Paulist priest's mission in the pubs of Portland

Posted by Siobhan O'Neill Meluso
Thursday 09, October 2014 | Category:   Mission & Evangelization
Fr. Bill Edens serving up spirituality in Portland, Ore.
Fr. Bill Edens, CSP, associate pastor of St. Philip Neri Church in Portland, Ore., has found that meeting and serving young adults in their "natural habitat" is great for his ministry.

Portland's Division Street, near his church, is lined with bars, music venues, restaurants, food trucks, and microbreweries, and Edens frequents these places with his Roman collar on, which has sparked many conversations. 
He shares on his Paulist Profile of one 'mission' to the music venue Mississippi Pizza: "Eventually I got the courage to go to the dance floor. It was not couple’s dancing nor was it romantic dancing. It was simply people rocking out to the music. After a few songs, I went back to my seat, and on the way several people stopped and told me it was great to have a priest at the bar. One even said he wanted to go to confession."

On another night, after strutting his stuff on the dance floor, Edens wrote: "Several young people came up to me afterwards and said, 'Wow, we don’t get many priests here!' Several spoke about having been Catholic when they were younger."
Edens believes there is a unique opportunity for the Paulists to enhance young adult ministry in the Portland Archdiocese. He has a three-fold approach to reaching young adults: 1. Spend time where young adults socialize. 2. Visit parishes with young adult ministries to learn how young adults get spiritual sustenance. 3. Visit alumni gatherings of Catholic high schools to try to learn why some Catholics fall away.

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