Ours is a story of new frontiers, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, boldness. A story of crossing over bridges, starlit skies, and swimming against the currents. A story of immigrants, a story of Connecticut yankees, and cool Californians, and bullish Chicagoans, of maverick Texans and anything-but-mild-mannered Midwesterners, kind and loving New Yorkers, and Catholic Christians of all stripes and shapes and sensibilities. A story with ancient roots and modern twists. Springing from a groundbreaking gathering at the Vatican and an earth-shattering pandemic and the hearts and minds of ministers who want nothing more than for young adults to fall in love and stay in love with Jesus.
The institutional part of our story is this: in 2016 the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association, which had served the field faithfully since the early 1980’s, discerned that it was time to close their books in order to let something new be born. They handed their assets and mission back to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in order to see what could be around the corner. The Bishops then tasked a new ad-hoc group of diverse, proven ministry leaders in the field to come up with a new plan and named it the USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry. Chaired by Nick Stein, they began their work in the fall of 2016 just as “Sons and Daughters of the Light,” the bishops document on young adult ministry, was celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Through many conversations, planning sessions, and events with ministry leaders and young adults over the next few years, the Team coalesced around the idea of a National Institute and presented the initial idea to the Bishops Conference in 2018.
In order to make the new dream a reality an expanded Exploratory Task Force was created, made up of representatives from over 40 different dioceses and organizations, and with attention to representing the breadth of Catholicism spiritually and culturally. This group, which included lay women and men, bishops, priests, and consecrated religious working co-responsibly for the good of young adults and those who minister to them across the country, labored through 2019 and then through the onset of the global pandemic in 2020, navigating the new challenges and new realities with flexibility and determination. On August 19, 2020 the Institute was Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in the State of Connecticut, under the blessing of Bishop Caggiano of Bridgeport, and the original Board of Members was seated, with the Board of Directors seated soon after in 2021.
The next part of the story is the most important. Will you help us write it?
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