A Report on Online Young Adults’ Seekers Small Christian Community Gathering Held on Thursday 27th October, 2022.

After brief introductions and greetings from the Online Young Adults’ Seekers members, the meeting kicked off officially with a prayer from Zenaida Robert. Afterwards, Alloys was invited to welcome and introduce the guests who had joined us.

Luna, Maryknoll Young Adults

Works with Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in San Francisco Bay, California. Project leader for a Young Adult Empowerment Communities. Their community has 55 members throughout the State; Northern California, Southern California, Seattle, New York, and Chicago. She also works closely with Alphonce Omolo from Kenya. During the height of the Delta Coronavirus, they collaborated in a couple of online gatherings and meetings where young adults from Kenya attended prayer services.

Rene Reid, Catholic Church Reform International

The founder of the Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) and also the founder of the Online Young Adults’ Seekers. Rene has also written a book titled, A Nun’s Journey, which narrates her spiritual journey. 

We are all called to be Christians

Rene Reid expressively started to share her hope for young people and the important role they play in the Church by reminding the Young Adults’ Seekers that we are all called to be Christians, to be followers of Jesus. She explained that she had evolved in her understanding about being ‘called’ from the time she was a young adult to where she is today; the most important thing that we as Christians can do is to do all in our power to live our lives as Jesus lived His. Jesus is our model and we are his followers. And to the extent that we can treat other people as Jesus treated them, we would have felt that we have lived a good life.

Rene also shared details of a recent conversation she had with her brother-in-law, two weeks before he passed away. Her brother-in-law had a view that most of us really don’t have sin in our life. We have mistakes and our whole life is about living our life to overcome our mistakes and to do better. From that conversation, she realized that we are not going to be measured by how many times we attend the mass, or how many times we say our prayers. We are going to be measured by how well we have loved the people whose lives we touch.

Rene further emphasized that being gathered in a small Christian community and finding support from one another we become the Church. And with small Christian communities such as Online Young Adults’ Seekers, we can address and handle issues that the institutional church has failed to tackle.

Rene updated the young adult seekers of the upcoming synodal experience. She explained how Pope Francis has turned the church from the monarchical church to a loving and listening church where we come together to truly listen to each other as young Christians. This has opened an avenue of expressing different opinions prompting us to learn to listen with open hearts.

In addition, she mentioned that the document for the Continental Synod has been released and sent out to every Catholic Bishop in the world. The Bishops on their part have the next phase of the synod called the Continental Phase, which is meant to be with the people. More so, in every regional meeting, at least two of the people involved should be a young adult woman and a young adult man. On that note, Rene, advised young adult seekers to reach out to their Bishops and inform them that they’re aware of the document and eagerly interested to be part of the consultation.

Besides that, Rene, suggested that we the Online Young Adults’ Seekers should go ahead and call together people in our own areas and to have a consultation about the synodal document among ourselves. By having gatherings and meetings, we will be able to read and consult, identify what is missing in the document, and write up a report that we would send to our Bishops and to the Synod Office.

Ashiknaz Khokhar from Pakistan described how difficult it has been for him to access synodal documents and reports that are sent to Vatican from Pakistan. He sought advise of how he can get access to these documents. In response, Rene, suggested the best way was to reach out to the priest and Bishops, informing them that he is aware of the documents and their mandate to consult and that he would want to be part of that consultation.

 What would enhance your Christian life?

Alloys Nyakundi, Kenya:

Inspired by the Gospel of Luke that talks about Zacchaeus, the tax-collector. He sees himself being a sycamore tree, he can be a bridge for people to reach the next level just like Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree to see Jesus.

Collins Ongoma, Kenya:

Having worked with different priests in the youth ministry, he has learnt that if you raise your expectations at some point you may get disappointed. According to him the best thing has been looking for a way out or solutions in his own way rather than being so reliant.

Mang’era Gerard, Kenya:

He stated that actively practicing in the society what has been gathered from church teachings, sermons and homilies enhances his Christian life.

Luna, USA:

She said to be neighborly with others and be in relationship with one another. She further shared a point of view from her campus ministry experience that sometimes when we go for mass and there is a relationship that needs mending, it’s hard to be present and fully there with Jesus when the relationship is not doing so well.

Irene Kariuki, Kenya

She shared her experience of how lately she has been struggling with giving time to her friends because of study and work. She said she will pray that God may help her rekindle love for all those around her even though finding time to spend with them has been a challenge.

Future Young Adults’ Seekers Gatherings

Our guest, Rene, was interested to know how Young Adults’ Seekers would use their gathering and meetings to grow our Christian life. She believed that besides our discussions and sharing of life experiences, there are other things that Online Young Adults’ Seekers gathering would do to serve the members better.  

Rene shared how a similar small Christian community that used to meet at her place evolved to an online small Christian community because of the emergence of COVID19. They used their reflection time to celebrate the liturgy together and to remind themselves that they are a church. In their meetings, they also share what is going on in their life. They have a retired priest, Fr. Bob, who loves to put together their liturgies and eucharistic prayers, give thoughts to a homily around a gospel reading. Rene also narrated how they have a keyboard in their small community and one of them plays it, thus having music in their liturgy. With the help of the retired priest, they are able to pray for current social crisis that are experienced throughout the world. Even though they are far from each other, only brought together by the Zoom call, they also participate in the eucharistic prayers.

Rene advised that young adult seekers should also look for opportunities when we gather together in our homes or online and share what we can do to support each other. We should be open to new ideas and we should let our imagination open new possibilities that would make our Christian community be the church we want.

Juma Derek, Uganda

He spoke of how Online Young Adults’ Seekers could move from just discussing issues and ideas to actually solving the issues in the community through outreach and empowerment. Young Adults’ Seekers should act and be impactful in the society.

The next meeting will be held on 10th November, 2022. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Ainembabazi Rabecca volunteered to be the facilitator of our next meeting.

The meeting officially ended with a prayer from Brenda.

Prepared by

Mang’era Gerard

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