By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published September 17, 2020
ATLANTA—A Catholic nonprofit seeks to connect young adults in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) brings together faithful in their 20s and 30s for fellowship, networking, inspiration and a spiritual connection in their professional careers. The organization has chapters in 17 states nationwide and Washington, D.C.
Atlanta will become home to the 23rd chapter of the organization. A kickoff event will be held Tuesday, Sept. 29.
“Young Catholic Professionals targets the gap we have in ministries for people in their 20s and 30s trying to find a way to incorporate their faith professionally and continue to grow spiritually,” said Nathaly Olivari, 27, president of the Atlanta chapter. It connects young adults with seasoned Catholics who are living their lives as witnesses for Christ, she said.
When the organization began in 2010, there were more than 100 people at the first event. In its early years, two additional chapters started in Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas. Within seven years, YCP grew to 16 chapters across the United States and continues to expand.
Bringing the organization to Atlanta was a multi-step process, which began in October 2019. It included a feasibility study in Atlanta and surrounding areas, forming a leadership team, approval from Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., and leadership training.
“Young Catholic Professionals provides its members with a wide network of like-minded people who come together to learn from experienced Catholics to work in witness for Christ,” said Olivari, parishioner of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Kennesaw.
Members can enjoy a variety of programming, which includes networking happy hours, an executive speaker series and St. Joseph retreats to help deepen prayer life. There are free and annual membership options, with paid members receiving access to a job portal, spiritual hotline and other benefits.
Being a member has “helped me see how even through our daily jobs, regardless of how small of a task we are accomplishing, we can give it to God and glorify him through it,” said Olivari.
The national organization also hosts a conference every year, which is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe I speak for our board and team when I say we are all looking forward to bringing Catholics in their 20s and 30s together to connect and get excited about our Catholic faith,” said Olivari.