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Young Catholic Professionals to launch chapter in Denver

Religion may be taboo in some workplaces, but a group of local young professionals want to buck the inhibitions of faith sharing.

A new chapter of the Dallas-based nonprofit Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) will officially launch in Denver next week to encourage young adults to share their faith by witness, and if needed, by words.

“The vast majority of young Catholics are in the professional world,” said Denver chapter president Andy Craig. “We’re good at living our faith in our private lives, but we really need to learn how to excel in the workplace and to use that excellence to share our faith. YCP aims to equip us to really have the tools we need to witness in the workplaces.”

The Denver chapter will kick-off its efforts to support young adults ages 20 to 39 with a free reception Feb. 17 at Christ the King Church. The group is backed by Archbishop Samuel Aquila, who will be its first speaker March 3 at the St. John Paul II Center.

“He’ll be talking about his vision for how young people can live their faith in the workplace, especially in Denver and the archdiocese we’re in,” Craig said.

Sometimes called the “minor league” of Legatus—an international organization for practicing Catholic executives—YCP began to expand to Denver last fall after some Legatus members helped foot the start-up costs.

Executive Director Jennifer Baugh, previously a financial consultant in Dallas, founded the group after receiving inspiration from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s message on World Youth Day 2010.

“If you follow His Word, it will light up your path and lead you to high goals that will give joy and full meaning to your lives,” he wrote March 2010.

His words helped her embark on a personal relationship with Christ and she became motivated to share the truth she discovered with others, Baugh told the National Catholic Register in 2013.

“I was meeting a lot of other young people, and I could sense the struggle we all had for something deeper in our lives,” she said. “Though our culture does not encourage discussion on faith or virtue, I began talking to my peers about faith. I was surprised that so many people I was meeting seemed to be seeking the truth as well.”

The nonprofit’s goal is to sponsor an executive speaker series, happy hours and semiannual retreats this year. Next year, members may access executive and college mentorships and receive spiritual direction for a membership fee of $120, said Vanessa Hamm, assistant director of operations for Denver’s chapter.

Hamm said there’s a need for the group in Denver that lacks a forum to connect with fellow Catholics on a professional level.

“It is a great opportunity for anyone, Catholic or not, to gain some valuable experience and connections,” Hamm said. “We’re going to have the opportunity to learn from people who are successful in the world and in business life. … Learn from the best and meet people. Who knows how your personal life and your professional life will be enhanced?”

For more information, visit www.youngcatholicprofessionals.org/chapters/denver.

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