Archbishop Thomas Collins attracted several first time goers to Theology on Tap, a monthly lecture series held over beer and chicken wings at the Duke of York Pub.

Archbishop taps into young adults

  • May 22, 2007

TORONTO - When Marie Comiskey and her younger brother Kevin heard Archbishop Collins was going to speak at a local pub they jumped on the opportunity to meet the archbishop for the first time.



Collins attracted several first time goers to Theology on Tap, a monthly lecture series held over beer and chicken wings at the Duke of York Pub. It’s sponsored by Faith Connections, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, to help 18- to 39-year-olds grow in their faith.  

For this occasion people were asked to RSVP to keep the crowd at capacity. “I think people are looking for new things in leadership and just want a chance to meet him,” said Sr. Thérèse Meunier, Faith Connections director.

Collins addressed approximately 110 young adults about what it means to be a Catholic Christian. He challenged the group to go deeper into the roots of the Catholic faith rather than simply pointing to distinctive features such as the Pope, saints, the rosary and statues. He flushed out the first verse of the Creed: one, holy Catholic and apostolic.  

While its important to have individual relationships with God, as Catholics we worship as one body coming together around the eucharistic table on Sundays, said Collins.

“We’re not individual canoes on the Atlantic, we are part of a mighty fleet,” said Collins, sprinkling his talk with metaphor and humour.

Collins ran out of time to address all four topics he had planned to address as the evening progressed to an informal question-and-answer period. 

The archbishop distributed cards for the group to anonymously fill out with any questions they’d like to pose to a bishop. He tackled dozens of wide-ranging questions. What does it mean to forgive? How can we make our Catholic schools stronger? What causes our church to be driven apart? Define social justice and what can Torontonians do? How do we deal with priests who stifle new programs? How do Catholics address the atheist challenge? How can youth contact him with more questions?

Sam Corrado was pleased that his question “what does it mean that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins?” got answered.

“I liked (the presentation) because he’s very down to earth, personable and he has charisma. He’ll take a subject like the Catholic faith and bring it down to earth for people,” said Corrado, 32, an HVac mechanic.

Similarly, Yvonne Annobil was pleased her question about “whether praying the rosary is a devotion to Mary or Jesus” was answered.

The archbishop explained to the group the whole rosary is focused on Christ. All the mysteries point to Him saying “Hail Mary” is simply a greeting, not a sign of worship. 

“I learned a lot and I’ll pass it on to friends who didn’t make it,” said the 26-year-old recent social work grad from York University attending her first Theology on Tap.

The Comiskey siblings agreed that coming out was worth their while. 

“I was impressed with (the archbishop’s) intellectual ability to handle all these questions with almost no delay,” said Marie Comiskey, 36.

“He talked to us as equals,” said Kevin, 26. 

Radio Maria was to broadcast Collin’s presentation at 10 a.m. Friday, May 25 on .

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