Café Catholica gives young adults a home faith advantage

May 14, 2013

HOUSTON — Preparations are nearing completion for Café Catholica, an annual Archdiocesan-sponsored young adult summer series held over the course of four consecutive Monday nights.

The series is geared for young adults, mostly in their 20s and 30s. The event begins with Mass at 6:15 p.m., followed by a free buffet dinner and an hour-long talk by a dynamic Catholic speaker. Catholic ministries, organizations and companies sponsor tables to showcase some of what is available or happening around the Archdiocese.

With 500 to 700 young adults attending each night, the event will now be hosted at St. Thomas High School, located at 4500 Memorial Dr. at Shepherd, in the Cemo Auditorium of Moran Fine Arts Center. 

Event Coordinator Michael Newhouse said this is the largest young adult event of the year.

“People look forward to it every summer to grow in the faith and meet other Catholic young adults,” he said. “Our mission is to help young adults get better connected to Christ, the Church and each other.”

This year’s theme features Houston sports. Named “Home Faith Advantage,” each night is themed to a different Houston sports franchise — Texans, Rockets, Astros and Dynamo.

“In the second letter to Timothy, St. Paul tells us, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have run the race, I have kept the faith... the Crown of Victory awaits! (2 Timothy 4:7),’” Newhouse said.

“In this Year of Faith, it’s wonderful to focus on how the Church is our home team, the faith is our contest and Christ has already won us the victory. Now that’s something to cheer about.”

Newhouse said the speakers address living the authentic faith in modern life — that Christ is always relevant, always good and always what human hearts are longing for. 

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo opens the series on July 8 with the Texans theme, “Papal Bulls on Parade,” speaking about Pope Francis and the future of the Church. July 15, Sister Mary Brenda, OP, of St. Agnes Academy, continues with the Rockets theme, “Heart of a Champion,” speaking about living with Christian courage. 

July 22, Christopher West will speak about Christian love in a pagan world during the Astros theme “Getting on Base.” July 29, Father Dwight Longenecker, Chaplain to St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, S.C., and a regular contributor to numerous Catholic magazines and websites, will close the series with the Dynamo theme, “Dream. Scream. Believe!” speaking about spreading the joy of the faith. 

Newhouse said Café Catholica is perfect for young adult Catholics looking for a home, friendships and community.

“These desires are frustrated by the increasing secularization of society,” he said. “We are given answers that don’t satisfy us: shallow friendships, disposable romance, superficial community, toxic politics and culture, and a highly mobile lifestyle that can leave us feeling uprooted and restless.”

Newhouse said technology brings media and culture — and their unsatisfying answers — into almost every corner of a young adult’s life. 
“Young Catholics get their primary ideas about life, Christ and Christianity from mainstream media, news, movies, peers, Facebook posts and Internet memes. These influences are, at best, indifferent and are more and more openly hostile or (are) distorting to the faith,” he said. 

“Young Catholic adults hear a different message from the Church: Faith. Hope. Love. A clear vision and solid choices and relationships that last... eternally: We long to hear the authentic Gospel of Christ as preserved and proclaimed by his holy Church, to live a fullness of life found only in Him and to share in His abundant joy and love.”

Grover Green has attended Café Catholica almost every year.

“I have heard many excellent talks over the years, many of which have aided me in deepening the intellectual part of my faith, as well as convicting me even further of the teachings and traditions of the Church,” he said. “Cardinal DiNardo’s lectures are always especially edifying.”
Green said, to him, the best part of Café Catholica is the reality of community which the event enables. 

“I always look forward to seeing many of my own friends there, but also to the opportunity to meet young Catholics who love their faith and the Church,” he said. “It is an authentic experience of communion.”

For more information on Café Catholica, visit their website at www.CafeCatholica.com or contact Michael Newhouse at mcn311@gmail.com.