More than 160 people — mostly young people, but also some families — gathered at Holy Cross Church in Dover on Feb. 3 for “Jesus Night,” which was filled with discussion, faith-building, music, games, sharing and adoration, according to Dan Pin, executive director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Wilmington.
The event was run by Damascus, a Catholic mission organization that runs camps and other evangelization events. The company is based in Ohio, but Pin said it is looking to expand east. Seven missionaries from Damascus staffed the event at Holy Cross. It was the first of its kind in the diocese, according to Pin. They all were young, so kids from the Diocese of Wilmington “got to see people not much older than them living the faith.”
Amidst the games and music, two members of the youth leadership team from the diocese gave their testimonies, Pin said. There was a lot going on, but he said one part stuck out to him.
“My favorite part was adoration,” he said. “They had some of the kids come up on stage, get close to the Eucharist, just gather around on the altar. That’s great because the eucharistic revival is happening right now. They’re tapping in to that connection with the Eucharist.”
It can be difficult to schedule a large-scale event like this on a diocesan scale, Pin said, but Jesus Night worked out well.
“There were some larger groups, and some individual families came. A couple of our high schools sent students as well. I was really happy with the turnout because it’s first time we’ve tried it,” he said.
The diocese is going to try to send some young people to one of the Damascus summer camps in Ohio this year, he continued.
January through April is very busy for CYM, he said, and the next big event on the calendar is the annual Youth Pilgrimage through Wilmington on April 1, the day before Palm Sunday. Last year, a snafu with the Wilmington Police Department kept the pilgrimage confined to Canby Park next to St. Elizabeth Church. This year, the more familiar walk through the city is set to return, Pin said.
The route will be altered slightly because St. Elizabeth Church has moved its Saturday Mass from 5 p.m. to 4 p.m. Therefore, the young people will have to return to St. Elizabeth, the starting point, an hour earlier.