By: Brigitte Pinsonneault
It’s Monday evening after work. What are you doing? In Kansas City, twenty-five to forty young adults are getting together at John and Anna Stevenson's house. This group of young adults, members of Saint Paul's Outreach in the Kansas City Young Adult (KCYA) Chapter, gathers primarily to eat tacos, to play a variety of laugh-worthy games together, and to build deeper relationship with one another. In doing so, they are strengthening the community of Catholic young adults in Kansas City.
The plan to host a weekly evangelistic dinner emerged when our KCYA Missionaries recognized the need for a place where we could invite people from all walks of life. “We were meeting people all over the place, and not all of them were ready to be invited to a worship night. Where was there a place to which we could invite new faces to connect with a community of the faithful in a way that felt completely organic?”
Taco dinners on a Monday night was the answer.
One of the KCYA Mission Directors emphasizes the weight that these Monday dinners have played in the young adult outreach this year.
"Monday night dinners are key to our ministry’s success. With a welcoming and low key environment, we have seen people from various backgrounds coming together to sit at a table. People are inviting others into the community because this is something that they feel a part of now. It is exciting to see the reach grow. Before long we will need another house to fit all the people!"
It seems that young adults are hungering for something that, in part, a weekly taco dinner satiates. They are hungry for deeper connection among their peers, they’re searching for meaning in their own lives, and they are longing to give themselves to something greater, to commit themselves to a people and to a cause.
In some of the men and women the KCYA Missionaries encounter, these desires have yet to be fully awakened or realized. But when individuals come to a Monday night dinner, they don’t just see a few dozen young adults having a good time: they witness something greater.
They see a married couple selflessly opening their home to a group of young adults who would otherwise be strangers week after week. They see individuals serving one another as, routinely, a handful of men will offer to clean up or do the dishes every Monday after dinner is finished. They see young adults engaging one another in friendship that is self-giving. They see people bowing their heads in prayer before a meal. They see a young adult environment where alcohol is offered but not abused. They see men and women respecting one another, treating each other authentically as brothers and sisters in Christ. They see a group of young adult Catholics celebrating life together.
One Monday dinner attendee remarked, "I am so thankful I have a place to come to every Monday night where I know I can be myself. These dinners provide a space for me to foster genuine, Christ-centered friendships."
When Kansas City young adults come to a Taco Monday Dinner, they witness an example of the life Christ called us to live, a life poured out to one another in a community of disciples on mission, with joy and reckless abandon.
"Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all." ~Philippians 2:17