Catholic young adult community, School of Faith join forces to reach Metro area

Megan Marley

The young adult Catholic community of the Kansas City Metro and lay apostolate Holy Family School of Faith are joining forces: an agreement signed early this September will put the community’s outreach and leadership formation under the direction of School of Faith.

“We both have the same vision on how to go about evangelizing and growing the Kingdom,” said Fr. Andrew Mattingly, Director of the young adult community.

City on a Hill is the Kansas City area young adult apostolate of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph that exists ‘to be the community that inspires our generation to be saints’. Its small groups, fun events, sports, mission trips/pilgrimages, retreats, spiritual direction and faith and leadership formation involve over 1,500 adults from both sides of the Missouri/Kansas state line. That’s a lot for a staff of 1.5 people!

Holy Family School of Faith’s mission is similar: to instill the Faith in all people through deepening of individuals’ prayer lives, relationship with Christ and meaningful friendships, and then inspiring and equipping them to invite others to do the same. School of Faith, based out of Overland Park, Ks., currently forms over 10,000 annually through a variety of evangelization and faith-forming courses, pilgrimages, media and leader mentorship that would also benefit the young adult community.

“It’s a tough group for us to break into because we’re in the ‘burbs and parishes,” said Troy Hinkel, Vice President and Executive Director of Mission for School of Faith. “[This agreement] is going to for the first time give us explicit and direct access to the age group we’ve always wanted.”

Mattingly said there will be no immediate changes with how City on a Hill is organized—the partnership is mostly to create a better way to form lay leadership in Faith and disciple-making…and do it faster and on a larger scale.

“The merger enables us to expand our staff and resources that we desperately need,” he said.

Merging is no small feat for either organization: the young adult Catholic community is one of the largest in the nation, and there are over 250,000 young adults in the Kansas City metro area.

“We’ve got to adjust our infrastructure to reach this many people—money, personnel support, operations, etc.,” Hinkel said.

According to the agreement, three associate directors—for Communications & Marketing, Leadership Formation & Development, and Apostolic Development—will be hired by School of Faith to assist the Director in running City on a Hill, along with appropriate support teams. The Diocese has rights to appoint Chaplain for the community, and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Ks. can also assign a Co-Chaplain. The Diocese will contribute a set amount each year for the running of City on a Hill and Director and Chaplain salaries, the Archdiocese is responsible for any Co-Chaplain’s salary and School of Faith fundraises for all other expenses.

Mattingly currently serves as both Director and Chaplain, and maintains independent diocesan directorship of college campus ministries and any young adult initiatives outside the Metro area.

“For now I’ll remain the director—once I get reassigned away, at that point it’ll be under the direct oversight of Mike Scherschligt (CEO/President and Founder),” he said. The School of Faith CEO and the Diocese could then elevate one of the Associate Directors to the Director role or form a selection committee for the City on a Hill Director position.

Mattingly is confident that even after he’s gone, School of Faith will continue developing the community and lay leadership in the same vein as he.

“These young adult leaders in our community now have enough of a baseline common language to talk about what it means to live mission—and equipping them with various tools to carry out the mission, that’s where School of Faith will help us abundantly,” he said.

An Associate Director of Apostolic Development has already been selected to focus on external outreach in the Metro area: Dain Finney, former director of the John Paul II Commons Newman Center at UMKC, young adult and member of the diocesan Visioning Team. She’ll visit parishes on both sides of the state line and nearby college campus ministries to raise awareness of and connect young adults with the Catholic young adult community, and help community leaders—both those in official positions, and those in day-to-day life apostolate.

“There are already infrastructures in place within City on a Hill that, much like the early Church, it’s just people—the leaven of the laity…they don’t get paid, they’re just commissioned disciples and want Him to be known,” Finney said. “For the first little bit here I’m going to learn what they’re doing, know their names, know their hearts, support them in whatever way I can.”

“We talk to our leaders all the time about ‘if you don’t pray, it don’t matter—we need you to pray’. People are finding their identity in Him and then emboldened to move from that place, and I think it’s deeply restoring what will be the domestic Church for these individuals…their homes will be markedly different because they’re in love with Jesus,” she said.

The current Young Adult office manager, Lilly Tighe, will also continue serving City on a Hill in a new role as Project Manager.

“We’re just excited to look at the people of this city as one: not two separate dioceses, as a whole community,” Hinkel concluded.

For more information on City on a Hill, visit kansascityonahill.org. For more information on School of Faith, visit schooloffaith.com.

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Saturday
December 14, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph