‘Tis the season…to get engaged

Sarah Rajewski and Connor McCambridge are a City on a Hill engaged couple—more photos and inspirational testimonies on the City on a Hill Instagram! (@light_ofthe_city) (Photo courtesy of Lilly Tighe, Office of Young Adult Ministry)

By Megan Marley

With the holidays just around the corner, there’s bound to be a rash of Thanksgiving and Christmas engagement announcements—and the City on a Hill young adult community in Kansas City is NOT immune.

City on a Hill’s existence statement is ‘inspiring our generation to be saints’, and office director Fr. Andrew Mattingly says that goes hand in hand with folks finding their spouses.

“Sanctity is the overarching vocation of every single baptized person, and the primary means of sanctification is your vocation,” he said. “Obviously, if we can play a role in helping people find their spouse, particularly someone who you obviously run with them to the Lord and pursue that primary vocation of holiness, I’m all for it!”

He estimates there’s at least 150 couples he knows of who’ve found a spouse at one of their events, and probably many more he doesn’t know of.

“Practically speaking, because the wider City on a Hill community is so large, you know—by itself, 1,500 Catholic young adults show up to at last one event on a yearly basis—that pool is pretty big. You find someone a lot easier than just looking out around your own parish,” Mattingly said.

The frequency of events where young adults can meet to develop friendships and community may play a part of that. Most City on a Hill apostolates organically originate and are led from within the community, and include large events like Tuesdays at the Boulevard, Catholic Challenge Sports, women’s and men’s small groups, retreats, adoration, a sacred music choir, spiritual direction and more. Recently, there was a retreat to invest in community leaders so they can more effectively build relationships and share the Gospel.

“We’re going to teach these very fundamental ways to instill a deeper meaning to our conversations…to take the conversation to the next level, beyond football or apple pie,” Mattingly said.

He also had some advice for singles looking for someone.

“My first piece of advice would be to look in the right places—you’re probably not going to find the type of spouse you’re looking for in a bar.”

“Maintain high standards—I think sometimes people get tired of waiting around and lower their standards, and before you know it they’re engaged to someone who isn’t really a faith-full person.”

“Fight any sense of anxiety—all it will happen in God’s time.”

“And obviously form yourself to be a good spouse, with prayer and growth in virtue and receiving the sacraments, and so on.”

Andy and Genevra Flattery are one of many couples that met at a City on a Hill event.

An oncology nurse at KU Medical, Genevra heard of the community through friends and decided to attend a ‘Mass Mob’ event at Redemptorist. At the following brunch, she sat down across from Andy, a private financial and investment advisor, and the two started talking.

“Honestly, it’s like it was a providential thing, because God literally put us together, literally right after Mass. And that’s not something we just tell our parents,” Andy said with a laugh. They went out a couple times, but Andy decided he didn’t want to pursue Genevra at the time and broke things off.

“We were like friendly acquaintances for like nine months, and then the following summer we were on the same CCS sand volleyball team—City on a Hill again,” he said. “At that time, everything changed and I was able to see Genevera in a different light and I asked her out again.”

“Our dating story was just a firm reminder of God’s timing, because at the time I was so sure about Andy, but he wasn’t, and it was just a time of waiting and trusting that things would work out,” she said.

For their first date, they had gone to Quay Coffee in the downtown Kansas City River Market.

“I remember we bought some of those Italian pastries—cannolis, and like, I’d never had a cannoli before and got powdered sugar all over me, so it became an ongoing joke that I couldn’t even eat a cannoli on our first date,” Andy said.

“When he proposed, he actually had a plate of cannolis,” Genevra recounted. After a homemade dinner, Andy gave her a big wooden time capsule that he handmade—something he’d remembered she had always wanted to do. Inside was the ring!

Now it’s filled with other items and buried.

“The idea is in 30 years we’re going to unearth the time capsule and our kids can see what was in there,” Andy said.
They got married in January at St. Gregory Barbarigo parish in Maryville, and had their firstborn, a baby boy, last week.

Ty and Claire Sanders also met at a City on a Hill event.

They met in March 2017 at the Catholic Challenge Sports retreat held at Christ the King Parish in Kansas City.

“We only briefly talked at that event, and someone mentioned kickball signups—Claire asked if I wanted to join,” Ty said. He wasn’t really interested in playing, but said maybe.

“Ty had been involved with City on a Hill for several years, but that was my first event and I didn’t know if our paths would cross again,” Claire explained.

“Later I thought, ‘man, she’s pretty cute—I should sign up for kickball’,” he said. Ty called up his friend involved in creating teams and asked to sign up—on her team, of course. But she hadn’t registered!

“Now I was signed up to play kickball when I didn’t really want to in the first place!”

As things would have it, they met once again before kickball season started—at Catholic running club. He asked if she would want sign up to sub on games, and Claire decided to email about getting into the game.

“I thought they’ve got to be nice, they’re Catholic!” she laughed. Since another friend of Ty’s received that email, she passed on Claire’s phone number. Ty texted her, welcoming her to his team and inviting her to a game night—through their text exchange, Claire asked if he’d like to be her running buddy that evening.

“I literally dropped everything and ran from the Meyer Catholic Quarter to Loose Park,” said Ty.

They went out to dinner that night—St. Patrick’s Day—and hit it off immediately.

After a couple of months, he proposed in December at Loose Park, during the Geminid meteor shower. He created a personalized scavenger hunt throughout the park for her, starting with flowers, a ring pop, a small container of playdough left over from their birthday party, and the first clue. Once she arrived at the final spot near the pond, he asked her to open up the container of playdough—she’d been carrying the ring with her all along.

“It was a very sweet, well thought out proposal. Then we watched the meteor shower,” Claire said.

They got married on September 2 of this year, at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish.

“City on a Hill is a great place to meet people and make new friends,” Ty concluded. “And there’s a lot of people looking—all it takes is one day, one event.”


  1. December 28, 2018 at 11:54 am #

    Thank you Catholic Key!

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October 29, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph