Newcomers to CYAS Fall in Love with Catholic Faith

Kevin and KatyKaty and Kevin Teel are newcomers to CYAS and to the Catholic faith. Kevin recently went through the RCIA program in 2014, and Katy plans to start the program in September. The couple's journey to Catholicism was unexpected and inspiring, especially since they took it together. They both discovered a passion to learn more about the Catholic faith as a means to grow in their relationship to the Lord. Their story clearly indicates that God has a plan for them involving their transition to Catholicism.

Kevin and Katy met in 2005 and will have been married 5 years this August. After their wedding, they lived in Oakland, CA, and attended a non-denominational Protestant church. Three years after their wedding, Kevin started going to Mass during his lunch hour.  His office overlooked the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Oakland, and he thought it was quite beautiful and found himself curious about the church. After he went to his first Mass, he confessed it felt weird in the beginning, but he also felt a connection to the Mass.


He began to research Catholicism and fell in love with it, especially the idea of the Eucharist. When he told Katy about the Catholic Church, she could see how drawn he was toward it and wanted to support him and discover the power of the faith with him. The transition was not without difficulties. Both Kevin and Katy enrolled in RCIA, but Katy did not feel she was ready and decided to wait before continuing in the program.

Both Kevin and Katy had strong ties to their non-denominational church, having built a community with the members of that church, and they were reluctant to leave that fellowship. As a result, they attended two church services every Sunday. They went to an early Mass and continued to their other church afterwards. Kevin made the point that even though he enjoyed being with the people at his other church; he missed the connection with Christ and the Eucharist, a connection he could only find at a Catholic Mass.

Katy and Kevin moved to Colorado last August in order to be closer to Katy's family. Katy grew up in Arvada, CO, and she and Kevin have reached the point where they would like to start a family of their own. They both agree that Colorado is a great place to raise a family. Now that they live here, they have committed themselves to the Catholic Church and are currently attending Mass at Christ the King, where they were introduced to CYAS.


They began playing Ultimate Frisbee this past March with the seminarian team. They added that their team ended up winning in the league, which was exciting for them. Both enjoyed playing Ultimate Frisbee and Kevin is now playing volleyball. Kevin likes the idea of combining sports with faith. Both he and Katy appreciated that everyone in CYAS was so welcoming. Kevin mentioned that in other leagues, if you made a mistake, you were criticized, but CYAS was different. Neither of them had to worry about making mistakes because everyone was extremely understanding.

Katy and Kevin also liked having the opportunity to meet new people through the CYAS community. Since moving to Colorado, it has been difficult to find the same kind of community they had in Oakland. Paul Spotts, the founder of CYAS, played a major role in getting the couple involved ­– having them over to his house for dinner, introducing them to his wife and children – which they greatly appreciate.

In the future, Katy and Kevin plan to continue to build strong friendships within CYAS. They are looking forward to more experiences with this community, specifically hoping to find a small group to join. Small groups are another way CYAS promotes community. In these groups, people usually meet to read the Bible and discuss important issues surrounding the Catholic faith. Kevin said that he does not have any family who are practicing Catholics, so he wants to find a community that will support both he and Katy in their faith, especially since they are taking active steps to start a family through adoption in the coming months.

Friendships Elemental to CYAS Mission

Sam Natalie3When first meeting Sam (Samantha) Baird and Natalie Miller, one would think they had been friends their entire lives.  A person could even believe they were sisters!  It's a shock to learn they have only known each other since June of 2014.  They officially met at the first CYAS spiritual retreat held at that time, though their mothers had worked together for 15 years, trying to convince their daughters to get together.  Sam admits that both families all went to a movie once, but she can't remember what happened and neither can Natalie. It was the CYAS retreat that finally introduced them to each other and created a bond that is truly unbreakable between them.  Watching Sam and Natalie interact now, their closeness is obvious.  Throughout their interview, they finished each other's sentences, answered each other's questions, always joking back and forth.  Clearly, God must always have intended them to be friends.

Before the CYAS retreat, Sam and Natalie both confess they weren't at the best place in their lives.  Natalie said the year before the retreat was consumed by her work, and she had no life outside of it.  Sam was finishing school, working three different jobs, and trying to spend time with her family.  Neither one had any sort of social life.  They were not very interested in attending the CYAS retreat; it took their mothers' prodding to get them to go. Sam and Natalie both expected to encounter preformed social cliques at the retreat.  To their surprise, the retreat was very different--they met each other and several new people all of them new to the CYAS community as well.  All the retreat participants were seeking community and fellowship.  Sam and Natalie remarked on how genuine everyone was and how refreshing it was to be in a Catholic environment.  Sam added that in her other friendships religion was usually swept under the rug to avoid awkwardness.  It was exciting to talk openly and honestly about her faith with people of similar minds.

After the CYAS retreat, Sam and Natalie were driven to participate more in the CYAS community.  Natalie took the initiative of collecting phone numbers and emails on the retreat, so everyone could keep in contact afterwards.  Playing various games at the retreat led Natalie to organize game nights.  Sam and Natalie eventually combined efforts to have a game night at least once a month.  Both are also involved in CYAS sports leagues--starting with Ultimate Frisbee.  Natalie was hesitant at first, but Sam was determined she was going to play.  Both of them attend small group meetings as well, which are basically times to reflect and concentrate on faith and scripture.

CYAS helps young adults emerge from a comfort bubble, after high school or college graduation, where community is easily accessible. After leaving that bubble of reliable community support, Sam and Natalie are concerned that many people lose their faith lives. In fact, recent studies have shown that they are right, estimates say that nearly 79% of young adults leave Catholicism to become “unaffiliated” by age 23 according to Sherry Weddell’s research in her book Forming Intentional DisciplesCYAS provides a strong support system and helps create lasting friendships that continue to grow as young adults find their way through life. Sam and Natalie are a perfect example of such a friendships fostered by CYAS. 

When asked about their future goals for CYAS, Natalie says she intends to be a "permanent leech."  She loves being involved in every event CYAS sponsors and plans to stay involved even when she might not be considered a "young adult."  Sam has joined the marketing committee and wants CYAS to grow.  She has a passion for networking and reaching out to people.  These passions make her a great advocate for CYAS and its mission of faith-based community.  Both Sam and Natalie strongly believe in CYAS and its ministry.  "There are always new people in the group," Sam declares. They want to encourage anyone hesitant about getting involved to check it out anyway.

 

SDSU Skulltec Converted by CYAS San Diego

“We live too much in the exterior. Too often there is in us a host of inclination, ideas, and strong passions which makes us turn to creatures and induce us to give them our hearts, build our hopes on them, and find consolation in thinking about them. We live in this superficial world which absorbs us so completely that it makes us forget the more profound life, the really interior life where a soul may live in intimate union with God. The Lord waits for us, so to speak, in the depths of our soul, but we do not go into these depths, taken up as we are with our affairs, to which we give all our interest.” 

-       “Divine Intimacy” – Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen

Building community is the focus of Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS). This vision of bringing people together has grown to be a tangible outlet for young adults in faith. In 2010, the founder and president of CYAS successfully established the ministry in Denver.  Three years later, Paul felt a call from God to expand his ministry to San Diego. With a focus on bringing people together through faith, Paul met Nathan Poe and eight other young adults interested in promoting and building the CYAS ministry in the area. It was through this ministry that Joseph Enright became involved in the San Diego CYAS community through what he described as ‘an invitation’.

An engineering classmate, Christine Jaboro, casually asked Joseph if he was going to “Mega Mass” (something he had never heard of before) and was welcomed to attend.

Although born and raised Catholic, Joseph's faith was challenged when he started college at San Diego State University.

"It was a different lifestyle," Joseph explained. “College was an amazing time in my life where I was away from home for the first time and had the opportunity to make my own decisions and establish my identity.”

Joseph shared that this transition encouraged his priorities to shift towards fitting in, making new friends, and figuring out what he wanted to be when he grew up. Thanks to the foundation of faith that was instilled in him through his parents, Joseph never felt disconnected from the church, but with all the pressures and distractions present in his life at the time, church life was not a priority for him.

“I undervalued my faith and focused my energy on things in my life that I could control, and things that were fun, things that affected me in the now,” Joseph confessed.

One of the biggest outlets for Joseph’s enthusiasm and energy came in the form of San Diego State’s Aztec basketball. For Joseph, sports were a tremendous way of breaking up the monotony between day-to-day class schedules and work shifts. The games were a colorful, dynamic, and entertaining way to spend time and connect with friends.

Joseph joined the SDSU Student Section known as “The Show” in November 2007 and ultimately created an alter ego for himself known as “Skultec.". As Skultec, Joseph would wear the San Diego State school colors (red and black) and eventually even paint his face like a skull before every basketball game as a sign of school spirit.

The concept behind “Skultec” was inspired by one of the founders of “The Show”, Conor Mongan, when he designed the skull on one of his shirts distributed at the basketball games. Today, the skull is synonymous with “The Show” and can be found on the back of hats, the Show Banner unveiled at home games, and even on the Jumbotron as a giant animated entity intimidating the Aztec’s opponents and firing up their fans.

Joseph Enright sideby



Having a passion for Aztec basketball and The Show, Joseph wanted to share that enthusiasm by introducing new students to “The Show” and Skultec. Soon enough there was a line of people asking to get their faces painted as well. To Joseph, the face paint was an invitation to be engaged in every play of the game. Some students may have heard of the Show, or seen a game on television, but when they came in-person to a game it was important for them to realize that they had suddenly become a part of something bigger! This was the kind of energy that Joseph lived for. Everyone in the Show is unique and can bring something different that contributes to the environment at SDSU.



“My school spirit was and is an expression of myself, and I’m lucky to have found a great group of friends who share that enthusiasm for life and all things Aztec,” said Joseph.



By the time he graduated in late 2011, everyone recognized Skultec, but only a few ever got to know the real Joseph. Though he played a dynamic role and became a well-known presence in his college community, Joseph felt alone and that he was missing something whenever the final buzzer sounded and the long off-season began.



Fast forward to August 2013; Joseph was introduced to CYAS at the 2nd Annual Mega Mass celebrated by the late Bishop Flores; a Mass held once a year specifically for young adults at the Immaculata Catholic Church in San Diego. Thanks to a simple invitation by a friend, Joseph discovered a new community of people connected by faith and recreational sports. He challenged himself to meet at least six new people at the reception following the mass (a modest number considering the hundreds of young adults in attendance) and finished the evening going out to dinner with a group of over a dozen! The experience was overwhelmingly positive, and Joseph was happy to realize that he was not alone. CYAS revived his faith and gave him a new outlet for his energy.  Many of the people Joseph met encouraged him to come back and become involved with the community.



Joseph met Nathan Poe, the Director of Programs for San Diego CYAS, when he played in the Ultimate Frisbee league for the first time. Because Joseph had no immediate family in San Diego, he celebrated Thanksgiving in 2013 with Nathan and his family. Over the past year and a half, Joseph’s involvement has grown considerably from casual participant to one of the regulars at many CYAS events outside of sports leagues, including movie nights, hiking trips, Adoration and more. Attendance at gatherings can range from a dozen to over a hundred individuals. Today Joseph is a proud promoter of the CYAS young adult community in San Diego.



For Joseph, it has always been all about the experience! He had a transformed passion for his faith through the introduction to CYAS. The Skultec face paint is gone, but a revived enthusiasm for life remains. Through CYAS, Joseph has found not just a community but a family, one that is steadily increasing and growing stronger every day.

 

Who You Play Sports With Matters

Lauren Sullivan PhotoPaul Spotts, founder of Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS), is dedicated to making CYAS a place for young adults to grow in their faith through strong community.  The mission of CYAS has always been to bring people closer to God through community.  CYAS strives to welcome anyone who wants to be part of such a community through recreational sports and then invites them to take it deeper than just play.

Lauren Sullivan's story is a perfect example of the positive effects resulting from her involvement with CYAS. Before finding CYAS, Lauren felt that she was missing community.  She was raised as a Protestant, but converted to Catholicism at age 25.  After her conversion, she never felt that her faith was properly formed, and the lack of a Catholic community contributed to her falling away from the faith.  It was not until the first Sunday of Lent this past year that she found her way back to the Catholic Church.  During the service, she heard Deacon Jason Wunsch, who is now Father Jason, deliver the homily.  Lauren realized she had gone to high school with Jason and reached out to him via email.  Father Jason gave her some advice on which she still reflects.  He told her that when running toward Christ, she should look around and see who was running next to her.  Those were the people she should spend more time with. Based on his encouragement, she became involved with CYAS.

