SOUTH ATTLEBORO—In the casual setting of the Vineyard Restaurant, more than 30 young adults gathered together for the third Theology on Tap, an event co-sponsored by the Diocese of Providence and the Diocese of Fall River, to discuss finding God in places one might never expect.
During an evening of Catholic fellowship, attendees were engaged by the topic “The God of Unlikely Situations.” Dr. Ernest Collamati, chairperson of the philosophy and religious studies department of Regis College in Weston, Mass., shared that it is often easier to experience God in moments of prayer, praise and worship, or times of joy, than to see Him in struggles, suffering or even in traffic or waiting in line.
“Most surveys say most Americans believe in God,” he said. “Americans, overwhelmingly believe in God. What I think the challenge is for you and me is not whether there is a God, but is the God you believe in lurking in unexpected places?”
Dr. Collamati shared personal stories of his family, including that of his beloved grandmother, who was not blind to suffering. She had suffered the loss of her husband and her son, as well as the amputation of both legs from diabetes. Amazingly, with God’s grace, Dr. Collamati shared that his grandmother was someone who could see God in unexpected places.
“How was it that a woman who had found so many losses could laugh infectiously,” Dr. Collamati asked. “She knew that God had never left her.”
It is easy to become disenchanted with God or the Church when it comes to faith especially during times of suffering, Dr. Collamati said. He explained that these struggles might be an opportunity and an invitation to put one’s trust in a God who is always there and who has never left.
“It is an experience that if you are open to the grace of God, it can lead you to him.”
Theology on Tap is an event for young adults between the ages of 20-39. It provides an opportunity for Catholic fellowship in a casual setting where young adults gather in local restaurants or pubs for challenging and relevant presentations on the Catholic faith and how it applies to their daily life. It gives young adults the opportunity to spend the evening with one another and be part of the larger Catholic community in the diocese that extends beyond their parish set ting.
Crystal Medeiros, assistant director for youth and young adults for the Diocese of Fall River, explained how pleased she waswith the turnout, the largest Theology on Tap yet.
“To see that we have to pull chairs from the other room is great,” said Medeiros. “It’s fulfilling a need and a hunger that is there.”
Mike St. Thomas and his wife, Mary, shared how much they enjoyed Dr. Collamati’s talk and words of wisdom.
“He was easy to relate to and a very good speaker,” said Mike. “He was very practical but he didn’t sacrifice nuance.”
Daniella Giorgio, of West Warwick, said that she felt the topic was very fitting, especially for the age group.
“I think that the topic of disenchantment was good because this is the time and the age that we can be disenchanted quite easily,” said Giorgio.
“Theology on Tap is exactly what the Year of Evangelization is all about,” said William Patenaude, who is leading the Evangelization Committee.
“It brings the Gospel into the everyday world,” said Patenaude. “By going to the places that ordinary people are already gathering, Theology on Tap is doing what St. Paul did at the Aeropagus—he brought the Church to the people, and let the Holy Spirit take it from there. I’ve had the great opportunity to give a talk at a recent Theology on Tap, in my hometown, and it was a great experience to be in a restaurant with a bar at my back and discuss with others what it means to be a disciple of Christ in the modern world. It helps frame the discussion in a very real way—in an incarnational way, which is at the core of Christianity.”
Dr. Collamati, shared how excited he was to be able to take part in Theology on Tap and spend time getting to know young Catholic adults excited about their faith.
“It was utterly grand,” he said with a smile across his face. “To look out and see the vibrancy and energy of these good Catholic people, they are the gift to the Church’s future. They were so engaged. Theology does not have to be equated with something grim or deadly. To me theology is at the center of life for the Church. It asks those life questions that never go away.”