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October 27, 2022

What is the Good Life Now?

Work, Relationships, Faith, and Wholeness Today

Showing the What is the Good Life Now? Video

If you are a young adult living in Washington, DC, or another city in the United States, how can you find purpose when politics seem irreconcilably divisive, church leaders seem out of touch, personal and systemic challenges seem insurmountable, and meaningful relationships are hard to come by?

This special Salt and Light Gathering for leaders under 40 brought together four remarkable Catholic leaders—a Notre Dame philosophy professor who teaches popular classes on this topic, a Boston College psychology professor who teaches and researches mentoring and youth purpose, a Catholic advocacy director, and a young professional living in Washington, DC—to explore what fulfilling work, relationships, faith, and lives mean today.

The participants in this gathering explored these and other questions:

  • What does “the good life” look like for young leaders in Washington and the United States today? What contributes to the good life? What threatens it?

  • How can young people find meaning, participation, balance, and wholeness while dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health challenges, political polarization, debates over human life and dignity, and economic, environmental, and racial justice issues? 

  • How can faith and Catholic social thought inform and guide our choices, actions, and how we live our lives?

This gathering had three parts:

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. | Welcoming Happy Hour 
Celebrate our coming back together in person over food and drink

7:00 - 8:00 p.m. | Salt and Light Gathering
A dialogue and conversation on “What is the Good Life Now?” with four leaders

8:00 - 9:00 p.m. | Reception
Continue the conversation with other young leaders over food and drink

Anna Gordon, program director of the Initiative, moderated the conversation.


View a list of articles, videos, and other resources for this gathering.

This Salt and Light Gathering was for Catholics under 40 years old in Washington to help them explore links between faith, Catholic social thought, and their lives and work. Learn more about the Initiative’s Salt and Light Gatherings online.


John Gehring

John Gehring

John Gehring is the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, a contributing editor at Commonweal, and an adjunct professor of journalism at American University.

Belle Liang

Belle Liang

Belle Liang is a professor of counseling, developmental, and educational psychology at Boston College and the co-author of How to Navigate Life: The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career, & Beyond (2022).

Christian Soenen

Christian Soenen

Christian Soenen is the projects manager at the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and has a background in immigration advocacy.

Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan is the Wilsey Family Collegiate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and the co-author of The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning (2022).