In the Church, the future is now
John Hunt writes that young Catholics have injected a bright ray of hope in our country . . .
Several months ago, I was invited to speak to a dynamic new organization — Young Catholic Professionals (YCP). I had been introduced to this Dallas-based organization and its founder Jennifer Baugh early last year.
I was immediately impressed with the passion and commitment to the faith that Jennifer and, in turn, the organization she shepherds have for the Church. So my anticipation was high as I boarded a flight to Dallas to fulfill my much anticipated engagement in August as part of YCP’s Executive Speakers Series.
Unfortunately, the building enthusiasm to share my life and faith experiences with these young people was dampened by inclement weather in the Dallas area, which forced us to land and park for two hours on the runway in San Antonio. My long-anticipated rendezvous with these Catholic millennials wasn’t to be … at least not this day.
My two hours on the runway ultimately served a higher purpose. It gave me the time to contemplate the gift of youth. Long before my ill-fated YCP appearance, I had come to a greater appreciation of young Catholics who are destined to lead the Church. World Youth Day — late July in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — showed that this youthful phenomenon is worldwide in scope. (Click here for a related article.)
Blessed John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis have all called Catholic youth to be authentically Christlike. The emergence of this youthful church, exquisitely prepared to evangelize their blind and drifting peers, is reason for hope for the Catholic Church of the 21st century.
But that’s not where the story ends because Young Catholic Professionals in Dallas is but a microcosm of the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of the Church in our country. The rapid growth and influence of FOCUS — the Fellowship of Catholic University Students — is also encouraging. (See related story on page 10.) FOCUS missionaries are populating campuses from coast to coast with an ever-growing impact on the culture. The vocations to the priesthood and religious life and the Catholic marriages that will blossom into faithful Catholic families are the future … and the future is now!
While I was disappointed by my inability to share my faith and professional experience with Dallas’ young Catholics due to a microburst storm, the result was inspiration to share with you my excitement for the future of the Catholic Church. May our prayers for the next generation of Catholics be humble and fervent!
JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.