Where Are You Going? Young Adults Foster Spiritual Growth, Relationships & Service Through Quo Vadis
by Susie Bergman
Life for many 18- to 25 year-olds is often filled with a new sense of empowerment. They can make their own decisions about their lives and begin steering their own courses into adulthood. Many move out of their parents’ homes and discover the responsibility of attending classes or work, on time, without the guidance or watch of their parents. Suddenly, no one is telling them what to do or when to do it.
It is also often a time where many young people fall away from the Church, as Mom or Dad are no longer waking them up on Sunday morning to attend Mass. This new sense of empowerment can also cause young people to make decisions that can have a negative impact on their spiritual and emotional well-being.
Quo Vadis is Latin for “Where are you going?” and that is the exact question the leaders of this fast-growing, northern area Quo Vadis group are asking their peers. In a time where most young adults are simply trying to find themselves, they are finding so much more within Quo Vadis.
The faith-based group for young adults (specifically ages 18-25), located in the Mercer, Shelby, Auglaize and Darke County areas, has exploded from roughly 10 people last March to nearly 100 at the time of this report in December.
Adam Hoying and Jacob Kleinhenz, who met for the first time at a wedding in 2017, started the group. From there, a friendship blossomed as they both attended a faith-based group called “The College Group” formed by Mark Travis of St. Remy parish in Russia, OH.
“When the College Group started to dissolve and people went their separate ways, Jake and I both knew we wanted to keep this going but really didn’t know what we were doing,” mused Hoying as he recalled their initial formation. “We started getting people together, reaching out, and things started to grow from there.”
And the growth is impressive. They currently have 300 members in a group chat where they discuss plans and speakers for upcoming meetings, organize group outings and recreational events, coordinate volunteer efforts at local nonprofits and plan retreats. In addition, their social media following is more than 700 and stretches into the Columbus and Lima areas. They use Facebook Live to broadcast their events to all those who cannot attend in person.
Equally impressive is the manner in which they approach their organizational structure and leadership. Kleinhenz, who will be leaving in the fall of 2020 to do mission work or enter a seminary, stated they have been working to establish a Leadership Team.
“During this past month, we have been reviewing applications and taking the time to discern our candidates. Every semester our schedules change, so we plan to review these nearly 20 key leadership positions each time to ensure the work is getting done. Each time the candidates must reapply.”
The positions are designed to cover the three main areas of development for the members: spiritual growth through learning (bi-monthly meetings with speakers), fostering positive relationships (recreational activities every Wednesday evening at a local YMCA) and community outreach (volunteering at a nonprofit).
“Quo Vadis has opened me up to so many relationships. If I am in a bar and recognize someone from a meeting, I go talk with them. The discussion now is about faith instead of sports and that’s
really cool,” noted Isaac Marchel. “I look at some of these guys that I’ve only known for a short time and see them being in my wedding some day. That’s how meaningful the friendships are. It’s amazing to see the Holy Spirit working in all of us.”
As I sat there and listened to eight other young members share similar stories of how Quo Vadis has changed their lives, I watched the room slowly fill up for the evening’s meeting to hear Father Ethan Moore explain what is truly happening during Mass. Even though the entire meeting was being shown live on Facebook, more than 100 people filled the room. That signifies the sense of community and personal belonging that Quo Vadis offers to so many.
“I’ve realized that, deep down, many people desire for community and good, healthy friendships,” added Kleinhenz. “We see example after example of people coming to a meeting for the first time and they are awakened. They didn’t even realize how much they needed the openness, sense of community and sharing of faith until they experienced it in this way. That’s where the transformation starts to take place.”
For more information on Quo Vadis, check them out on Facebook and Instagram (@quo._vadis_).