By EmmaLee Italia | Contributing Editor

With the diocesan Year of Youth in full swing, opportunities abound in the coming weeks for young adults ages 18-39 to gather and celebrate their unique place in the universal Church. All events are co-sponsored by the diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries:

• Young Adult Retreat: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Holiness • March 9, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., St. James Church, 94 Broad St., Red Bank – This daylong retreat will explore the questions “What is God’s plan for my life?”, “What does it mean to be free?” and “Is holiness possible?” The event is geared toward young adults looking to find a deeper meaning for their lives, enjoying an opportunity to take a break from the craziness of life and have an encounter with Christ.

Participants will explore what it means to have life in and through Christ and the Church, how to experience liberation through the Sacraments, particularly Confession, and how to pursue holiness and whether or not it is possible in the 21st century. Presenting will be Father Jason Hage from the Diocese of Syracuse, N.Y., who serves as assistant to the Catholic Chaplaincy at Colgate University.

Lunch will be provided. Opportunities will be available for Confession and Eucharistic Adoration. The day will conclude with Mass at 5:30 p.m.

Registration is $15 per person, and is available at A free parking lot is available behind the church.

• NET Ministries Evening • March 12, 6:30 p.m., The Catholic Center of Monmouth University, 16 Beechwood Ave., West Long Branch – This annual event will host the traveling NET Ministries team for an evening of dinner and fellowship, and an opportunity to learn more about the young adult group that shares the Gospel with young people.

National Evangelization Teams (NET) challenges young Catholics to embrace Christ and the Church, as every August 175 Catholics ages 18-28 travel in 16 teams across the country for nine months leading retreats. Since 1981, NET teams have led more than 32,000 retreats and ministered to more than 2 million young Catholics. Its mission focuses on personal witness of faith, inviting young people to live for Christ, forming youth in Christian character through the study and practice of their faith, and equipping youth workers and young adults with ministry skills needed for evangelization.

The evening is open to all young adults, free of charge, and will include celebration of Mass.  The campus ministry house is in a residential area – a yellow house with a small Catholic Center sign above the door with parking in back. Visit for more information.

• “Outcasts” Film Screening • March 27, tentatively 7 p.m., Rider University’s Emmaus House, 2116 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville – The award-winning documentary “Outcasts” shows firsthand the ministry of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (C.F.R.), as they work on the streets with the poor and forgotten of New York, New Jersey, Nicaragua, Honduras, England and Ireland.

One of the film’s producers and several C.F.R.s will attend the screening, opening with an introduction to the film. Following the movie, there will be time for a panel discussion and question-and-answer period. Visit closer to the event date for updated start time.

• Mass and Lunch with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. • April 7, 11:30 a.m., The College of New Jersey’s Spiritual Center, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing Township – College-age students from all institutions of higher learning are invited to Mass celebrated by Bishop O’Connell, followed by lunch in a nearby campus building. The luncheon will include a presentation by Bishop, with time for a question-and-answer session and fellowship.

• New Jersey Catholic Youth Rally • May 19, 9:30 a.m., Six Flags Great Adventure – This daylong event in the park is for all young people and their families – young adults included!

Look for more information and exciting news to come! For registration, visit