St. Thomas More Parish starts young adult ministry

Friday, Apr. 05, 2024
St. Thomas More Parish starts young adult ministry + Enlarge
Chuck Grahmann
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — St. Thomas More Parish’s new ministry for single young adults arose from an observation that people ages 18 to 40 are lacking in most Catholic congregations.
“Once kids leave high school, they kind of are on their own,” said Chuck Grahmann, who directs the new ministry. “It’s very easy to notice that we tend to lose young adults for a little while.”
Feedback from the diocesan phase of the synodal process called by Pope Francis in 2021, which invited Catholics both in the mainstream of Church life and on the margins to voice their dreams, ideas and concerns in preparation for the Synod of Bishops in 2023, clearly showed the desire to create engagements with young adult Catholics, Grahmann said.
“We need to strengthen the engagement with the 20+ to 40-year-old young adults in every parish in our diocese,” he said.
With this thought in mind, Grahmann attended the St. Thomas More men’s prayer group, and “there was a discussion about doing things, not just praying for them; about being active, so I put the proposal together to formulate something specifically for the young adults,” he said.
For the group, he wanted a continuation of faith education, but also recognized that a large part of it would need to be social, and also “maybe include an activity and some sort of a formal meeting,” he said.
To help form the group, Grahmann consulted with Andrea Mathisen, a young adult who is a member of the parish support staff, as well as with Tami Bernstein, director of the parish’s faith formation program, and with Nora Kennedy, the pastoral assistant.
 “They all thought it was a good idea, so then I ran it through some young adults in the community for feedback,” he said. 
The final step was to present the draft program to Father John Evans, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish. 
 “Fr. Evans thought that it was a good idea and suggested that the ministry focus on single young adults,” Grahmann said.
The parish’s young adult ministry began at the end of December. They have a formal meeting once a month with a light meal. The meeting starts with an opening prayer and then proceeds to a study of some aspect of the faith. 
“I like to have some formal thing that we can study, like a catechism podcast that we started with the Ten Commandments,” Grahmann said. 
Approximately 12 to 15 members are registered to the ministry, with about half a dozen participating regularly.
After the study session, the group has an open discussion. “For example, one of the members heard that we were getting rid of Latin Masses, and he was very passionate about having Latin Masses, so we discovered that they are not going away but now the parishes have to have the bishop’s approval,” Grahmann said. 
The gatherings conclude with a closing prayer.
Among the social activities the group has undertaken are attending a Jazz game followed by dinner, going to a Grizzlies’ hockey game and going to an escape room. “We are thinking about going to a RSL soccer game next,” he said.
The young adult ministry at St. Thomas More Parish is open to all single young adults between 21 to 40 years of age. For information, call the parish or go to the GroupMe Chat.

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