Summer Nights Kick-off prioritizes youth in church community

North Texas Catholic
(Jun 13, 2024) Local

Food Trucks and Fellowship. Food from Mama Lama and Travelin' Toms Coffee at the Young Adult Summer Nights at St. Ann Parish in Burleson, Texas. (NTC/Matt Redden)

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BURLESON — Just missing the rain and severe thunderstorms, the Diocese of Fort Worth kicked off its first Summer Night series at St. Ann Parish in Burleson on May 29. Roughly 50 young adults from various parishes gathered for a Mass led by Father Reehan Soosai Antony, SAC, followed by Eucharistic adoration and confession. 

Afterward, young adults were treated to food trucks, which offered complimentary coffee and paninis, and fellowship in the formation center.

“I like seeing people eat together,” said Melly Andrade, a diocesan event planning coordinator. “During the summer, a lot of people are coming back from college, so [the event] is an opportunity to grow closer to God.”

A volunteer young adult ministry leader at St. Ann, Lucero Sosa believes these events go a long way toward making the next generation in her parish feel more at home.

“It’s especially hard in Burleson to find people our age,” Sosa said. 

Among the young adults Sosa has observed to attend St. Ann, many are in different phases in their lives. 

Young adults pray during adoration at the Young Adult Summer Nights at St. Ann Parish in Burleson, Texas. (NTC/Matt Redden)

“Some people are starting their families, they have children, and then there are people who are just now coming out of school, trying to find their footing here,” Sosa said. “So, it’s a little bit tricky, but, hopefully, these events will help with that aspect. … We have to find time to prioritize our faith.”

Diocesan Director of Young Adult Ministry Victoria Ramon believed the Summer Nights event provided the parish’s young adults “a good use of time to come together in prayer and to have the opportunity for reconciliation.”

Ramon hopes the Summer Nights series will help young adult ministries grow in Burleson and across the diocese by showing pastors and young adult leadership teams the feasibility of supporting formation geared toward engaging younger parishioners, Ramon said.

“I want the leadership teams to see how they can themselves have a continuation of Summer Nights at their church,” the director of three years said. “My prayer is that other churches and other parishes will see this and say, ‘Hey, we could do something like that too.’”

The next Summer Night events will be held at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Flower Mound on June 26 and St. Maria Goretti Parish in Arlington on July 10.

Newly minted in the faith

Seth Coleman, who was baptized in May 2022 at St. Michael Parish in Bedford, decided to come to the Summer Nights Mass and fellowship with his friend Logan Quinn. 

“I wanted to come to these events to just try and meet new people and find fellowship with people my own age,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he was thankful for the ability to speak with other parishioners so openly.

Young adults sign in at the Summer Nights at St. Ann Parish in Burleson, Texas. (NTC/Matt Redden)

“I have good friends in the faith, and we talk to each other, just hoping to meet good people,” Coleman said.

Quinn, a fellow convert who entered the Church after attending Bible study events in his home parish in Wichita, Kansas, was excited to join Coleman to attend the first of the Summer Nights.

“I like trying to catch up with like-minded Catholics,” Quinn said.

A pleasant respite

When Andrea Rambo went to Mass that Wednesday evening, she discovered a pleasant surprise.

“It was a coincidence,” Rambo said. “I just started going to St. Ann’s in Burleson, and I went to Mass today, and I saw on the flyer that they were having this [event] tonight.”

Rambo said these events are a respite from the constant division found in today’s world.

“It’s nice to be somewhere where you can feel more united,” Rambo said.

By Martin Friedenthal, an NTC staff writer. 

Food trucks, Summer Night series, St. Ann Parish, Burleson, Young Adult Catholics, trending-english