OLD TOWN — After months of staying apart, organizers of a new faith sharing group in the Old Town and Bangor area are hoping that “Unite” can start to bring younger Catholics together once again.

“When I lived in the Danbury area of Connecticut, there was a group there that allowed me to interact with other Catholics my age outside of college. I desired that here in Maine and found that there wasn’t one in the area.”

Robert Pascale is a FOCUS missionary serving at the University of Maine in Orono. FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is a Catholic collegiate outreach group with a mission to share the hope and joy of the Catholic faith with college and university students.

“Unite,” on the other hand, aims to draw from a wider range of possible participants.

“This group specifically is for Catholic women and men, ages 18-34, who are currently not undergraduate students, with the exception of seniors who are graduating in a few months,” said Pascale. “This is not college outreach since college students have local Catholic groups of their own at their specific college or university. This seeks to build a new community.”

The first meeting is set for Friday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. in the parish hall of Holy Family Church, located on 429 Main Street in Old Town, with hopes that the group can meet weekly. Social distancing and other pandemic protocols will be followed.

“For the first gathering we will be having dinner and a more ‘meet and greet’ type conversation, while subsequent meet ups will vary between adoration, Theology on Tap, and so on, including more dinners and casual gatherings,” said Pascale. “I would like to see a weekly gathering that varies in activities.”

For Pascale, creating opportunities for Catholics his own age to share time and their faith is both meaningful and a calling.

“I was baptized Catholic, but it wasn’t until three years ago that I received my confirmation after my reversion in college,” he said. “I was a student at Western Connecticut State University and met the FOCUS missionaries there who were a major influence on getting me back to my faith.”

So far, around 10 local women and men have committed to the group, a number that Pascale feels and hopes will grow in the weeks and months to come.

“First and foremost, I hope participants find a sense of community and peace from knowing there are other young adult Catholics living near them who also desire to live out the faith in their everyday lives, who desire to grow in their relationship of Christ and to live faithful, moral, and virtuous lives.”

For more information, contact Robert at robert.pascale@focus.org.