Dancing late into the night, music filling the room, laughter, and conversations of people reuniting or meeting for the first time. This is something you would expect at a wedding or perhaps a night club, but for the St. Francis Xavier Chaplaincy (SFXC) community, this was the sight at their community's dance to celebrate the feast of St. Francis Xavier.
The St. Francis Xavier Chaplaincy forms young adults in our Diocese in faith, formation, and fellowship, equipping them with skills they will bring into their parishes. SFXC was started in January 2019, at St. Bernard’s parish with a community of approximately 200 young adults. Today, almost five years later, SFXC operates out of St. Mary’s Cathedral with a community of over 650 young adults.
Our Chaplaincy serves our young adults in many ways, but primarily by creating an environment for young adults to come together in faith. As the Program Coordinator for SFXC, I am usually busy with logistics during our events. However, it has become a practice for me to stop, listen, and observe. I did this several times throughout the evening of our Feast Day Dance, and what I observed only strengthened my conviction of the importance of our community.
I saw the Holy Spirit's alive, not only in conversations and dancing, but also in the discussions that carried more serious tones. I saw people who I had not seen before enter with hesitation but leave with joy, having made new connections. I saw volunteers from our community brimming with excitement and joy as they set-up the hall and without complaint, cleaned up the hall late into the evening.
There are many words one could use to describe this evening: joy, community, fun, encouraging, and lively. The first word that came to mind for me, perhaps because it is a word so alive in our Diocese right now, is 'Renewal'. This is truly what renewal looks like in a community, a joy that spreads and welcomes others in by witness, mission, and love of God. Although our evening was a time of celebration in honor of the feast day of our patron saint, the common thread uniting everyone was the love of God. This is what drives renewal, and this is what drives our community.
As we prepare to celebrate our five-year anniversary we look at what has already come from our community and what possibilities lie ahead. The support of Bishop McGrattan has paved the way for our community since the very beginning and will continue to do so throughout our future. We will have many more celebrations, events, lectures, Masses, and events of fellowship, and with each one I will stop, listen, and observe. However, even before taking in these moments, I know what I will see each time. A community striving to love God and each other, working to build up the Kingdom of God. A community that naturally embraces renewal.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers