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First-ever Young Adults Conference aimed to build parish communities

November 12, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

The Young Adult Ministry Conference Oct. 24 at St. Mary’s Cathedral attracted singles, as well as married couples with and without children to learn about topics including theology of the body, handling technology in a healthy way, reducing stress, and communication skills.

“The thing the participants most appreciated was the chance to come together with one another and deepen their faith and sense of community with others across the archdiocese,” said Angela Pollock, director of young adult and campus ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

“For the first conference of its kind, it was incredibly successful,” Pollock said. Young adults are those 18 to 40.

“We had nearly 100 people there throughout the day. This demographic works full time; they have children, etc.,” said Pollock. “We intentionally made it flexible and I was very happy that many people took advantage of that and came when they were able. We had a great crew of volunteers who did an amazing job.”

The event also included a children’s track where they learned that God loves them and created them with special gifts, Pollock said.

The day began with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone and concelebrated by San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy. Bishop McElroy was the keynote speaker.

“There were a variety of speakers on different topics relevant for young adults,” said Bertina Cannizzaro, a parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Mill Valley. All the topics were presented “in light of Catholic teaching and faith,” Cannizzaro said.

The Young Adult Ministry was re-founded two years ago and is moving away from the previous common model of big events outside the parish such as Theology on Tap.

“The new model is to really strengthen the young adults’ sense of community in their own parishes,” said Pollock. “This is the first big event that the Young Adult Council and I decided would help what they are trying to do in the parishes.” The teams had tables so those who were new could learn about the parish-based groups.

The Young Adult Council draws from parish young adult groups. There are about 20 young adult groups in parishes including Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Mill Valley and St. Raphael in San Rafael; St. Andrew in South San Francisco; St. Charles in San Carlos; St. Gregory in San Mateo; St. Charles Borromeo, St. Thomas More, St. Dominic, St. Agnes, St. Ignatius, St. Peter, Notre Dame des Victoires and Holy Redeemer in San Francisco; and the California Catholic Chinese Young Adult Group. New young adult groups are forming at Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park, Our Lady of Mercy in Daly City, St. Matthew in San Mateo, and St. Brendan the Navigator in San Francisco.

The concept of young adult ministry began in 1997 when the U.S. bishops issued the document “Sons and Daughters of Light,” in which they said many adults 18-40 had been neglected by the church.

For more information on the Catholic young adult groups and the Young Adult Council, go to CatholicinSF.com.

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