Bishop Olson answers questions from young adults at his first Theology on Tap appearance as bishop

By Juan Guajardo

Correspondent

May 19, 2014

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Bishop Michael Olson answers questions from his audience of young adults. Bishop Olson gave his first presentation as the new bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth at Theology on Tap at BJ's Brewhouse in Hurst May 5. (Photo by Juan Guajardo / North Texas Catholic.

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Bishop Michael Olson’s first talk at Theology on Tap was part Catholic Answers Live and part stand-up comedy routine. Drawing an overflow crowd at BJ’s Brewhouse in Hurst May 5, Bishop Olson pulled a Pope Francis-like move in opting for an off-the-cuff question-and-answer session with his young adult audience.

Usually the format of Theology on Tap (TOT), a national catechetical program by RENEW International, is to bring Catholic young adults together for an evening of fellowship and a dynamic keynote talk addressing faith-based topics, all in a casual setting — usually a grill, sports bar, or other popular restaurant. Bishop Olson was indeed dynamic, but instead of a keynote, he stood close to his young audience made up of the combined Fort Worth and Mid-Cities TOT groups, and encouraged them to ask him questions, share what’s on their minds, and share ideas with him.

In his brief opening remarks, he reminded the crowd of about 60 young adults that their vocations as Catholics depends not so much on their occupations or jobs so much as consciously striving to remind the world that we live in Christ’s redemption.

“The Gospel got here before we did,” Bishop Olson explained. “It’s our responsibility to find where it is, share what we have, give it away, and receive it some more.”

He also told his audience to not be afraid of the world, or view society as an enemy because, “None of us gets to Heaven alone. None of us lives our Christian faith in an individualized or isolated way, but we have to rely first on God… we are ordered and directed to live in community by our nature but also by our grace and vocation to follow Jesus.”

Bishop Olson then proceeded to answer every question he received from the audience, often jesting and sharing jokes with them throughout his hour-and-ten-minute Q&A. He had the crowd roaring with laughter as he touched on topics ranging from the New Evangelization and the meaning behind his coat of arms to his favorite baseball team (It’s not the Chicago Cubs) and how he came to join the priesthood.

He even spent several minutes giving advice to those who asked questions like, “I have many friends who were formerly Catholic and have lost their way or their faith. Do you have any advice about how to help them find their way back to God?”

To which Bishop Olson responded, “First of all pray for them, and that’s not just sort of a polite way of handing our responsibility on to God…. We have to pray that God wants to bless them and not the way we think they should be blessed. We have to have a renewed sense on our own part of confidence in God’s providence, that He can write straight with crooked lines.” We have to believe “that God is very active, always, in everybody’s life.”

Newcomer Joe Magnetico, who came with young adults from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller, felt the bishop’s Q&A was a “home” run with the crowd of young adults.

“I loved the fact that the bishop was so open to answering any kind of questions that people had. I thought it was amazing. He’s very candid,” said Magnetico. “It’s very, ‘I’m down here with you all. I’m not here on this pedestal. I’m down in the trenches with every other Catholic.’ So I thought it was wonderful to see that.”

Bp-Olson-@-ToT-BUTTON.jpgBishop Michael Olson’s first talk at Theology on Tap was part Catholic Answers Live and part stand-up comedy routine. Drawing an overflow crowd at BJ’s Brewhouse in Hurst May 5, Bishop Olson pulled a Pope Francis-like move in opting for an off-the-cuff question-and-answer session with his young adult audience.

Published (until 5/19/2114)
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