LINCOLN (SNR) – The Frassati Society of Lincoln, a group for young adults in the Diocese of Lincoln plans a “Friendsgiving” celebration Nov. 16.
What is “Friendsgiving”?
Board member Courtney Johnson explained that the celebration has become more and more common throughout the past few years as a way for friends to get together and “give thanks” for one another over a Thanksgiving meal since many people travel to or from their family’s homes on the actual holiday.
“It is something like an event to join as a community to celebrate our togetherness through food and faith,” added board member Colby Honke.
“This is the second year we’ve paired it with our November ‘Third Thursday’ event,” Johnson said, “and we hope this year will be even bigger than last!”
The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the meal in Dawson Hall at the John XXIII Diocesan Center, 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Lincoln. After the meal, the group will spend an hour of prayer together in front of the Blessed Sacrament at 7:30 p.m. in the chapel. Drinks and fellowship to follow in Dawson Hall.
“We hope to give the Catholic young adults (21-39) of Lincoln a place where they can continue to grow in their faith with a community of other Catholics; a place to belong,” Honke said.
In addition to social, spiritual and service activities, the group meets at the John XXIII Chapel the third Thursday of each month for adoration.
“We hope to provide various opportunities and events, both socially and spiritually focused, for young adults to not only meet others in a safe and welcoming environment, but also form genuine, lasting relationships outside such gatherings,” said board member Laura O’Grady.
The events are numerous and varied: prayer workshops, Bible studies and retreats, barn dances, days at the lake, Husker “watch parties” and an annual sand volleyball tournament to benefit St. Gianna Women’s Home.
“We don’t want anyone to feel intimidated about joining us for any event,” Honke stressed, “whether they are new to the area, not a Catholic, a cradle Catholic Lincolnite, or anywhere in between. We want the events to be enjoyable to anyone.”
Frassati was named for Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a handsome, fun-loving, athletic, courageous and devout Catholic born in Turin, Italy to a prominent Italian family. He died at just 24 on July 4, 1925.
In a column about the young man, Bishop James Conley described how “thousands of people, most of them poor,” lined the streets for Frassati’s funeral procession, in gratitude for the charity he had shown them in his short life.
“Quietly, without making a spectacle,” the bishop wrote, “Pier Giorgio Frassati had given his entire life to helping the poor, to reaching out to those on margins and peripheries of life.”
Bishop Conley further explained that Frassati “had a lot in common with other young men. He enjoyed the outdoors, he was an avid mountain climber and soccer player; he was interested in friendships and in politics. Frassati was also a serious and devout Catholic. He went to Mass daily, and he was active in the Saint Vincent DePaul Society.
“Pier Giorgio Frassati was, in many respects, like the young people I’ve met in the Diocese of Lincoln: he lived life fully, engaging his faith, his intellect, and his community, as he discovered the plan God had for him.”
The group’s website encourages, “Pier Giorgio teaches us that holiness is for everyone,” and keeps an updated list of upcoming activities. To assure that the events stay relevant to members, they encourage effective communication and include a survey for participants to fill out with impressions and suggestions. The events are typically attended by 30-40 people, but more participants are always welcome.
“I have met many of my friends through Frassati,” O’Grady said. “I was very involved in the Newman Center during college and desired a way to stay connected and involved afterwards. It is often hard for many young adults to find and develop those real and lasting friendships after college and stay strong in your faith. Frassati helped me do both and I am so thankful for their presence in my life and in the Lincoln community. Since I have had such a positive experience with Frassati, I have a desire to share the experience with others.”
O’Grady said she often invites friends who aren’t Catholic, or who are maybe not very involved in their faith to the social events “because I know that they will be warmly welcomed, meet awesome people, and do something fun without feeling uncomfortable or worried.”
There is no charge to attend the Nov. 16 Friendsgiving, but people may bring a side dish or dessert to share.
“The majority of our events are free,” Johnson said. “The only events that cost anything are our Advent and Lenten retreats, and that is just to cover the cost of renting a place if necessary, and for meals for the day or weekend.”
She added that those interested in the group may follow the Facebook page, “Frassati Catholic Young Adult Group of Lincoln,” or go to the website www.frassatilincoln.com to be added to an email list.
Local priests Father Ryan Kaup and Father Eric Clark are the chaplains of the Frassati group. They attend the monthly board meetings, and as many other events as they can. They take turns sharing a reflection during the monthly ‘Third Thursdays,’ and offer to hear confessions, as well.
“Friendsgiving is just one of the many events coming up,” Johnson said. “We are always welcoming new young adults ages 21-39 to join and get involved!”