Buzz is building amongst people in their 20s and 30s in the Archdiocese of Baltimore as they seek to find their place in the church.
Many young adults came Oct. 23 for a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary specifically marketed to them.
“The young adult community of Baltimore is gathering excitement,” said Rachel Harkins, a John Carroll School teacher and archdiocesan young adult council member. “There are so many active groups of young adults all over the archdiocese and our efforts are attempting to bring them together so that instead of praying with 15 friends, you are praying with hundreds of friends.”
Paulist Father John E. Hurley said the fact that the majority of the Mass’ attendees were young adults was an inspiration.
“What a powerful message that sends to others who are around us,” he said at a gathering at the Catholic Center afterward. “The important thing for us to remember is that as disciples of Jesus, we’re disciples 24-7. It’s not about a program, it’s not what we do with a particular hour of our day, but it’s really about who we are and how we live our lives.”
Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden celebrated the Mass and Father Hurley delivered the homily, in which he cited the first reading from Exodus, which called people to welcome all neighbors. He spoke the homily in both English and Spanish.
“Moving from one place to another they say is the most stressful experience in one’s life,” Father Hurley said. “When we move, we move away from family, our doctors, our friends, our favorite places to eat and gather and our favorite place to worship, just to name a few.”
He continued: “Yes, we are all aliens in some way or another. Yes, some of us are gathered from places much farther from Federal Hill, Ellicott City, Highlandtown and other areas around Baltimore such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, Texas and California. Yes, we were all aliens at one point, but in this place we gather as one body and God reminds us in Exodus today, ‘You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves …’”
Harkins said people in their 20s and 30s are constantly looking for a place to call home.
“It’s important to have centralized young adult events because the nature of the young adult lifestyle is constant change,” Harkins said. “It’s hard to find a young adult at the same parish every weekend. Also, young adults are willing to travel for quality spiritual nourishment and fellowship. These centralized quarterly Masses at the basilica are a way to reach the average Baltimore young adult.”