God 'wants the best for you,' speaker says

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - Updated: 2:32 pm

By Bob De Witt Correspondent

Two businesswomen living out their Catholic faith in an increasingly secular culture told young professionals how God has guided and opened doors for them.

Former TV news anchor Jennifer Antkowiak, incoming diocesan executive director for community relations, and Diane Newland, chief financial officer of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, both active Catholics, spoke to the Youth Catholic Professionals of Pittsburgh.

The group hosted a Business Leader Breakfast Sept. 30 at the Allegheny HYP Club in Downtown Pittsburgh.

“I wake up every day and ask, ‘Where do you want me today, God?’” Antkowiak said. “It’s my job to show up.

“There is so much power in believing he wants the best for you,” she said. “We’re all challenged to take the Word of God out.”

“I was at a career crossroads 18 years ago,” Newland said. “I wanted to find work that was meaningful, and my path led me to JCC. For me it’s about paying it forward.”

The mission of the Young Catholic Professionals, which includes reinvigorating active participation in the church, is more critical than ever. A study by the Pew Research Center found that just 31 percent of U.S. Catholics in their 30s attend Mass weekly, with 48 percent participating somewhere between twice a month and a few times a year.

“I am a proponent of the Mass,” Antkowiak said. “Nothing replaces it.” Her focus in enhancing diocesan communications will be welcoming more people to receive the Eucharist.

Despite the differences between the Catholic and Jewish faith traditions, “the connection between my faith and work is mission,” Newland said.

“You can tell that Jennifer and Diane live out their faith every day with such gratitude and joy,” said Sean Hannon, who heads the Young Catholic Professionals’ leadership team. “They challenged us to be bold and let God’s light shine through in our workplaces and our lives.”

Newland was asked about the key attributes of being a successful leader.

“I think it’s the connections you make with people you meet along the way,” she said. “I lead with my heart, and embrace everything as a blessing.

“The JCC takes care of the 6-week-old infant and the 100-year-old senior,” Newland added. “Troubled youth who need mentors. These are the people we serve.”

“When God is your CEO, you don’t hear ‘no,’” Antkowiak said. “If you’re connected with him and living a life of purpose, you don’t see obstacles. Your mind goes first to the solutions.”

The Young Catholic Professionals of Pittsburgh was established seven years ago with a goal of supporting members in their Catholic identity. Their signature event is a fellowship lunch that takes place on the second Friday of every month. They also attend noon Mass Wednesdays at St. Mary of Mercy Church and hold other events.

After the presentation, attendees expressed their desire to stay connected with the diocese and explore more ways to be involved and serve.

“We are trying to build up a community that is joyful, which attracts people to the faith and brings them back to Mass and the sacraments,” Hannon said.

To learn more, e-mail ycppittsburgh@gmail.com.

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