FIF grants for Young Catholic Professionals in Fairfield County

BRIDGEPORT—The Diocesan Young Adult Council are extremely grateful to Foundations in Faith for approving its St. Therese grant application for $20,000 to fund the establishment of a Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) Chapter in Stamford/Fairfield County.

The Diocesan Young Adult Council (DYAC) was established by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in January 2021. The Council’s stated mission is to “assist ministry on behalf of young adults through (1) coordinating communication among existing ministries, (2) creating opportunities for community building among young adults, (3) offering faith formation and leadership training to those who desire it and (4) identifying best practices to evangelize and form young adults in the life of faith.”

Bishop Caggiano has been instrumental in leading the growth of the young adult community in the diocese. He recognizes that young adults are the future of the Church and that ministering to them is essential. Through the Diocesan Young Adult Council, he has provided a medium for young adults to voice their opinions/concerns. When the idea of starting a YCP Chapter in Stamford/Fairfield County was raised at one of the monthly DYAC meetings, Bishop Caggiano provided his full support and helped to procure funding by reaching out to Foundations in Faith and asking for financial assistance from the St. Therese Fund for Evangelization.

Members of the Board of Foundations in Faith approved DYAC’s grant application at their June 2021 meeting, providing unwavering support for DYAC/YCP. Foundations in Faith is hopeful that YCP will ignite a love for the Catholic Faith in young adults throughout the Diocese and encourage young adults to become evangelizers/spreaders of the gospel message whether through involvement at the parish level or through involvement in diocesan-wide initiatives such as the newly formed Pastoral Center for Entrepreneurship and Pastoral Center for Culture.

Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, founded in 2010, with a mission to challenge, train, and encourage young adults working in various professions to Work in Witness for Christ. YCP is dedicated to fostering Catholic identity, encouraging community and inspiring a call to action for young Catholics in their 20’s and 30’s so that they may be empowered to see their workplaces as a natural site for evangelization.

YCP fulfills its purpose through executive speaker series—where top-level Catholic executives are invited to speak and share their professional/faith journeys; networking happy hours—which allow young professionals to enjoy fellowship and learn about YCP in a casual setting; virtue-based panel discussions— focused Q&A and small group discussions about living virtuously in the workplace; executive mentorship—where young professionals are paired with top-level executives for career guidance & “best practices” in faith & business; spiritual guidance—where YCP’ers are connected with priests and other religious to better discern God’s hand in their lives and careers; career counseling & more.

YCP participants grow in awareness and understanding of the challenges and issues facing each Diocese. They also develop valuable contacts and communication networks within the community. Most importantly, their involvement with YCP builds confidence and motivation to become actively involved in promoting positive change for the diocese. Parishes, pastors and Catholic partnering organizations will see increased leadership and problem-solving skills in their future board members, volunteers, etc. YCP opens doors to greater diocesan and community involvement and visibility, and helps identify where strategic alliances might be formed. It creates additional opportunities to influence positive change and impact quality of life in the community. The community will experience immediate benefit from increased involvement on the part of the participants, and will reap future benefits from the collective commitment to effective leadership by YCP members.

The YCP Stamford/Fairfield County Chapter will be formed in close collaboration with the DYAC and, in the words of Bishop Caggiano, “once operational, can be of great help in a larger initiative to create a Young Catholic Pastoral Center for Entrepreneurship. The Center will invite young adults to address local social needs through the creation of small non-for-profit corporations that they will manage, affording them both professional business experience, as well as mentoring in the Catholic faith. It is envisioned that YCP members would assist the work of the Center, in part by accompanying those peers who may not be as active in the practice of their faith. Hence, the proposal is one of evangelization.”

YCP thanks both Bishop Caggiano and Foundations in Faith for their support of young adult Catholics in the diocese.