Being young, Catholic and in the local work force can be challenging, but soon such individuals will have the opportunity to connect with peers facing similar struggles by joining the nation’s newest chapter of Young Catholic Professionals and the first one based out of the Arizona.
The YCP network spans five states and helps young Catholics of any industry “Work in Witness for Christ.”
The Phoenix chapter’s official launch date is likely in August with movement already evident. Local diocesan leadership and prospective members serving as volunteers have been meeting regularly in recent weeks to discern leadership and activity schedules.
Young Catholic Professionals
A growing network of chapters nationwide bringing spiritual and personal encouragement for Catholics in their 20s and 30s wanting to “Work in Witness for Christ.”
A Phoenix chapter is forthcoming.
Phoenix Info: Angela Gaetano at firstname.lastname@example.org, (602) 354-2321 or Facebook
“YCP provides the place for young adults to learn how to witness to Christ in their professional lives, unite themselves more deeply to Christ and His Church, and connect them to a local parish community,” Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said. Each chapter receives endorsement from the local bishop.
Young Catholic Professionals offers tiered membership aimed at post-college young adults — 20s and 30s — eager to live their faith in the workplace. Free core programming includes a monthly executive speaker series where slightly older Catholics share their professional and faith journeys. Many guest speakers also throw in practical ways to integrate their faith into everyday life, especially in the workplace.
Each YCP chapter also offers quarterly networking happy hours that tend to draw 150-250 guests.
“It’s a way to get your foot in the door,” said Peter Blute, vice president of operations for YCP at the national level.
He has seen happy hour encounters lead to job interviews and lead others to a re-engagement with the Catholic faith. Involvement with YCP has even led to 30 engagements in the last few years.
Friendships, relationships and colleagues are just a few of the side benefits of YCP. The organization also offers St. Joseph the Worker retreats twice a year. The half-day getaway focuses on its patron saint who modeled courage, perseverance and complete surrender to God’s will.
Drea Faulkner has been among local leaders trying to drum up interest in a Phoenix YCP chapter. She sees it as an important bridge between the catechism the Church offers college students and young adults and the support system young working adults might crave as their values and morals face temptation.
“Once you step into the workforce, there’s not really anyone trying to get you to come back or meeting them where they’re at,” Faulkner said.
YCP’s core programming fills that gap. Extended programming is open to dues-paying members wanting to go a bit deeper professionally and spiritually. It launches in a chapter’s second year and offers an executive mentorship program, executive panel discussions, spiritual direction, career services and even pilgrimage opportunities.
YCP leadership recognizes that some of their peers are leaving the Church in droves. Its programming serves a vital niche.
“If most of our time as young people is being spent in the workplace, then we want to be able to find our faith and strengthen our faith during that time,” Blute said.
YCP supplements outreach already being done in a local diocese to help young adults look at their work through the lens of their faith. It was established in 2010 and began expanding outside of its Texas roots in 2014.
There are currently nine official chapters with three others in training for an official launch. Catholics interested in its model have reached out to YCP from across the globe.
Outstanding initiative — Young Catholic Professionals (CatholicLink)