Sometimes it’s difficult for the Catholic Church to reach young adults because many of them often move or don’t belong to any specific parish. But the church has found a positive way to reach both young Catholics who are heavily involved in their faith, as well as those who haven’t been to church in years.
Photo courtesy of RENEW International
Theology on Tap, an international program geared toward Catholics in their 20s and 30s, single or married, provides a way for young adults to connect with their peers, form friendships and build their faith at the same time.
The Catholic speaker series, which has taken place in the Archdiocese of Omaha off and on for many years, started in Chicago in 1981 and now is run by RENEW International.
Participants typically meet in the laid-back atmosphere of a bar or restaurant – a more comfortable setting for those who might be intimidated by church activities or write them off as boring and stuffy – where they listen to a speaker talk about issues of faith and morals while enjoying food and drinks.
Beth Staab, a member of the Theology on Tap core team, said Theology on Tap works to inform and empower the young adults in attendance with information about their faith so their lives can be enriched and they can better spread the truth about the faith to others.
Being archdiocesan-based rather than parish-based allows it to be an event where young people from different parishes can meet and form friendships, she said.
“Anytime I go to a different parish than my own now, I can usually spot someone I've met at Theology on Tap,” Staab said.
In the Archdiocese of Omaha, two series of four speakers take place every year.
The Lenten series will begin Thursday, March 6, and will continue every Thursday in March at McKenna’s at 72nd and Pacific streets in Omaha. Socializing and free appetizers begin at 7 p.m. and the speaker goes on at 7:30 p.m. It’s followed by a Q&A session around 8:15 p.m.
Many people stay afterwards to catch up with friends and get to know each other more, Staab said.
At the March 6 gathering, Father Paul Hoesing, vocations director for the archdiocese, will speak about what Pope Francis and his portrayal in the media. The talk is titled “Pope Francis Said What!?!?”
The March 13 speakers are Deacon Duane Karmazin and his wife, Eileen, of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha, who will address the topic of chastity before marriage.
“It is difficult in this day and age for young adults to stay pure until they have discerned their vocation to marriage or religious life. It can be disheartening when that process takes more than a few years,” Staab said. “The deacon and his wife will speak from personal experience about the struggle of ‘Being Counter Cultural in the Hook-Up World,’ which is the title of their talk.”
On March 20, Father Steve Thomlison, associate pastor of St. Mary Parish in Nebraska City, will speak about military chaplains. In his talk, “A Military Chaplin’s Reflections,” he will share his experiences of serving as a captain in the Nebraska National Guard, where he is an Army chaplain, and as the command chaplain for the Nebraska State Patrol.
The speaker at the March 27 event is Dr. Jerry Martin, a retired lieutenant colonel, who will talk about “When Is War Just?”
If you’re a young adult, consider attending the Lenten Theology on Tap series. It’s a great way to grow in your faith.
Blogged by Lisa Maxson, senior writer/reporter.