Catholic Young Adults of Montgomery close year with celebration
By Marinella Lentis
For The Catholic Week
MONTGOMERY — Catholic young adults from the Montgomery area gathered Dec. 3 in the Holy Spirit Parish Hall for their annual Christmas party. About 40 people, including a few children, came together to celebrate the festive season.
The annual Christmas party is only one of the many gatherings of the Catholic Young Adults of Montgomery. Throughout the year, people attend weekly small groups along with the monthly Brewing the Faith. According to Kelley Rehm, the small groups coordinator and one of the founders of the Catholic Young Adults, some attend one or the other, depending on their work and family situation.
About 30 people participate in the small groups and they are divided in three groups – women, men and a mixed group. Each has a maximum of 10 individuals. The 2019 spring semester kicks off Jan. 13-19. Two groups filled up on the first day signup was available.
“We want to keep them small because we want people to feel comfortable sharing,” Rehm said about the size of each group. “People do feel a sense of community, they get to know others on a deeper level so once that friendship is established, they get really committed to their group, they want to stay in it and so the groups are filling up.”
Rehm is hoping to start a fourth group in the summer time because they are popular and are going very well, a sign that there is a real need for this kind of close relationship.
Each group leader chooses which book or resource they’re going to use in his or her group, so it changes every semester.
In addition to small groups and Brewing the Faith, members of Catholic Young Adults of Montgomery do some service projects and social events during the year and these provide other opportunities for people to get together and meet others outside of their weekly or monthly meeting commitment. The Christmas party is always pretty well attended and it’s a draw to new people, as well, because it’s fun and it’s not intimidating.
This year’s Christmas party included a free dinner, a dirty Santa gift exchange game and a tacky Christmas outfit contest. Dinner was provided and served by the Knights of Columbus of Holy Spirit and consisted of red beans and rice, Conecuh sausage, chicken fingers for children, salad, bread and several desserts.
First-place winner for the ugliest sweater was Kailtyn Conway, a familiar face among the CYA because she has led the women’s small group in the past. Second place winner was Meghan Gietl, who helped lead the women’s small group this fall; and third place was Lydia Mitchum, who, along with her husband Greg, leads the mixed group. Each winner received a gift card between $10 and $25.
Officers of the Young Adults group will have a planning meeting in January to make their calendar for the upcoming year. They will meet all morning on a Saturday, starting with Mass at St. Bede the Venerable Parish, bring breakfast, and then brainstorm and share ideas for a couple of hours. Fr. Nicholas Napolitano, parochial vicar at St. Bede, will help them in this process and provide feedback.
Two new officers, both males, will join the others at the January meeting, hopefully bringing some fresh perspective. Rehm, who will be stepping down after having served for two years, is looking forward to hearing their ideas and seeing the Holy Spirit work through them so that the Young Adults ministry can continue to grow.
One of the most rewarding things about this group has been, according to Rehm, seeing a community that developed.
“People move to Montgomery all the time and before there was no place for them to go so this gave those within our age range a home that they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she said.
Because of the variety of events and opportunities offered, people are getting to know each other and they are building relationships.
“It’s been really cool to see people mature in their faith,” Rehm said. “I know so many who have said that because of small groups and hearing other people they have really grown in their faith, they’re learning how to pray better, they’re really working on their relationship with God, they’re not just going to Mass anymore, they’re doing more with their faith and getting involved.”
This is something to look forward to in 2019.
— For more information on the Catholic Young Adults of Montgomery, visit www.cyamontgomery.com.