The voices of Catholic musicians Matt Maher and Audrey Assad filled St. Patrick’s Cathedral during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. One song echoed with the lyrics, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about you, Jesus.”
The popular artists were there providing music during Adoration for an hour before and during the Young Adult Mass that Cardinal Dolan offered for the Vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
It was a fitting selection for siblings Jeffen and Anita Kurian, both of New Jersey. Ms. Kurian, 28, invited her 23-year-old brother to the Mass that she was attending with her young adult prayer group from Assumption parish in Emerson, N.J.
“I came with my sister. I’m trying to get back to my faith,” Kurian said. “I recently started going to Mass only about a month ago.”
He thought it providential that singer Matt Maher, whom he always found interesting and inspirational, was performing.
“People experience Christ in different ways,” said Ms. Kurian, a daily communicant. She and her brother are Syro-Malabar Catholics, an Eastern rite in full communion with Rome. She noted the appeal of the music, as was the case with her brother.
“The music is leading people to Christ in the Eucharist in Adoration,” she said.
“I love being Catholic because we have things like this to bring people back,” she added.
More than 2,000 young adults attended the evening Mass on Dec. 7. Archdiocesan Young Adult Outreach, under the direction of Colin Nykaza, organized the Mass and Adoration and a social that followed at Iguana NYC.
During his homily, Cardinal Dolan discussed the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, saying, “Every feast in our Catholic calendar celebrates one thing—what God the Father has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
Referring to the first reading from Genesis, the cardinal said that Adam and Eve’s original sin tarnished God’s original design.
However, as Cardinal Dolan explained, “God is in the work of restoration. He always wants to restore us to the way he intended us to be.
“In anticipation of the redemption and salvation His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, would win for us by his Cross and Resurrection, He preserved Mary, the ‘second Eve,’ from original sin,” the cardinal said.
“This feast day we thank God, we praise God the Father for this privilege He gave her for His son Jesus,” he said.
Looking into the congregation filled with young adults, the cardinal noted that many ask him questions with doubt or despair about how to discover their purpose and meaning and what God has in store for the future.
“God has a plan. Most of the time we can’t figure out the plan looking ahead,” said the cardinal, adding, “He will never give up on us.”
He said that on the darkest day in history—when original sin entered the world—God already had a plan for salvation that can be seen in the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
“He quietly and slowly and gently and tenderly guided things until that first Christmas in Bethlehem when it all was restored. That gives us hope,” he said.
Anna Jenks, 27, a parishioner of Our Lady of Grace in Hoboken, N.J., said she has traveled to Manhattan specifically for the young adult Mass for the past few years. “It’s always a good way to start Advent,” she said.
“It’s rare to get an opportunity for Adoration in the middle of the week,” she said, noting that the night helps set her priorities for the season to where they belong.
“It’s a nice calm,” she said.