New group opens in Phoenix to offer young adults spiritual, professional development

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A group of young adults cheer while filiming a video at the Young Catholic Professionals launch at St. Francis Xavier Parish Aug. 23. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)
A group of young adults cheer while filiming a video at the Young Catholic Professionals launch at St. Francis Xavier Parish Aug. 23. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)
YCP Executive Speaker Series

Held every third Tuesday of the month. The series will kick off with a talk by Matt Smith, Founder of SmithHOUSE.

When: 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Where: St. Francis Xavier Parish Anderson hall, 4715 N. Central Ave.

Info: ycpphoenix.org or on Facebook

“The young people of our generation yearn for a deeper sense of meaning. We know that something greater, worthy of pursuit, exists.” These words from Catherine Eckland opened the first meeting of the Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) Phoenix chapter — the newest of the national organization Aug. 23 at St. Francis Xavier Parish.

YCP was started by Jennifer Baugh, a young woman seeking to deepen her faith and that of others. “About six years ago, I had just graduated from an MBA program and I had about eight months off in between grad school and starting an intense consulting job,” Baugh told more than 250 guests who gathered for the launch. “I was going through a period in my life where I was really soul searching, really trying to figure out my purpose in life.”

Baugh used this time off to learn more about Christ and her desire to share His love with others increased. “Several months later, I quit my job as a financial consultant in order to work on YCP full time, to build this into a ministry that could last and make an impact, and it’s been an incredible journey.”

A group from St. Anthony Parish poses during the Young Catholic Professionals launch at St. Francis Xavier Parish Aug. 23. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)
A group from St. Anthony Parish poses during the Young Catholic Professionals launch at St. Francis Xavier Parish Aug. 23. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)

The evening consisted of a cocktail hour, where young Catholics from various industries were able to meet and network. Following the social hour, talks were given by Eckland, who serves as chapter president, Baugh, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and chapter chaplain Fr. Ernesto Reynoso.

Catherine Eckland, YCP Phoenix president, addresses attendees at the Aug. 23 event. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)
Catherine Eckland, YCP Phoenix president, addresses attendees at the Aug. 23 event. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)

“YCP serves to foster that Catholic identity among our young Catholic professionals, to encourage community, cultivate relationships, build up relationships and then to inspire a call to action,” explained Eckland.

Michael Clancy, who serves on the local board of directors, stated that YCP connects Catholics not just on a local level but also a national one. “The idea is that once YCP spreads to all major cities, if ever there’s a need in any of those cities, we can provide an instant resource. So there’s the vocational aspect, as well as the spiritual aspect, that’s going to meet the needs of members.”

Brendan Wells, engineer and parishioner at All Saints Catholic Newman Center in Tempe, came to the event as a fun way to get to know people. “I look forward to meeting people that I can love like my family and I can support them in their faith and they in mine.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted blesses a young woman and her unborn child during the Young Catholic Professionals launch. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted blesses a young woman and her unborn child during the Young Catholic Professionals launch. (Billy Hardiman/CATHOLIC SUN)

Bishop Olmsted also expressed his excitement about the Phoenix chapter, saying, “When I first heard about Young Catholic Professionals a year ago, immediately it struck me as a great gift for the Church, something that really is inspired by the Holy Spirit, because we have a great need for witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ, and we need one another to be encouraged in that.”

During its first year, YCP Phoenix will offer quarterly happy hours located at various restaurants and bars throughout the Valley, as well as an Executive Speaker series, which will be held on the third Tuesday of every month. The series will kick off with a talk by Matt Smith, Founder of SmithHOUSE on Sept. 20 at St. Francis Xavier.

Catholics working in virtually every industry are invited to attend YCP events. For more information, visit YCPPhoenix.org.

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