This was the second event sponsored by the diocese that gave young adults an opportunity to meet and mingle with Bishop Ricken. Last October’s “Brew with the Bishop” at Titletown Brewery saw a capacity crowd of more than 30 young adults and a waiting list of dozens more.
This year, the Young Adult Advisory Committee (YAAC) chose a venue that would offer more participation but still allow for an intimate experience. “Bishop Ricken places a high value on ministering to young adults and we are grateful and humbled by his presence with us,” said Julianne Donlon, director of Adult Faith Formation and facilitator for the YAAC.
Justin Carrick, originally from Australia, now resides in Appleton with his wife, Gretchen. They came for the opportunity to meet the bishop and support diocesan Young Adult initiatives. “Bishop Ricken was very approachable and a thoughtful host,” Carrick noted. “I was very impressed by the way he made himself available to each participant, encouraging everyone to continue efforts in promoting the Catholic faith in everyday life.”
The 2010-11 Spirtus young adult team was also on hand. Theresa Kerby of Littleton, Colo., is serving as the team coordinator and currently lives in Menasha. Kerby enjoyed meeting other young adults involved in ministry. “It was a blessing to see how others are serving the Lord,” she said.
It is not just the initial experience that brings young adults to events like this, but also the opportunity to form lasting connections with like-minded peers. Through these connections, young adults are able to walk with each other on life’s journey.
Jason Kozikowski drove from the neighboring LaCrosse Diocese.
“You may not know anyone at an event like this, but Catholic young adults should feel safe to come out,” Kozikowski said. “It’s great opportunity for young adults to meet in a fun, social environment that allows us to express and share our love of Jesus Christ with each other. This isn’t something that is done easily in the secular world today.”
Kozikowski also planned to return to Green Bay for the final “Soul Food” series event, “Grillin’ with God,” sponsored by the diocese. “Events like this reinforce that you are not alone in your love of the Faith. It really recharges your spiritual batteries.”
“Jesus ministered to the people in their ordinary lives and transformed events into encounters,” said Donlon. “Through opportunities to talk to others about their faith, young adults will grow in their faith and share this fire with others.”
The Department of Education’s Young Adult Advisory Committee hopes to make this an annual event.