Francis Huang believes it is important to ‘walk with others in the faith’

Kelly Seegers for the Catholic Standard

Francis Huang, a young adult who is a parishioner at St. Mary’s in Rockville, has not been to World Youth Day since 2002, when he traveled to see Pope John Paul II in Toronto during the last international World Youth Day that pope attended.

“To see him want to reach out to youth all around the world was touching,” Huang said. While sometimes the pope can seem like a lofty, inaccessible figure, he said he could tell that Pope John Paul II “wanted to be among the people.”

Huang and his family moved to the United States from Taiwan when he was six years old, and he has lived in the area ever since, receiving both his bachelor‘s and MBA degrees from the University of Maryland and a master’s in computer science from Johns Hopkins. He now works as a software consultant for Gravitate Solutions in Alexandria.

Huang says he likes to go on retreats about once a year, because they are good for “recharging your spiritual batteries.” Like many others, he is looking forward to traveling to Kraków in order to connect with St. John Paul II in a new way. Huang appreciates the way in which the saint pointed the Church toward a culture of life. St. John Paul II didn’t tell people, “You can’t do this and that,” Huang said, but rather told everyone, “Your life will be more full if you live this way.”

In addition to connecting with St. John Paul II, Huang believes in the importance of connecting with other pilgrims.

“I think it is important to be able to walk with others in the faith,” he explained, since when one person is weak the other can be strong.

Experiences like World Youth Day can help young people “to see that we are not alone,” Huang said. In a world where there are many forces telling you what to do, Huang says it can be hard to speak out for what you believe. But the memories that he will carry with him from World Youth Day will help him to continue to live out his faith, which he has always viewed “as something to be incorporated into my daily life.