Living as a Catholic Professional in the Secular Workplace

Living as a Catholic Professional in the Secular Workplace

Being a Catholic professional in a secular workplace can be quite a tightrope walk. Striving to live out your faith and answer the call to evangelization while also maintaining respect for workplace boundaries and job security is no easy feat. Fortunately, there are ways to navigate this delicate balance and uphold your Catholic values in a professional setting without compromising your job or your beliefs.

What does it mean?

Ask fifty people about being a Catholic professional in a secular workplace, and you’ll receive fifty unique answers. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this dynamic situation. It hinges on the individual Catholic professional and the specific workplace they find themselves in. Context is key, making each experience a tailored journey. However, there are a few principles that we can follow that apply across the board.

Doing your job well 

Living out Catholic values in the workplace extends beyond mere religious affiliation. It involves excelling in your job, as it pertains to the dignity of both workers and work itself. Every occupation, regardless of its perceived significance, carries inherent dignity, enabling individuals to support themselves and their loved ones. Even if your work is not directly tied to the Church, its spiritual worth should not be underestimated. The value lies not in who you work for but in the commitment to excellence and the positive impact you make through your work.

Consider the example of a nurse working in a secular hospital. While their role may not be explicitly tied to Catholicism, their dedication to providing compassionate care to patients upholds the values of love, mercy, and dignity that are central to the Catholic faith. By embracing their work with diligence and genuine concern for others, they contribute to the spiritual well-being of both patients and their colleagues, making a profound difference in the lives they touch.

Exuding virtue 

Your work can be a powerful form of evangelization if done well and with joy. You don’t have to force exaggerated or fake cheerfulness – genuine joy rooted in faith is always appealing.

No need to be self-righteous or preachy; just focus on being holy. Your work life should reflect the joy of the Gospel without lacking authenticity. Show genuine care for your coworkers and those who interact with you, and naturally, people will be drawn to you, and thus appreciate what you believe.

As an exercise, choose one area for personal growth in the workplace. It could be cultivating patience or engaging with coworkers before your first cup of coffee. Even small steps can create opportunities to share the Gospel with your colleagues.


You’ll likely have few options for direct evangelization in a secular workplace. That’s okay. Yes, it’s good to evangelize. It’s also good to keep your job. Contrary to what some may say, it is rarely the case that it is better to lose your job than not evangelize. If you have to feed your family, that comes first. Measure your word and action choices against your job security, but don’t let a good opportunity go to waste if you can avoid it.

That isn’t to say that you can’t evangelize at all. Of course, Christians are called to evangelize through their example. The very nature of who you are should be evangelistic. If you don’t feel like you can talk to your coworkers about religion, there are some other things you can do. You can wear a cross or have a crucifix at your desk (assuming your work allows that). Praying before meals is also a great conversation starter.

Get to know your coworkers if you aren’t sure where to start and how direct you can be. Yes, even Sharon from accounts payable, whom you can’t stand. Maybe start with Sharon. The more you authentically engage with your coworkers and get to know them, the better you can genuinely care for them. The inherent flaw with street evangelization is that the evangelist doesn’t have a relationship with the person he is evangelizing. That’s not to say that the “cold calling” of evangelization can’t work, but it likely isn’t the best option in your secular workplace. Know your coworkers, their values, and how you can approach them about matters that … actually matter.

Pray, read Scripture, and ask the intercession of the saints. Whatever works well in your prayer life, stick with that. You may need all the help you can get to not only spread the Faith but to keep your own in a secular workplace. You don’t need to proselytize, but you do need to live out your Catholic values.

What not to do

We often talk about how to evangelize, but we don’t often talk about how not to evangelize. This comes back to knowing your coworkers. If Sharon from accounting loves art, lecturing her on how the Council of Trent replied to the Protestant Reformation is NOT the way to go, lol. Perhaps the Church’s rich tradition as keepers and stewards of great art is a better starting point.

As a rule, you probably don’t want to make any grand evangelistic gestures. Maybe don’t pray the Our Father in Latin on your weekly conference call (unless you’ve already given your two weeks’ notice, then go wild). Of course, this is a hyperbolic example. The point is, large, impersonal gestures are often more to make the evangelist feel important than to evangelize. Even if not the case, they rarely translate in an office setting.


Find others who are in a similar situation. Maybe you have other Catholic coworkers. Talking about the faith with them may intrigue other coworkers. At a minimum, they may have questions you can answer.

If you don’t have Catholic coworkers, you probably know other Catholic professionals who work in secular workplaces. Joining a Catholic professional group or social club is a great way to meet other Catholics in similar situations to your own. Pray with each other for the strength to live out your Catholic values in your respective workplaces, and know you always have a community from which to draw strength.


About the Author:

Joe Coleman is a freelance writer, editor, and audio production consultant. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University (and actually uses it from time to time). A former fellow at KNOM Catholic Radio in Western Alaska, he got his start as an on-air host, producer, and news writer. Currently, you can find him in Southern California writing about national parks, outdoor gear, and the role of Catholics in the business world.