Café Catholica live returns in July

June 8, 2021

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo speaks during a past Café Catholica at the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston. Four other national speakers will join Cardinal DiNardo, who speaks on July 26, for the Café Catholica summer speaker series at the Catholic Charistmatic Center, located at 1949 Cullen Blvd. in Houston. (File photo by James Ramos/Herald)

HOUSTON — As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and a return to normal life continues to gain momentum, young adults are looking forward to the return of Café Catholica.
After moving last year’s event strictly online and months of hosting virtual Café Catholica Lites, the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry is excited to return to in-person gatherings.

“When we hosted our Young Adult Day in person, I heard many young adults saying that they hadn’t seen each other since COVID-19 began,” said Angela Pometto, director of the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry. “Even though they’ve been interacting through online communication for the past year, there’s just something different about being together in person.”

The Café Catholica summer speaker series is open to all young adults ages 18 to 39 and features dynamic speakers, prayer and socializing. The event will be held at the Catholic Charismatic Center, located at 1949 Cullen Blvd. in Houston, on four Mondays in July starting on July 5. Each night will include Mass at 6 p.m. and a speaker at 7:15 p.m. The night will end with confession, a light snack, time to talk to sponsors and a tailgate party in the parking lot at 8:15 p.m. This year’s theme is “Courageous Love,” inspired by St. Joseph. The event will be available through an online platform as well.

Pometto said masks are still encouraged while indoors.

“We had been planning the event as if the COVID-19 restrictions would still be in place,” she said. “One of the main differences in this year’s program is the order of events. We will begin with Mass, followed immediately by the talk. This was changed to avoid moving the crowd in and out of the building twice. Even though the restrictions have been lifted, we will stick with this new plan.”

The event begins with speakers Mark and Katie Hartfiel from Paradisus Dei on July 5: “A Love that Transforms.”

Chika Anyanwu, a national speaker, on July 12, will talk about “Caught in the Waiting: When Our Timing isn’t God’s Timing.” July 12 is also Spirit Night. Attendees are encouraged to wear their college colors.

Colin Nykaza, director of Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of New York, will speak on July 19 about: “Anxiety, Fear, Depression? Come to His Divine Mercy.”

On the final night of Café Catholica, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston will speak on July 26 about “Living the Gospel with Courage.”

Pometto said the Café Catholica Lite series will continue every two months after the summer series ends.

“We will be returning to in-person gatherings at various parishes around the Archdiocese,” she said. “This year’s lineup will include visiting St. Ignatius in Spring, St. Joseph, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Edward in Spring and St. Patrick in Galveston. Speakers and topics are still to be determined.

Khanh Nguyen, one of the coordinators for Café Catholica this year, said that what he looks forward to for this Cafe Catholica is “to be able to celebrate the joy of Christ with my fellow Catholic friends in person.”

He said that after a year of pandemic, loss and stress, that everyone is looking forward to meeting their friends again to establish a sense of pre-COVID-19 normality.

“I think a lot of us have made a lot of sacrifices during this past year – our lives turning upside down, yet staying strong in our faith. So to be able to celebrate Café Catholica in person again, I am beyond ecstatic,” he said. “We have an amazing team of volunteers who are working tirelessly to organize the events in July.”

With the success of small groups via virtual events last year, Nguyen said they are bringing back that component this year as well.

“Our goal is not just to encourage people to come to Café Catholica but also to foster a community of faith in which we could grow in our Christian virtues together.”

Abby Alonso, who is also a coordinator for Café Catholica, said she is excited to share the content they have prepared for the event.

“We have had talks about how to love one another and how to love a partner so on and so forth. This year we are talking about self-love and how depression can be,” she said. “We are talking about our feelings and how to look for God in every moment.”

Alonso, who said isn’t a fan of computers, said she is ready to interact with people and make new friends at Café Catholica.

“Overall, I’m excited to experience God in people again,” she said. “To learn from what everyone has been through and how they called to God in their time of need.”

No registration is needed to attend. Donations are accepted. For more information, visit www.archgh.org/cafecatholica or contact the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry at or yacm@archgh.org or 713-741-8778. †