Young and energetic campus ministry leaders are creating vibrant faith communities at colleges across our country.

On June 20, 2012, campus ministry teams from colleges and universities across the United States arrived at the University of Missouri prepared for four days of idea sharing, fellowship and faith as part of the Campus Ministry Leadership Institute (CMLI).

The annual event, sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is typically only held in Philadelphia. This year, however, Catholic Extension asked the campus ministry at the University of Missouri to host the event in its home Diocese of Jefferson City. In return, Catholic Extension donors would underwrite the expenses, making CMLI more accessible to campus ministries in mission dioceses.

The impact of CMLI on campus ministries is invaluable. Students full of youthful energy bring their creativity to small group activities and brainstorming sessions. The goal, over the course of the event, is to develop a tangible project that will enhance a specific aspect of their ministry on campus.

Mary Kathryn Romero, a 2011 CMLI participant from Spring Hill College in the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama recalled being surprised by what her team was able to take away after just four days. “We thought that we were doing well, but we were able to find a lot of things we could improve upon,” she said. “CMLI gave us the tools to be able to work better.” The school represents one of nine teams whose 2012 attendance was sponsored by Catholic Extension.

Romero believes that the projects completed at CLMI create a “ripple effect” when applied on campus – they touch more students, who in turn extend their faith to loved ones.

With their gifts to Catholic Extension, donors have become a part of this ripple effect. Over the next three years, Catholic Extension will choose three more campus ministries to host CMLI in other parts of the country, helping students unleash the transformative power of faith on their campuses.

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