Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Young Adults Gather for Advent-ure and a Time of Reflection and Celebration

Some 45 young adults participated in a daylong day of reflection at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg on Saturday, December 9. The day featured small group discussions, fellowship, Eucharistic Devotion and a Vigil Mass celebrated by Father Joshua Weaver, Diocesan Director of Vocations.

In presentations, Father James Lease, Diocesan Director for the Office of Ecumenical Affairs and pastor of St. Catherine Labouré Parish in Harrisburg, spoke to the abundant mention of Advent’s apocalyptic tidings throughout the New Testament and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Melissa Maleski, Diocesan Director for Laity and Family, presented on the topic that the greatest distance we will ever travel in our faith life is that from our head to our heart. Finally, Joseph Gonzalez, Youth Minister at St. John Neumann Parish in Lancaster, spoke to being open to God’s grace in times of distress and hopelessness and the importance in having the gift of hope of God in your life.

“Hope is having the hope of the Kingdom of God as your life’s goal,” Father Lease told the young adults in his presentation. “Advent runs the whole way through the New Testament and Jesus is the ultimate saint of all saints – the Holy One…. Apocalyptic meaning runs throughout the entire New Testament and is not just in the last book of the Bible…. We are all going to be judged by Jesus, God, when we die…. Therefore, we need to prepare for that, repent all year, not just during Advent.”

Father Lease also told participants that a good Christmas present to others is to be a joyful Christian, and that “the Bible says to be at peace, not vengeful like social media encourages us to be” in a world that is increasingly hostile. “Peace is what Christ commands us to have, not belligerence,” Father Lease preached. “It is always Advent, which means it is a time to evangelize.”

The day’s moderator was Zack Haney, Diocesan Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who commented at the conclusion that “the Holy Spirit was just so present in everything throughout the day…. I think it is especially important that we remember that we are a people of community during this holiday season when nights are long and people can feel alone…. But the day was just not one of contemplation, but one of celebration. We closed out the night with dinner, dancing and games of all kinds…. We hope that more will consider joining us in the future.”

Learn about young adult ministry and events and programs at www.hbgdiocese.org/youth-and-young-adults/.

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

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