Sixth-annual Young Adult Day focuses on the ‘burning heart’ in all phases of young life

March 10, 2020

Themed "Your Burning Heart is Holy Ground," the sixth-annual Young Adult Day is set for Saturday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Jerome Catholic Church, located at 8825 Kempwood Dr. in Houston. Photo courtesy of the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry.

UPDATE: This in-person event has been canceled and is now an online young adult conference. To learn more, visit

HOUSTON — Young adults ages 18 to 39 are invited for a day of fellowship, music, prayer and workshops at the sixth-annual Young Adult Day. It is set for Saturday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Jerome Catholic Church, located at 8825 Kempwood Dr. in Houston.

Presented by the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries, the event is open to single, dating and married young couples who want to grow in their relationship with God and with others.

Young Adult and Campus Ministry Director Gabriela Karaszewski said this will be the second year married couples are welcomed and that there will be talks especially for them.

“The goal since its conception was to allow space for young adults to build community regardless of what language they speak, to form further in topics relevant to their age, to pray together and to celebrate young adults throughout the Archdiocese,” she said.

Karaszewski said all Young Adult Day themes are chosen and discerned by young adults themselves, with the focus changing yearly depending on what is relevant to the lives of young adult Catholics. Previous themes include “Mercy Without Boundaries,” “A Call to Love,” and “Being the Hands and Feet of Christ.”

Christus Vivit was published in April 2019, and the team made up of 30 young adults representing different parishes read the document and discerned what were the main portions they would like to share to their fellow young adults,” she said. “The theme,‘Your Burning Heart is Holy Ground,’ is taken from Christus Vivit #67.” 

The day will have three components. The morning will focus on “Encountering Christ that is alive and wants you alive,” noon events on “Discovering God’s voice in your heart,” and an afternoon about “Pursuing your mission with courage, boldness and enthusiasm.”

The day will have more than 15 workshops in English and Spanish and four speakers coming from around the nation, plus a music band “Tribeza” from Chicago.

From the Diocese of San Bernardino, Brenda Noriega will also be giving a talk. Noriega serves on the International Youth Consultative Body for the Dicastery of Laity and Family Life in Rome, representing the young people of the United States.

Father Kingsley Nwoko, parochial vicar of St. Anthony Catholic Church in The Woodlands, will talk about “Discernment of Relationships Pathway to Destiny.”

“We are created in relationships and for relationships. The hunger for our souls could only be satisfied in relationships,” Father Nwoko said. “Discernment is not about a choice that I make, but about a response to a call that I heard. Discernment is an indispensable pathway to every vocation and the realization of one’s vocation is tantamount to a realization of a destiny.”

Director of the Office of Vocations, Father Richard McNeillie, will discuss “Discovering God’s Voice in Your Heart.”
“In a practical way, I’m giving an explanation of how to actually listen to God, who speaks in your heart,” he said.

Matt Regitz, who will be presenting a talk for married and engaged couples, will speak on “Discernment on Purpose - An eternal perspective in a temporal world.”

He said he hopes the talk revives the purpose of young adults in the Church.

“Somehow we have reduced going to Church as no more than an obligatory duty. Many teens stop going to Church after they’ graduate’ from religious education at Confirmation,” he said. “We need to reclaim the missionary identity of our Church. But first we need a reawakening in our own hearts, to be reminded of the why behind it all. That Jesus Christ calls us, equips us and sends us. That’s a missionary spirit we need to pump back into our pews that I believe lifelong believers and newcomers alike can mobilize behind.”

Attendee Brenda Banegas said the event has something for everyone.

“There are many talks to choose from for young adults in all stages of life. Also, since we are in Lent, it’s a great opportunity to open our hearts even more to discover what God is calling us to.

Banegas, who has attended the event four times, said it is a good opportunity to renew her commitment of service to God.

“I’ve learned something new and I’ve been able to see God’s love and mercy through the beautiful moments of prayer and reflection at each one that I’ve attended,” she said.

Attendee Yenifer Gil said Young Adult Day is “an amazing event that no one should miss out on.”

“After attending the event for the first time in 2017, I have been coming back every year because I love the environment and the opportunities it has to meet people who desire to live like Christ,” she said. “In addition to finding community, you can also encounter Christ Himself in all the programming and in other young adults themselves. This year I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for me, in life and community. I also want to become bold and courageous, especially when meeting new people or taking on a task.”

Presented in English and Spanish, registration is $35 per person until March 13. On-site day-of registration is an option on a space-available basis.

To register, visit or contact 713-741-8778 or email †