Connecting with Millennials and Generation Z
A major task of Christian discipleship is to bring Christ to the world. The mission of Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) is dedicated to young adults, while it helps to foster dynamic Catholic witnesses in the workplace. This 10-year old organization, whose patron is St. Joseph the Worker, has received the endorsement of many bishops and others from around the country. Bringing together adults in their 20s and 30s, Young Catholic Professionals’ national organization supports more than 20 chapters in the U.S. and continues to grow.
The future of our Church and its role in American society rests on whether or not this generation decides to embrace the gift of their faith, living it in all its fullness in their workplaces, homes, and social networks.
— From the YCP website
Localized chapters become communities of peers and mentors within their respective dioceses. The local members, in turn, support each other in faith and as witnesses in the workplace. There may already be a chapter in your diocese. (Or perhaps this might be your opportunity to approach your bishop and start the process to form one!) With the approval of their local bishop and the guidance and nurturing of the national leaders, local chapter leaders are encouraged to offer three kinds of involvement for members:
St. Joseph the Worker retreats are daylong experiences at a local retreat center or church. St. Joseph’s work ethic is a model for the group members. On retreat, young people learn how to integrate their spiritual and professional lives and support each other in their quest for holiness. Biannual retreats include time for prayer, guided reflection, group discussion, confession, and daily Mass. Retreats always include special time to reflect on the life of St. Joseph the Worker.
Executive speakers series connect members with seasoned Catholic professionals, people who are further along the path. Whether they are executive speakers at monthly events or mentors in the member-exclusive Executive Mentorship program, these seasoned professionals inspire and guide members toward success in both faith and work by sharing wisdom and experience.
Networking Happy Hours are held quarterly at local bars and restaurants in each chapter’s area. These are opportunities for young Catholics to come together in a casual setting and build a sense of community.
Chapter members are also invited to the Young Catholic Professionals’ annual conference. This year it will be held in Dallas, September 11–13, 2020.
Finally, besides the young adults that YCP attracts, a variety of support people assist the local chapters — specifically as spiritual directors, mentors, and speakers. This is an opportunity for local parish leaders to build helpful connections to YCP by reaching out and sharing the communal gifts of the local church.
Learn more at YoungCatholicProfessionals.org.
PAT GOHN is the editor of Catechist.
PHOTOS: FREEDOM STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK, NANCY BAUER/SHUTTERSTOCK
This article was originally published in Catechist, April 2020.