EL CAJON — Holy Trinity Parish will be hosting a 40-year reunion for members of its Young Adult Community (YAC) and the thriving youth group that gave rise to it.
The gathering is scheduled for June 7-9. Located in El Cajon, the parish enjoyed a reputation for having one of the diocese’s largest Catholic Youth Organizations (CYO) in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Nearly 100 teenagers from four nearby public high schools in El Cajon would attend the Monday night meetings. The group’s popularity was attributed to its winning combination of spiritual activities and recreational outings.
As the teenagers graduated from high school, the need for a second group for college- age single adults was recognized by Father Harold “Hal” Tindall, then the parish’s associate pastor. This young adult community, which was founded in 1979, resulted in several marriages as well as one religious vocation.
David House, the parish youth coordinator from 1977 to 1982, explained that the idea for the 40-year reunion came about when he reached out to all of his old friends from Holy Trinity to notify them of the death of his wife of 34 years, Theresa Layman House.
“We realized that seven of our alumni had already passed away and others were facing serious health issues,” he said.
The idea of a reunion has been greeted with enthusiasm by many alumni of Holy Trinity’s youth group and young adult community.
Former members will be flying in from throughout the country, including Boston, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Seattle and even Missoula, Montana.
“School reunions? Absolutely. But I’ve never heard of something like this, especially on such a scale,” said John Galvan, a former member of Holy Trinity’s youth group who now serves as director of the diocesan Office for Schools.
The three-day reunion will begin with an icebreaker get-together from 6-10 p.m., Friday, June 7, at Pernicano’s Family Ristorante, located at 1588 East Main St. in El Cajon.
The main event will take place on Saturday, June 8, beginning with the 5:30 p.m. Mass at Holy Trinity Parish. A dinner party, featuring a slide presentation, a talent show and a tribute to deceased youth group members, will follow in the parish hall.
The reunion will conclude with a beach party/picnic from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, June 9, at De Anza Cove Park at Mission Bay. House said it is not too late to RSVP for the reunion.
Sister Stephanie Spandl, who is celebrating her silver jubilee as a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame this year, told The Southern Cross that most of her social and faith life during her high school years revolved around the Holy Trinity youth group.
“Our youth group played a key role in nurturing my faith and providing a supportive community in which I could be myself and discover who I was and who I was becoming,” said Sister Spandl, who now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
She added that the group helped her experience “relationship with God and with faith community as vital and integral to my life.”
Galvan said that, under House’s leadership and example, the Church became “our place to have fun, socialize and experience our Catholic faith in a way that was real and relevant.” He looks back on the youth group as “kind of a formation program” and, even today, it serves as “a reminder of who I am, what I stand for, and who I still want to become.”
He is excited about the prospect of seeing so many familiar faces from his youth. “I just want to give everyone a group hug and say thank you,” he said. “I’m bringing my daughter so she can experience, even slightly, that all things are possible with God.”
For more information, contact David House at (619) 760-6157 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Cross