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Join us for the Young Leaders Initiative at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering on January 25-28, 2025.

The Young Leaders Initiative (YLI) serves as an important opportunity for college students and emerging leaders (aged 18-26) to connect within the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG). By joining the Initiative, participants will have the chance to broaden their network of peers involved in social justice ministry, to network with national leaders in the field, and to learn more about how they can respond to the call to promote integral human development on a local or national level.
We invite universities, colleges, and young adult groups interested in bringing about justice in their communities to participate in this valuable leadership opportunity. As participants in the Young Leaders Initiative at the CSMG, emerging leaders will: 

  • Meet national Catholic social ministry and advocacy leaders.
  • Build knowledge of current Catholic social ministry priorities and initiatives.
  • Develop advocacy skills to empower themselves and their communities to call for positive change, both on the national and local levels.
  • Voice concerns with legislators on domestic and international issues of human life and dignity.
  • Discover new ways of growing in faith and future work through integral human development and advocacy.
  • Share the experiences of their lives of faith with leaders and fellow young adults.
  • Reflect on their call to advocate for and with those experiencing poverty and marginalization.

Scroll down for more information about participation ideas and timelines.

Students grow as leaders at CSMG -- in society and the Church.

Our advocacy on Capitol Hill…was a tremendous experience where I really felt my faith put into action. By raising a voice for the poor, I felt that I was not speaking on my own but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I really felt empowered by the Gospel message to spread the good news of Christ to others, and I will forever cherish this opportunity to advocate for the poor on Capitol Hill.
- Trevor Bonventre, University of Notre Dame

…It was inspiring to me to see so many people, from all over the country, speaking out for the poor and vulnerable—“being a voice for the voiceless.” I had the opportunity to hear numerous people speaking with the CST lexicon that I learned in my core course last semester, people who were also living out the documents through their careers and vocations. I think this conference helped me to become a better-informed citizen and to see how my faith and politics do not have to be mutually exclusive.
- Clara Hageman, University of Notre Dame

Hear what participants had to say about their experience at CSMG!
Four Reasons You Should Participate in YLI 
Notre Dame students on Prayer and Liturgy
- St. Mary's University participants on visiting Capitol Hill: video 1 | video 2 | video 3

How does YLI work?

The events comprising the Young Leaders Initiative are spread across the four days of the Gathering. On the first day of the gathering, YLI participants are invited to an exclusive networking event with other participants and national leaders. Additionally, a workshop led by emerging leaders in the field is among the offerings of the Gathering, where participants can learn from their peers about how to promote social justice as America's current and future leaders. Finally, a closing reception on the final night of the gathering offers time to reflect on the learnings of the past days and connect with both the emerging and diverse leaders of the Gathering.

For Campus Delegations:
Campus communities generally designate a campus coordinator who serves as a communication point person for the group. Campus contacts should stay up to date by completing this interest form. Campus coordinators invite participation from student leaders who have demonstrated interest in Catholic social teaching and ministry. Since our Church is strengthened and enriched by great diversity, the student selection process is an important opportunity for campus coordinators to identify and foster leaders of diverse cultures and abilities. Students can participate individually or as part of a group on campus.

For Parish delegations or individuals:
Complete this interest form to be sure to receive the most up-to-date information for the Gathering. Then, start planning on how you’ll attend either in a group or on your own. Consider inviting your local young adult ministry group to join and take advantage of a special YLI registration rate.

How will emerging leaders benefit from CSMG-YLI?

CSMG provides students and emerging leaders an opportunity to integrate faith, learning, and action in pursuit of a better world. During the four-day gathering, participants join a community of professional, dedicated Catholic social ministry and advocacy leaders to pray, learn, network, and advocate for change. The experience has proven transformative for participants who have attended in the past, influencing their continuing education and even career choices. Meeting leaders in the field opens doors for future contacts, internships, and possible employment. Opportunities for action once participants return home helps to deepen the experience and includes legislative advocacy in home districts, and participating in local programs of Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

What else do I need to know?

