YACM celebrates first Young Adult Day

April 8, 2014

HOUSTON — The office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry (YACM) had its first Archdiocesan Young Adult Day on Saturday, March 29, at St. Pius X High School. 

More than 300 participants representing 37 parishes, and seven universities and colleges spent the day listening to speakers, praying and having fun.

Themed “Mercy Without Boundaries - Reconciliation Day,” the event was held both in English and Spanish.

Gabriela Karaszewski, director of the Archdiocesan office of YACM, said the event was designed to provide formation and a time for prayer and reconciliation during Lent.

“The numbers of young adults in our Archdiocese are growing,” she said. “We saw this day as a great opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the young adults in our Archdiocese.”

Mirna Ochoa, coordinator with the Archdiocesan office of YACM, said the excitement of the day was already obvious during set-up the night before.

“Since the moment the servers arrived the night before to set up, we could feel and see the excitement of all of them being there for all the young adults,” she said. “All three speakers really set the mood with their fantastic teaching moments during their talks and (from) their presence.”

Ochoa said Bishop Oscar Cantu of the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Houston native, reminded participants that just as God is merciful to them, young adults also have to be merciful to those in their everyday lives. He also said that young adults have boundaries in their hearts that keep them away from God’s mercy, that God is always there trying to reach out to them but they don’t let Him and His mercy touch them. 

“We need to let His mercy reach us so we don’t have to wait until we are in purgatory to have peace, honor and compassion in our hearts,” Ochoa said about the talk. 

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio reminded the participants that, as young adults, they have to have an encounter with God, and that they have to know how to listen and cultivate the word of God in others. 

“We have to know how to listen to God and how to listen to others.” Ochoa said. “(Archbishop Garcia-Siller) definitely told us that, as young adults, we have to give testimony of our life and the love that God has for us. However, we need to reach out to those that are away from God by going to them.”

Ochoa said he quoted Pope Francis where he stated that we have to “smell like sheep.” 

“... This is a big mission for us,” she said. “He told us that we have to go out to reach and be with our young adults that are away so that we can learn about their needs and, with our own example, bring them closer to God.”

Father Dat Hoang, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations, gave a short and focused talk on confession, reminding young adults to not be afraid to come close to God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As young adults participated in the Sacrament, they also participated in a moment of silence as they were directed in Taizé prayer and adoration of the cross. The day culminated with Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz.