What do you get when you combine young adults, happy hour, and deep discussions about the Catholic faith? Theology on Tap. St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Delray Beach recently launched this new initiative to engage young people in theology and fellowship. Reva Beckett, the coordinator for the parish’s Saint Vincent Ferrer (SVF) Light young adult group, organized the event on June 11 at Boheme Restaurant in Delray Beach. Msgr. Tom Skindeleski, pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, was the event’s guest speaker, who lectured on an overview of Church history.
Msgr. Skindeleski welcomed the group to the first of the Theology on Taps exuberantly: “Tonight, I’m going to do my best to condense 21 centuries of Church history into two hours!” After ensuring that everyone had a drink and something to eat, Msgr. Skindeleski proceeded to speak about the Church’s rich history and perseverance through the ages. “What you’ll notice from the topic today is that the recent scandal about the Church is not the first time the Catholic faith has been tested. What you should take away from history is that when we see failure in the Church through humanity’s sinful nature, something good rises out of that failure. Much like a forest fire, new green pops up from charred remains,” Msgr. Skindeleski said.
The “new green” Msgr. Skindeleski referred to is embodied in the 35 young adults who attended the first Theology on Tap session. “I did not expect this many people to show up tonight! I’m pleasantly surprised,” Beckett said.
The young people in the room came from parishes throughout the Diocese of Palm Beach, making the drive from as far north as Stuart and as far south as Margate. Many of the attendees were new to SVF Light and were reveling in meeting new people with the same faith background. “Many people I encounter who learn I’m Catholic wonder how I can be Catholic in today’s current social and political climate. It’s great to be in a room full of people who just get it!” said Kasey Kearney, a member of SVF Light.
Others expressed a similar sentiment regarding the sense of community fostered by Theology on Tap. “Not only is this another opportunity to get together and connect with other young people, it’s a learning experience that will enable me to defend the faith better,” said Maddison Stevens, a regular member of SVF Light who lives in Wellington.
But Catholics weren’t the only audience in the room. The roundtable discussion drew the curiosity of patrons in the bar’s main seating area, which shared an open space with the SVF Light group. The intensity with which Msgr. Skindeleski spoke was catching to onlookers who did not expect a theology discussion at a bar. “People outside the Catholic faith have this impression of Catholics that we are strict and don’t have any fun. I think we changed some minds tonight,” Beckett remarked.
Theology on Tap will be hosted monthly and the next meeting will be Tuesday, July 30 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at Due South Brewing, 2900 High Ridge Rd, Suite 3, Boynton Beach. Msgr. David Toups, rector of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, will be the featured guest speaker. Follow the SVF Light Young Adult Facebook page for updates. Please note that Theology on Tap is open to the public, but attendees must be 21 years of age or older. For more information, contact Reva Beckett, SVF Light young adult group coordinator, at (561) 460-0556 or SVFLightYAG@stvincentferrer.com.