“Wow! How can I describe the feeling of the Holy Spirit in the room. So many young adults in one place, participating in Mass and being active members of their Catholic community. This group is inspiring. I am so glad that I attended.” -2023 YCP Conference attendee
DALLAS, TX - Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) welcomed nearly 700 young professionals, priests, religious, and seasoned Catholic executives from all over its nationwide network to Dallas, Texas for its 6th annual YCP National Conference. The 2023 Conference, entitled The Little Way, honored St. Thérèse of Lisieux by studying how littleness is actually our biggest window of grace, and therefore our greatest cause for joy and hope, even in our professional lives. The prayers of this beloved Little Flower were evident throughout the weekend, as shared by one conference attendee: “The intercession of St. Thérèse was felt at this conference for me.”
The Little Way conference took place the weekend of April 21-23 at the Hyatt Regency Frisco-Dallas hotel. Friday activities began with the National Leadership Summit, with over 100 YCP Chapter Leaders, Board Members, and Chaplains gathered to offer insight and support to their colleagues across the network, as well as discuss YCP’s goals and celebrate their wins from the past year. YCP’s Founder and Executive Director, Jennifer Baugh, welcomed the leaders to the NLS with some opening remarks. The morning session concluded with a compelling keynote from Jeff Schiefelbein. On Friday afternoon, nearly half of all conference attendees arrived early for Dina Dwyer-Owens’s Design Your Life pre-conference workshop. Dina is an accomplished speaker, author, and franchise leader, formerly the CEO and Chairwoman of Neighborly. Her workshop helped participants to craft practical, concrete steps to achieving their long-term dreams.
The conference officially opened at 3:30pm on Friday with Mass celebrated by Fr. Pier Giorgio Pacelli, OCD. The homily of this Mass started The Little Way conference off on the right foot by explaining spiritual childhood, and how it is lived out in our personal and professional lives. How inspiring it was to see hundreds of young Catholics praying the Mass together! Opening Mass was followed by a Welcome Happy Hour for attendees to mix, mingle, and network over drinks while enjoying a musical set featuring Margaret Knapp, Chris Byrne, and Pascal Hensel. The first keynote was given at 6:00pm by tech entrepreneur Peter Rex, who spoke on the importance of having the courage and initiative to pave an entirely new way, and how you can be an entrepreneur right where you are.
Saturday began with a morning rosary followed by Mass celebrated by Fr. Ken Geraci of the Fathers of Mercy; his homily emphasized the centrality of absolute self-surrender to the pursuit of sainthood. The subsequent keynote built on this theme with a challenge to “Give All For God” from Sr. Meredith, OCD. After her keynote there was Adoration and lunch. The afternoon session was an interactive small group mentoring session co-led by two speakers, Jéan-Paul Afif and Fr. George Elliott, who addressed three of the top issues faced by young Catholic workers today. Attendees then discussed in their pods their own experiences of these topics, and drew insights from their mentors. Many young professionals shared that connecting with mentors and fellow attendees in the pods really blessed them and made this their favorite session! Later on, the Saturday night Gala was a lively celebration and highlight of the weekend, featuring emcee Jonathan Blevins, speaker Sam Goodwin, and Latin band Havana NRG. After a short salsa lesson from YCP’s COO Peter Blute, the attendees kept the dance floor full until the very end of the night.
Sunday morning came all too quickly, starting off with a rosary. Keynote speaker Ben Sands led a closing workshop called The Little Way Forward, helping attendees to concretize and crystallize their learnings from the weekend before returning to their daily routines. After the keynote, attendees watched the 2023 Conference Recap video announcing the 2024 headlining speaker, Harrison Butker from the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and voted on next year’s title: Laborers in the Vineyard. The conference concluded with Mass celebrated by one of the USCCB’s National Eucharistic Revival preachers, Fr. John LoCoco of Milwaukee, who spoke with fervor about the importance of encounter and devotion, leaving attendees on fire for the Lord and equipping them to return to their workplaces renewed and convicted in their mission of Working in Witness for Christ.
“The conference helped fill a hole I've been trying to fill for years now. I'm glad I've come back to the Catholic faith.” -2023 YCP Conference Attendee
YCP looks forward to welcoming everyone next year for the “Laborers in the Vineyard” Conference, inspired by the works of St. Josemaria Escriva. Details and registration will be available soon at ycpconference.org.
About YCP: 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 32 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.