Lauren began to discover people she could run with, literally and spiritually, when she subbed for the CYAS Ultimate Frisbee Team in the spring.  She also became involved with several other Catholic young adult groups, but CYAS stood out mainly because of its kid-friendly and family-centered atmosphere.  Lauren has 2 young daughters, Kylie and Amy, and felt comfortable bringing them to different events sponsored by CYAS, starting with the CYAS brunch after the canonization Mass for St. John Paul II.  Since then, Lauren has increased her participation in CYAS.  She was a member of the volleyball team for two seasons, took a tour of Coors Brewery, attended a Pentecost retreat at Allenspark, went to Faith Day at the Rockies, and she currently participates in a small group and  volunteers for the Formation committee.

Lauren's outreach to CYAS made her realize the importance of staying involved with her Catholic community.  She points out that all young adults struggle with similar issues and CYAS provides a great support system.  She jokes that if she disappeared, someone from CYAS would come and find her.  CYAS also holds her accountable for upholding the principles of her faith, which she knows she needs.  "Without CYAS, it would have been harder to stay the course," Lauren said, in reference to her commitment to Catholicism.  She added that even for non-Catholics, CYAS is a great group because of the whole-hearted support its members give to one another.

CYAS Welcomes Newest Missionary

It was a pleasure to interview a recent addition to the CYAS family, Kate Anderson.  Kate was introduced to the CYAS team in January by the creator and founder of CYAS, Paul Spotts, as a missionary.  Although Kate admits she doesn't have much missionary experience, her enthusiasm and passion for the work are evident.  She has clearly been called by God to do this work and is humbled by the opportunity to share the CYAS mission with others.

Kate received a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Spanish from Metro State University.  After getting her degree, she headed to Laramie, WY where she worked as a copy editor. She then found a job back in Colorado for Colorado Community Media and ended up as a sports editor. Kate also worked for the Boulder Daily Camera as a page designer for 8 months just before becoming a missionary for CYAS.  While she felt she had found stability and job security in the field of journalism, she believed God had another path for her life.  Before she got married last July she went through marriage prep classes.  During these classes, she went through a serious conversion of faith.  She wanted to be a better Catholic. She read several inspiring books, listened to CDs, and went to confession for the first time in 10 years.  In April of 2014, Kate visited her sister in Madison, WI, who was serving as a FOCUS missionary.  Kate was able to see the lifestyle of a missionary through her sister's work and found herself simply feeling better while she was there.  When she returned to Colorado, she realized she wanted more of that feeling and came to the conclusion that God wanted her to become a missionary.

Kate found CYAS through Facebook, but she applied for the missionary position through CatholicJobs.com.  When she met Paul and heard about the mission of CYAS, she was excited to start work.  She felt this call from God for about a year and was eager to make sharing Christ with people her full time job.  She believed she would be able to learn a great deal from Paul and admired how he has been able to grow CYAS.  She also saw a great opportunity to help in Paul's mission.  Kate does admit to being nervous starting this job because the majority of the job description involves fundraising, and the only fundraising experience she has was in high school for her youth group.  Kate also said she worries that people will not understand her message or that she will not be able to explain the mission of CYAS well.  As she continues to fundraise, however, she is getting more comfortable.  It increases her confidence when she receives positive responses to her fundraising efforts and is gratified for the support of CYAS. Kate remarked that in a way her B.A. in journalism helped her to prepare for this job since her main strategy for fundraising is storytelling.  She uses her story of conversion to help strengthen the mission of CYAS.

Overall, Kate is growing stronger in her position at CYAS.  She believes in the CYAS message and is eager to get more involved with the CYAS community.  She has a passion to grow CYAS because she knows how easy it is for young adults to fall away from the Catholic faith after college since it happened to her.  Kate is looking forward to doing more with the CYAS community and hearing more stories about how people came to be part of CYAS.

