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Youth Grow in Faith; Learn Leadership Skills


CLI_2010_Group_Pic_w_Bishop_Cropped_1.jpgChristian Leadership Institute (CLI) 2010 was once again a huge success! Thirty-one teens from across the diocese gathered for a week to delve into Christian Leadership skills through workshops on communication, group dynamics, conflict/resolution, planning skills and community building. The institute is far more than just “teaching” skills, however. It is about empowering the young people through prayer and worship. Anyone can be a leader, but it takes a strong disciple to become a true Christian Leader. CLI encourages participants to keep Christ at the center of one’s daily life. They are invited to recognize their own gifts and learn how they might share them with others.

The small group leaders were all CLI alumni. These young adults came forward to give back to the diocese in appreciation for all that the Church had done for them while they were in high school. They put the skills they learned themselves through CLI and other experiences to great use as they led this year’s teens with confidence and promised them that the week would be life changing…a promise that definitely was fulfilled!

By the end of the week the teens did not want to leave their newly-formed CLI family and all agreed that it was definitely the best week of their life!

Fr. Don Geyman, Diocesan Vocations Director, served as the spiritual director for the week and helped the youth prepare wonderful liturgies each night. On Wednesday evening the group welcomed six priests to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. On Thursday Bishop Hebda joined the group and like the teens, he didn’t want to leave … so he stayed on until Friday.

Seminarian Tyler Bischoff served as a small group leader, while the other seminarians, Michael and Peter Wigton and Matt Cowan served as support staff. They were a tremendous help and were kept very busy!

This year’s CLI featured a new twist by incorporating an adult component to the program. This opportunity was open to any adult presently in ministry or discerning a ministry within the Church. Patty Furtaw, Marsha Hoppe, Andrew O’Brien, and Amy Peters lead ten adult participants through each of the workshops that the teens experience. This new component was very well received and is expected to be a regular addition to the overall diocesan CLI program.

For more information regarding CLI and other programs for youth, contact Dannie Brzezinski, Director of Faith Development.

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