Shrine’s Young Adult Ministry Successful With Friar Support

HNP Communications Around the Province

BOSTON — St. Anthony Shrine’s 20s/30s ministry is reaching more young people than ever, thanks to the combined efforts of an engaged friar community and a full-time director of outreach.

The ministry involves young adults in the Generations X and Y age groups (20- and 30-somethings), the children of the baby-boomers and the future of the Church.

In the past four years since its re-launch, the 20s/30s Young Adults group has increased its mailing list to over 230 persons, said Julie Ogden, director of outreach and pastoral programs.

“I am very proud of our group here at St. Anthony Shrine,” she said with a smile.

“I’ve been doing some research on Catholic young adult groups in Boston,” said Ogden, “and, as far as I can tell, we are by far one of the most active groups dedicated to Catholics in the 20s and 30s age bracket.  It has been my goal in 2012 to make St. Anthony Shrine the premiere Catholic young adult community in Boston, and I really think we are on the right path toward achieving that goal.”

Friar Participation
What makes the program successful, said Ogden, is the outpouring of support from the friars, especially Barry Langley, OFM, shown above, who is the friar liaison for the program today, and Hugh Macsherry, OFM, who worked with the program during his time at the shrine from 2009 to 2011.

With a full calendar of events, Ogden would not be able to plan as many programs without the support of friars likeBrian Cullinane, OFM, Gene Pistacchio, OFM, Mario Gomez, OFM, Emeric Meier, OFM, John Maganzini, OFMand Daniel Horan, OFM, who, although not stationed at St. Anthony, is leading this fall’s annual 20s/30s weekend retreat.

“All of the friars are welcome and encouraged to attend any of our events and some do like to show up for the presentations, book discussions and our monthly coffee or wine and cheese socials after Mass,” said Ogden. Visitors have included Hugh Hines, OFM, Jim McIntosh, OFM, Joseph Quinn, OFM, and Howard O’Shea, OFM,she added. The semi-annual Dinner with the Friars on Nov. 4, one of the group’s favorite events of the year, attracts a large crowd of young adults, and of course, almost all of the friars.

The ministry currently holds an average of four events per month, both on weekdays and weekends, on themes that are spiritual, educational, social and philanthropic. While the majority of 20s/30s activities are exclusively for young adults, the 20s/30s group does sponsor some programming for the wider shrine community as well, Ogden said. For example, this past spring it offered a presentation on homelessness and “there is an ongoing four-part series on various charisms within the Catholic Church.” Members of 20s/30s also participate as a group in local events such as Boston’s annual Walk for Hunger and the Friends of Frank, for St. Francis House, “Shooze Cruise.”

Varied Events
Each event usually draws an average of 12 to 25 attendees, said Ogden, who maintains an active participant list of approximately 60. In addition to this list, she sends monthly emails and an electronic newsletter to participants, and keeps in touch via social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

The program titles have included: A Time for Dreaming, Finding God in All Things: An Evening of Prayer and Reflection, Today’s Rosary, Affecting Sexuality and Spirituality, and An Irish Wake: Funeral Considerations.

The 20s/30s also work with other shrine ministries, often collaborating on activities for children and seniors. Some members also serve as lectors and Eucharistic ministers at the Shrine.

The 20s/30s Annual Weekend Retreat, from Oct. 12 to 14, will be given by Dan on the theme “Being a Catholic in the 21st Century.” It takes place at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham. The cost of the retreat is $140 per person and includes meals, two nights’ accommodations at Glastonbury Abbey, theme-based presentations and professionally-facilitated group discussions.

Upcoming Programs
A variety of seasonal and spiritual events are planned for the balance of the year. They include:
 Presentation by Joseph Quinn, OFM, Oct 23
 Coffee social after the 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon Masses, Oct 28
 Semi-annual Dinner with the Friars, Nov. 4
 Book discussion: The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith & Work, Nov. 15
 Wine & cheese social after the 4 and 5:30 p.m. Masses, Nov. 25
 Advent reflection in December
 Volunteering with the kids program Christmas event, Dec. 15
 Coffee social after the 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon Masses, Dec. 16

— Wendy Healy, a Connecticut-based freelance writer, is a frequent contributor to HNP Today.