Anyone who would like to help Kate with her fundraising pursuits or to give her a welcoming message can contact her by email:  .  Please keep her in your prayers as she continues to fundraise for CYAS.

Anna Mann

Jumping from Rat Race to Purpose

The Latest Story from CYAS - by Kate Anderson
“Once I stormed Heaven, reached out to friends and family, the desire to serve this ministry, specifically CYAS only grew stronger. So I followed the call I truly believe the Holy Spirit put on my heart and can proudly say, I am a CYAS missionary…in training! Praise God!” Mann said.
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FAQs

CYAS is a 501c3 non-profit charity, meaning donations are tax-deductible to the degree allowed by law. Like nearly all charities we have a revenue generating side through our sports leagues (e.g. red cross sells blood from blood drives) and a larger fundraising/charity side that is the heart of why we do the sports (discipleship through Bible studies, retreats, and mission trips). CYAS'  revenue from leagues is not nearly enough to cover the expenses for a national outreach ministry. In fact, it isn't even enough after expenses for one full-time staff employee. Donations primarily serve our mission in these main areas:

  1. To cover players that receive free scholarships for playing in our leagues (10% of participants)
  2. Expansion of our services in existing locations (including marketing for outreach and the development of formation programs)
  3. Expansion efforts (including our need for support staff and office space to build a national system - think league operation support, national marketing, donation processing and servicing, accounting, legal support, and expansion related travel and training systems)
  4. To pay for our insurance cost (about $10,000/year and growing as we grow)
  5. The ongoing formation, training and community building among our missionaries. They need to be loved in order to continue sharing His love
The captain's deposit is just that, a deposit ensuring us of your teams participation in the league. It is non-refundable, because we get field time and schedule around your team being playable. Captains with unused deposits will normally be offered a league credit, if CYAS is notified before the end of registration that the captain's team will not be in the league.

Full refunds will be provided for any event that we cannot hold due to field scheduling conflicts, lack of interest, or any other cancellation of a league/event on our part.

If a player is injured and will miss the remainder of the league, we suggest they help recruit a permanent sub and ask them to subsidize their fees (please contact us so we are aware of the arrangements & injury, or for help finding possible replacements).

Free agents and donations are non-refundable. Credits may be given to free agents for leagues, if they notify us before registration closes.

We wouldn't be "Catholic" Young Adult Sports if we weren't!

Several teams have both spouses playing and bring babies or kids to be watched by substitutes on the bench or by bringing a friend/relative spectator. Many captains will also let the couple share a team fee and just not play at the same time depending on if the team needs a man or woman. Couples may also free agent and join a team in this method, just contact us if you plan on rotating play and want a discounted team fee.

DEFINITELY BRING THE KIDS OUT! ALL OF OUR SOCIALS ARE EVEN AT FAMILY FRIENDLY SPORTS BARS (unless otherwise specified)

The Catholic Church is not adverse to the use of alcohol by adults in moderation.In fact, it was customary for Jews to drink wine within religious celebrations and regularly with meals. Jesus himself made good wine abundant at the Wedding of Cana and ultimately transformed wine into the gift of his blood, which we receive at the Catholic mass offered daily. Therefore, we are comfortable with the casual and responsible enjoyment of alcohol and are not adverse to gathering after a game at the local family friendly sports bar for fellowship and to enjoy a drink, and/or meal, in moderation.

We do ask participants to please refrain from consumption during our leagues out of respect for our participants who are opposed to the consumption of alcohol, are underage, and to help us provide a good witness that healthy fun community can exist without the assistance of liquid spirits.

It is CYAS policy that during CYAS events, where alcohol is allowed, only beer and wine may be consumed, no hard liquor or mixed drinks.

JOIN AS A FREE AGENT! We'll place you on a team or create a team of other FAs for you. If you only have a few friends you want to play with you can also ask to be placed together with others on a team or have some FAs added to complete your team.
CYAS has a strategic plan of national growth to reach young adults, evangelize through Bible studies and retreats, and provide awesome kick butt sport leagues, social events and mission trips. We have a hurdle though...missionary staff! We are praying for the Lord of the Harvest to provide laborers. If you know someone interested please send them to this link and suggest they apply to discern with us: www.catholicyoungadultsports.com/career