Catholic young adults felt the hierarchy started listening to them in preparation for the 2018…
The big young-adult question: How do I find friends?
When I moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to start my job at Our Sunday Visitor, I was truly taking a leap of faith. It wasn’t the job that made me nervous; it was the big unknown: How would I find a community?
My new town and job was four hours away from my family, and I knew no one in the area before moving. And, as a natural introvert, going outside of my comfort zone to meet people was anything but second nature. I was used to the structures of family and school ushering me into communities. But this time I had to be intentional about searching for these people.
I hoped to find a group of peers centered on their faith, similar to the deep friendships I developed through my college’s campus ministry, where everything was at my fingertips. Moving to a new town, I thought, would not be that simple.
Maybe God spoils me, but it didn’t take long to find friends in the area.
Within a day of moving, I was already meeting young adults at a cookout hosted by the priest of my soon-to-be parish. The group itself, centered around Scripture and community, was organized by two gals who were also transplants to the area, one of whom was a colleague. Though a few years older than myself, their desire to find like-minded peers had encouraged them to build the community they had hoped to find, and the timing couldn’t have been any better for me.
Soon, I noticed other groups popping up all around me. One started up after a few friends and I hosted a priest for dinner after a weeknight Mass. Soon we were having dinner at the rectory and inviting other young adults, resulting in a gathering twice a month on Tuesdays. Another group saw the need for more availability to the Sacraments for young adults, and now we offer weekly Mass, adoration and confession on Wednesday evenings, complete with fellowship afterward (and often a bonfire). On Mondays, I meet with a small group of women to discuss anything from types of prayer, to favorite saints, to how to live as a young Catholic woman in the 21st century, to the big question of vocation — all over a glass of wine or something chocolate. Each of these groups have filled a need I could not have anticipated.
And the beautiful part of these groups is how they came about. Individuals or a small group of friends saw a need and took the initiative to meet it. They didn’t wait for a parish or the diocese to start something for them, though these do exist and can be very successful. Instead, they did something.
Maybe I landed in a gold mine of driven individuals of faith. Or maybe this is a broader representation of the young faithful taking the lead. I think it’s the latter. Young adult communities like these are popping up all around the country. And while not all young professionals are as lucky as I was to be placed in such a vibrant community, my experience gives me hope for the future of the Church.
Ava Lalor is assistant editor for OSV Newsweekly.