by Moira Cullings
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Thomas Himmelberg moved to Kansas City two-and-a-half years ago, something was missing in his life.
“I was looking for a stronger Catholic identity in Kansas City,” he said.
Himmelberg joined Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood last summer, but due to COVID-19, opportunities to meet other young Catholics were infrequent.
“Even in joining a parish, I still wasn’t getting to meet anybody because there weren’t a lot of programs or events,” he said. “I wasn’t meeting people my age.”
But Himmelberg and a team of young adults in the Kansas City metro are determined to change that.
They’re starting a Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) chapter in Kansas City.
The chapter will host a launch party on Jan. 6 from 7-9 p.m. at Notre Dame de Sion Grade School in Kansas City, Missouri.
The event is free for participants and a chance for people of all ages, especially young adults, to see what the organization is about.
YCP is a national organization with chapters in cities across the country that provides a place for young Catholic professionals to network and grow in faith.
It offers monthly events, including networking happy hours, executive speaker series, mentorship opportunities, panel discussions and more.
YCP is different from other Catholic young adult groups because of its professional aspect, said Himmelberg.
“We have the ability to draw in people that aren’t necessarily attending church every Sunday,” he said, “people that aren’t extremely strong in their faith right now or maybe have never really had exposure to it.”
In an endorsement letter for the group, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann expressed his hopes for it to “strengthen young professionals as they grow in their personal relationship with Christ and fellowship with each other.”
“This ministry has the great potential to encourage individual discipleship, build authentic friendships, inspire faithful witness and bring the Gospel into a variety of work environments,” he added.
The chapter has a board of directors and a leadership team, including positions in evangelization, finance, outreach, technology and more.
Sydney Manning, director of marketing and external vice president for the chapter, was eager to get involved.
“Once I graduated college, I realized there weren’t the same opportunities for young adults as there are for high school and college students and more seasoned professionals,” she said.
Manning is excited for the opportunity to provide a space for Catholics involved in a variety of professional fields.
She hopes the group will help her incorporate her faith into every aspect of her life.
“Being comfortable enough in my faith to bring it into my work life and openly talk about it has been really refreshing,” she said.
Grace Hass, director of operations, graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison and craved a community like YCP when she moved to Kansas City.
“While we are fortunate to have many great events for young Catholics in KC, YCP provides a unique opportunity for professional growth and networking with a Catholic identity,” she said.
Her dream for the chapter is “to establish a dynamic community of young professionals that are striving to sanctify their work and live out the Gospel in the workplace.”
Himmelberg encourages anyone interested to attend the launch party and learn more about what YCP has to offer.
His ultimate hope is that it will give members the “ability to be proud of their faith in their secular workplace and not feel so lonely or disconnected between their worship on Sundays and their work Monday through Friday.”
To learn more
To RSVP for the Young Catholic Professionals Kansas City launch event, go online to: ycpkansascity.org/launch.
To find out more information about the Kansas City chapter and view upcoming events, visit the website at: ycpkansascity.org.
To learn more about Young Catholic Professionals, visit the website at: youngcatholicprofessionals.org.