Hundreds of young adults shine at ‘City Lights’
January 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM
The second annual "City Lights" drew more than 200 faithful Jan. 12 to the social event of the year for young adults desiring to connect with fellow members of the faith at a popular venue for the performing arts.
The free cocktail evening for young adults ages 21-35 attracted enthusiastic faithful to ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, Bethlehem for music by the two-time winner of Best Cover Band and Best Entertaining Band at the Lehigh Valley Awards.
Abbie Langsdorf, coordinator of the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (OYYAM) welcomed the faithful to the performing arts center and cultural campus featuring an awe-inspiring view of the illuminated blast furnaces from the former Bethlehem Steel.
"A heartfelt thank you to all of you for coming out tonight," said Langsdorf.
"Mingle, meet new people and make new friends," she said.
Aside from mingling with faithful from each of the five counties in the Diocese of Allentown, young adults also enjoyed appetizers and dancing, and admired "The Four Elements," a stunning glass sculpture that features hundreds of pieces of handmade glass and stands 40 feet tall.
A large group of students and alumnus from DeSales University, Center Valley turned out for the event for a social evening and to catch up with old classmates.
Alumni Beth Wenck, 23, parishioner of Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown, returned to "City Lights" this year after reveling at the event last year with her former classmates.
"We have been planning this for months. We couldn't wait," said Wenck.
"Last year's 'City Lights' was so much fun. We don't have many chances to socialize with friends who share the faith. It's nice to come to come together. We don't have all that much close contact now that we graduated," said Wenck, who is part of the workforce as a nurse at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg Campus.
Catherine Fisher and Bridget Hopkins, both 21 and students at DeSales, decided to attend after receiving an invitation from OYYAM through Facebook.
"It looked like a great time, so we though 'why not,'" said Hopkins.
"I am so glad that we did," she said.
Fischer, a native of Leesburg, Fla., said she was inspired to attend by the efforts of Bishop John Barres of Allentown to reach out to her generation and to broaden her social circle.
"He seems like he really cares about young adults," said Fischer.
"We wanted to meet adults in another environment outside school and I think this event is a great way to meet other people," she added.
"City Lights" also drew engaged and married couples, including Maria and Paul Marzen, parishioners of St. Anne, Bethlehem.
Maria, 28, said they felt the evening was a good opportunity to get dressed up for an adult night out while leaving their 6-year-old and 6-month-old daughters at home.
"This location is fabulous," she said.
"Most of our time is spent outside the church. We want to develop relationships beyond the parish community. We want meaningful conversations with people who share the same beliefs and share the same feelings about things that matter," said Maria, a former high school teacher.
Paul, 29, employed by Air Products and Chemicals, Allentown, said he was eager to attend the event to see She Said Sunday after catching one of their shows a couple years ago.
"This is a place we would go to and a band we would see even if it wasn't a diocesan event. It's nice to enjoy all of this with great people," he said.
Before the band opened with "Slide" by the Goo Goo Dolls, Bishop Barres addressed the young adults and urged them to reflect on the approaching Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord, which takes on the importance of Christ's baptism and the intervention of the entire Trinity and fell on Jan. 13.
The solemnity marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry when the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
"Those words apply to each one of us. The Lord is saying 'you are my beloved daughter and beloved son with whom I am well pleased,'" said Bishop Barres.
He also told the young adults to encapsulate the same energy pulsating throughout the evening and share it with the world.
"Really allow the Holy Spirit to take us deep into divine intimacy. Intimacy develops our Catholic witness, the truths of our faith and Catholic social justice teaching. This evening is a beautiful testament of what we are capable of," said Bishop Barres.
"We can't leave it here tonight. We have got to get moving together in developing new friendships, growing in our faith and applying it to our career paths, families and friends," he said.
"Get together frequently – whether it's for prayer, Mass or social interaction. Don't leave it here," said Bishop Barres.