Christian Leadership Institute brings young leaders to the Retreat Center

The annual Christian Leadership Institute returned to the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center the week of June 22-27, 2014.

High school students, from those who finished their freshmen year to those recently graduated, join a team of leaders to discover their God-given talents and to find ways to use them in their parishes, schools and communities. This year’s CLI group had 21 students, said Melinda Prunty, director of the Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky.

“The best part is seeing the unconditional love and acceptance they feel, so they can be themselves,” Prunty said. “They realize the Church is bigger than themselves or their parish.”

This is the most multicultural group yet, with Burmese and Hispanic students joining with their American-born counterparts, Prunty said.

Crissy Stevenson, youth minister at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in nearby Sorgho for the past seven years, was attending her 11th CLI, with her first after she graduated from high school in 2004.

“I was going to Brescia (University) but I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “A lady who watched me grow up told me I should be a youth minister. CLI really sparked that.”

Stevenson, who has youths from seven parishes attending activities at St. Mary Magdalene, said as a team member at CLI, she enjoys watching the students develop and gain confidence.

“I like to watch the community form during the week.”

Here are pictures from the week: