By David Kilby| Correspondent
A group of young men and women ages 18 to 36 have established a chapter of an international ministry called Juventutem, which strives to help youth grow in holiness through the traditions of the Church, especially the Latin Mass.
The formation of a Juventutem group is the collaborative effort of a number of young parishioners of St. John the Baptist Parish, Allentown, which celebrates Mass in the extraordinary form on Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and Fridays at 8 a.m.
“The idea first arose among those of us who are students at Princeton University and attend the traditional Latin Mass celebrated at St. John’s,” said Gerhard Eger, a founder of the group, “and when we suggested it to the other young men and women who frequent this Mass we met with an enthusiastic response.”
Founded in 2006, Juventutem has 31 co-founders from 16 countries on every continent: Russia, Germany, Australia, Italy, China, Ireland, Brazil, Great Britain, France, USA, Hungary, Switzerland, Kenya, Spain, The Netherlands and Austria, reads www.juventutem.org.
A total of 16 parishioners in St. John Parish have signed the application form that was sent to the headquarters of the International Juventutem Federation, also known as FIJ from the Latin Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem, in Bern, Switzerland, Eger said.
“Although the group has its origins in St. John Parish, we aspire to get young people throughout the diocese involved, and have already begun to reach out to young Catholics in parishes other than St. John,” he added. One parish the Allentown group has approached is St. Rose Parish, Belmar.
Father Brian Woodrow, pastor and celebrant for St. John Parish’s Latin Mass, has given his wholehearted support and agreed to provide the group with doctrinal formation and spiritual help.
The lay Catholic organization plans to hold monthly events such as lectures by special guests on issues of doctrine and liturgy, days of recollection, and retreats. In addition, there will be more frequent social events to strengthen friendships between members. All the members will be welcome to help organize these events, Eger explained.
This new chapter of Juventutem does plan to have regular meetings in St. John Parish, although their precise schedule will be established after it receives official approval from FIJ.
“We hope that Juventutem will help strengthen the spiritual life of the youth of the entire Diocese of Trenton by encouraging interest in the Church’s glorious traditions,” Eger said.
“[The traditional Latin Mass] has remained basically unchanged since it was codified by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century,” Eger mentioned, “and its fundamental structure dates back to the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great in the sixth century.”
Any Catholic in the diocese between the ages of 18 and 36 is welcome to join Juventutem. Members resolve to recite Psalm 42, or some other suitable prayer, every day, and visit a church or oratory once a week for Eucharistic Adoration.
Juventutem members also agree to fulfill a few other commitments at least once a year. These annual commitments include attending a Mass celebrated according to the Roman Missal of 1962, going to Confession; and taking part in an activity (such as a Holy Hour, doctrinal conference, pro-life activity, charitable works, outing, etc.) on behalf of Juventutem.
All resolutions are renewed yearly.
Those interested can meet Eger after the 12:30 p.m. traditional Latin Mass at St. John Parish or email firstname.lastname@example.org.