Illinois-native Moves to Denver and is Drawn to Catholicism


When Phil Meyer moved to Denver from Minnesota last August, he wanted to explore the Catholic faith. He committed to going to weekly Mass, reading the Catechism every night, listening to talks on and homilies by Fr. Mike Schmitz. However, he still had a lot of questions that needed answering.

Phil, a band teacher in Thornton, is a music education alumnus of Lutheran-affiliated St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He was raised by Christian parents in Illinois and attended Lutheran Sunday services, high school youth group and bible camp in the summers.

Although he grew up with a strong relationship with God, Phil, now 24, had a negative opinion of Catholicism. He met Eric and Brian Klein, both on his cross country team at St. Olaf, and that view started to change. When he started dating his current girlfriend, Karen, also a Catholic, he decided to research more about the faith.

“I didn't realize how crucial it would eventually be to me that we believe the same things, but at the time it was very important to me to better understand her Catholic faith.” Phil said.

Between the two Catholic friends on his cross country team and Karen, Phil found a community that didn’t fit his assumptions. Phil made the decision to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) in January after talking with Karen’s sister, a Nashville Dominican. He then talked with Fr. Peter Mussett at St. Thomas Aquinas in Boulder and he was allowed go through the program in three months. He was confirmed at St. Thomas Aquinas at the Easter Vigil in April.

“I wanted to do more reading, but I knew at that point that there was nothing that I was going to read that was going to change my mind,” Phil said. “It was just going to deepen my understanding and deepen my faith, not turn it the other way.”

Phil joined Paul Spotts’ men’s bible study through Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS) last year. He immediately felt welcome and was encouraged by the vulnerability of the other men. Phil believes the Catholic Church struggles with fellowship and thinks CYAS is doing a great job in building that community.

“I think that Catholic Young Adult Sports is such an important thing,” Phil said. “It continues to grow. I think it’s a really exciting thing. Coming from a men’s bible study perspective, we guys sometimes struggle a bit with building community, and it's a great gateway for that.”

Phil hopes to continue to grow in his relationship with God and be humble enough to discern His will. He wants to spread the Catholic faith and help people see the beauty and truth of Catholicism by clearing up misconceptions.

“It’s a really exciting and life giving journey for me, but also a challenging one,” Phil said. “Both of those sides are going to continue for the rest of my life. It doesn’t end with being confirmed, it’s just opening the door to the rest of my life.”

Paul Spotts believes that CYAS played an important part in Phil’s conversion, though it was not the first seed. He said, “CYAS is not what brought Phil to conversion, but I whole heartedly believe that we gave Phil that little extra assurance that his few Catholic friends were not a complete anomaly, and ultimately that he would not be alone in His faith journey, if he chose to become Catholic.”

When asked about Phil’s involvement in his CYAS’ Bible study, Paul said, “Phil is such a delight to have in our Bible study. He is absolutely committed to fostering friendships in our group and his quick wit brings such a delightful humor. Our Bible study group was extremely excited about him joining RCIA and becoming Catholic as we watched his faith in the Church’s teachings grow before our eyes over the past year. The joy he had on his face after receiving his first Holy communion was a great consolation to those that saw in that smile true joy and union with God. If only all of us cradle Catholics believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and received with such devotion. That contagion would transform the world.” 

Angela Townsend

Spreading the Thirst for Holiness

The Latest Story from CYAS - by Kate Anderson
“I really wanted to do something that spoke to my faith, spoke to that being the center of my life,” Townsend said. “I played sports my whole life and was really involved in the student activities council at my college, so this missionary work had everything in one.”
One of the biggest challenges but more rewarding experiences for Townsend with CYAS was the fundraising. She said it was the hardest thing she’s ever done, however she’d do it all over again for what she got out it. Townsend saw how present God was and appreciated all the meaningful conversations she had with people.
Read More


CYAS is a 501c3 non-profit charity. Like nearly all charities we have a revenue generating side (e.g. red cross sells blood from blood drives) and a larger fundraising/charity side that helps us achieve our mission (Fellowship & Discipleship through Recreational Sports). 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. Yet, we are a relational outreach organization, so we must spend a majority of our time planning leagues & social events, service projects, and activites that help us transition participants into discipleship with Jesus. Donations primarily serve our mission in these main areas:

  1. Expansion of our services in existing locations (including marketing for outreach and the development of formation programs)
  2. 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)
  3. To cover players that receive free scholarships for playing in our leagues (10% of participants)
  4. To pay for our insurance cost (about $8,000/year and growing with each city)
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).
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.
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 their such a thing as healthy fun without the assistance of liquid spirits. The exception will be bowling leagues where alcohol is served by the venue, but still expected to be used in moderation.
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.