin to change as they leap toward independence.
Often, young adults renegotiate these relationships in isolation. After college, new jobs take them away from their childhood home to a quiet apartment in a new city with few friends.
So how do these young Catholic adults make new connections and find their peers? Many look for groups like the West Metro Young Adults.
Matt Molko, core team member of the group, said its goal is to build a sense of community for young adults on the west side of the Twin Cities.
“Many of us enjoyed our youth groups in high school, but after we graduate, there is this abrupt stop at a time when we are in a transition period,” said Molko, a member of Holy Family Catholic Church in St. Louis Park. “College was our last bubble. Now we are disconnected from our roots — jobs take us out of our communities. We need to anchor on faith and make connections with new people.”
Kelsie Christopherson, another core team member, agreed. “At this time in life, we are so isolated,” she said. “There is strength in numbers. We need to be held accountable by Catholic friends.”
To begin building community, the West Metro Young Adults, with the help of Father Joseph Johnson, pastor of Holy Family, launched a Theology on Tap series Oct. 1 at Mozza Mia Pizza Pie and Mozzarella Bar in Edina.
Theology on Tap, a concept developed in an Illinois parish in 1981, brings young Catholic adults together one night per week, usually at a local bar or restaurant, for a six-week speaker and discussion series.
Father Johnson, who helped organize similar events at St. Olaf in Minneapolis and at the Cathedral in St. Paul, said the popular events bring young adults together in a “non-threatening environment to learn how to embrace their faith as adults and make their faith their own.”
The first week of West Metro’s Theology on Tap required organizers to gather extra tables and chairs to accommodate nearly 70 people, from parishes across the Twin Cities, in the lower-level party room at Mozza Mia. The mood was festive and social as people enjoyed drinks, dinner and speaker Nic Davidson’s advice on “How to Date Right.”
Using examples from Pope John Paul II and St. Thomas Aquinas, Davidson spoke about dating, love and commitment. He encouraged the young adults to throw away their ideal-mate checklists and be open to knowing others as people.
In the spirit of St. Thomas, Davidson said love is more than a feeling, it’s a choice: choosing to “will the good of another” consistently moment to moment.
“Our ultimate good is to know who we are in God’s eyes,” said Davidson. “You are the middle man to reflect God’s love to others. Choose their good over your own always, so they know how much God loves them.”
A convert to Catholicism who believes Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” saved his marriage, Davidson shared a mini-lesson from the pope’s writings on love, human sexuality and marriage. He told attendees they needed to know themselves before they could be a gift to someone else.
Davidson also explained Pope John Paul II’s four characteristics of love: free, total, faithful and fruitful. And, he encouraged attendees to “understand what real love looks like. Don’t settle for less and don’t give less. Love and be loved. Demand and give love.”
The “don’t settle” message resonated with many of the young Catholic adults.
Maria Rode from Holy Family said, “I’m exhausted from dating. It’s hard to be a good Catholic girl these days.”
After dating people that objected to her Catholic values, Rode began to question herself, but Davidson’s speech reassured her.
“The event made me more confident to keep getting out there,” she said. “I know who I am. When I find someone who knows who he is, then we can move forward.”
Want to go?The Theology on Tap series sponsored by the West Metro Young Adults group continues every Tuesday through Nov. 5. All meetings are at 7 p.m. at Mozza Mia Pizza Pie and Mozzarella Bar, 50th & France (3910 West 50th Street), Edina.Upcoming topics:
• Oct. 15: “The Gospel According to Pope Francis,” Father John Paul Erickson.
• Oct. 22: “Femininity: Men and Women in a Gender-Free Culture,” Leah Jacobson.
• Oct. 29: “Get Out of the Boat! Discover the Meaning of Your Life!” Deacon Thomas Winninger.
• Nov. 5: “Grill the Priest: Your Questions, Father’s Answers,” Father Joseph Johnson.
Category: Next Gen