Young professionals find faith, fellowship at vespers event

| Jennifer Janikula | October 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

For most young adults, life is noisy. They are bombarded by text messages, phone calls, e-mails, bosses, professors, parents, friends, traffic, Twitter and Instagram.

The input never slows, and to find silence they need to forcefully disconnect. But even the most faithful often struggle to make time for prayer and reflection.

At the same time, the transition to adulthood generates many spiritual questions: What does it mean to be a Catholic in this busy, crazy, media-filled world? How can I be a saint if I am not called to religious life? How can I serve my Church as a young adult?

More than a dozen alumni from the growing Catholic Studies program at the University of St. Thomas found themselves regularly discussing these issues and questions. After several months, their discussions turned into action, and Vespers at Lourdes was born.

It takes place every second Thursday at Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis (see box). The program includes vespers — chanted evening prayer — a brief lecture about seeking holiness in today’s world and fellowship with other young professionals. Seventy to 100 young adults attend each month.

Alessandro Marchetti, who works in the Catholic Studies department and is a spokesperson for the founders of Vespers at Lourdes, described the monthly event as an opportunity for young men and women to gather for prayer, a “substantial” talk and fellowship.

“Young adults want to continue feeding their life — spiritually, intellectually and socially,” Marchetti said. “It’s not a glorified Bible study; we want to understand the role of the laity in sanctifying the world, what it means to be Catholic and how to build Catholic culture.”

If you’ve never been to vespers or eucharistic adoration, Marchetti doesn’t want you to be intimidated. He said that when participants enter the church they will find pamphlets that include the words of the psalm being used for prayer. Participants can choose to pray vocally, but many just listen to the “divine rhythm” of the chanted psalms. Then, participants pray in silence for 15-20 minutes in the presence of the Eucharist.

Marchetti savors the silence.

“After more than 40 hours of work per week . . . and business travel, the opportunity to sit down in quiet and pray is awesome,” Marchetti said. “It’s the most beautiful thing. It clarifies the mind and strengthens the will.”

Mike Truso, who manages the technology components of the Vespers events, said Vespers at Lourdes helps him quiet the noisy world and reconnect with Jesus.

“I am so busy with work and graduate classes that it’s hard to find personal prayer time,” Truso said. “It’s a blessing to pray the psalms during Vespers.”

Truso also explained that one event speaker, John Boyle, a professor of Catholic Studies at UST, helped him understand how to find meaning in his secular career.

“Me and so many of my friends, we see the religious life and the holiness that is there. We want that. I want to be a saint, but I know I am not being called to religious life — so how do I get that?” Truso asked. “Dr. Boyle reminded me that I can bring God into my work and offer my work as a spiritual sacrifice.”

Another vespers co-organizer, Jacob Rhein, hopes the monthly event strengthens the local Catholic community.

“With so many young professionals moving into the neighborhood apartments and condos, Northeast Minneapolis is the perfect place for this apostolic work,” Rhein explained. “We get to worship the Lord in a beautiful French Provincial church, we chant the psalms together and we have time for fellowship. Who knows what could come from this. I am excited for it to develop as the Holy Spirit leads us.”

If you go

Vespers at Lourdes offers an evening of spiritual and intellectual formation for young adults. The event takes place at Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis at 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Participants are encouraged to wear business casual attire.

Evening schedule:

  • 7:30 p.m. Chanted evening prayer, exposition of Blessed Sacrament and Benediction
  • 8:15 p.m. Beverages, hors d’oeuvres
  • 8:30 p.m. Speaker
  • 9 p.m. Social time

For more information about the event, contact or “Like” Vespers at Lourdes on Facebook.


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Category: Next Gen