By Kathryn Sparaco | Contributing writer
Theology on Tap is back, and just in time for Lent! The spring series kicked off on Wednesday, March 9, at Bagg’s Square Brewing Company for the Utica area, and on Thursday, March 10, at A Mano Kitchen & Bar for the Syracuse area.
The theme for this popular speaker series for young adults in their 20s and 30s is “The Great Resignation: Finding Stability in Christ and the Church.” The Great Resignation, a cultural name coined in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, refers to the rising trend of people leaving their jobs for various reasons ranging from job dissatisfaction to safety concerns. After reflecting on the challenges for young adults, the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry thought this would be a beneficial theme to feature.
“Young adulthood is marked with many different discernments, and hopefully the discernment of a vocation,” explained Diocesan Program Coordinator Kateri Lickona. “We wanted to highlight the need to come back to God and let the Church be your guide amid these changes.”
The speakers for the series are all familiar with the challenges of being a Catholic professional and will be speaking on the virtue of hope and what it looks like to ground yourself in faith, as well as what the Church teaches about the dignity of work. “The talks are focused on having a work-faith balance; making sure work informs prayer and prayer informs work,” Lickona said.
Theology on Tap presenter Brook Gleasman was the first speaker in the Syracuse area. During his talk, Moving Forward in Hope, Gleasman reflected on his challenges of having a stressful job, raising five sons and taking care of a house that needed one repair after another. The struggles led to a panic attack, after which Gleasman started putting his trust in God, even though God felt very far away from him. “I felt like he didn’t exist. I didn’t feel his presence. I went to Mass hoping God would show up in my heart.”
On Ash Wednesday of 2016, things hit rock bottom for his family. They lost everything in a house fire. But in the midst of all the chaos, God showed up. “If it seems like there’s no way, God makes a way. And it’s always miraculous,” he said. His family received an outpouring of love and support from strangers and their parish community of Holy Cross Church in DeWitt. And through the process, Gleasman found God’s love and mercy.
“I could see God showing up—even through the darkness. I was helpless, but he moved all the pieces into place, and I surrendered to him.” The experience taught him to let God take control. “If you’re ready to give up, remember God sees things differently. He sees the whole picture. Put your hope not in you, but in him.” He encouraged young adults to attend Mass regularly, pray the Rosary, read the Bible, and attend Adoration.
The talk was a wonderful way to kick off not only the speaker series, but also the Lenten season.
“Lent is the time to call us back to giving our life to Jesus. Even though daily struggles bring us down, we have to remember our foundation is Jesus,” Lickona said.
More great talks are on the way! Upcoming speakers for both Utica and Syracuse include Theology on Tap presenter Dan Gibbons on March 16 and 17, Father Nathan Brooks on March 23 and 24, and Bishop Douglas J. Lucia on March 30 and 31. More information and links to register can be found at syracusediocese.org under the Youth and Young Adult Ministry tab.
Kathryn Sparaco is an administrative assistant for several diocesan offices, including those of the Bishop, Vicar General and Chancellor.