DALLAS, TX, September 24, 2019 - Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) welcomed nearly 600 young professionals, priests, religious, and seasoned Catholic business leaders from all over the country for a weekend attendees are describing as “transformative”, “energizing”, “strength for the journey”. This third annual YCP Member Conference, entitled “Practice the Presence” after the work of Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection, challenged and inspired attendees to invite God into every moment of their lives and provided them with practical ways to integrate faith and life.
The conference took place at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas, on September 13-15, 2019. Friday activities began with the YCP Leadership Conference for chapter volunteers. Members of the chapter leadership teams met to share their leadership experiences with each other and collaborate on new ideas to advance the success of their chapters. Awards were presented to a chapter president, Denise Espinoza of San Antonio, and a chapter chaplain, Fr. Anthony Sortino of Silicon Valley, to recognize their excellence and perseverance in leadership.
The Member Conference opened Friday afternoon with Mass celebrated by Fr. Anthony Sortino. Mass was followed by a welcome Happy Hour in the Hilton pavilion, giving attendees the chance to greet each other and network over drinks and appetizers. Attendees next heard from Harry Kraemer, former CEO of Baxter International and current Clinical Professor of Management and Strategy at Northwestern University. In his dynamic speech, Kraemer presented self-reflection, balance, true confidence, and genuine humility as concrete ways of practicing the presence of God in daily life.
Attendees began Saturday’s events with Mass celebrated by Fr. Ken Geraci of the Fathers of Mercy, followed by a plenary session led by two members of the Sisters of Life, Sr. Virginia Joy and Sr. Pia Jude, who inspired all with her story of discovering her call to religious life while working in a corporate law firm on Wall Street in her early 20s.
On Saturday, the YCP Conference also hosted a powerful and moving Continuing Education session for deacons focused on young adult ministry. This session was facilitated by Deacon Andrew Tanner of the Diocese of Dallas, with several YCP young adult presenters who gave the deacons an in-depth look into the faith and life of young adults.
After a time of quiet Adoration and breakout sessions covering the topics of faith-work integration and deepening the spiritual life on Saturday afternoon, attendees arrived at the International Ballroom of the Hilton dressed in their most formal attire for YCP’s annual Gala dinner. The evening program included a keynote from Lila Rose, the Founder and President of Live Action, and a beautiful performance of Franck's “Panis Angelicus” from internationally acclaimed opera singer Angela Theis.
At the Gala, guests also heard from YCP’s Board Chairman, Dwight Riskey, about YCP’s new Pathway initiative. As the first program of its kind, the Pathway will equip YCP members to understand and practically put to use the spiritual and professional formation they receive through YCP towards the service of the Church and the world, filling the gap that exists in lay leadership in the Church today. The presentation outlined the program and the need for financial support to continue its development. Following dinner, attendees enjoyed music and dancing to end the evening.
The final morning of the conference began with Sunday Mass said by Bishop Edward Burns of the Diocese of Dallas, followed by a final keynote from John Abbate, owner-operator of McDonald’s restaurants throughout Central California and author of Invest Yourself: Daring to be Catholic in Today’s Business World. Attendees closed the weekend at the champagne reception, in fellowship with old and new friends united in their efforts to Work in Witness for Christ.
YCP was founded in 2010 to help driven, Catholic professionals in their 20s and 30s connect with one another and grow in their Catholic faith, while also encouraging them to Work in Witness for Christ. Central to YCP’s mission of engaging young Catholic leaders is the importance of connecting them with seasoned Catholic professionals. YCP currently has chapters in 20 cities across the country. The YCP National Office oversees training, development and implementation of each individual chapter. Local chapters rely on YCP National for ongoing guidance, direction and support.
For additional details and photos from the weekend: facebook.com/youngcatholicprofessionals.