Young adults invited to service opportunity at Steubenville of the Rockies

The Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries is seeking young adults for a volunteer opportunity during the annual Steubenville of the Rockies conference this June.

“This is a way to invite young adults into a greater leadership role in the Church and contrast the whole consumer attitude with giving,” said Mary McGeehan, Young Adult Ministry Specialist for the Archdiocese of Denver.

“We want you here, we want you to serve with us,” she said. “You’re invited to still participate and serve, just in a different way as you mature in your faith.”

The volunteer group, called Mercy Squad, will participate in a pre-conference retreat from June 19-21, and then take on their volunteer tasks during the conference from June 21-23.

The pre-conference retreat will include opportunities for adoration, confession and reflections led by Father Ryan O’Neill, Vocations Director for the archdiocese. The group’s tasks during the conference include welcoming retreatants, organizing registration packets, helping during meals and guiding groups as they walk to events.

The Mercy Squad is ideal for college students, as well as young adults who have summers off or are able to take off work.

Michelle Peters, Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries for the archdiocese, explained the importance of giving young adults opportunities designed specifically for them.

“It is important that they are given the opportunity to exercise the gifts that they have been given,” she said. “Young adults often look at different parishes and groups before finding one that they settle in.

“By offering the young adults leadership roles in different areas, they will feel a part of the community and will be more active.”

Inspired by Mother Teresa and St. Therese of Lisieux, the Mercy Squad will be in charge of “little acts that make a big difference in helping people feel welcomed and loved,” said McGeehan.

“We’re really wanting to make Mercy Squad a cohort that can emphasize hospitality and love and gift of presence,” she said.

The group will also be “prayer warriors” for the retreatants “through intercessory prayer during adoration or while they’re in the long line for confession,” McGeehan added.

“And having hallway guides that not only are directing them, but also praying and interceding for them in ways the participants might not even realize.”

Peters emphasized the impact those actions can have.

“The success of a conference requires a lot of details — many of which go unnoticed but would be greatly missed if they weren’t there,” she said.

“Steubenville of the Rockies offers our high school students an opportunity to encounter Christ, which can lead to lifelong conversions. The young adults serving at the conference will be helping these high school students have the opportunity to experience a deeper relationship with Christ.”

McGeehan hopes the young adults who join the Mercy Squad will inspire the conference attendees to deepen their faith even more.

“You can be loving God at Steubenville, but to see people a little bit older than you who are still committed to their faith and living it out so much so that they want to do menial tasks and give up their time for them,” she said.

“It’s a good witness of what faith looks like beyond an emotional experience or a spiritual high.”

To apply for the Mercy Squad, visit archden.org/eflm/conferences-retreats/steubenville.

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash