Conference set for teens, parish leaders

JACKSON – Registration is open for Cross Connections, a first of its kind gathering for youth and ministers. The event, organized by the Office of Youth Ministry, is set for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Jackson from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. The cost is $25 per person and attendees should make their own hotel arrangements.
“The theme: Cross Connections: Catholic and I Mean It, is meant to help us understand the idea that youth are members of their parish from the moment they are born, not just when they join a class or youth group,” said Kathie Curtis, coordinator of the Office of Youth Ministry.
“We want to work with youth and youth ministers, but we also want to include pastors, DREs, CREs, everyone who works in parish ministry to help integrate the gifts young people bring into the whole life of the parish,” she added. The Catholic population in Mississippi is a minority. Curtis said she wants to help young people embrace their faith and be proud of it, particularly as they reach the age when they are going out on their own and being challenged by other kids their own age.
Speakers will include Brian Topping, with Paradisus Dei, a ministry out of Houston, Texas. Topping has trained staff with Parish Success Group in how to manage, organize and communicate different ministry groups. He will lead a  session for young people and a breakout session for adult leaders only.
Joe Melendrez, famous for his Rosary rap, will also bring his high-energy praise and worship to the event. He will be joined by Leah Darrow, a contestant from America’s Top Model, whose conversion led her to become a Catholic speaker.
Reservations will be open until Feb. 10. Contact Kathie Curtis, 601-949-6934,