Catholic Extension to Host Event in Mississippi and Arkansas July 10-13, 2012

Chicago – June 21, 2012 – Catholic Extension today announced that it has selected 11 young adults from across the U.S. to participate in its second annual Emerging Catholic Leaders event on July 10-13, 2012. The event brings together young adult Catholics who are active in their faith to experience Catholic Extension’s work in growing the vibrancy of the Church through a focus on developing people, supporting ministries and investing in infrastructure in poor mission dioceses across America.

As part of this immersion experience, participants will witness faith in action through visits to local Catholic parishes in Arkansas and Mississippi. Though resources are scarce in these areas, the faith is strong. Their first visit will be Holy Spirit Church in Hamburg, Ark. Holy Spirit is a poor, rural mission church with a growing Latino population. Participants will meet Sisters who have recently joined the parish in an effort to help it thrive as a faith community. The participants will also visit Sacred Heart in Camden, Miss., an African American church with roots in the Civil Rights era. Sacred Heart has become a vibrant parish and a center of service for the entire community.

The participants will have an opportunity to connect with other young adults from both mission dioceses (those supported by Catholic Extension) and non-mission dioceses and learn how they, as emerging leaders, can contribute to the future vibrancy of the Catholic Church throughout the U.S.

Participants include:

  • Amy Pasden, Marina Pastrana, Matt Schweitzer and Kari Tarnstrom of the Archdiocese of Boston, Mass.
  • Jennifer Sawyer and Kasia Tsarowska of the Archdiocese of New York, N.Y.
  • Marisela Rios of the Diocese of Boise, Idaho
  • Maria Izquierdo of the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Rebecca Koury of the Diocese of Lexington, Ky.
  • Brian Geer of the Diocese of Helena, Mont.
  • Sarah Rachah of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Mont.

“Emerging Catholic Leaders is an opportunity for young adult Catholics to experience all the beauty and diversity of the Catholic Church in America,” said Catholic Extension President Father Jack Wall. “They will also witness the great financial need our mission dioceses face. Our participants were selected by their local parishes and dioceses based on their passion and leadership in their church. We’re proud to introduce them to the work of Catholic Extension and assist them in their roles as emerging leaders in the Catholic faith.”

For more information on this event, visit the Emerging Catholic Leaders page on the Catholic Extension website.

“Catholic Extension is committed to building a network of young Catholic leaders,” Fr. Wall continued. “We were blessed to have this opportunity to come together to share ideas that will ultimately strengthen the Church’s outreach to young adults.”

About Catholic Extension

Since 1905, Chicago-based Catholic Extension has been empowering Catholic communities by providing them funds to establish themselves; become self-sustaining; provide religious education and outreach ministries; build and renovate church buildings; and train the next generation of lay, religious and ordained Catholic leaders. Catholic Extension has distributed nearly $500 million to communities across America throughout its history. For more information, visit