“Recently, I have been struck by the deacon’s words at the end of Mass, ‘Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.’  In 2020, I am going to try to draw closer to God by living a life that glorifies Him in all that I do — not just in what I do at Mass or during designated prayer times.  I will try to make every action, even small things like driving to work, an action that glorifies God and makes others want to know Him better.” — Mary Forr serves as the manager for Catholic Policy and Advocacy for the Archdiocese of Washington

Juan Aznaran (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)

“I would love to focus back on living my faith with small acts of charity this new year. I think that due to the busyness of life, we tend to get very discouraged when we are unable to devote set times for service. This year, I’d like to reshape my focus into seeing the opportunities of small acts of service in my daily life as moments to deepen my faith and grow closer to my neighbors, and thus, Jesus this year.”  — Juan Aznaran serves as Regional Coordinator of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Washington

Karlie Scherba (courtesy photo)

“People frequently associate Jan. 1 with the opportunity to attempt a new resolution, become a little better in the new year. This reasoning is similar to that of the ‘Monday diet,’ meaning, Monday is a better day to start, but why not today? When I read this prompt, ‘How will you deepen your faith and draw closer to Jesus in the new year?,’ I immediately thought of what I could do starting Jan. 1, not very different from setting a future Lenten promise, then it occurred to me, why can’t I start trying today, and work toward perfection in the new year?

“As a graduate student, I can find countless excuses to fill my time with anything but quiet prayer time. A spiritually dangerous time is that time between laying in bed and falling asleep. I scroll through social media and fill my head with ‘what ifs?’... No wonder I cannot find rest. 

“However, when I set my phone down and try to quiet my ‘what ifs,’ I begin to recite Hail Marys and re-center into a place of contentment and peace. With all that said, I think the most efficient and effective way to draw closer to Jesus is placing yourself in a quiet space. It's difficult in this busy, distracted, material world, but going into the new year (and starting today), I wish, with God's given grace, to make that time between laying in bed and falling asleep, a time for me and Him rather than for me and the ‘what ifs.’” — Karlie Scherba is a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., a liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing students

Hunter Gros (courtesy photo) 

“As a Catholic in America, it’s tempting to make a resolution that checks a box. ‘I’ll go to Confession once a month’ – check; ‘I’ll say the rosary weekly’ – check; or, ‘I’ll give a few extra dollars to a Catholic charity’ – check. Like resolving to go to the gym four times a week, rather than resolving to live a holistic healthier lifestyle, numeric resolutions often fail because they are rooted in nothing more than a number – ‘three Hail Marys a day’ – check. 

“2019 was yet another year where the actions of Catholic leadership made it harder for millennial professionals to eagerly proclaim, ‘I am Catholic!’ This being the reality, I can only make the resolution to surround myself with fellow Catholics who long for Jesus and not their proximity to a hierarchy. Creating an intimate community on a local level will allow me to sustain any numeric or holistic faith-based resolution. This way, if the Church is rocked by another scandal in 2020, which it most certainly will, I can rely on my lay friends and trusted Catholics to help me to fight the fight and keep the faith." – Hunter Gros works as a writer for Expedia Group and is a member of Epiphany Parish in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Chevrel (courtesy photo)

“In the new year, I will continue to deepen my faith by focusing on the five stones: reading the Scriptures, praying the rosary, fasting for others, going to Confession, and receiving the Eucharist. I have therefore built my class schedule around Adoration, Confession, and Mass times at the Newman Center at my school. 

“Although this may seem like a very ‘black and white’ manner of looking at my faith, it has tremendously helped me in deepening it, because I am aware of the tools the Church provides so we may get closer to our Lord. Moreover, the joy that is found in the community at Newman always brings me closer to Him, so I will be spending more time at the center! Lastly, I will be open to any opportunity God puts in my path, so I may learn to love His will!” – Natalie Chevrel, freshman, George Washington University 

Norma Canedo (courtesy photo)

“I think many of us will find that we tend to get pulled in several directions and work on different projects all at the same time. We become busy Marthas but will at times make our daily prayer life secondary. Like Mary, it is good to choose ‘the better option,’ contemplating on the word of our Lord and being available to listen and be silent with Him. 

“I’ll at times sneak away for a few minutes to pray in the cathedral, asking the Lord to help guide me in the role that He has entrusted to me in my smallness. Because I recognize I need Him to help me in my work, it is that much more necessary for me to give Him the space to speak and guide me. 

“My resolutions for the new year are to continue with spiritual direction and to work on purposefully seeking daily moments of stillness with our Lord. This and the sacraments are the fuel I need to faithfully accompany those I meet in their hardships, as well as in their joys.”  – Norma Canedo serves as the Coordinator for the Social Justice & Community Service Ministries at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., where she has been a parishioner for 27 years, since she was 4 years old

Abbie Dausen (courtesy photo) 

“In 2020, I am looking forward to growing closer to Christ through by being more intentional in my regular routines.  My husband and I want to attend more holy hours at our parish – the young adult community hosts them weekly.  I want to pray more often; pray more than just at mealtime, bed time, and when someone I know is suffering, but intentionally pray for my family, my friends, my parish, and even the people that could use prayers the most that I don't know.  We recently ordered prayer journals that I look forward to keeping up with in this new year.  

“And I have a long commute every day – I plan on downloading some Catholic podcasts for my drives.  I also want to be intentional regarding quality time with my husband.  Instead of watching television every night, we'd like to play music, read a book together, try new things.  Growing closer to each other brings us closer to Christ.  We can't just go through life wishing to improve our faith, we have to be intentional about deepening our relationship with God, which I hope to continue in 2020 and beyond!” – Abbie Dausen has been an active Catholic throughout the Archdiocese of Washington her entire life.  She grew up at St. John's Parish in Hollywood, Maryland, and eventually became a leader in the local young adult community, PAXCatholic.  Since moving to Washington, D.C., she rarely misses a Theology on Tap event, has participated in Apostles on Mission, and interned at the archdiocese offices in the spring of 2018.  She and her husband Michael are parishioners at Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, where she volunteers with the music ministry.