New Evangelization message reaches young adults
Fellowship, theology and beer – what more could a Catholic young adult want? Since 1997, the Archdiocese of New Orleans has been bringing these three together with Theology on Tap, featuring speakers on faith and the church while offering time for socialization among the archdiocese’s young adults.
The Northshore has been hosting a four-week series throughout the 2013 summer at the Abita Brewery, with each talk focused on the new evangelization of the Catholic Church.
Theology on Tap was brought to Abita Springs with the help of St. Peter’s Parish youth coordinator Michelle Seghers. Seghers said being able to host Theology on Tap at the Abita Brewery was an act of God. The idea began when one of her youth group members was working at the brewery and realized how perfect the venue would be for Theology on Tap.
“I prayed to God to help me approach him (owner, David Blossman)," Seghers said. "One day my phone rang, and it was his wife and I asked her. She said they would love to do it.”
“There are very few places where young adults can learn about their faith,” Seghers said. “The goal is to try and give them something where they can continue to learn past high school.”
Throughout the series, a young seminarian or religious opens the night to talk about the importance of vocations and share their vocation story before the main speaker. It is important to give young adults the opportunity to hear discernment stories while they, too, are in the process of discernment, Segher explained.
Father James Wehner, director at Notre Dame Seminary, was the first speaker June 27. He explained what the church means by “new evangelization” and the challenges faced in American society, discussing the history of evangelization and how it “must be grounded in a rich theology.”
Benedictine Brother Ephrem Arcement gave his perspective as a Benedictine monk and why he believes prayer and contemplation are the foundations of evangelization on July 11. “It used to seem like two different realities, either contemplative or active,” Brother Arcement explained. “Since then, we’ve realized the contemplative life can naturally lead to sharing itself.”
The final two speakers, Deacon Larry Oney and Janice and Jean Charbonet, will continue on July 18 and 25 to explain the new evangelization, covering topics such as Blessed John Paul II’s teaching on stepping out of the boat and how to stay motivated throughout life’s journey.
Learning about the new evangelization is important, because “we have to use every possible outlet that we can to proclaim the truth and the Gospel,” Father Daniel Brouillette, parochial vicar at St. Peter’s Parish in Covington, explained.
True to most events hosted by the archdiocese, the young adults received encouragement and reassurance that they were the future of the church and had a vital role to fulfill.
“One of the most exciting things happening in the Catholic Church today is youth ministry,” Brother Arcement said. “And one of the most important.”
The archdiocese is dedicated to providing opportunities for young adults to continue their faith journey and education. The southshore offers four-week series of Theology on Tap in the fall and spring. The Northshore hosts a four-week series in February or March as well as in the summer, and a one-night only event in December. The fall series will be held Oct. 18, 15, 22 and 29 in New Orleans.
“The archdiocese is wonderful to work with,” Seghers said. “We’re just one little part of the Theology on Tap package in the archdiocese.”