Young adults gather for 15th annual Café Catholica

July 15, 2014

HOUSTON — “The primary reason for evangelizing is the love of Jesus which we have received, and everybody is supposed to evangelize. There is no excuse. There’s no excuse for anyone not to evangelize.”

With these words, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo challenged the more than 700 young adults gathered for the opening night of Café Catholica on July 7 at St. Michael Catholic Church in Houston. Cardinal DiNardo spoke on living out the ideas set forth in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium.”

Café Catholica is an annual dinner-lecture series for young adults held over four Mondays in July. The event is sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry. Each night features an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Mass, dinner and a keynote speaker. 

“I make time for this every year,” said Cardinal DiNardo. “It’s great to see so many young people gathered together in a conversation about their faith, discussing it, praying about it. It’s magnificent.”

About 2,500 young adults attend the event each summer. This year’s theme is CatholiCon. Café Catholica was first held in summer of 1999. It was created by a young adult committee under the guidance of the diocesan Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry.

“It’s a joy to see this many people my own age being fed,” said Rebecca Lawrence, young adult coordinator for Café Catholica. “I’ve been involved with it in the past and I want all these other adults to experience what I’ve experienced over the years.”

Tables in the dining area showcase organizations, ministries and businesses that are of interest to young adults.

“We want to give them a sense of how they can get involved and continue to grow in their faith beyond these nights,” said Gabriela Karaszewski, director of the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry. “We have parish young adult groups with tables to connect them with a community of faith, ministries where they can get involved and help, and even vendors selling books that can help them learn more about their faith.”

“It’s so amazing to see so many people my own age who truly want to live their faith in the world today,” said Marta Moreno, a first-time attendee. “The chance to celebrate Mass with other young adults and hear a talk that truly speaks to where we are at is a blessing. I can’t wait to come back next week.”

Café Catholica will run through the end of the month. On July 21, the event will feature a panel discussion on social justice moderated by Deacon Sam Dunning, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Justice and Peace. Musician, author and evangelist John Michael Talbot will close the season on July 28 with a talk about the beauty of the Mass.

For more information, visit www.CafeCatholica.com or contact the Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry at 713-741-8778.