Theology on Tap moves to Manassas

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On Monday night, Feb. 12, around 85 young adults piled into the BadWolf Public House in downtown Manassas for Theology on Tap. Tucked in the far corner of the crowded bar, Father Francis J. Peffley, parochial vicar of St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax, talked about how to have a holier Lent. The practical tips about prayer, spiritual reading and frequent penance were interspersed with humorous anecdotes and personal stories. 

When talking about the importance of evangelization, father Peffley highlighted his mother, who would evangelize on street corners with other members of the Legion of Mary. “My mom is 95 years old. She’s still an active member. My sister takes her every week to visit the nursing home, so she’s visiting people 20 years younger than she is,” he said. “The best way to strengthen your faith is to share your faith with others.” 

The Manassas TOT is the third diocesan-sponsored TOT program, in addition to Arlington and Fairfax. Some individual parishes have similar events, but diocesan Young Adult Coordinator Brendan Gotta hopes more parish young adult groups form regional Theology on Taps with help from his office. Gotta and others currently are working to form a fourth Theology on Tap in Alexandria. “This is such a perfect evangelization event,” he said. 

In order to make it helpful for both faithful Catholics and newcomers, Gotta helps the regional leaders find speakers and topics with broad appeal, and ensures all the TOTs have a unified feel. At the first Manassas Theology on Tap in January, consecrated virgin China Briceño titled her talk, “Are you happy?” 

Mary Arsena, director of young adult ministry at All Saints Church in Manassas, said they wanted to start the program in Manassas after seeing its impact elsewhere, especially as a way to connect young adults to a parish community. 

“It can be especially hard for young adults to feel secure or rooted in anything. We want everyone to know that gift from God of having the church, a parish community, (and) a home where we will always belong,” she said. “Jesus always tells us to meet people where they are, and we realize that a lot of those in their 20s and 30s are in the bar scene, especially after a rough day working in the D.C. area.” 

The group also hopes the program touches those who aren’t Catholic. “Our goal is to not only reach Catholic young adults, but anyone who happens to walk into the bar that night. Our hope is that anyone, no matter their faith background, could be touched or inspired by what they hear,” said Arsena. 

Find out more

There will two more Manassas Theology on Taps this series: March 12 with Kevin Bohli, director of the Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult Ministry; and April 9 with Father Noah C. Morey, parochial vicar of All Saints Church in Manassas. For more information, go to facebook.com/asYAMmanassas

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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