About ‘Boots Laced’

Pope Francis waves as he arrives for a welcoming ceremony during the 2016 World Youth Day at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Standing in that Poland field with 2.5 million of my Catholic brothers and sisters for World Youth Day in Poland two years ago, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement rise as Pope Francis was about to speak. As we’d come to learn in the years since the Holy Spirit had chosen him as our Holy Father, we never knew what he’d say, but we knew it would be clear and cut right to the point.

As usual, the Servant of the Servants of God did not disappoint.

“The times we live in do not call for young ‘couch potatoes,’ but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced,” Pope Francis said. “It only takes players on the first string, and it has no room for bench-warmers. Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history because life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark. History today calls us to defend our dignity and not to let others decide our future.”

I’ll never get out of my head that image of the young Church, gathered with excitement and anticipation, being given a clear directive from Pope Francis.

Disciples don’t get to lounge around in complacency. It’s not an option.

I’m not sure how many young adults left the field that day and cancelled their Netflix accounts, but I know it haunts me every time I look at the clock and realize just how much of my life I’ve spent growing into a potato instead of a disciple.

This new blog will be about the young (ages 12-18) and young adult (ages 19-35) Church. In true young people fashion, it will not always read like a perfectly constructed sentence, though I do promise it will be more than 140 characters.

It will be about the sacraments and culture, about ministry and mission, about the beauty, mess and goodness that is Church. It will also be about Baltimore because I wasn’t sent to Judea or Galilee, but to this “end of the earth” to proclaim Jesus.

If you want to know more about me there’s a bio that the good people at the Catholic Review have on the right side of this page. I don’t imagine I’ll bring anything remarkable to the table for this discussion, but George Matysek, the archdiocesan digital editor, thought this was a good idea, and he’s a smart guy so we decided give it a try. Plus the Church is concerned about youth and young adults, rightfully so, and if I can help give a voice or direction to that concern I’m happy to “contribute a verse.”





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Craig Gould

Craig Gould

Craig Gould grew up in Maine, went to school in Massachusetts, and lived in Alaska, Minnesota and Chicago before moving to Maryland.

He’s the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, having served previously at Catholic Theological Union, two parishes and the ministry of Young Life.

Craig went to Marshwood High School in Maine, undergrad at Boston College (which is neither in Boston nor is a college) and for an MA in Theology at St John’s University in Minnesota.

Craig loves all things Boston sports, American history, systematic theology (bonus points if you know what that is) and the Walking Dead. He’s married to a beautiful woman, Katie, and is gifted with 6 overwhelmingly complicated and splendid children, 5 whom he and Katie raise here and one who is already celebrating the joy of heaven.

Craig, author of the 'Boots Laced' Catholic Review blog, is a disciple of Jesus, beloved of the Father, moved by the Holy Spirit and fused to the Trinity.