By JESSICA ABLE
Record Staff Writer
More than 60 young adults gathered at Holy Spirit Church, 3345 Lexington Road, Sunday, Sept. 23 to attend Mass with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, who told them wherever he goes in the Archdiocese of Louisville, he “hears a lot about the good things young adults are doing.”
The annual Mass, hosted by the Louisville Young Catholics group, was designed for young adults who are out of high school.
“For you to seek out an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ and to seek to build your life around that encounter is a source of encouragement for the whole church,” the archbishop said.
During the homily, the archbishop noted that Jesus often spoke of becoming more like a child.
“The belief held by biblical scholars is that Jesus admired children because they had to depend on others,” he said.
Archbishop Kurtz said that sometimes, under the pretense of independence, people act as if they don’t need anyone else. “But Jesus said unless we become like children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven,” the archbishop said.
“When we depend on Jesus Christ, we draw closer to one another,” he added.
Also in his homily, Archbishop Kurtz told the young adults gathered that who they choose to befriend is very important.
“The people we choose to hang out with is one of the major choices we make in life,” he said. The archbishop noted that it often takes an effort to make “good and wholesome friends”
“Thank you for coming today because this is your desire to begin to choose well, (to be with) people who share a desire and thirst for a commitment with Christ,” he said.
Brandy Mader, a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Assumption, said she was thrilled to see so many young people come out for the Mass.
“It always makes me so happy when I see all the young people come together for Mass,” she said.
Mader, who is on the leadership board of Louisville Young Catholics, said that she moved to Louisville two years ago and didn’t know many people. She said she heard about LYC and began to attend their monthly gatherings.
“As I got more involved in LYC and other youth groups, I began to recognize more people I had seen at other events and began to make friends,” she said. “The more I got involved, the more I felt part of the community in Louisville.”
Following the Mass, Archbishop Kurtz held a “listening session” with the group to talk with them about his role in the upcoming 13th Ordinary Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome next month.
In the previous weeks and months, Archbishop Kurtz has held several of these listening sessions to prepare for his role in the upcoming synod, which will focus on the New Evangelization.
“We are focusing not only on people who have never heard the word of God, but those who have heard the word of God but for some reason have fallen away,” he said.
The purpose of these listening sessions, the archbishop explained, is to determine what people think of the New Evangelization. The archbishop said he plans to incorporate the input of the young adults into the documents that he will take to the synod.
“It gives me a flavor for what young adults are thinking and how they feel about certain issues,” he said. “It also gives me a chance to participate one-on-one with the young adults.”
The archbishop posed several questions to those gathered before him. He asked:
- What compels you to be active in your faith?
- And of the people you know your age who were raised Catholic but are no longer active, what are the roadblocks for them?
Mader told the archbishop that the solid Catholic foundation her family provided set the tone for her faith in her teens and early 20s and compelled her to continue to be active in her faith.
Catholic social teaching, an intellectual understanding of the Catholic faith and eucharistic adoration were some of the factors, people said, that inspired them to continue to be active in the Catholic Church.
Jeff Jenkins, a parishioner of Incarnation Church, noted that today’s generation of young people are very mobile and that this may be holding some back from returning to the church.
“If people are new to a city, the first place they make friends is at the workplace,” he said. “We need to equip the young adults who are involved in the church to be able to articulate their faith in the workplace.”
Jenkins also noted that social media is a great way for people to connect with the church, but added that a personal invitation is more compelling.
After the event, Jenkins said he was impressed by the archbishop’s listening session.
“I think it’s good that he’s listening to the church faithful. It’s good that there’s communication between the laity and the hierarchy of the church,” he added.