Aug 23, 2021
Christine Bordelon, associate editor of the Clarion Herald and NOLA Catholic Parenting moderator, invited James Behan, associate director for the Young Adult Ministry & Marriage & Family Life for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and Peyton Fine, the new president of the Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) New Orleans chapter – to dive into the subject of young adult ministry (18- to 39-year-olds) in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
1:00 Christine asked Peyton to describe who the young adults are.
1:12 Peyton said there isn’t an easy way to describe young adults which makes the ministry challenging. He talked about his journey through Catholic schools on high school with faith laid out clearly. Even at college had opportunities on campus to participate in faith. In the real world, there isn’t that clear faith path. You have to make a more conscientious decision to include faith in your life. It is more his own now, but can be challenging as a young adult.
2:50 Christine asked Peyton about what energized him about the Catholic faith.
2:55: Peyton said he was blessed that his parents and grandparents instilled faith in him at a very young age. He said every blessing and challenge that he has been given are only present through God. Knowing that in his mind, living a life without faith is something he couldn’t comprehend. The ideals that his parents gave him that everything we have must come through faith.
4:00: Christine asked Peyton if there were events that he and his friends look forward to to express their faith.
4:10: Peyton said Young Catholic Professionals is part of that as well as Christ in the City events that Behan’s office offers. YCP look forward to happy hours, executive speaker series. Discounted food and drink attract young adults.
5:10: Peter Finney, editor of the Clarion Herald, jumped in about speaking at a YCP event and noticing the large turnout of young Catholic adults who take their faith serious.
5:30: Peyton said every opportunity we give to young adults to express their faith, the space to practice their faith but bolsters their faith – realizing they are not alone as young adults to express their faith.
6:10 Christine asked James Behan to talk about the Young Adult Ministry office for the archdiocese.
6:27: James – it is a broad umbrella of services and programs helping parishes, college campus ministries and other groups – provide opportunities for community, prayer, service. Assists the archbishop and his work in reaching “the church of now.” Connecting like-minded young adults with same life experiences as they do who are energized and excited by their faith. To feel the call of the Holy Spirit in their hearts to deepen their faith in their lives.
8:53: Christine asked James if he’s been involved in young adult ministry for a while
8:55 James said he’s been involved for 15 years – first on college campuses, in music ministry and with Archdiocese of New Orleans for two years.
9:00: Peter Finney asked Peyton what parishes could do to serve young adults better.
9:43 Peyton said: Having an organized group in a parish is the first step. Only a few in the archdiocese, including St. Catherine who runs a GroupMe app, have one now. Shows that a parish wants to support young adults. Young Adults feel much more welcomed this way and want to maintain their faith. He said meeting young adults where they are in faith is another important aspect. Having events such as Theology on Tap that brings in social element is great. It makes a huge impact for a small
12:00: Christine asked what the YCP’s slogan of “Working in Witness for Christ” means.
12:25: It means that in each moment of my career I can offer anything that I am doing for the betterment of faith. Often as a young adult, I don’t always see the correlation of how work relates to faith. Even offer toil up to souls in purgatory.
13:55 Christine asked Peyton about what he’s enjoyed about YCP.
14:00: Peyton said the cornerstones are the monthly executive speaker series featuring Catholic executives and how faith has impacted their work role is impactful; and monthly happy hours throughout the city that helps Catholics connect and build a virtuous community
15:35: Christine asked James how COVID-19 has affected Young Adult ministry events in the archdiocese
15:49: James said it’s prevented from March 2020 to May 2021 hasn’t had Christ in the City. Returned in May 2021. Stopped regular Theology on Tap. It’s forced young adults to find more creative ways to express and expand their faith. Used social media to Divine Mercy chaplet online and other things like the 7-week Theology on Tap book series using Pope’s love letter to young church with James and Claire Gallagher. It’s help people to connect at their convenience and helped people recognize what’s sacred and unique in their lives. Have to be creative and wise when offering safe events now.
19:23: Christine asked both James and Peyton about how online events have replaced in-person events.
19:35: Peyton said virtual Zoom events definitely have, especially the Refiner’s Fire speaker events presented by the national YCP. They’ve used outdoor venues and larger spaces in New Orleans so young adults can gather safely. “Whatever it takes to bring people together socially.”
21:00: James agrees, saying they wouldn’t want to endanger young adults by producing an unsafe atmosphere and have a plan B if COVID conditions cause large, in-person events to be cancelled.
21:45: Peter Finney asked if there were online faith tools they use to keep their faith alive.
22:05: Peyton said he uses www.faithNd.edu sends a daily short Gospel reflection and prayer; and Fr. Mike Schmitz’s top-rated Bible in a Year podcast.
22:30: James also follows the “Bible in a Year’ podcast. “It’s planting seeds” of faith and easily referred to later online. He also uses an app called hallow.com – a $70 investment annually. The best Catholic artists, speakers and presenters provide daily reflections, and it’s easy to share. Using the phone/technology this way, it is a reflection of Christ, not an idol. It is digital discipleship.
26:25: Christine asked about the annual World Youth Day which is usually in October locally?
26:47: James didn’t think it was going to happen. (It has now been cancelled in person by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.) Global World Youth Day – next one is Lisbon, Portugal in 2023. James has been to three world youth days.
28:05: Peyton has been to local World youth days. He’s energized by seeing his peers energized by faith. Seeing an army of priests together and seeing long lines to go to confession is his “seared” image of World Youth Day. We are all flawed, but God always is there to forgive.
29:05: James hopes that 2022 will allow the opportunity for other youth to take part in local World Youth Day. He attended the last one with Pope John Paul and two with Pope Benedict. He called it a “Pentecost Experience” being with the vicar of Christ, the successor of St. Peter. It’s an outdoor music concert – Wood stock, the Olympics and Mass where people are so proud to declare they are part of one, holy apostolic church. Kids flood a major city in the world and get to meet others from all over to pray, dance, sing and celebrate Mass together in a variety of languages. He finds it inspiring and life changing. A “vocation-affirming” experience.
31:30: Christine asked James about the importance of building young adults since they will be the parents who are the first faith examples/givers of their children.
32:10: James sees two levels – parents of young adults and young adults who are parents. Parents of young adults can pass along bulletin announcements of events and invite them to these events, but also respect the choices these young adults make. He referred to St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine who lived a wild life. St. Monica kept praying for her son for the Holy Spirit to do something to Augustine’s heart. Offer up pain and suffering they experience because their children aren’t living up to the faith that they were brought up in. Think of a child’s gifts and talents and even suggest they help the parish by using these talents (technology, flip burgers at a men’s club event). This is where evangelization and conversion can take place. Remember the promise you make to be the first faith example to children at the baptismal font. Reinforce the faith taught at Catholic schools as husband and wife. Fastest way to get in touch young www.nolacatholic.org/YAM or Instagram.com/nola_yam.
38:00 Peyton said you can contact the Young Catholic Professionals in New Orleans and learn about events at ww.Ycpnewsorleans.org or YCP on Facebook. He sees continued growth and recognition that YCP is open for young adults to strengthen that faith. “We need that oxygen of the Holy Spirit.” He hopes YCP can play a small part in continued faith growth for young adults.