ROCHESTER — How do married Catholics, especially those with children, keep a focus on their faith amidst the many demands on their time?
How do you integrate your Catholic faith into the workplace, especially when few people in that environment openly share your beliefs?
How can you make the transition out of your teen years and become recognized by the church as an adult?
For the answers to these and other questions, Blessed Sacrament Church was the place to be on Sunday, Oct. 2, where the 12:15 Mass drew a mostly young-adult congregation and featured Bishop Matthew H. Clark as celebrant. The bishop, acknowledging the day’s special focus on young adults, quipped, “I used to be one, so I have a certain affinity to the age group.”
Approximately 35 young adults relocated to the church basement after Mass for refreshments, followed by lively discussions on issues relevant to their lives:
* Married people centered on the importance of being strong for yourself so you can take care of loved ones; the value of the sacrament of marriage to get through difficult times; and the need to view marriage as a covenant rather than just a signed contract. Serving as moderator for this session was Jamie Fazio, pastoral associate at Blessed Sacrament.
* The workplace session raised such issues as how to react when co-workers criticize the Catholic Church; how to apply Catholic principles to such situations as approaching an unscrupulous employee and/or having to fire someone; how ethics and values may come into conflict with a company’s need to make money and your own need to produce a paycheck; and the importance of bonding with at least one co-worker who shares your value system. The discussion was led by Sister of St. Joseph Karen Dietz, diocesan coordinator of sacramental catechesis.
* At a workshop for young adults aged 18 to 24, participants reflected on how to recognize their individual gifts so as to become accepted as Catholic adults. As is the case with married young adults, this group said that finding the time to develop these gifts is a challenge. They cited such factors as changing jobs, attending college and adjusting to leaving (and, in some cases, re-entering) the family home. The session was led by Shannon Loughlin, diocesan young-adult and campus ministry director.
Among the age 18 to 24 attendees were three students from Ithaca College Catholic Community — Kris Williamson, Billy Robinson and Annie Metzger — who journeyed to Rochester for the day.
“It’s always wonderful to see the bishop,” said Robinson, 22.
Metzger, 18, said she enjoyed the gathering at Blessed Sacrament because she’s from Arizona and wants to connect more with young adults in the diocese.
“It’s exciting to meet other Catholics my age,” she said.
Also attending the age 18 to 24 session were two young women, Anne Wise and Julie Todoro, who preceded the Mass and discussion with a related event — a weekend of service and reflection for young adults with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Wise and Todoro stayed Friday and Saturday nights at the convent of Rochester’s Holy Family Church and devoted much of Saturday toward cleaning duties at Bethany House, a Rochester food cupboard and temporary shelter for women and their children.
“I have a roof over my head, and I have food. Sometimes it’s good to give your time to somebody who doesn’t,” said Wise, 18, from Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Greece.
Todoro, 24, from St. Mary’s in Geneseo, said she especially enjoyed her prayer and reflection time at the convent. She said the experience has inspired her to make this type of quiet time a daily ritual, “instead of speeding through all the things I have to get done.”