The Belonging Catholic Young Adult Group: Deepening Faith and Friendships
Young adulthood can be a challenging time of life. Whether you’re in college, starting out as a young professional, or newly married, it’s often a time of transition and significant decisions as you discern the direction of your life and your faith. It can be challenging to “find your place” in the parish, but for young adults (19-29) in Quincy, we hope to offer support and encouragement along the journey.
“A group of three of us decided that we were upset and sad seeing so many people our age leaving the Catholic Church, and when we would go to Mass, we’d look around and only see maybe one or two people our age,” says Kendra Genenbacher, one of the founders of The Belonging Young Adult Group. “We want people to feel they belong in the Catholic Church and we want them here. We wanted every person to feeling belonging.”
The group — which began early last year and took a bit of a hiatus in the early months of COVID-19 — meets on Tuesday evenings, at the St. Francis parish center. The group also has social events on scattered Friday and Saturday nights. The themes of the Tuesday nights vary, usually focusing on learning about the faith, growing in prayer together, or spending time fostering a sense of community among the group. They also plan to be involved with service, as COVID-19 restrictions allow.
In a world where many young adults struggle with isolation and loneliness, the group’s goal is to provide support — regardless of where people may be on their journey of faith — giving them a place where they can find encouragement, connection, and friendship, centered around a relationship with Christ and the Church.
“We want you to walk into the building and know, this is exactly where you should be,” Kendra says. “And when you’re hanging out with friends you’ve met at The Belonging, it’s like, ‘This is home.’”
For Kendra, not only has The Belonging been a place to connect with other like-minded young adults, but it has also been an opportunity to grow in her knowledge of the faith. Although she attended Catholic schools for much of her life, she finds herself continuing to deepen her understanding of the Church’s teaching and what it means to embrace her faith as an adult.
“Every time, I’m in awe and I learn so much,” Kendra says. “I learned so much at a Catholic school, but sometimes, when you’re older, then you actually understand. I’m sure I’ve heard all of these things before, but now I want it to mean something to me, so I’m giving more to making that happen.
“I was trying to help other people grow in faith but now I’m growing in my faith life,” she adds. “It’s so amazing.”
Kendra encourages local young adults to consider attending — and inviting a friend to join them — at The Belonging, to see what the group is all about.
“We’re a Catholic young adult group, but you don’t have to be Catholic,” Kendra says. “You can bring a friend who hasn’t been to church in five years — or maybe they’ve never been. We’re just trying to help young adults find a home, and in the end, we want it to be in the Catholic Church.
“Come, try it once,” she adds. “Take that leap of faith and come. You’ll find out it’s where you want to be on your Tuesday nights.”
For more information, or to become involved with The Belonging, you can reach out to Kendra Genenbacher at 217-316-3251, or check out the group’s social media profiles: