Catholic Churches Cater to Young Adults

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanmarie Wermes Daily Herald Correspondent

Young adults searching for identity, relationships, social outlets and faith gather yearly for a four-week process called Theology on Tap.

Sponsored by the Young Adult Ministry of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, Theology on Tap is geared to young adults, both single and married, in their 20s and 30s.

More than 1,000 young folks are expected to participate in the program that began in 1981 at St. James Catholic Church in Arlington Heights, The four-week summer program will take place in 38 parishes, seven of which are in the Northwest suburbs.

Those "tapped" as eligible are men and women from college age up to those in their 30s, who want to hear speakers from many areas of life, take part in conversation and tap into their Catholic faith.

Tom Rezek, 28, of Wheeling believes the church concentrates on families and older adults and thinks his age group "feels left out." It's important, he believes, that those in their 20s and 30s socialize and talk over things that are important in their lives.

"I think I've developed a better direction in my life and with my career," Rezek said. "My faith has improved and I've met a lot of nice people. It's amazing how when you're talking with people and listening to powerful motivating talks that it affects you in great ways."

Rezek and others, including sisters Kelly and Kery Lynn of Mount Prospect, have worked with Sister Joanne Marie Schutz, a pastoral associate of St. Emily Catholic Church, to plan the sessions at that parish.

"Coming home from college and working on this was an interesting experience because when you're away at college you lose touch with the parish," said Kery Lynn, 21.

"I consider it a welcome home to get re-established with my church. It's something I want to be involved in. It's a neat experience for young adults to get together with others from many parishes and re-acquaint ourselves with the home church," said the University of Illinois senior.

All those who participate in Theology on Tap may attend a Mass presided at by Cardinal Francis George at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, in Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral. …