In the Beginning…
Toronto, Canada. World Youth Day 2002
Over 15,000 World Youth Day pilgrims visited the 2002 vocation.com Coffee House held high atop the Sky Dome in Toronto, Canada. Packed to overflowing, the Coffee House provided an opportunity for youth to check out all the features of vocation.com live and in person! The music played, the coffee flowed and the entertainment was live and free!
The Coffee House was always packed to capacity as youth gathered to send a quick email home, spend some quiet moments in he Adoration Chapel or take advantage of the opportunity for spiritual guidance as well as the sacrament of reconciliation. Special appearances included Jeff Cavins and the EWTN Life on the Rock show and Bishop Paul Andre Durocher from Cornwall, Canada.
And Make it Float
Chicago, Illinois. The Youth and Family Encounter 2003
The world-famous Chicago skyline was the spectacular backdrop for the 2003 vocation.com Coffee House. The event was held July 18 and 19 aboard the ship Abegweit, of the Columbia Yacht Club, docked at Chicago’s Navy Pier. The deck of the Abegweit played host to a party unlike any other in its history. More than 1000 young people gathered for the 2003 live event featuring popular Catholic musicians and Crispin and Janelle, vocation testimonies from priests, religious, and consecrated lay people and live questions-and-answer session with Fr. Anthony Bannon, LC of the vocation.com website.
Hundreds took advantage of spiritual and vocational guidance and the sacrament of confession. Just like at the 2002 Coffee House World Youth Day in Toronto, the Eucharistic Adoration chapel was always full to capacity and often overflowed into the hallways. Benediction was celebrated at midnight on the deck of the boat with over 250 visitors... and backdrop of the skyline of Chicago!
Welcome to the ‘Internet Café’
Cologne, Germany. World Youth Day 2005
Free live entertainment from top Catholic bands, free internet access, and gourmet coffee that flowed all day and late into the night! But that was not all that flowed at this coffee house, many graces flowed as well! Confession and Eucharistic Adoration was attended by thousands! Not your typical coffee house you say? The vocation.com Coffee House at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany was unique to say the least!
Welcoming over 16,000 World Youth Day pilgrims through its doors, the vocational themed Coffee House brought all the features of the vocation discernment website to life. Thomas Jacob, a youth minister from India, had been searching for the Coffee House since first arriving in Germany. “I use the resources of vocation.com with my youth in India. I wanted to meet the people of vocation.com in person and say thank you for the help they give me.”
Top Catholic bands played to full crowds each night as youth were entertained with music from Cardiac Move, Raindown, Fresh, and Starfoam. Daniel diSilva, lead singer of the band Crispin and emcee of the event entertained the crowd with his own Catholic music and interviewed priests and consecrated men and women who have answered God’s call to follow Him.
Priests, religious, and youth ministers from dioceses across the world visited the Coffee House to talk with the youth gathered there. Sr. Therese-Benedicte from Vichy, France found the Coffee House to be an unexpected gift at World Youth Day. “I have so enjoyed being here and visiting with the youth in this setting. They are having a great time with the music and yet are very focused on Christ. They keep the chapel very full and the priests busy in confession. It is very good.”
Coffee House guest speakers included among many others: Fr. Edward Burns, Executive Director Secretariat for Priestly Formation and Vocations for The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Bishop Köning of Padabon; Bishop Everad de Jong from Holland and Fr. Francis Bonnici from the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.
The internet cafe was a favorite feature as youth lined up to send quick message home. However, the most popular location was the chapel, where Adoration for Vocations was held. Always filled to capacity, the chapel often had a waiting line to enter and hundreds of youth availed themselves of the sacrament of confession. Eucharistic Benediction closed the Coffee House each night with youth overflowing the main hall and spilling down the stairs and into the foyer; the perfect ending to each day’s events.
vocation.com is an interactive website that was launched in March 2002 in order to help young people hear and respond to God’s will in their lives. In just 3 years, over one-million visitors from 60 countries and six continents have logged onto the website which is translated in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German and Portuguese. vocation.com is at the service of the Universal Church in collaboration with the vocation directors of several dioceses, promoting vocations to all walks of consecrated life and the priesthood, both in dioceses and in religious congregations.
A New Kind of Coffee House
Sydney, Australia. World Youth Day 2008
The year 2006, in anticipation of the World Youth Day event located in Sydney, Australia, Bishop Anthony Fisher approved the vocation.com Coffee House as an official part of the World Youth Day offerings.
"I am pleased to announce that the vocation.com Coffee-House will be one of the official, approved activities during the World Youth Day event in Sydney, 2008." Bishop Anthony Fisher OP
vocation.com changed the format of the coffee-house to fit in with a further desire expressed by the Archdiocese that it re-locate from its original site to the Vocations Expo Hall.
The stage setting with top bands such as Cardiac Move, Mike Mangione, and the Catholic Underground Band and speakers like Fr. Leo Patalinghug helped draw thousands of young people to the Expo with over 2500 young people per hour visiting. The entire Expo was alive with excited, happy young people with great interest in vocations proving that God is calling many young people to “Come and follow me.”
Additionally vocation.com offered three late night Concerts on the Water hosted by the All Occasion Cruises vessel, Bella Vista. The event offered an opening prayer for the evening, confessions while floating through the beautiful views of Sydney Harbour, incredible music by Mike Mangione and the fun and engaging band, Scythian.
The highlight of the week was the Papal Boat-a-Cade where vocation.com filled the Bella Vista with 751 young people, families, priests and consecrated people. It is said to have been the boat with the most pilgrims escorting Benedict XVI through Sydney waters to Barangaroo where he made his official arrival. The event started with an Opening Mass that set the pace for a beautiful spiritual journey that resulted in peace and total joy for all attending. It was an event that will never be forgotten.
With a Little Help from our Friends
Coffee House in Madrid, Spain was hosted by our Spanish-language site, vocación.org
. It took place in the Bernabéu Soccer Stadium, and averaged between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors an hour during its approximately 40 hours of operation. Every hour included 45 minutes of performance and 10-15 minutes of testimonies. 25 different bands, representatives of 18 different charisms in the Church, several diocesan priests and a bishop from the persecuted Church gave their testimonies. The Adoration Chapel was constantly full and Confession was offered in several languages throughout the operation of the Coffee House.