Be bold. Be passionate. Be Catholic.
This is the mission of Lucis Via, a new organization whose members want to give young adults their own voice and a place to grow in Christ’s love.
Organizers say young adults often feel marginalized in parishes that offer ministries for small children, teens, families and older people. Lucis Via, Latin for “Way of Light,” currently has branches in Charleston and the Upstate.
The group originated in the Holy City, where the Cathedral Young Adults of Charleston expanded its outreach to peers in nearby parishes, including Christ Our King in Mount Pleasant.
Valerie Soop, associate director of young adult ministry for the diocese, said the program has a better chance of success if different church groups meet and work together.
“With a regional group, they can pool resources and reach out to more people, increase the community, learn from each other and share ideas,” Soop said. “The Lucis Via name portrays young adults as light to the world.”
Soop said the goal is to establish groups around the state. She is also planning future events including a leadership training weekend in August and an October rally in Columbia.
Charleston’s Lucis Via holds weekly Bible studies and social activities, and works on service projects, said organizer Richard John White.
His group decided to merge under the Lucia Via name in December, and he hopes the new organization will be a good tool for evangelization. Immediate plans include outreach to peers in the North Charleston and Summerville areas. “It’s
an avenue for young adults who live here or who have newly moved here to have a sense of Catholic community and get involved socially,” White said.
“It’s also a good place for people who are striving for holiness,” White continued. “A young adult group can be supportive and also hold us accountable. It’s a nice feeling to know you’re going to go to someone’s house for an event, for instance, and not encounter something that would put you in a moral dilemma.”
In early April, young adult ministries from 11 Upstate parishes merged under the Lucis Via banner (facebook.com/LVGreenville). That group is open to men and women 21 to 39 while Charleston’s is for those 18 to 35, and all young adults are welcome, including singles, couples and young families.
“Our overall goal and mission is to bring holiness to people, not just internally but to the community at large,” said John Haverland, regional coordinator of Lucis Via Greenville.
“We can promote holiness whether we’re doing service projects or working on spiritual growth on a personal level,” he said. “I want this to be a group where young adults can grow and learn. If they’re not practicing Catholics, I’d like to welcome them …and give them the word of God.”
Regular events in the Upstate include weekly Bible study and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Lucia Via Greenville will also host “Ask Father Pat!” on May 17, a question and answer session about faith with Franciscan Father Patrick Tuttle of St. Anthony of Padua Church.
Contact the Upstate group at LVGreenville@gmail.com to receive the weekly newsletter, or the Charleston group at firstname.lastname@example.org.