National Young Catholic Professionals conference promotes spiritual and community growth

by Michelle McDaniel

North Texas Catholic

October 2, 2017

Young Catholic Professional chapter leaders from all over the nation came together for leadership development and spiritual growth during YCP's national conference from Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the University of Dallas. (NTC photo/Adrean Indolos)


IRVING — Since Jennifer Baugh founded and became the executive director of the Dallas-based Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) seven years ago, the program has grown immensely, stretching from coast to coast with 16 separate chapters, including one in Fort Worth.

The Young Catholic Professionals held a national conference at the University of Dallas and the Highlands School from Friday, Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 to promote spiritual and community growth for young Catholics in their 20s and 30s.

The conference, which was attended by 250 young adults from across the country, included Mass, breakout sessions with discussions, Eucharistic Adoration, and entertainment.

“So we have a whole host of programs and events designed to help these young people in every stage of the faith journey and designed to help them grow deeper, so that ultimately, they’ll be ambassadors for Christ in the workplace in every moment of their lives,” Baugh said.

“We have this whole army of Catholics across the nation, and we really want to make sure we’re united, so that we’re one family and that we understand our shared mission through YCP to transform the world, the culture,” Baugh said.

In order to accomplish this goal, Baugh chose St. Francis de Sales’ book Introduction to the Devout Life to hand out to the members and to reference throughout the event. Keynote speaker Father John Bartunek, LC, an author and professor with the Regnum Christi Spirituality Center, highlighted St. Francis de Sales’ wisdom during his talks and breakout sessions.

“[St. Francis de Sales’] message is that all of us are called to holiness, no matter what our work is, no matter what place we are in the world, what our state in life is, all of us are called to be holy,” Baugh explained. “He gives us practical tips in the book as how to do just that, and so we have all these speakers through this conference designed to give us the tools that are reinforcing the teachings of St. Francis de Sales.”

Jennifer Baugh, Young Catholic Professional's founder and executive director, welcomes and addresses the more than 250 attendees from across the nation who came for YCP's national conference. (NTC photo/Adrean Indolos)


Conference attendees were given advice on how to live in accordance with these teachings as they heard talks on topics like temptation, confession, devotion, finding faith in sadness, the sacraments, and humility.

Fr. Bartunek, speaking at a YCP conference for his first time, felt confident that God had something to say to each YCP member present.

“The way I see an event like this is most of these people are probably already living their faith. But they feel hungry, thirsty to continue to grow,” he said. “I think as a priest, it’s one of our main missions [to help them].

“Lay Catholics are to go out into the world to transform the culture, imbue temporal affairs like economics, politics, and professions, with the spirit of Christ. I think as priests, we’re called to feed their spiritual lives . . . helping them move forward in their relationship with God.”

According to Baugh, YCP has a threefold purpose, meant to inspire all people to work in witness to Christ.

The first goal is to help young adults embrace their Catholic identity.

“So many young people don’t know what it means to be Catholic, so our programs and events are designed to help them embrace their identity as Catholics,” Baugh said.

The second purpose is to help members find a sense of community so they can feel support from their peers, mentors, and executive speakers who are interested in their wellbeing.

The third purpose is to inspire a call to action so that members take this community and their Catholic faith and are moved to change the world through, oftentimes, the ordinary actions of their lives, including in the workplace.

“Hopefully these YCP members will take these tools back with them to their cities, and then really help to bring more people into the ministry because ultimately the goal — this is very important — is not for us just to be a community in ourselves, but for us to go then be a leader in our parish, go be a leader on a pro-life organization, or on a board of a Catholic school,” Baugh said. “When we grow in faith, it means that our hearts have more capacity to serve, so that is the purpose of Young Catholic Professionals.”

IRVING — Since Jennifer Baugh founded and became the executive director of the Dallas-based Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) seven years ago, the program has grown immensely, stretching from coast to coast with 16 separate chapters, including one in Fort Worth.

Published (until 12/27/2035)
Back