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A 'Sterling' new location for Theology on Tap

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Sixty Catholics walk into a bar … to learn theology.

O’Faolains Irish restaurant and pub in Sterling is the newest location offering Theology on Tap on the second Tuesday of each month. The Office of Youth, Campus, and Young Adult Ministries partnered with nearby parishes to start the Sterling location. Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls, St. Thomas à Becket Church in Reston, St. Joseph Church in Herndon, and St. John Neumann Church in Reston have all taken active roles in sponsoring this monthly event.

The Sterling location is one of seven in the diocese — Clarendon, Old Town Alexandria, Fairfax, Manassas, Woodbridge and Fredericksburg.

Kevin Bohli, director of the youth office, said the goal is to assist parishes to come together and choose a location where young adults can gather on a monthly basis.

“There are many young adults living in the Sterling, Herndon and Reston area, so it made sense to work with those parishes to create a centralized hub for their young adult ministries,” he said. “In addition, those parishes already had strong young adult ministries with a lot of support for this Theology on Tap.”

Thomas Patchan, young adult coordinator at St. John Neumann, said his parish saw it as an option to reach out to people who weren't coming to parish events.

The first speaker in the series Aug. 14 was Carmen "China" Briceño, a consecrated virgin.  She presented, "Mercy is Our Mission: How to Have Transforming Encounters Through the Works of Mercy."

Briceño, a parishioner of All Saints Church in Manassas and a Catholic Herald columnist, talked about how to live the different works of mercy and how living them can transform the lives of those who perform the works. She and a friend help the homeless in a Manassas tent city. Initially providing a meal every Friday, the ministry grew to include paying for loads of laundry at a nearby laundromat and other services.

“We don’t have financial support and always pay with our own tithing money if they need something,” she said. “We wondered how we can help the homeless help themselves and create an environment to talk about God.” Briceño makes crosses from parachute cords with the needy while waiting for the laundry. That leads to spiritual conversations. “It gives us time to talk and be together and find out what else is going on in their lives,” she said.

At Theology on Tap, Brady Dice, a parishioner of St. Thomas à Becket, learned how works of mercy can be done closer to home. “The biggest part for me was how mercy doesn’t have to be some cross-country or world trip,” he said. “It happens right here in Northern Virginia and in your life already.”

Bohli’s office is looking for Theology on Tap speakers.

“We are trying to find speakers and topics that are not simply teaching the faith,” he said, “but also reflecting the joy of living the Catholic faith and being a part of the local Catholic community.”

Find out more


Theology on Tap, O’Faolains Irish restaurant and pub, 20921 Davenport Dr., Sterling, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.


All adults (ages 21-39) single and married, all faith backgrounds invited. Contact yam@arlingtondiocese.org. Doug Johnson, a Vietnam War veteran will present “Love of God and Love of Country: A View from the Trenches.” New speakers every 2nd Tuesday of the month.



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018