Bishop addresses young adults

Theology on Tap offers an innovative solution to one of today’s most pressing pastoral concerns: how to reach out to young Catholic adults.

Gatherings, coordinated by Diocese of Venice Evangelization Office, are held on the third Thursday of each month at the Mandeville Beer Garden in downtown Sarasota, just a few blocks from St. Martha Parish. The bar includes an outdoor deck which offers the ideal location for fellowship and a discussion about the Faith in a comfortable and relaxed setting.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the featured speaker for the gathering on Dec. 21, 2023. Nearly 50 listened intently as the Bishop shared his thoughts on the Catholic Church within the Diocese of Venice.

Bishop Dewane spoke about the sad reality that many young Catholic adults are not regularly attending Mass, noting how those present were obvious exceptions. He encouraged those gathered to invite their friends to Mass.

“Perhaps, couch it as an offer of a coffee or meal afterward,” the Bishop said. “Even if they express reluctance, or say no, that offer alone can be enough to ignite a fire in the soul that might have gone out. The Catholic Church has such a beauty to offer, you can be the conduit to help reveal the love of the Lord to your friends. I can go out and ask, but coming from you, their friends, it will have much greater resonance.”

Taking place in the waning days of Advent and the expectant Nativity of the Lord, Bishop Dewane said it was a good time to reset one’s faith life and work to grow closer to the Lord through participation in the celebration of Mass, partaking in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, prayer and participation in Eucharistic Adoration.

The Bishop also spoke about Fiducia Supplicans, a document from the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith published Dec. 18, 2023, which stated “blessings are among the most widespread and evolving sacramentals” and that it is possible to give “blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex.”

Bishop Dewane clarified that the declaration clearly states that the Church’s teaching on marriage between one man and one woman has not changed and emphasizes that such blessings should “never” occur within the ceremony of a civil union “and not even in connection with them” to avoid confusion or scandal.

The next gathering of Theology on Tap in Sarasota will take place at 7 p.m., Jan. 18, at the Mandeville Beer Garden, 428 N. Lemon St., Sarasota. For any questions, please email James Gontis at gontis@dioceseofvenice.org.

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