By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
With Lent only days away, the Diocese of Dallas’ Office of Youth and Young Adults is once again hoping to help young Catholics get their hands (and foreheads) a little dirty this year.
“Dusty Catholics” is a four-year-old Lenten initiative designed to engage active and fallen-away young adult Catholics, encouraging them to play an active role in their respective parishes.
“It is widely accepted that Ash Wednesday is one of the most attended Masses by all young adults, those practicing and those who may have fallen away for one reason or another,” said Johnathan Sumpter, coordinator of the diocese’s young adult ministries. “Perhaps it reminds us of all that is genuinely good about our faith, our childhood, and the reality of this salvific experience. Regardless, the Diocesan Young Adult Council wants to be a service to help draw young adults into a deeper experience of this and other experiences found in the church.”
Sumpter said more parishes across the diocese are trying to do just that on their own, some with very limited resources. Among the parishes in the Diocese of Dallas, Sumpter estimates that 20 have established young adult ministries. But Sumpter said the mission of Dusty Catholics doesn’t stop at the parish level.
“We hope to point young adults to parishes to experience our amazing communities, encounter Christ through the sacraments and liturgy, and enjoy other faith activities,” Sumpter said. “We hope that this experience can be the catalyst to future engagements with the church community, the sacraments, and the greater mission of the global church.”
At participating parishes during Ash Wednesday services, young adults will be given business cards with QR codes directing them to specialized parish pages at www.dustycatholics.com. In addition, young adults can keep up with events through Facebook and Twitter.
“Our website will host web links and opportunities around the diocese to pray, fast, and get dusty,” Sumpter said. “Our social media platforms will have real-time Lenten reminders, reflections, meditations, links to service opportunities, liturgy locaters, Lenten activities around the diocese, as well as some fun stuff.”
Planned events include the Lenten-themed “Prodigal Son Feast,” as well a continuation of the Theology on Tap series.