Young Catholic Professionals annual conference, April 29 – May 1, Frisco, TX.
But how did I get here?
Becca, the president of the YCP chapter in Chicago reached out to me at the end of 2021 asking if I would like to join their leadership team. I was nicely surprised, but also very busy, fighting my thoughts for a few days I decided to agree.
And I don’t regret it!
What is YCP (Young Catholic Professionals)?
YCP was founded in 2010 by Jennifer Baugh to help young adults bring their faith into the workspaces and be witnesses of Christ. Now with 28 chapters all around the USA, still growing rapidly with a few more new chapters on schedule. Find more information on their website https://www.youngcatholicprofessionals.org/.
What did I learn at the 2022 conference?
A few things stood out to me, but one thing that really hit me is actually the theme of the conference “Thy Will Be Done”.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21.
The key thing I learned after 3 days of praying, attending keynotes, and meeting great people is that the “only” thing I need to do is to do His Will. But let me talk more about it by presenting some of my notes gathered during the conference.
1. Uniformity in All Things: Especially in Times of Adversity – Rob Hays
Rob is the President and CEO of Ashford Hospitality Trust. Characteristics of his work can be extremely stressful, especially during the pandemic years when revenue is dropping 95%!
I was deeply impressed that at such an age he was able to manage his job, family, personal life, and all other things and problems in his life. I want to present you with key learning from this presentation, very clear actionable items to implement into your everyday life.
1. Take on suffering. Easier to say than to do it, but the point is to reframe the suffering and use it as an opportunity from God. Here comes the conference theme “Thy Will Be Done”, we should be accepting reality and keep going if things go well or not. That’s what doing His Will mean. We can make it easier for us, which gets us to point number 2.
2. Share your suffering. Community and friends are the keys here:
“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together” – an African saying.
Yes, you should share your suffering with others, that is how communities work when you can support each other, and help with overtaking problems. The enemy wants us to be divided, and go through life alone.
God’s love is perfect and he let us suffers so we can become saints.
3. Live of prayer. Prayer is nothing different than building a relationship with God, that allows us to get to know him better and do His Will.
4 key points of prayer life:
“What is suffering if in the end there is heaven?” – Rob Hays
This quote is perfectly summarising Rob’s keynote, very often life is hard on many levels and in many different ways, but we can not forget that there is a heaven waiting for us with the presence of Himself, the God!
2. Full and Lasting Joy – Sr. Maris Stella Vaughan
That joy! You can rarely see people so joyful as Sister Maris Stella, she gave me an amazing impression of a truly happy person. Before I point out our key learning from her keynote I would like to start with a story that Sister told us.
She was on her way to the doctor (driving) when she hit one of the red lights, being a little anxious, she started praying to Holy Mary for green lights, so she can get on time for a doctor’s appointment. Guess what happened when she got to the next intersection, the red light again! So she prays even harder, and she constantly needs to stop at the red lights.
That’s when she realized that, maybe those lights are red because God wants her to stop at every single intersection and actually give it to Him. Like the theme of the conference say “Thy Will Be Done”, that’s what that means, not only in big things but in every little thing that is happening to us in our daily lives.
What is happiness?
Question asked by Sister, that led to the very clear answer
Happiness is fulfilment of desire.
How true is that? Every choice we make in life is actually to make us happier. 6 main things that give us substitute for happiness:
money, pleasure, power, fame, health, and virtue.
but it altogether wouldn’t fulfill us if we don’t have a last missing piece, which is God!
That followed with 7 actionable items to achieve full and lasting joy
- Accept reality as it is, not as you would like it to be.
- Ask to be freed of a false understanding of yourself.
- Ask God to show you the depth of your darkness.
- When you make changes, always look for peace.
- Always go to Holy Mother, She will show you how to love Jesus.
- Go to St. Joseph.
- Ask for full joy and graces.
Those 2 keynotes were my “favorite”, there was so much more during the conference when we could do breakout group under the lead of Charlie Echeverry. We analyzed a case study that was about a very specific situation at work, and we discuss possible solutions.
Lieutenant General Steven Kwast thought us how to avoid conflict at the highest level!
Memories and friendships will stay with us forever! You can actually sign up for next year’s conference! I am in!
Hi! My name is Damian, I live in Chicago since 2015, and I am a photographer, traveler, and coffee drinker.
You can learn more about interesting places in Chicago and around the world how to take good photos of them and find a decent cup of coffee on your way!
Honorable Mention Award from “MIFA” – Moscow International Foto Awards.