Last night I had a marvelous experience talking to a group of more than 300 young people at a Theology on Tap gathering at a bar/restaurant called Metro 53 on East 53rd Street in Manhattan. That might seem like an odd place to gather, but when you think about it, Jesus went to where the people were, and didn’t mind good food, drink and company. (I, of course, behaved myself and only drank water.)
Have you ever heard of Theology on Tap? It began in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1981, and has spread to many other dioceses across the United States. New York’s program began in 2000. Basically, a group of people – overwhelmingly young adults – gather at a bar to hear a talk by a Catholic speaker, and to share in good Christian fellowship. I asked Mario Bruschi, one of the lay volunteers who helps to organize the events, to tell me a little bit about what Theology on Tap is all about. Here’s what Mario emailed to me.
Our ministry is to provide young adults with an opportunity to explore issues and topics that relate to the Catholic faith in a fun and casual environment. Theology on Tap hosts various talks by both religious and lay speakers to encourage thoughtful discussions and a deeper understanding of the faith. The program operates in complete fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. This ministry is a very popular young adult ministry in New York, and many people come away from the talks with a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith and a renewed spirit to evangelize the city. Another aspect of this ministry that is very important is the presence of the priests who come to the talks not only as attendees, but also to hear confessions after the talk is over.
My talk gave a little history of the papacy – timely, I thought, since yesterday was the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. (My presentation will be broadcast in the near future on The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio; I’ll let you know when it’s scheduled.) But, if you want to know more about Theology on Tap, or want to attend an upcoming evening, visit www.totnyc.org for details. I can tell you that next Monday, March 1, Monsignor Bob Ritchie, Rector of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, will be the guest speaker, talking about “Does God Really Forgive Sins in the Confessional?” – a great topic for this season of Lent.
Photos by Joseph Zwilling