Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
August 15, 2023 // Diocese

Active Communities are Created for Young Catholics at Historic Parishes in South Bend

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

“Young adults are leaving the Church at astonishing numbers. With less than three percent of parishes in the United States employing a young adult coordinator on staff, more and more young adults find no home or voice in the Church and leave,” said David Murphy, Co-Founder and Board Chair of QuoVadis Catholic (QV).

“Quo Vadis” is Latin for “Where are you going?” which is asked both to the Catholic Church and to Catholic young adults. Murphy said, “With the future of the Church slipping between the cracks, we ask ‘Where are you going?’”

Murphy believes a solution is the creation of QuoVadis Catholic (QV), a young adult Catholic faith formation program. Founded in 2019 in San Diego by Murphy and Nathan Poe, QV provides an opportunity for young adults to live with other Catholics, build friendships, and grow in faith. Living in a community, young adults enjoy a Christ-centered community of service in their city. The founders not only engage young adults, but help revitalize parishes and support Catholic schools at the same time.

David Murphy, Co-Founder and Board Chair of QuoVadis (QV) Catholic, and Christopher Van Scoy, QV Fellow, enjoy community time on Wednesday, July 19, at the St. Casimir house in South Bend. QV is a young adult Catholic faith formation program providing an opportunity for young adults to live with other Catholics, build friendships, and grow in faith.

Murphy relocated from San Diego to South Bend and started QV at two South Bend locations, St. Casimir Church and Holy Cross Church. Geared towards young adults in their 20s, each fellow goes through an application and screening process that includes interviews and requires letters of recommendation to make sure they fit with the mission and vision of the experience. QV seeks fellows wanting to invest in the community, not people just looking for a place to crash. “We want this to be a purposeful time,” said Murphy.

Each member of the house pays a monthly payment or rent. Though there is no set time limit on living in the home, agreements are made between the group and the individual on an annual basis.

“Today’s young adults are the loneliest, most debt-burdened, most suicidal, most anxious, and least likely to marry and have kids. Secular society’s anecdotes only deepen these issues, and it is only the Church that offers thousands of years of wisdom to counter the social ills plaguing today’s young adult generation. By being rooted in community and being formed, the future of the Church can gain the social and spiritual support needed to navigate today’s fluid landscape,” noted Murphy.

Active Communities are Created for Young Catholics at Historic Parishes in South Bend

“The goal is to help the Church respond pastorally to the longing of young adults’ hearts. We do this by rooting communities of young adult Catholics in community at underutilized parish properties, forming them, and unleashing them to evangelize their peers,” said Murphy.

Corey Williams, a St. Casimir Fellow, said he is grateful for the opportunity to live in a community with friends, practice his faith, and be close to a church.

Christopher Van Scoy, another St. Casimir Fellow, had been living in a single apartment and hated the loneliness that came with his environment. He said living in a community with his friends has given him a chance to grow spiritually, pray with friends, enjoy deep conversations about religion and philosophy, and encounter different groups of people in the area.

In the fall, he is getting married and will leave the house to begin his new life. He said he is grateful to have this special time in fellowship before he embarks on his marital journey.

Holy Cross fellows have been an impactful asset to the community as well. QV Fellows have been involved in parish ministry including lecturing at Sunday Mass, assisting the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, teaching the catechesis program for older children, and becoming involved in the parish social outreach to the local community, a strong focus within the parish.

“The greatest gift that the Quo Vadis residents provide is the witness of their desire to live as young Catholic adults in an intentional Christian community. Parishioners are pleased to hear that we have these young adults living this Christian lifestyle in our parish center, which was the convent when the Holy Cross Sisters taught at our school. Their presence within the parish community is a sign of hope for our parishioners, a reminder that there are young adults who take seriously their faith and strive to live a serious Christian life. They also serve as a witness to the young adults of our parish,” said Holy Cross Church Pastor Father Jim Fenstermaker. “Perhaps the greatest contribution of Quo Vadis to the participants is the support they offer one another in the joys and challenges of living their Christian faith and their Catholic religion. In their weekly discussions and faith sharing, and in the guests, they sometimes bring in to speak to them, they are learning to navigate the complexities of living their faith in today’s society, strengthened and nourished by their lives of prayer, worship, and reflection, learning how to evangelize through the witness of their lives. Quo Vadis is preparing them to be leaders in the Church and in society.”

At St. Casimir, QV Fellows assist with adult faith formation classes, and have been coaches in sports for St. Adalbert Grade School, leaders in the Dominic Savio Club for middle school boys as mentors, and involved in the liturgy as lectors and Eucharistic Ministers.

“It offers life to St. Casimir. We have young Catholic men living right in the St. Casimir community and they are active in the parish doing ministry. Our parishioners love seeing them and their help in ministry has been great since we sometimes lack enough people to help out in some parts of the parish. The source of income has been a blessing as well since we are able to use that funding for some needed capital projects in the parish,” said Father Ryan Pietrocarlo, Pastor at St. Adalbert and St. Casimir Parishes. “My hope is that they receive a joy filled experience of living in a male Catholic community, and to have their faith enriched through prayer, conversation, and community life with the other men in the house. I also hope that they come to grow in their desire to serve Christ and the Church through their ministry in the parish and find joy becoming integral parts of a parish community.” 

Being part of a monumental movement creates many memorable moments for leaders and residents. Murphy recalled having the first fellow move into St. Casimir and how the moment made the concept concrete from the idea stage to the implementation stage.

“Renovating St Casimir’s rectory, which has seen a storied history over the last century housing priests, nuns, and women discerning a vocation was another memorable moment,” said Murphy. “In the renovations, we found parish records in Polish, old candid black and white photos of the nuns on adventures, and more that showed the lineage of this place. Being able to breathe new life into this building, and keeping it Catholic, was really exciting.”

Parishes also get a chance to be part of the next generation of faith-filled followers uniquely and memorably.

“The parishes get social, spiritual, and financial capital through participation with QV,” said Murphy. “Young adults living on campus means that they invite their friends and engage with the parish in many ways.”

To learn more about communal Catholic living in service of the Church, visit

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