fNevin Hall flashed a wide grin when he described the age demographics of the men’s club at New All Saints in Liberty Heights.
“I’m the youngest member by a few decades,” the 24-year-old former parish youth group president said with a chuckle. “The next youngest member, I believe, is my father. So you can imagine being in that room.”
Hall, a lifelong parishioner of New All Saints and a former altar server, joined the men’s club three years ago after completing a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. His goal, he said, was to honor the service of parish elders by bringing ideas for community outreach from a new generation.
Hall was the driving force behind his club’s recent winter clothing drive benefiting children from economically disadvantaged families at the local public school. Spearheading the effort, he collected more than 150 coats, hats, mittens, scarves and other items, which the men’s group distributed at Liberty Elementary School Oct. 23.
Boris McLaughlin, men’s club president, described Hall as a natural leader who has “infused a youthful spirit and energy” into the organization. McLaughlin noted that Hall has given the club a social media presence through a Facebook page.
“The Spirit of the Lord emanates from Nevin’s church actions,” McLaughlin said. “You can tell he is led by the Spirit.”
Faith has always been a priority for Hall. A graduate of the now-closed John Paul Regional Catholic School in Woodlawn and Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, Hall said he was inspired by stories of older generations about how they worked to improve their community.
“Our church has a lot of power to change the community that we actually live in,” he said. “Since we have so much influence, we need to be back in the community, reaching out as best we can.”
Out of college, Hall served for a year and a half as a theology teacher at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in East Baltimore. He taught sophomores a history-based course in Catholicism and led a course on world religions for seniors.
“It got me closer to my faith,” Hall said, “because I had to really study books in order to teach the kids. Some things I already knew, but I learned a lot by having to dig deep and realize why things happened — putting the puzzle pieces together as to why Catholicism is how it is now.”
Hall, who works as a government contractor, said he tried to walk side-by-side with the young people he served at Cristo Rey.
“I wasn’t there to instill Catholicism,” he said. “I was there to have them look in the mirror and kind of reflect on themselves. They ultimately got that sense of trying to mature and figure out what it is that they really believe.”
Hall said one of the highlights of his faith life was visiting Rome during a backpacking trip to Europe with a friend a few years ago.
“When I went to the Vatican, it just hit me all at once,” he said. “I felt in solidarity with all Catholics around the world. I knew there was one area where we were all connected and came to an agreement, no matter what race or nationality we are.”
Always looking to the future, the young leader hopes develop new ideas to engage young people and assist the wider community. His winter clothing drive looks like it will become an annual event, he said, and he would like to increase his parish’s outreach to young adults.
“The members of the men’s club have been nothing short of great,” Hall said. “They accepted me coming in with fresh ideas. I can’t thank them enough.”
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Email George Matysek at gmatysek@CatholicReview.org.