By Celine Klosterman
MUSCATINE — In bringing a popular program for young adults to Muscatine, Catholics hope to help young parishioners grow in faith and feel more connected to the Church.
This month and next, the first four Theology on Tap sessions in Muscatine are slated for Catholics in their 20s and 30s. A ministry of RENEW International, the program brings young adults together in casual settings such as a bar or restaurant to hear a talk and discuss matters of religion.
“Hopefully, Theology on Tap might be a way for people to explore some issues and topics they have questions, concerns or misconceptions about,” said Ben Nietzel. He belongs to Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine and to the local Theology on Tap leadership committee. “It seems a lot of 20- and 30-year-olds are really busy with young families, careers and/or active social lives, so this program seemed like a great way to further our faith development without asking people for a massive time commitment. Further, we felt that this program was something that might draw people from this age group together.”
Ss. Mary & Mathias has been trying to expand offerings for young adults, said Chris Weber, director of youth and young adult ministry at the parish. He added that in the past year, the parish has noticed more young adults attending Masses and activities.
Nietzel, 33, enjoyed learning from a speaker at Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish during the most recent Lenten season, and he expects to appreciate the speaker format of Theology on Tap as well.
Continued spiritual growth is important, he said. “It seems like many Catholics stop learning about their faith after confirmation. Personally, I’ve grown a lot as a person since I was 16, and the questions and priorities I have about my faith are quite different now at age 33.”
The Church can only benefit from having educated young adults — especially young parents and future parents, Nietzel added. Knowing what the Church teaches and why “will strengthen our faith, and in turn, hopefully help us to lead and guide the next generation of Catholics.”
Upcoming Theology on Tap sessions
Theology on Tap events will take place at Wine Nutz, upstairs in the Pearl Plaza in Muscatine, from 7-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 13, 18 and 27 and Feb 1. Topics include “Bible: Fact or Fiction?,” “Scripture AND Tradition,” “Where’s the Bible: Liturgy and the Lectionary,” and “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: Do they All Agree?”