A bishop walks into a bar with a bunch of young people…

A bishop walks into a bar with a bunch of young people…

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Bishop Joseph Galante speaks to young adults at a Theology on Tap session at Landmark Americana Tap & Grill, Glassboro, on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Right,  Sean Coffey asks the bishop a question. Below left, participants listen as Bishop Galante speaks on the topic for the evening, “Why bother being Catholic?”tot3-web

Photos by Alan M. Dumoff

GLASSBORO — A bishop walks into a bar with 100 young adults…. No, this isn’t the start of a joke.

On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Bishop Joseph Galante met with young adults from throughout the Diocese of Camden and beyond at a Theology on Tap gathering at Landmark Americana in Glassboro. His appearance marked the third outing for the group, whose goal is to reach out to young people with the Gospel in a casual setting. Similar TOT meetings are held throughout the country.

The theme of the evening was “Why Bother Being Catholic?”

In answering that question Bishop Galante acknowledged being raised a Catholic played a role. Eventually, however, he had to find his own reasons. In the process of learning more about the faith, he began to develop a personal relationship with Christ.

Bishop Galante spoke about apostolic succession, the priesthood and the sacraments, and then engaged in a question and answer session with his audience by answering a series of questions submitted anonymously by the young people.

“How do we trust a loving God who permits pain and suffering?” one asked. Bishop Galante was quick to say that suffering was never a part of God’s plan, and is a result of free will, sin and a fallen world. “God is not a puppetmaster,” he said.

Another participant asked, “Why do priests have such nice vestments when so many people remain unclothed?” Vestments used during Mass are a reminder that what we do there isn’t ordinary, the bishop said. When it comes to giving the best to God while meeting the needs of the disadvantaged, “the Catholic answer is not either/or, but both/and.”

Bishop Galante said that many young people struggle with finding meaning and their individual purpose in life. “It’s not a magic formula – the answer is found in Jesus. What we find is someone very much like ourselves.” He offered the group advice for their discernment, telling them not to rush the process of wrestling with God in prayer, and to seek out the wisdom of others.

Father Phillip Johnson, chaplain and spiritual moderator of the Catholic Campus Ministry at Rowan University in Glassboro, said, “What made it so nice was not only the bishop’s teaching, but for the young people to see his genuine care and concern for them.”

The next South Jersey Theology on Tap gathering will be held at Landmark Americana in Glassboro on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011. For information contact the Diocese of Camden Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries, 856-583-6121, 609-804-0200 or email Andres.arango@camdendiocese.org

Melissa Pileiro is a freelance reporter and senior journalism major at Rowan University in Glassboro.

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