Prepare for Your Trip

Greetings student leaders! We're delighted to welcome you to the Young Leaders Initiative at Catholic Social Ministry Gathering.

This page is to help you prepare for your trip. It includes:

Questions for Reflection on This Year's Theme
Tips from Previous Participants
Materials to Prepare for Hill Visits
What Should I Wear?
Social Media

Reflect on the 2023 CSMG Theme

The 2023 theme is “Blessed are the Peacemakers (Mt 5:9). As you prepare for your journey to CSMG, we encourage you to pray and reflect on Scripture and on the words of Pope Francis:

Read Matthew 5:3-12, the passage on the Beatitudes. 

  • What words, phrases, or images jump out at you from this passage?
  • Jesus speaks of many Beatitudes before mentioning peacemaking. How do all of the other Beatitudes tie in with peacemaking?
  • The second part of “Blessed are the peacemakers” is “for they will be called children of God.” What does this mean to you?
  • What are some ways in which the world needs the actions described in the Beatitudes, especially regarding peace?
  • Reflect on the rewards which Jesus mentions. How do works of mercy lead to these rewards on earth?
  • How can we “rejoice and be glad” in following the Beatitudes, and therefore the example of Jesus? How can we be a model of rejoicing in Christ through works of mercy?
  • How will we bring the message of this passage back to our campus?

Reflect with Pope Francis on This Year's Theme

“At this point we have to remember that when the Lord says: ‘Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you’ (Jn 14:27), he means his peace which is different from the human kind, the one of the world. Jesus’ peace is different from the worldly one.

Let us ask ourselves: how does the world give peace? If we think of armed conflicts, wars normally end in two ways: either with the defeat of one of the two sides, or with a peace treaty. We cannot but hope and pray that this second path will always be taken. However, we have to consider that history is an infinite series of peace treaties contradicted by successive wars or by the metamorphosis of these same wars into other ways or into other places.

In our time too, war is being fought “piecemeal” in various scenarios and with different methods (cf. Homily at the Military Memorial in Redipuglia, 13 September 2014; Homily in Sarajevo, 6 June 2015; Address to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, 21 February 2020). We have to at least suspect that within the framework of a globalization that is carried out above all for economic or financial interests, the ‘peace’ of some corresponds to the “war” of others. And this is not Christ’s peace.

Instead, how does the Lord Jesus “give” his peace? We have heard Saint Paul say that Christ’s peace is “making one out of two” (cf. Eph 2:14), erasing hostility and reconciling. And the path to carry out this work of peace is his body. Indeed he reconciles all things and bestows peace with the blood of his cross as the same Apostle says elsewhere (cf. Col 1:20).

And here, I ask myself, we can all ask ourselves: who then are the “peacemakers?”. The seventh Beatitude is the most active one, explicitly operative; the verbal expression is similar to the one used in the first verse of the Bible for the Creation, and it indicates initiative and industriousness. Love by its nature is creative — love is always creative — and seeks reconciliation at any cost.

Those who have learned the art of peace and exercise it are called the children of God. They know that there can be no reconciliation without giving one’s own life and that peace should always be sought everywhere. Always and everywhere: Do not forget this! It should be sought this way. It is not an autonomous work that is the fruit of one’s own abilities. It is the manifestation of the grace received from Christ who is our peace and who has made us Children of God.” 
- Pope Francis, General Audience, 15 April 2020

  • How does Pope Francis describe the peace of Jesus Christ? How does it differ to the peace efforts we see in the world today?
  • How does he define peacemakers? What are ways in which we, as Christians, can grow as peacemakers?


The full schedule for the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is here.

Don't miss the four events that are specifically for the Young Leaders Initiative, which include:

  • Young Leaders Initiative (YLI) welcome event (Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023)
  • YLI Presented Community Workshops (Afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023)
  • YLI Reception with the Diversity Outreach Initiative (Evening of Monday, Jan. 30, 2023)

Tips from Previous Participants

Kévin, Dom, and Edith attended a few years ago, and here are some practical tips they learned from attending!

Prepare for Capitol Hill Visits

Visiting Capitol Hill to help influence your legislators is an important part of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. Your state captain will set up meetings with legislators from your state. On Monday morning, you will have the chance to gather with other people from your state to assign speaking responsibilities at the meetings. Consider volunteering to present about one of the legislative "asks!"

Prep materials for CSMG Hill Visits, including backgrounders about the CSMG advocacy issues

Students can feel free to join either the delegation from the state where your school is located, or the state that you consider your home. 


What Should I Wear?

On Saturday through Monday, most conference participants wear business casual clothing. For example, slacks or khakis, blouse or dress shirt, polo or open collar shirt, skirt at knee-length or below, knit shirt or sweater, are all examples of business casual clothing.

Save your most professional clothing for the Hill visits on Tuesday. Many participants will elect to wear shirt and tie and/or jacket on this day.


Social Media

Before, during and after CSMG, share your experience with your friends using these social media sites:

On Twitter, follow us #CSMG23.

Join our Facebook community.