Our History

It all started in a living room with a box of wine. After the news of the Pennsylvania grand jury report broke in 2018, detailing the rape and molestation of more than 1000 children by 300 Pennsylvania priests, as well as the news of Cardinal McCarrick's "open secret" of sexually harassing and abusing seminarians and younger priests, we decided we needed to talk. So we got together with a group of friends to talk about the crises facing our Church. We learned a lot. Among our group were a civil lawyer, a canon lawyer, a woman working in the department of corrections, a mental health therapist, and a seminarian. We all had different perspectives, and we realized that we needed to rethink our approaches to these issues if we are to respond to them in an informed and holistic way. ​

After that conversation, we decided to have a follow-up meeting. Two of us had read the John Jay report and wanted to share its findings, so we met a week later. As part of that meeting, we decided that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis needed something. So we organized a prayer vigil at the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul. More than 100 young adults came. A week later, we organized a presentation and discussion at the Basilica of St. Mary, again attended by more than 100 young adults. ​

There is a need here. There is a desire for good information and informed responses. We want to help meet that need and encourage that desire. We have a special focus on the Twin Cities, but we want to help equip and empower Catholics everywhere.

Our Mission

YArespond focuses on providing holistic and informed responses to the clergy abuse crisis and related crises facing the Catholic Church. While our efforts are based in the Twin Cities and our leadership consists of lay Catholic young adults, we seek to provide support and resources for Catholics everywhere. YArespond’s efforts are concentrated in three areas:

1. While we do not engage in ongoing activism, we undertake specific projects for which we believe we are well-situated and which we believe will contribute to promoting transparency, accountability, and healing in the Church.

2. We curate and create resources for Catholics seeking to respond to crises in the Church.

3. When we are not engaged in projects, we host bi-monthly discussions for Catholic young adults interested in education and dialogue, so as to be prepared when a need for a project-based response arises.

SOME OF OUR PRINCIPLES

Complicate the narrative.

 
 
 

Our Leadership

 
Chris Damian

Founder and Director >

Chris is a writer, attorney, and business professional living in St. Paul. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in philosophy, and from the University of St. Thomas with a J.D. and an M.A. in Catholic studies. He is the author of I Desired You: Intellectual Journals on Faith and (Homo)sexuality (Volumes I and II). His essay, "A Catholic Perspective on Homoerotic Desire," was published in 2019 in Logos Journal. In his free time, he enjoys hosting dinner parties, book clubs, and creative writing workshops out of his home. His favorite coffee shop in St. Paul is Kopplin’s. He is a parishioner at St. Thomas More in St. Paul.

Dan Quinan

Canon Law Advisor >

Daniel graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in California with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, and from the Catholic University of America with a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL), before moving to Minnesota in 2014 to work for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Although he has not (yet) achieved the level of holiness required to unlock the secrets of bilocation, he has been known to frequently travel and appear in unpredictable patterns across the United States “attending conferences” and “visiting friends” (or so he insists). His close friends are aware that he is a fan of Star Wars, and people who barely know him have probably also noticed this too. Dan is a parishioner at the Church of St. Mark.

Nathan Cornwell

Statistics Advisor >

Nathan is an actuary at Optum in Eden Prairie. He graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2013 with a BA in Philosophy and was pursuing graduate studies in the field until he decided to change careers. During that time, he married his best friend, Kelsey, and they currently live in Shakopee. In the rare moments when he is not studying for the next actuarial exam, he enjoys reading, working on data science projects, and fishing. He is a parishioner at the Parish of Saints Joachim and Anne.

Sarah Moon

Public Health Advisor >

Sarah graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in Biology, and from the University of Minnesota with an MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy. She works as an account manager at a small medical sales company in the cities, and she runs a video production company. You can find her at most Caribou Coffee locations around the west suburbs reading anything with John Paul II’s name on it. Sarah is a parishioner at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

Kirby Hoberg

Outreach Advisor >

Kirby is originally from Texas and has her BA in Anthropology & Sociology from Mills College in California. Her thesis was focused on Catholic women and how they relate to feminism. She writes on her blog Under Thy Roof and for Everyday Ediths. She is home with her three kids by day, pursues theater and dance by night. She and her family recently moved to Plymouth and are fixing up their 19th century farmhouse. They attend Holy Family in St. Louis Park where she sings in the choir and volunteers with the Altar and Rosary Society and Holy Family Home Educators.