Committee Begins Planning Young Adult Minister Retreat

Maria Hayes Friar News


The Holy Name Province Young Adult Ministry Committee at its meeting in April 2016.

BOSTON — Young adult ministers around the Province may have an opportunity to share their challenges and their successes at a retreat being planned for late winter/early spring 2017.

The gathering, which is being organized by the HNP Young Adult Ministry Committee, will enable young adult ministers to meet and learn from their peers at other ministries. The Province currently has 15 young adult ministries, with potential for growth.

The retreat will help the Province identify characteristics that make a Franciscan young adult ministry different from a similar ministry led by other religious institutes or dioceses. Committee members hope to create a storehouse of resources for young adult ministers to use at their locations.

It is hoped that this gathering will result in an awakening to what young adult ministry can be and what it means in the Franciscan sense. The committee will share more information about the retreat — including the date and venue — at a later time.

On April 25, members of the Province’s Young Adult Ministry Committee met at St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street to begin planning for the retreat, as well as to discuss issues related to serving individuals in their 20s and 30s.

Much of the conversation focused on defining the committee’s role in the Province and identifying ways the committee can provide resources for the Province’s young adult ministries. The committee is fairly new, having been formed as a result of Holy Name Province’s commitment to expand ministry to young adults as part of the strategic plan for 2008-13.

Members of the Young Adult Ministry Committee include friars and laypeople from ministries at six places: John Aherne, OFM, and Erin Murphy of St. Anthony Shrine; David Briones and John Coughlin, OFM, of the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia in Athens; Rhett Engleking, OFS, and Christine Ruppert of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md.; James Sabak, OFM, of Providence College in Rhode Island; Jason Damon and Kevin Kriso, OFM, of St. Bonaventure University and Mt. Irenaeus in Western New York, the committee chair; Brian Jordan, OFM, of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and myself, representing St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City.

The purpose of most 20s and 30s groups is to provide young adults with a means of exploring who they are as well as their faith. One challenge faced by these ministries is providing young adults a safe space where each can be his or her authentic self within the Church. The creation of this space is possible only if a young adult group has built strong relationships among its members.

At last week’s meeting, committee members shared their experiences with successful young adult ministry events, including Theology on Taps, young adult Masses and retreats, and faith-sharing groups. The group also discussed ways to reach out to individuals who may be members of a parish but have not connected with the young adult ministry.

In addition to planning the retreat for young adult ministers, the Young Adult Ministry Committee aims to provide training and education for ministers, as well as to plan a Province-wide event for young adults to come together to share their faith.

Those who wish to connect with other young adult ministers from around Holy Name Province are invited to join the HNP Young Adult Ministry Facebook Group, which was created last fall to serve as a place for young adult ministers to connect and share inspiration, ideas and best practices.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province and serves as a member of the Young Adult Ministry Committee.

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