The best Catholic resources for reaching young adults

Faith and Freedom

By | Step by Step | Posted on April 16, 2013

Faith and Freedom U.S. soldiers salute during a mass re-enlistment ceremony in a U.S. military camp in Iraq. (CNS photo/Thaier al-Sudani, Reuters)

Description: A July cookout event for young adults to reflect upon the topic of freedom in light of their Catholic faith.

Get Ready

  • Prep Time: You should start planning at least six weeks in advance. The pre-event planning takes three to four hours to secure a location, invite a speaker, and confirm marketing plans.
  • Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are needed on a ratio of 10:1 for small group work with an additional four people needed for the following tasks: two for food, one for registration/sign in table, one for hospitality. For a group of 45 people this event would require eight-10 volunteers.
  • Ideal Group Size: This event could be conducted with a small group of 10-20 or with larger groups of 50-80.
  • Ideal Time for this Event: Event is best conducted about a week prior to or after July 4th. A Friday or Sunday evening works best. Our event was from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Who is this for? Young adults, single people, college students, married couples.
  • Supplies Needed: Grill(s), tables for food service, coolers, ice, utensils (including serving utensils), plates, cups, napkins, lawn chairs, food, registration materials, signage. If you expect a large group, you may need a sound system. (Note: We provided hotdogs, brats, burgers, soda and condiments. Participants were asked to bring a side dish/dessert to pass or beverage of their choice. Participants were also invited to bring a lawn chair for the outdoor event.)
  • Reserve the Space: An outside venue where young adults can be comfortable is the best for this event. A park with picnic shelters works well. It can be conducted outside or, if the weather is unsuitable, in a parish meeting space or even the home of a young adult with a large backyard.

Publicize the Program

  • Develop flyer/materials for promotion and marketing.
  • Invitations to other parishes should be sent out (or put in their bulletin) if possible.
  • Religious Education/Catholic School Parents — if possible send home a flyer to invite young adults to attend at the close of the catechetical year.
  • Announcements at Mass: Three-four weeks out.
  • Social Media Outreach: Four weeks out build a Facebook page for the event, engaging the core group of volunteers to share the event with other young adults.
  • Flyers put up in local coffee houses, bars, restaurants, etc.
  • Draft a press release and distribute it to secular and Catholic Media (we got a lot of positive press about the event). Invite a local newspaper to interview the young adults and to take pictures.

Prayer for Program Planner: “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Pope John Paul II

Community Building: We did a quick but powerful relationship building exercise centered around the topic of freedom by asking people to form groups for those who:

  • Have or had an immediate family member serving in the armed forces
  • Have or had a friend serving in the armed forces
  • Have served in the armed forces themselves or have a spouse who served.
  • Have grandparents, great grandparents who served in the armed forces.

Participants were asked to share in a moment of gratitude giving thanks for those who gave their lives for the cause of liberty. Participants also shared some stories of their experiences in small groups, which was incredibly powerful.


Step by Step

About the Author

Julianne Stanz

Julianne Stanz is the director of new evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. Born and educated in Ireland, Julianne has been profoundly influenced by the witness of saints such as St. Patrick and St. Brigid and her life in Ireland. Julianne was formerly the director of adult faith formation and the director of young adult ministry for the Diocese of Green Bay. She is currently an adjunct faculty member of Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.