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Through technology, Bellingham young adults connect with faith, create community

During the coronavirus outbreak, Catholic young adults in Bellingham are praying the rosary together every day via video conferencing. Photo: Courtesy April Jordan-Hulsey During the coronavirus outbreak, Catholic young adults in Bellingham are praying the rosary together every day via video conferencing. Photo: Courtesy April Jordan-Hulsey

BELLINGHAM – The social distancing and stay home orders brought by COVID-19 have been tough for a group of Catholic young adults, but they are finding strength by praying together online.

“Our rosary group is one of the ways that has helped keep me touching Jesus during this time of uncertainty,” said Tony Gallina of Catholic Young Adults de Bellingham, whose members have been praying the rosary daily via video conferencing.

“My spiritual focus on Jesus helps me remember that he is bigger than anything, even the challenges I’m facing now,” Gallina added.

For group member Christine Kerby, the toughest part of the coronavirus situation is isolation from others, including being unable to visit her grandmother in the hospital and her family, who live in Snohomish County.

“This experience has taught me that community is essential for living out the faith,” Kerby said. “In a time where it can feel like I am so disconnected, I have never been more connected to my friends in this young adults community.”

Catholic Young Adults de Bellingham is geared to post-college young adults in their 20s and 30s, according to April Jordan-Hulsey, youth/young adult minister for Church of the Assumption and Sacred Heart parishes in Bellingham.

The group’s daily rosary began when Pope Francis urged Catholics around the world to pray the rosary together on March 19, Jordan-Hulsey said. Since then, “we’ve been able to support each other not only through prayer, but also by bringing supplies to our fellow young adults that need things,” she said.

A few group members have lost their jobs because of the outbreak, while several are waiting to return to work and others are working from home full time, Jordan-Hulsey explained.

Like others in the group, Rose Achey said social distancing is challenging. “I’ve always been a social person, so it’s important for me to be able to connect with others to feel seen and heard,” said Achey, who lives alone. “I really look forward to the part of my day where I see everyone and we pray together.”

Besides the rosary, the young adults group has arts and crafts sessions on Saturdays and Bible studies on Sundays.

“I am unbelievably grateful for how we are using technology,” said group member Kelsey Harrington, who is director of the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Agape Service Project. (For instance, young adults can sign up for a virtual day retreat happening April 4.)

Rigoberto Segovia said he joined the Bellingham group to find Catholic people to identify with, and to more closely experience the spirit and love of Jesus.

“I have been really glad for this opportunity to grow in my faith, especially during this really bad [coronavirus] situation,” he said. “A lot of people are suffering right now and we need the love of God.”

Faith, community connections for Catholic young adults

• Sign up for The Scroll, a weekly newsletter for Catholic young adults around the archdiocese.

• Find a Catholic young adult group near you.

Register for the April 4 virtual day retreat.

• Explore resources and information at Western Washington Catholic Young Adults.

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