WASHINGTON, (March 18, 1997) — Mitchel J. Zimmerman of Lawrence, Kansas, and Maritza Gamboa of Lubbock, Texas, will represent the Catholic Church in the United States at the Vatican-sponsored VI International Youth Forum, this year slated for Paris, August 14-18.
The two young leaders will join other Catholic young adults from around the globe to participate in multi-cultural presentations, group discussions and prayer.
The Forum precedes World Youth Day, which is slated for August 19-24, and expected to include participation of Pope John Paul II. More than 12,000 Catholic youth and young adults will attend from the United States alone. Forum participants will have key roles at World Youth Day events.
Mr. Zimmerman, 23, is an outreach minister at the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas where he also is studying human biology. He has been active in the Church throughout his lifetime and from the time he enrolled at the University of Kansas was involved in the campus ministry choir. He has held leadership positions in the choir and other campus organizations. In 1993, he traveled with the choir to World Youth Day in Denver. In his current campus ministry work, he concentrates on the areas of student leadership development, evangelization, human sexuality and liturgical music.
Mr. Zimmerman also has been involved in Church activities at the national level. In 1995, he addressed U.S. Bishops at a Washington symposium on campus ministry and underscored the need for this ministry in the Church. In 1996, he was part of a national evangelization training program in Washington.
Ms. Gamboa, 20, is an undergraduate student at Texas Tech University and plans eventually to pursue a degree in law. She has been active in the Diocese of Lubbock, Texas, and for several years has been a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Family Services, the diocese's social service organization. She also has volunteered in diocesan youth ministry and is a member of the diocese's "Search for Christian Maturity Team," a youth retreat program. She is a lector in her parish and a leader in the local Catholic Youth Organization. She attended World Youth Day in Denver with a group of 500 youth from the Lubbock Diocese.
Mr. Zimmerman and Ms. Gamboa were named to represented United States Catholic youth by Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. They were chosen from among several nominees proposed by Catholic youth and young adult organizations. Ms. Gamboa was nominated by the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry, and Mr. Zimmerman, by the Catholic Campus Ministry Association.
The International Youth Forum is hosted by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity, which is headed by U.S. Archbishop J. Francis Stafford.
In calling for nominations, Archbishop Stafford asked Church leaders worldwide "to choose the delegates carefully from among the young people who have been seriously involved in the field of youth ministry for a long time -- possibly at the national level-- and who will be able on their return home to transmit to others the experiences they will have acquired."