Young adult ministry taking new shape

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Dianne Towalski
The Visitor

The Diocese of St. Cloud will offer a daylong event for young adults next month in conjunction with the annual youth rally.

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Steve Angrisano

The event, planned for Oct. 24 at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, is a collaboration between diocesan campus ministry leaders, Central Minnesota TEC, parish ministry leaders and Catholic Education Ministries that aims to reach out to young adults, out of high school up to age 26, and bring them together for a day of fun, fellowship, prayer and faith sharing.

“It’s really a day to bring people together,” said Kent Schmitz, diocesan consultant for youth ministry.

“We want to provide a venue for young adults to come together as the body of Christ, as this demographic of the body of Christ, so they can help to build and make the church what it needs to be.”

One of the goals for the day is to listen to the needs of young adults and what they want young adult ministry to look like.

“I think a lot of churches don’t know how to reach out to their young adults,” said Jason Prigge, youth ministry/ministry assistant at St. Benedict Parish in Avon. “It’s a difficult subject but my hope and prayer is that this is a gateway to amazing things.”

Prigge, a student at St. Cloud State University, has been helping plan the event. He looks forward to networking with others his age and hearing their stories.

“There is something to be said about sharing stories with one another,” he said. “I’m a young adult myself and it’s been a lot of fun planning and thinking of ways to better reach my peers and meet them where they are at.”

Keeping young adults engaged in the church also is a challenge. Going off to college, getting jobs and starting families sometimes makes it hard to settle somewhere. Benedictine Sister Sharon Nohner, director of campus ministry at the College of St. Benedict, says that, at times, young adults can’t get rooted in a place long enough to form a community of others searching for authentic ways of living their faith.

“Having an event that focuses on young adults is critical to the next stage of spiritual development,”she said.

“This is a critical stage in the development of a young adult and our role is to help them walk through the searching and questioning to a place where God is at the very center of their life shaping their choices and values,” she added. “It will look different for each person, but this is a critical pivotal moment and we as church need to be there.”

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. with an informal gathering for coffee and fellowship. The main events of the day will be a performance by Comedy Sportz, an improv group based in the Twin Cities, followed by speaker and musician Steve Angrisano, who will lead the group in reflection on their lives, prayer and song. A Mass with Bishop Donald Kettler and a catered dinner will round out the day.

“The more we create a place for people to experience prayer, community and most importantly, the sacraments…the stronger we are,” said Angrisano. “To some degree, young adults are a moving target. It’s a hard community  to reach, but no doubt, as I travel all over the country, and have for 26 years, there is a wave of enthusiasm for faith and hunger for God and desire to come together in the young adult church.”
Students involved in campus ministry at colleges in the diocese will help host the event and also will help with the liturgy.

“I have no doubt that God will speak to the hearts of those that come,” Angrisano said. “It’s my prayer that they don’t remember some guy showing up with a guitar and telling his story. The goal is for them to walk away feeling a sense of God’s presence in their own story and feeling like we all experienced that together. Hopefully they walk away with  the passion to go claim it and live it out every day.”

For information about the event and registration, visit www.stcdio.org/young_adult.