Kathryne Sparaco | Contributing writer
Young adults are talked about quite often at Synodal Listening Sessions. So, it was nice for Bishop Douglas J. Lucia to take two nights to listen and speak specifically to the young adults in our diocese.
Bishop Lucia attended Theology on Tap in Utica and Syracuse on March 30 and 31 for Listening With Your Heart, the final segment in the Lenten Speaker Series for young adults in their 20s and 30s. Bishop Lucia spoke briefly about the Synod, then invited young adults to either ask questions or share their hopes, dreams and concerns for the Church.
Eva Mroczek attended the Theology on Tap in Utica. She previously attended a Listening Session in her Pastoral Care Area (PCA) held at Holy Trinity in Fulton but could not bring herself to speak at it. She was very much looking forward to another opportunity to share her concerns.
“It was a beautiful way to end the speaker series, and to allow the young people of our diocese to have a voice,” Mroczek said. She spoke about how she would like to see more support and compassion from the Church for couples struggling with infertility and those who have suffered miscarriages. “This is a silent cross that many couples will bear, and I wish the Church would publicly support these couples.” She added she would also love to see support for couples looking into a Catholic adoption.
Katie Proctor attended the Theology on Tap in Syracuse. She also attended a Listening Session for a PCA, held at Holy Family in Fairmount, but also did not speak, instead using the night to soak in everything she was hearing. “I really took the Bishop’s opening words at that Listening Session to heart and decided to listen rather than to speak,” she stated. “It surprised and touched my heart to hear the number of devout Catholics faithful to the truth.”
At Theology on Tap, Proctor shared her concern that the faith not be watered down, and added that the modern world needs guidance, especially better catechesis and instruction on the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. She felt very encouraged by the atmosphere of having peers around her and the opportunity to meet like-minded young adults. “Meeting the people at the (young-adult) Listening Session was one of the best things to happen in my life in a long time. It turned out that they were the ones that encouraged me with their faith and compassion! They are such a blessing!”
In addition to the Listening Sessions at Theology on Tap, Bishop Lucia is in the process of visiting each Newman Center in the diocese. Just like at Theology on Tap, these sessions are able to include more dialogue with the Bishop, and that means a lot to the young-adult community.
“It’s beautiful when the Bishop is able to respond and form a conversation with you,” Mroczek shared. “It really engaged us and shows his true care. I knew he cared, but I was able to witness that care.”