By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
On the rainy, stay-in-bed-with-a-good-book sort of Saturday morning of Aug. 9, two dozen young adults from the Archdiocese of Louisville and Southern Indiana gathered at St. Michael Church to begin a day-long conference on living their faith.
The conference, the first of a trio of events for young adults planned this fall, centered on the theme “We cannot be part-time Christians,” which organizers said they drew from a quote by Pope Francis.
“We thought that was a great launching point to look at our lives and see how we live our faith everyday,” Aaron Frazita, one of the organizers, told the young adults at the gathering’s opening. “So that’s what we’re going to look at. How are we really living our faith? We are all called to do something. What is that something and how are you using the gifts God has given you?”
Frazita, a youth minister at St. Michael, was one of several parish workers who organized the conference. Parishes that helped to sponsor it included St. Michael, St. Aloysius in Pewee Valley, Ky., St. Margaret Mary, St. Patrick, Holy Trinity, St. Agnes, Epiphany and parishes in the New Albany deanery of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
The day began with an impromptu ping-pong match between Tim Luzano, a young man who attends St. Mary Church in New Albany, and Conventual Franciscan
Friar John Pozhathuparambil. St. Michael, which erected a new church last year, has turned the old church into an inviting space for youth and young adult gatherings. It has two areas that look like living rooms with plush couches; an area with game tables such as ping-pong, foosball and billiards; a kitchen area and a large gathering space.
After some time spent mingling and watching the game, the group gathered to hear Judy McDonald, a young adult comedienne from California who shared stories about being both a committed Catholic and a comedian — a profession that typically relies heavily on irreverence.
She doesn’t cuss on stage, she said. In fact, she decided long ago that she wouldn’t say anything on stage that she wouldn’t say in front of her parents.
McDonald also joked about selecting a confessor who doesn’t speak English and self-identified as a campus-ministry “dork” who had keys to the campus ministry office.
But amid her jokes and self-deprecating humor, McDonald urged her listeners to take ownership in their parishes.
“A lot of my friends complain to me that our church doesn’t have a lot of stuff for our age group,” she said. “But if you look in the (parish) bulletin, all the stuff that’s in there, it doesn’t say we can’t join just because there are grandmas in it. … They’ve been doing it for 50 or 70 years. We need to step up for some of this stuff.
“If we don’t start doing some of these things we’re going to run out of people,” she said. “It’s great to do things like this (conference) but we need to start integrating ourselves into some of the other things.
“If you don’t like something in your church,” she added, “you need to make an appointment with your pastor at your church. Even if it’s a complaint, your pastor would hit the floor if he had a young person come in to talk to him. He would be like, ‘Whoa!’ He would love it.”
The conference also included a quiet period in which the young adults learned about different forms of prayer, sessions on various challenges faced by young adults and time for socializing — sipping coffee and chatting.
The next major young adult event planned in the Archdiocese of Louisville is the annual young adult Mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. On the evening of Nov. 23, nationally known singer-songwriter Jesse Manibusan will give a coffee-house style concert at Holy Trinity Church.