By Mary Finkbone
When the novel coronavirus became a concern in late February 2020, one of the last in-person events held by Holy Trinity was a special contemplative faith sharing for the Young Adult Community. I remember Thursday, March 12, 2020 vividly. St. Ignatius Chapel was packed, needing two concentric circles to accommodate a group of 20 or more young adults in their 20s and 30s. This was unusual compared to our weekly turnout for Gospel Faith Sharing; it was as if the community knew this would be the last opportunity to see each other in person for many months to come.
Little did we know how right we were. Catherine Heinhold led us in an Ignatian contemplation on the Gospel and we took time for sharing. Our usual dinner and fellowship was canceled out of what seemed like “an abundance of caution.” In retrospect, just thinking about being in a room with 20 maskless people feels like a different world.
When the church transitioned to support its parishioners virtually, the Young Adult Community was full of ideas and ready to embrace the necessary changes. Yes, there was loss and grief over a year that was just beginning: a social calendar for the year, happy hours, two weekend retreats, and service events were just a few of the events to be cancelled. However, for each canceled or postponed event, new ideas sprang forth. A spring and fall overnight retreat weekend became a virtual retreat in May and a local, outdoor, socially-distanced retreat in October.
Both of these were firsts for our community and spiritual consolations for all those involved. A monthly happy hour or social event merged into weekly happy hours and then outdoor socially-distanced hangouts. Each social, spiritual and social justice event required a new level of creativity, planning and commitment from the members of the Steering Committee. It also required new levels of patience, compassion and grace from the attending young adult participants.
We continued to welcome new members to our community. In true young adult fashion — we are known for our transience — we greeted people to the city who were starting new jobs and said goodbye to people who moved away. Blessings came out of that too, since we were able to see people who were now working remotely in a different part of the country; those same people who had moved away due to job relocation could pop in for a happy hour.
The theme of the past year was unexpected blessings: opportunities to gather safely, creativity to adapt our schedules, technology to encounter Christ in new ways, new members who provide energy and a renewed sense of commitment to our purpose to accompany one another in Christ.
That theme came full circle as the Steering Committee plans for 2021: a year that will require just as much faith, hope, creativity and flexibility, and will surely bring a new set of unexpected blessings if we just take a moment to notice them.
Mary Finkbone is the co-chair of the YAC Steering Committee.