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Jennifer Brinker is a reporter for the St. Louis Review and Catholic St. Louis.
Beats: Life issues, Young adult and youth ministries, liturgies and devotions
Geographic areas covered: Parishes and schools in the North City, North County, West County and St. Charles Deaneries.
The world needs Catholics who are committed to living out their faith in the world, through their encounter with others, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski recently told young adults.
The archbishop spoke to young adults at Theology on Tap, held Oct. 27 at the Cardinal Rigali Center. A regular program of the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Ministry, the evening was supposed to be a drive-up event in the parking lot, but was moved indoors because of the weather.
Now the Church has become more mobile, he said, with Catholics moving from place to place and among different parishes. We must replace the sense of cohesiveness found in the immigrant Church with the one thing that brings Catholics together: “the Gospel of the Lord Jesus,” he said. “We need Catholics who are committed to living out their faith in the world today. Catholics who believe that they can make a difference in what the Lord is calling us to do.”
Jesus’ Gospel message challenges us to live a life of meaning for ourselves and for others. Pope Francis likewise challenges us to live the Gospel through some of his recent writings. Citing the pope’s latest encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” Archbishop Rozanski said the Holy Father wrote about the interconnectedness that we have in the Lord. “He asked us to really open our horizons of the world, beyond just our own places,” he said. “He asked us to open to a much wider vision of the world.” Similarly in “Laudato Si’,” Pope Francis asked us to open our vision to the intention of creation, and the challenges of what we are doing to our environment.
We are called to a culture of encounter, a phrase often used by Pope Francis, Archbishop Rozanski said. “We are wired to be with one another,” the archbishop said. “We are wired to be able to reach out to one another. Those words for us should be challenging. Those words should make us uncomfortable. But they should also make us move toward action. In doing that we really make Christ present in the world.”
Young adults, he said, “are the beacons that can show others what living a life with faith really means. It means to challenge one’s self. Jesus, whenever He encountered someone, always brought them to a better place. And in doing so, He was able to make the world a better place.”
Archbishop Rozanski answered questions from young adults, including topics such as voting (editorial, page 16); what has surprised him about the St. Louis (how similar it is to the Archdiocese of Baltimore, he said); handling the clergy sex abuse crisis (addressing the needs of victims first, and providing training to prevent abuse in the Church); as well as several lighter questions, such as his favorite reading and favorite saints (see page 2).
Another participant asked him how young adults can participate in evangelization efforts in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Archbishop Rozanski said evangelization doesn’t begin with a program. Motioning to his heart, he said, “evangelization begins right here. It is a life of prayer, a life of service and having knowledge of the faith. Being grounded in prayer, having that relationship with the Lord Jesus, really sets the platform for evangelization. Being able to take what we have learned in the Gospels and spiritual reading and prayer life and making that present in the world — that has an impact upon people’s lives.
“We may not know the influence that we have on others when we are living out our faith, but it does make a great impact on others,” he said.
Launched in 2012, Theology on Tap is a monthly gathering where young adults in the St. Louis area get to meet, socialize, and learn about a variety of relevant topics for Catholic young adults. Presentations are delivered by experts in the fields of theology, philosophy, Catholic social teaching, spirituality, and young adult life. Because of the health pandemic, the calendar had been altered to every other month. The next Theology on Tap is scheduled for Jan. 21.
Current favorite spiritual reading: “From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age”; “Blessed Among Us: Day by Day with Saintly Witnesses”; and “Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI.”
Favorite saints: He chose Albert for his confirmation name, after St. Albert the Great and in honor of his late grandfather Albert. The archbishop also has a fondness for St. Augustine for his story of conversion.
Leisure time: Archbishop Rozanski enjoys walking, noting the beauty of places such as Forest Park and Tower Grove Park. While he doesn’t have as much time to do so, he enjoys reading mystery novels.
Profound experience of God: In 2017, he visited the Holy Land and had a chance to see the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee. “I stood there and wept, it was so beautiful. Just to think of all the things that happened on that Sea of Galilee and to be standing there.”
Watch Theology on Tap with Archbishop Rozanski fb.watch/1pjCd8X-on/
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