by Fr. Corey Bruns, parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bowling Green, KY (a Young Adult Initiative partner parish)
Some six years ago, as a seminarian in Bowling Green, KY for a summer, I started a young adult group, which met on Thursdays. We’d meet at a local bar for pints and conversation – usually with prayer – but our focus was community and coming together to support one another in our faith and life.
That summer, Kate from Kansas was completing an internship in town and would join us for our Thursday gatherings. We had a blast and formed friendships that have lasted years and even continents.
For the past week, I have been on a pilgrimage to Rome with a small group, and I have been praying particularly for our Young Adult Ministry with BGCatholics in Bowling Green. While in Rome, I was able to celebrate Mass in the Clementine Chapel at Saint Peter’s Basilica (the altar connected to the tomb of St. Peter in the crypt church), as well as visit and pray at the tombs of so many faithful saints and heavenly friends.
While connecting anew with heavenly friends whom I have begged intercession from for years, and at times being moved to tears as I knelt in the holy places of their tombs and martyrdom (thanks JPII, St. Cecilia and St. Francis of Assisi), I was also able to connect with earthly friends striving for holiness and living now in the Eternal City.
Kate from Kansas is now a member of the Apostles of the Interior Life and is completing her final years of formation and study with the community in Rome. We met up for coffee and conversation on Sunday afternoon and picked up where our Thursday pints had left off.
Kate shared with me how crucial that summer of community and pints and laughter was for her in helping her hear the invitation of the Lord to consecrated life. God spoke to her that summer, and she opened her heart to a life of deeper faith, love and prayer.
I was struck while visiting the tomb of my patron, St. Francis of Assisi, of the beauty of his being surrounded by the tombs of his brothers (literally in a circle around his tomb in the crypt chapel). Even in death, he is surrounded by his first friends to join him in the Order of Friars Minor, who encouraged him, built him up, loved and supported him by their prayer and friendship on the road to heaven.
Kate’s story also stresses for us the importance and value of our ability to create community for young adults in the Church in a world that stresses individualism. Without community and friendship, without the support, love, and prayers of peers, the road to heaven can be lonely and arduous. But with friends, that road becomes that much sweeter.
Please keep Kate in your prayers as she finishes these last few years of formation and conforms her life more to the Lord as his consecrated bride.
Saint Meinrad alumnus Fr. Corey Bruns is the parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bowling Green, KY. His parish is a current partner parish in the Young Adult Initiative.