With summer’s end, Café Catholica young adult series marks 20 years

August 13, 2019

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo recognizes former Café Catholica lead coordinators during the last 2019 summer Café Catholica night at St. Michael Catholic Church in Houston on July 29. The popular summer speaker series celebrated 20 years of active young adult ministry. (James Ramos/Texas Catholic Herald)

HOUSTON — By the end of the July, some 2,800 young adults from across the Archdiocese met together across four Mondays for Café Catholica at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Houston.

Since its founding 20 years ago, the popular young adult summer speaker series has attracted the young church to come together for a meal, for community and for prayer. An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 have attended the summer series throughout the years.

Despite moving between several parishes in central Houston over the years, each night has remained the same, with time set aside for Mass, prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a communal meal and a speaker.

Each year speakers address issues related to each generations needs corresponding to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Speakers have included archdiocesan ministry leaders, clergy, consecrated men and women religious and laity.

This past July, Café Catholica hosted Patrick Rivera of the Diocese of San Diego; Father Josh Johnson, a priest of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and popular podcast host; Michelle Benzinger, a women’s advocate and also a podcast host from Pensacola, Fla.; and Galveston-Houston’s archbishop Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. Cardinal DiNardo has remained a regular featured speaker throughout his time as archbishop.

The evenings are sponsored by the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries and are coordinated by a volunteer team of Galveston-Houston young adults. At the final summer Café Catholica on July 29, Cardinal DiNardo and Archdiocesan young adult ministry leaders recognized the past lead coordinators since the program’s inception in 1999.

Recently, Café Catholica has seen continued regional growth, expanding to nights spread through the Archdiocese. The speaker series held its first winter series in 2018 in north Houston at parishes like Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe. A second expansion, a regional Café Catholica series, is planned in the coming months to be held across the Archdiocese.

For more information on young adult ministries in the Archdiocese, visit archgh.org/yacm online.