“Participants feel refreshed by their time together and strengthened in their relationship with God,” said Josh Houde. “It's an incredible blessing to know that you're not alone in your desire to live for God.”
As one of the organizers of “Theology on Tap,” Houde, the youth minister at Good Shepherd Parish in Saco, has helped to provide a warm, casual environment in which people, generally in their twenties and thirties, can come together to learn more about their faith and to feel valued and welcomed in the Catholic Church.
Held once a month at a southern Maine restaurant or bar, “Theology on Tap” is a gathering of college students and young adults that features food, drinks, conversation, and engaging theology discussions.
A different guest speaker also presents on a topic of faith each month.
On Thursday, July 14, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Pat's Pizza on Market Street in Portland, Kelsey Conroy, a parish catechetical leader at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarboorugh, will draw from her experiences of living in a convent and currently preparing for marriage to help participants grow in their relationship with God by living the traditions of the Church and the liturgical calendar more deeply in their lives.
“The relaxed setting helps to elicit good conversation and is welcoming for non-Catholics or non-churchgoers who are interested in coming and exploring Christ, the Church, and faith,” said Houde.
Created in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1981, “Theology on Tap” has spread to dioceses across the country, offering thousands of young Catholics an opportunity to share and grow in their faith with peers. Organizers in southern Maine have noticed a high return rate for participants and, as word has spread of its existence and impact, an influx of newcomers.
“Our hope is that participants will leave nourished in body by the great food and drink, in mind and spirit by the engaging presentations, and in their friendships through the fellowship and conversations that ‘Theology on Tap’ provides,” said Houde. “The ultimate goal, of course, is for participants to strengthen their relationship with Christ and the Church.”
“Theology on Tap” is sponsored by Southern Maine College Campus Ministry, Good Shepherd Young Adult Ministry, and Ignite, Greater Portland’s Catholic Young Adult Group.