KARASZEWSKI: Reaching young adults in the peripheries of the Church

March 12, 2019

Pope Francis will release his apostolic exhortation about the Synod of Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, which took place October 2018 at the Vatican, on March 25.

While reading the final working document from the synod, two concepts stand out to me.

First, the idea of “encounter,” that we need to encounter Jesus in each other to truly not see the face of the other person, but to see the face of Jesus in them. We are called to seek out and advocate for all young people especially those at the peripheries. Second, to “listen” and hear young people’s stories in a spirit of “synodality,” engaging in dialogue with those who are outside the walls of our parishes.

For some reason, when I read this document I could not stop thinking of great saints such as St. Vincent de Paul, St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Francis of Assisi. The image of going out of our parish boundaries and encountering the poor, the poor in spirit or the financially poor. Nowadays, a lot of our young adults are in the peripheries, they are unemployed, they are not mentored by anyone, and are to certain extent “at the peripheries of society and peripheries of the Church.”

Following the recommendations of the Synod on Young People and the steps of great saints, we are holding a second Archdiocesan Young Adult Day of Service on Saturday, April 13, when we will focus on service, action and encountering Jesus in the face of others. We will dedicate our day to prayer and work, or  Ora et Labora. We will start our day with 8 a.m. Mass at St. Dominic Center’s Warren Chapel, then head out at 9:30 a.m. to different locations around the city to do charity work. We will be the hands and feet of Christ!

There will be many different options where the young adults can serve. A few of these include: warehouses with St. Vincent de Paul Society; a Food Fair with Catholic Charities; we will learn about correctional ministry and pray for prisoners outside a prison; we will contribute with Project Gabriel; feed and meet with the homeless; help at food pantry at St. Charles of Borromeo parish; pack food at the Houston Food Bank; clean a parish; write letters and make care packages for public school students that are taking exams; and learn social justice through Maryknoll and Catholic Relief Services.

If you are a young adult age 18 to 39 years old, come and join us for this day of service, fellowship and Eucharist. Statistics show that 60 percent of Catholics in United States are young adults. Please consider inviting a young adult that you know among your family, friends and work. The free Day of Service begins at St. Dominic Chancery Warren Chapel, located at 2403 Holcombe Blvd. in Houston.

For more information and registration, visit www.archgh.org/yacm or call 713-741-8778.

Gabriela Karaszewski is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry.