Café Catholica 2018: Young adults rooted in love

June 12, 2018

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo will speak on “The Good News” at Café Catholica Monday, July 23, at St. Michael Catholic Church, located at 1801 Sage Road in Houston. The free speaker series is open to young adults ages 18 to 39 and provides fellowship, prayer and guidance over the course of four Monday evenings in July. File Photo by James Ramos/Herald.

HOUSTON — In hopes of encouraging young adults to focus on God’s plan for their lives through prayer and contemplation, organizers of this summer’s Café Catholica chose a theme that is rooted in love.

The free speaker series, with a 2018 theme of “The Voice of Christ: Rooted in Love,” targets young adults ages 18 to 39 by providing fellowship, prayer and guidance over the course of four Monday evenings during July. The Archdiocese sponsors the event.

“We have been doing this for 18 years,” said Gabriela Karaszewski, director of the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese. 

“This is a speaker series that focuses on formation (personal preparation), but since there is Mass and confession this is also a beautiful sacramental moment as well,” Karaszewski said. “And finally, we have dinner and fellowship, so there is a huge networking place for young adults to meet each other and see what ministries and resources we have available to them.”

During the July series, the same schedule is followed each Monday with confessions and guided prayer at 5:15 p.m., then Mass at 6:15 p.m., with dinner, networking and table exhibits at 7:15 p.m. At 8:15, a dynamic Catholic keynote speaker speaks, ending with a question and answer session.

On Monday, July 9, speaker Mike Gormley discusses the topic, “How to Pray, What to Say, and When to Shut Up.”
Gormley has been leading evangelization and ministry efforts for the past 10 years, both as a full-time parish staff member and as a speaker and consultant for parishes, dioceses and Catholic campus ministries. He currently serves as the coordinator of evangelization at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in The Woodlands.

On Monday, July 16, speaker Mary Caprio talks about “Embracing Authentic Love,” and on Monday, July 23, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo discusses, “The Good News.”

Caprio is currently one of the pastoral associates at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Houston, in charge of evangelization and administration. She also serves as adjunct faculty at University of St. Thomas in theology and is an associate fellow for the St. John Paul II Foundation.

Prior to her current position, Mary was a registered nurse for more than 20 years and worked in the field of HIV/AIDS nursing.

Cardinal DiNardo is archbishop to the more than 1.7 million people who make up the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. His accomplishments include being elevated to the College of Cardinals in November of 2007 and serving as a Cardinal-Elector in the Papal Conclave of 2013, which saw the election of Pope Francis to the See of Peter. He is also the president of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Wrapping up the series on Monday, July 30, will be Father Sean Kilcawley, a national speaker whose topic is, “Tilling the Rocky Soil – Overcoming Obstacles of Love.”

Father Kilcawley, a military veteran, entered St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Nebraska, as a pre-theologian for the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. He went on to become a high school teacher of religion and parochial vicar. In 2013, Father Kilcawley completed an STL at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Rome. He currently serves as diocesan director of the Office of Family Life for the Diocese of Lincoln, as well as program director/theological advisor for Integrity Restored.

All four Monday sessions will take place at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, located at 1801 Sage Road in Houston, a change from last year when each session was held at different churches across the Archdiocese.

This year’s theme and chosen speakers highlight two things: Cardinal DiNardo’s desire to focus on prayer among young adults and an upcoming event of significance in the Catholic Church.

“In two months, in October 2018, the bishops from around the world will gather for a synod on ‘Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.’ The hope of the Church in view of this synod is to support youth and young adults so that they may discover God’s plan for their life and realize it with joy, serving God and neighbor,” Karaszewski said.
“The process of discovering that state in life to which God is calling you is known as vocational discernment. This process applies to all life decisions — including everyday tasks, volunteer work, and political and civic responsibilities,” she said. “However, in a special way, this process applies to one’s state in life, the place where God has called you to be in this world, for the rest of your life: marriage, consecrated life, or ordained ministry.”

Every year, Café Catholica welcomes more than 700 young adults each night to benefit from fulfilling experiences, including prayer time through Mass and confession, formation through the speaker talks, and fellowship through dinner and networking.

Registration at is encouraged for planning purposes, but all are welcome for any part of each night.