By RENEE WEBB
With a desire to collaborate on events for Catholic youth in Sioux City, city-wide adoration will be offered the first Thursday of each month at Cathedral of the Epiphany for teens in 7th to 12th grade.
This new effort will begin on Aug. 2 and will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The decision to offer this monthly experience for the youth came out of a Youth Summit sponsored by Vocations Office in the Diocese of Sioux City.
According to Father Shane Deman, vocations director, 24 people including priests, DREs, youth ministers and other youth collaborators in Sioux City attended the four-hour meeting that was held at Cathedral.
“The meeting was called for by the priests of the city based on our conversations in our monthly priests’ meeting, wanting to improve youth ministry in the city and provide more collaborative efforts,” the vocations director noted.
Father David Hemann, pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Sioux City, said he believes the city-wide adoration is a good solution to improving ministry to youth.
“We want to give our kids doctrine and teaching, but we also have to maintain that personal relationship with the living Christ,” he said. “After they have that relationship with the living Christ, then they are much more interested in the doctrine and teaching of the church.”
Sometimes, Father Hemann explained, the doctrine and teachings do not necessarily lead youth to Christ but the encounter with Christ, can lead them to want to know more about the church.
“Teens are very busy and they need to unplug from the noise of the world,” stressed Father Deman. “Spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament not only connects them to the Lord, but it also allows them to see themselves as they stand before him with all of their gifts and shortcomings. Our self-knowledge becomes most fully realized when we place ourselves before God.”
This event also connects teens to God’s grace, he added, through the sacrament of reconciliation as confessions will be offered during adoration.
“We will start out with 20 to 30 minutes of praise music and sometimes we might have youth give a witness talk – possibly some preaching and teaching – then adoration where they can put themselves into the presence of the Lord,” said Father Hemann.
Mary Sam Hacker, youth minister at Mater Dei Parish in Sioux City, said the city-wide collaborative will provide a welcoming environment that gives teens a chance to share their faith with one another.
“They will know it is okay to pray together, to sing together; it’s a good thing to be doing now,” she said.
Father Hemann pointed out a group of youth from his parish recently returned from a Steubenville Conference and they were greatly transformed by the experiences they had, which included adoration. If they want to keep that flame alive, offering an activity like this city-wide adoration can help do that, he added.
Karmen Darwin, director of evangelization and catechesis at Cathedral Parish in Sioux City, agreed that many youth return from youth conferences and talk about the powerful experiences they had at adoration.
“City-wide adoration allows them to return to the Eucharist in prayer and continue to encounter Christ and become formed as disciples,” she said. “It’s a great use of our resources, but also allows the youth of the city to meet other young Catholics in the area and form a greater circle of friends who are striving for holiness.”
This model of adoration and confession has become popular for young people in other cities, such as Denver and Milwaukee, noted Father Deman, who added, “We hope it will provide fruit for our youth as they encounter the Lord in intimate ways through prayer and confession.”
Along with the city-wide adoration, he said another effort that came from the Youth Summit was helping to promote the Diocesan Youth Rally that is slated for this fall.