Sunday, 06 December 2009 00:00

YAM begins celebrating Mass at new location

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The Young Adult Ministry (YAM) has just begun holding its weekly Sunday Mass at St. Viator Chapel, located within the Catholic Pastoral Center at 1615 W. Washington in Springfield.

Mass was held in its new location beginning Nov. 29, the first Sunday of Advent and the first Sunday of the liturgical year. The liturgy begins at 8 p.m., followed by its weekly tradition of refreshments.

The first young adult Mass was held in the Dawson Hall Chapel at Benedictine campus on Feb. 10, 2008. That night more than 70 young Catholics gathered for the inaugural Mass celebrated by then-Bishop George J. Lucas, who is now Archbishop of Omaha. Within a few weeks, the Mass was moved into the St. Ursula Chapel at Beata Hall, also on the college campus, where it was celebrated until Nov. 22.

“Benedictine needs to claim the (St. Ursula) chapel for their own campus ministry because they want to focus on the students,” said Kyle Holtgrave, associate director for Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Springfield diocese. “We reach a much larger group. Our ministry targets people 18 to 35, but we welcome people of all ages. We usually have a crowd of about 60 to 80 people, with about a third of those people coming every week.

“We even have some families who come, especially those who have been traveling and arrive home too late for earlier Masses,” he said. “Ours is the last Sunday Mass celebrated in Springfield.”

Young Adult Masses are celebrated by various priests, with Msgr. John Ossola, Father Peter Witchousky, OP, and Father Steve Janoski celebrating most often. Diocesan administrator Msgr. Carl Kemme, Msgr. David Lantz, Father Kevin Laughery and Father David Hoefler have also helped out, Holtgrave said.

Bill Vig is the choir director and also plays bass guitar. “We have people who take turns playing the piano and of course, I’m there playing my guitar,” said Holtgrave.

“YAM is excited about the move and all the possibilities with this location,” said Steve Klemm, a member of YAM’s core team. “St. Viator (Chapel) offers the intimate feel that is so important to our ministry, and it maintains the opportunity for continued growth.

“YAM truly appreciates the generosity and hospitality of Benedictine University,” he said. “Without the use of their facility over the past 21 months, YAM would not be where it is.”

In addition to the Mass, which will continue to be celebrated every Sunday except Easter, YAM hosts formation programs to assist young adults in learning more about Catholicism. It also remains involved in the community through various service projects.

The ministry continues to expand its operation through social events including mini-golf tournaments, bonfires and happy hours and has seen a steady growth over the past several months.

“YAM has been a remarkable addition to our diocese,” Holtgrave said. “YAM helps area parishes by reaching out to those young adults who are looking to connect with the Catholic Church. In addition to Mass, our service projects at area parochial schools and outreach events that involve local residents and businesses are instilling the importance of service to the members of YAM and leaving a positive mark on our community.”

For more information on YAM, visit the Web site at