Catholic young adults in the Hudson Valley welcomed Cardinal Dolan as the guest speaker for their Theology on Tap at Four Brothers Restaurant in Mahopac Dec. 16.
The evening with the cardinal was the third and final in a series of Theology on Tap sessions jointly sponsored by Credo Young Adults, Catholic Rock West and Catholic Young Adults of the Hudson Valley.
“To have His Eminence come out, be present to us and show his love and support for us is very moving,” Mark Edelson, 29, a parishioner of St. Theresa’s in Briarcliff Manor who is president of Credo Young Adults, told CNY.
Cardinal Dolan opened with a prayer and praise for the work being done by the young adults before turning to the topic of his talk on Advent. About 70 young adults were present at the restaurant.
Advent is derived from a Latin word meaning coming, and the cardinal discussed the three comings of Jesus in the past at his birth in Bethlehem, the present and the future.
“He came to us that first Christmas at Bethlehem. He came in history as the long- awaited Savior of the world that first Christmas in Bethlehem,” Cardinal Dolan said.
“He did come in history at Bethlehem, and he will come, future, at the end of time as Savior and judge of the living and the dead at the end of the world. That we call his second coming in majesty at the end of time. So He came, past tense, He will come in glory in the future as judge of the living and the dead. We Catholics believe that with all our heart and soul.
“We don’t go around trying to figure out when He’s going to come because even Jesus said I don’t know the answer to that, only my Father in heaven knows. We live in expectation of that just as the people of Israel waited thousands of years for Him to come the first time. We’re waiting now for Him to come again. He gave us His word that He would.”
Finally, Cardinal Dolan spoke of His coming in the present as his coming in mystery. Jesus’ coming in the present is not one that arrives with a dramatic storm, yell, nudge or harshness but takes place with whispers, nudges and gentleness, the cardinal said.
The cardinal shared Jesus’ coming in mystery with examples such as the Eucharist and through one another when family, friends and acquaintances display warmth, joy and affection in each other’s company.
“Where there is joy and love, there is God,” he said.
Kevin Richards explained what he took away from Cardinal Dolan’s talk.
“I think in particular about how God works in the silence, I hadn’t really made that connection with Advent,” said the 36-year-old parishioner of St. Theresa’s in Briarcliff Manor.
“I was familiar with the three comings of Christ that he mentioned but just how he highlighted it a little bit more. So I’d say the coming of Christ in mystery that he mentioned in the now, the way that He comes to us, that’s what I got from it to meditate upon the most.”
Sarah Velardo, 22, who resides in Port Chester, is a parishioner of St. John’s in Stamford, Conn. She said the cardinal’s talk reminded the young adults present about the true meaning of Advent.
“It’s a good reminder to take a step back, especially in the season of Advent,” she said. “We all get busy with family and friends and the gifts and more of the material end of Christmas. It’s easy to forget what the blessings truly are.
“When you take a step back and remember you’re not only preparing for Christmas and the season itself, but you’re preparing your heart and your soul for Christ in the future. You’re taking that step back to remember the beauty of the season.”
Julia DalCeredo, 23, a parishioner of St. Patrick’s, Yorktown Heights, said Catholic young adults share a common goal.
“We are called to be the next generation of saints, and what a gift it is to grow in faith with other people who are working toward that same end goal,” she said. “The main objective is to help people grow in holiness but also to enjoy it as we do it.
“This young adult community has been such a blessing in my life. I was overwhelmed with the community and the support I received from people who not only share the same values but are gently pushing each other to grow and to become more of the men and women we’re called to be, we’re asked to be. I feel like I’ve been able to kind of hear the Holy Spirit's voice in my life more just being around these holy men and women who are not perfect but are striving toward that perfection.”