SCRANTON – At a time when young adults are being encouraged to remain physically distant from one another due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they are still finding ways to come together spiritually. On Monday, July 27, the Diocese of Scranton Office for Parish Life launched The Together Project, an opportunity for high school students to join together in a virtual community building experience.
“The ultimate goal of The Together Project is to keep us all together. We’re building a community by small group discussion,” Shannon Kowalski, Diocesan Director for Service and Mission, said during the opening session of the virtual experience.
“We’re all in this together and staying open to the spirit.” Bishop Joseph C. Bambera joined the initial meeting of The Together Project, leading the young adults in prayer, joining them in their discussion on faith and answering questions that they had. The Together Project was started and designed by young people who didn’t want to give up the new and old friendships they would have fortified at summer camps, retreats and parish events.
“I’m so glad we’ve gotten together,” student leader Annabelle Callis said. For the last several weeks, the students have continued the momentum of the opening session by taking part in weekly small group discussions and prayer opportunities. High school students from around the diocese are taking part in The Together Project. Some of their hometowns include Moscow, Scranton, Clarks Summit, Williamsport, Dallas, East Stroudsburg, Wilkes-Barre, Tunkhannock and Mountain Top.
During the initial meeting of The Together Project, the young adults focused on what they are most grateful for – and what has been the most challenging part – during the COVID-19 pandemic. One student said she was thankful that her entire family has been able to be together while under stay-at-home orders which is highly unusual. When discussing the challenges, students focused on having extra down-time and not being able to go to Mass in person. As the conversation continued, one young adult said she has now been blessed with extra time to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily and even start a blog for Catholic teens. As the initial session wrapped up, Bishop Bambera reminded the young adults that God is always there for them, especially during these difficult times, and they should never hesitate to call on him.
“I’m so incredibly struck by all of you and the profound things that you have shared,” the bishop said. To learn more about The Together Project, visit www.dioceseofscranton.org