Summit looks at the future of young adult ministry in diocese

Twenty-five young adults gathered at Sacred Heart Church in Sauk Rapids March 11 for the St. Cloud Diocese’s first-ever Young Adult Summit.

The goal of the all-day gathering was to discuss the visions and goals for young adult ministry in the diocese and for young adult Catholics to connect with one another.

The event included prayer, fellowship, music, lunch and discussion.

Trisha Welle, left, sings during Morning Prayer at the Young Adult Summit on Saturday, March 11. Jason Prigge, director of youth and young adult ministry for the One in Christ ACC and Philip Shefveland, director of campus ministry at Christ Church Newman Center led participants in Morning Prayer. (Gianna Bonello / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

Participants watched three pre-recorded Zoom sessions from Paul Jarzembowski, associate director for the laity at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. Jarzembowski discussed aspects and challenges of young adult ministry.

Participants also read and discussed Pope Francis’s ‘Christus Vivit,’ a post-synodal apostolic exhortation for young people. At the end of the day, they were asked to brainstorm three to five elements and principles they wanted to see and implement for young adult ministry moving forward.

“Being here today has been a really good opportunity to further my relationship with young adults that are Catholic and also to get a chance to voice some of my concerns and solutions,” Dan Gottwalt said.

Gottwalt, a member of St. Peter Parish in St. Cloud, said he came to the summit because he is looking for community as he starts his professional life as an architect. Melanie Solland, a sophomore at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, said she came to learn what she can do to further ministry for those her age.

“I’ve got some tools now that I can use,” she said.

Solland, a member of Christ Church Newman Center, the parish that serves St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College, started a support group at her school for students questioning their faith.

“I had an idea one day, and I just really wanted to build community at the Tech College, so I opened it up to anybody questioning their faith. … We started it up, and now it’s been going for about a month. We’ve got three people, but that’s more than I expected,” she said.

Jason Prigge, director of youth and young adult ministry for the One in Christ Area Catholic Community, which includes Sacred Heart Parish, helped organize the event. He said “it was time” for the summit.

“Young adult ministry was already happening, and now I think it’s time to set some new goals and objectives, especially with the new Bishop. I think it makes sense that we’re gathered to have dialogue for the first time,” he said.

Looking to get involved in young adult ministry? Email Kent Schmitz, associate director for youth ministry/adolescent catechesis for the Diocese of St. Cloud, at, or join the Diocese of St. Cloud Young Adults Facebook group.

Pictured above: Delaine and Rick Bzdok participate in a discussion with other young adults. (Gianna Bonello / The Central Minnesota Catholic)

Author: Gianna Bonello

Gianna Bonello is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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