Father Jeremy Hiers, O.S.A. is the Director of the Office of Peace and Justice for the Augustinian Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova. He contends that fervently speaking with people enhances our collective goal to fix our eyes on God. Believing that young adults face especially rough roads in today’s world as a result of anxiety and stifling loneliness, the Augustinian priest will offer compassion and camaraderie to them 5 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 18 through the third MIX monthly Mass and a social gathering that will follow.

“Intentional communication reduces that restlessness,” said Father Hiers. “Our Mass and reception are reminders that there needs to be a personal invitation to make evangelization prosper.”

The twinned Saint Paul and Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi churches will host the events at 923 Christian St., furthering their emphasis on building rapport among “young professionals, college graduates, and students who want to deepen their faith experience.”

No matter one’s state in life, Father Hiers feels that a pervasive desire for internal peace unites us and that Lent stands as the perfect time to show strength in numbers.

“We’re all hoping for a better world, and we’re all restless,” he said. “Those aren’t qualities of our existences that should drag us down, though. There’s work to be done and rewards to explore for committing ourselves more [fully] to being disciplined and connected to God.”

Father Hiers has led the Office of Peace and Justice for the Augustinians since July 2023 and has felt fortunate to minister to the South Philly community, particularly through his time at the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia. Given the youthful vibrancy of the surrounding area, he wants the MIX ministry to be a constant beacon for those who are in their twenties and thirties, but, regardless of age, all will always be welcome.

“Because of our Augustinian identity, everything we do has community as its heart,” Father Hiers said. He likens the process we employ in accepting God’s call to the course of action that his order’s namesake followed to heal personal hurt and let the Lord’s love win. “That specialized outreach makes people feel more connected, and that’s what the MIX is all about.”

The ministry’s Facebook page adds that the MIX has three starting points, namely, a social identity where people share their faith-filled outlooks; engagement, through which the development of community service opportunities arises; and an educational component that inspires group discussions on spiritual matters and current events.

Once the Mass has concluded, with Father Hiers’ homily set to address Lent’s unifying qualities, attendees will work on those themes at the reception, where resources will give them insight into how to strengthen their neighborhoods and internal resolve.

“We want to make sure everybody leaves with more direction and more trust in God,” Father Hiers said, giving a nod to the MIX’s use of a flaming heart in its logo to reflect how our hearts should be on fire for God and neighbors.

“We have to broaden our reach to bring about change.”

For more information on the Mass and gathering, visit the event page. For more information on the ministry, visit here.