World Youth Day celebrations set for Houston, Panama

November 27, 2018

The theme for World Youth Day 2019 (WYD) this upcoming January in Panama is “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

Pope Francis has dedicated this set of WYD themes to meditate on Mary and her willingness to accept God’s will in her life.

WYD expands far beyond the physical gathering of the Holy Father that hosts millions of young people from across the world, the pilgrimage is not limited to the young people who can travel internationally, but to all. In the age of global media and social networks, a new kind of “digital pilgrim” has emerged.

Diocesan gatherings, like the international pilgrimages, can provoke a transformative or conversion experience in the lives of pilgrims.

Therefore in 2019, the dioceses of Galveston-Houston, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and South Bend, Indiana, will be hosting their own local WYD celebrations concurrent with the gathering in Panama on Jan. 23 to 27.

The local WYD celebration will have two components and they both have the same goal: To give an opportunity for young adults from all cultural backgrounds in our Archdiocese to come together to pray, worship and celebrate the Catholic faith.

1. The WYD-Houston Celebration from 1 to 8 p.m. on Saturday Jan. 26 at St. Jerome Catholic Church, located at 8825 Kempwood Dr. in Houston, will include fellowship, multicultural music, 20 workshops in English and Spanish, relics from several saints and a closing Vigil Mass. The theme for the day is the theme for WYD. Cost to attend WYD-Houston is $20 per person and includes the dinner. Open to young adults ages 18 to 39.

2. Eucharistic Vigil an all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 8 p.m. Jan. 26 to 6 a.m. Jan. 27 also at St. Jerome Catholic Church. Each hour will include music and meditations prepared by 30 Hispanic young adult groups. Come for all or part of the night. The vigil is a free event and open to families. It will be bilingual the first two hours.

It is with joy to say that for 19 years our Hispanic young adults have made this great event possible because of their leadership, their commitment, their organization, their gifts of music and service, and above all their enthusiasm. The night is completely dedicated to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The 2019 vigil has a great message from our Mother Mary where we want to take her as a model of obedience, putting our trust in God to go out to serve our neighbor with love.

As young adults we have a great call to live the gospel by learning to be missionary disciples and let ourselves be guided to Christ. What better way than His mother, the Virgin Mary, to do it and be that example of guide and mentor in the way of the young adults and of the Church. The theme for the Eucharistic vigil this year is “Serve and Live with Love.” Invite an acquaintance, friend and relative — do not come alone. This will be a great encounter with Christ, other young adults and the community.

For more information and registration for WYD Houston, contact the Office for Young Adult and Campus Ministry at 713-741-8778 or

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