Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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Spokane Catholic Young Adults group returns from ‘leave of absence’
Story and photo by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the Jan. 17, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)
Father Victor Blazovich is spiritual advisor for the newly revitalized Spokane Catholic Young Adults ministry. (IR photo)
Father Victor Blazovich’s face lights up when he talks about the Spokane Catholic Young Adults group.
In 2000, soon after he was ordained, members of the group asked Father Blazovich to become their spiritual advisor, and he agreed. At the time he was assigned to Our Lady of Fatima Parish, but soon became pastor for Colton and Uniontown, followed by an assignment to Colville, Kettle Falls, and Northport. He needed to travel to Spokane for group meetings or the group needed to go to where he was.
Last August, however, Father Blazovich returned to Spokane as the pastor of St. Patrick and St. Francis Xavier parishes, and this gave him the opportunity to give more time to the Spokane Catholic Young Adults group.
This month marks the end of a one-year “time-out” the group decided to take in order to begin a fresh chapter in its history.
“A couple of years ago, attendance started dropping,” Father Blazovich said, “for what reason I’m not sure. At good times, attendance had been around 15-20.” Although the chairperson suggested the group disband, “I didn’t want to do that,” he said. “I suggested that we take a one-year ‘leave of absence.’ Sometimes when something goes down, it needs a new shot in the arm. At the time, being up in Colville, it was hard for me to do anything with it.”
When he learned that he was returning to Spokane, Father Blazovich thought, “Oh, wonderful, a perfect time to revamp Spokane Catholic Young Adults. Time to resurrect it because it’s such an important ministry.
“What I see is that among young adults between ages 21-35 there’s a hunger to be involved and really actively practice their faith,” he said. “A lot of times, activities in parishes aren’t catered to younger adults as much as they are to kids and families and the elderly. We don’t want lose sight of the fact that there is a huge number of people who have so much to give and offer, and we want to have a ministry that will reach them. My goal is that for the (young adult) ministry to bear fruit it needs to be rooted in prayer.”
With this in mind, Father Blazovich scheduled a gathering of Catholic Young Adults, between the ages of 21-35. “We’ll get together to have an evening of contemplative prayer,” Father Blazovich said, “pray Evening Prayer, have music,” and spend the evening in meditative prayer, including Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. “It’s a wonderful way for someone – especially these days when everyone is so stressed-out after a demanding week at work – to melt the stress away, the anxieties of the week, and become centered before the weekend begins. That’s what I hope to do.”
A brief soup supper will be provided afterward, he said.
“That’s how I want to do the meetings,” said Father Blazovich: “always start with prayer, and after that have the fellowship, and we’ll see what develops from there.”
Ann Langlois, of Spokane’s Sacred Heart Parish, has been a member of Spokane Catholic Young Adults for several years. She said, “I was excited to hear about Father Vic’s plans to revitalize the Spokane Catholic Young Adults. It is my hope the SCYA will continue to provide opportunities for young adults to get involved in the Catholic Church and learn more about our faith, while getting to know each other and make life-long friends.”
A past chair of Spokane Catholic Young Adults is Jeff Martin, of St. Peter Parish in Spokane. “What attracted me was that they divided the activities into three categories: spiritual, social, and service. It wasn’t just social events. I hope the group has a prosperous future in terms of attracting many new people in their twenties and thirties to get involved and benefit from it.”
Father Blazovich hopes that eventually, Spokane Catholic Young Adults will develop social activities, as well as educational opportunities that address topics specific to Catholic young adults. “Maybe,” he said, “the Spirit will move us to get a Bible study going, a really solid Bible study,” based solidly on Church teaching, the Fathers of the Church, the Doctors of the Church, and current Scripture scholarship. “There’s a current hunger” for that kind of knowledge, he said.
“There’s a hunger, too, for social activities and service activities – young adults getting together and saying, ‘Hey, why don’t we spend a day doing outreach with the House of Charity, or St. Margaret Shelter, or can we reach out and do something for the poor, band together as a good group?’ I’d also like to maintain the custom of having an annual retreat.”
The revitalized group is still no substitute for the young adults’ home communities. “The parishes are still their spiritual homes, and Spokane Catholic Young Adults is supplemental,” said Father Blazovich.