Several local groups — in parishes and the wider community — are offering a variety of spiritual and social connections for young adults in the Archdiocese of Louisville.
That’s important for Catholic young adults, who are busy finding their place in the world but still need to be connected to the Body of Christ, said Karl Dolson, director of the Office of Youth and Young Adults for the archdiocese.
The Church defines young adults as individuals between the ages of 18 and 39, an age group characterized by change that’s generally underserved by the church, Dolson said.
Some are entering college while others are graduating and moving away for employment opportunities. At the same time, new young adults are moving into the archdiocese for the same reason. Some are getting married while others are starting families.
While these factors make it challenging to minister to the age group, Dolson said it’s “important to minister to their needs and keep them connected to the larger Body of Christ.”
He noted, according to research, the majority of Catholics who leave the church do so between the ages of 18 and 23.
A variety of efforts in the Archdiocese of Louisville are aiming to curb that trend. Two are archdiocesan-wide peer-led ministries and others are embedded in parishes. But all are open to young adults looking for a connection to the church.
Louisville Young Catholics
The mission of the group for Catholics 18 to 35 is to help young people grow in their faith through knowledge and prayer, said Shane Weppler, a member of St. Louis Bertrand Church who serves as a community and networking liaison for the group.
Weppler said the group prides itself on helping young adults stay connected to their faith.
“We’re just getting out into the world and it’s time to put into practice what we’ve learned,” he said.
LYC gathers socially and for prayer.
“Christ in the City” is a monthly Holy Hour aimed at helping young people grow closer to Jesus Christ, “who is the center of our ministry,” Weppler said during a recent interview.
The group also offers a monthly pub night that includes presentations by different speakers.
“It helps to bring Catholic young people into community. That’s very important. We’re meant to grow closer to God together as one Body of Christ,” he said.
The group’s offerings have fostered “deep conversations” and it’s been “spiritually beneficial” to those who attend and to him personally, Weppler said, noting he experienced a “rebirth” of his faith when he became a part of the group five years ago.
“I didn’t know what a Holy Hour was. I’ve been practicing ever since then and it has changed me. I see people walking away being refreshed,” he said.
LYC also offers yearly special events, such as a recent tour of the Kentucky Holy Land that took place in June, a Pilgrimage of Seven Churches on Holy Thursday and a young adult Mass.
The group will host this year’s young adult Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption on Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. To learn more visit https://louisvilleyoungcatholics.org/.
The Louisville chapter of Young Catholic Professionals
This group is for Catholics age 21 to 40 and aims to provide young people with opportunities to grow professionally and spiritually, said John Daly Jr., a member of St. Margaret Mary Church and the group’s president.
YCP offers a monthly talk where young adults hear from a “mature Catholic professional to give us perspective on how they blend their professional and spiritual life,” said Daly.
The first hour of that event is dedicated to networking and socializing. Daly said all young adults “looking for meaning in their work” are welcome. The next talk will be held July 20 at the Overlook at St. Thomas and those in attendance will hear from Deacon Greg Gitschier, a former U.S. secret service agent who serves as a permanent deacon at St. Patrick Church.
The group aims to help young people “trying to figure out how to live their faith in the real world,” said Daly. “They are searching for something where they can develop both sides — making strides in their career and taking opportunities to grow deeper in knowledge of what it means to live out the vocation God gave them.”
YCP also has a quarterly happy hour. The events are open to all young adults.
The group also offers an annual membership, which provides members access to career counseling and local job postings, spiritual guidance, as well as discounts to national conferences and other benefits. For more information, visit ycplouisville.org.
In addition to the archdiocesan-wide groups, following is a sampling of young adult ministry happening within parishes:
St. Michael Church in Jeffersontown offers:
- A weekly Bible study group that also gathers to watch “The Chosen,” a multi-season series about the life of Jesus Christ.
- Game nights
- Opportunities for service and travel. This month, the group is serving food to the hungry at Franciscan Kitchen and aiding people in Appalachia.
For more information, contact the parish at 266-5611.
St. Margaret Mary Church on Shelbyville Road offers:
- A series called “Bible and Brews” presented on Fridays in July led by Michael Schultz, a seminarian in formation for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Louisville. The group gathers for eucharistic adoration at 6 p.m., then meets for beverages and a talk by Schultz on “Covenant in the Old Testament.”
- Game nights and opportunities for service.
For more information, contact the parish at 426-1588.
St. Louis Bertrand Church, 1104 S. Sixth St., offers:
- Weekly Wednesday night meetings for a variety of activities including a series of talks by Dominican brothers over the summer months, including the following presentations: “What does it mean to be a Catholic Intellectual?” will be presented at 7 p.m. July 21; “Can Men and Women Be Friends?” will be presented at 7 p.m. July 28; and “How to make yourself irresistible” will be presented at 7 p.m. Aug. 4.
- The group will attend a Louisville Bats baseball game Aug. 18.
For more information, contact Katie Reed, the parish’s director of religious education, at 583-4448.
St. Brigid and St. James churches’ Highlands Young Adult Catholics group offers:
- Bible study
- Weekly Thursday night events at St. Brigid, 1520 Hepburn Avenue.
- “Faith on the Rocks,” a discussion group.
For more information, contact Mark Cecil at 513-846-1805.
General information and a calendar related to young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of Louisville can be found at www.archlou.org/youth/.