In an effort to help strengthen this experience and bring the formative time of CSMG to life, we have developed a series of meeting prompts and post-Gathering reflections so the team can have an impact once they return home from CSMG. Pre- and post-Gathering agendas are available to help deepen the experience with your group, whether you meet in person or virtually.

Coordinators are asked to seek resources in the community or campus to make this experience more accessible to emerging leaders interested in this formative, educational, and professional experience. The 2025 registration fee is $350 per participant. Possible sources of funding include student affairs processes, parish or diocesan social justice groups, student governments, campus ministries or Newman centers, academic departments, experiential or service-learning programs, faith and justice centers, and sponsoring religious communities. All interested coordinators or individuals should complete the interest form and simultaneously explore funding options from their institution.  

Limited financial assistance is available for emerging leaders from under-represented ethnic, cultural, or disability communities through the Diversity Outreach Initiative. Participants may receive funding from the Diversity Outreach Initiative and participate in the Young Leaders Initiative simultaneously but must apply to the Diversity Outreach Initiative separately.  

Next Steps: Participating in the CSMG Young Leaders Initiative.

Now through November 2024:

  • Consider how CSMG can form emerging leaders in your program for leadership in service to the Church.
  • Submit the interest form!
  • Investigate funding options. Identify other organizations, staff, or offices that might have similar interests or experience in advocacy.
  • Receive registration instructions to ensure a special YLI rate.
  • Plan pre-Gathering meetings and agenda.

December and January:

  • Complete registration for CSMG by December 31, 2024 so you can make travel arrangements. The deadline may be set earlier for groups traveling together and at the discretion of the local contact person. Keep in mind that those applying for financial assistance from DOI need to wait for a response from CSMG before they are able to register for the event. 
  • Take advantage of informative resources and opportunities to prepare those attending the Gathering.
  • Consider how you can integrate CSMG learnings into existing programming.
  • Attend pre-Gathering events to prepare for this exciting opportunity.
  • Attend CSMG January 25-28, 2025.

After the Gathering:

  • Plan post Gathering meetings to deepen and share the experience with those unable to attend.
  • Participate in local advocacy with in-district visits, where possible.

The Young Leaders Initiative (YLI) planning team thanks the following institutions for their participation in YLI at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering:

Australian Catholic University
Cabrini College (PA)
The Catholic University of America (DC)
Chaminade University (HI)
Clark University (MA)
College of the Holy Cross (MA)
College of St. Benedict/St. John's (MN)
College of St. Scholastica (MN)
Creighton University (NE)
Dominican University (IL)
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (LA)
George Washington U. (DC)
Georgetown University (DC)
John Carroll University (OH)
Kent State University (OH)
Le Moyne College (NY)
Lewis University (IL)
Louisiana State University (LA)
Loyola University New Orleans (LA)
Clark Atlanta University
Spellman College (GA)
Morehouse College (GA)
Manhattan College (NY)

Marquette University (WI)
Maryland Institute College of Art
Modesto Junior College (CA)
Mount St. Mary (MD)
The Ohio State University
Our Lady of the Lake College (LA)
Purdue University (IN)
Seton Hall University (NJ)
Southeastern Louisiana University (LA)
St. John's University (NY)
St. Mary's University (TX)
St. Martin's University (WA)
Trinity Washington University (DC)
University of California-Merced
University of Dayton (OH)
University of Georgia
University of the Incarnate Word (TX)
University of Maryland-College Park
University of Missouri-Columbia
University of Notre Dame (IN)
The University of St. Thomas (MN)
Xavier University (LA) 


CSMG Young Leaders Committee

Emily Schumacher-Novak (Co-Chair)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development

Victoria O'Keefe (Co-Chair)
St. John's University (NY), Campus Ministry

Nick Cardilino
University of Dayton, Campus Ministry

Crystal Cardona
St. Martin’s University, Campus Ministry

Akua Kankam
Dominican University, University Ministry

Dee Bernhardt
Purdue University, Campus Ministry

Paul E. Jarzembowski
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

Barbara McCrabb
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Secretariat of Catholic Education

Lindsay McDermott
Fellowship of Catholic University Students

MyLan Metzger
Duke University, Catholic Center

Kelly Tadeo Orbik
Creighton University, Center for Social Justice