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History

CrossRoads Ministry offers urban retreat experiences which invite people to be transformed through building relationships at the margins, engaging in prayer, and integrating the Gospel vision of peace and justice into their lives. This guiding mission statement was brought forth by an ad hoc committee to St. William's Leadership Circle in mid-1999 and subsequently approved by the parish as a whole. In 2000, the CrossRoads dream became a reality.

An Advisory Council was formed, composed of St. William parishioners and local youth advocates. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth's initial grant enabled CrossRoads to hire Shannon Queenan as its first director in May, 2000. Her work included renovation of the rectory that would house our ministry, preparing the first retreat programs, and creating partnerships with parishes, schools, and local agencies.

In Fall of 2000, CrossRoads held its first retreat for Eastern Kentucky University, with lodging provided at the Catholic Worker House. By the end of the year, CrossRoads had offered five retreat programs, including its first onsite retreat for Presentation Academy.

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Since its inception, CrossRoads has grown in experience, participants, and reputation. Fifty to sixty groups, including high schools, parish youth groups, college students, youth ministers and educators come annually to CrossRoads searching for ways to cross the boundaries that divide us. Without exception, they form relationships with those in the margins and build bridges between diverse communities.

CrossRoads also works to develop creative new programs for its constituency. These have included Just People, the J-Walking programs offered for youth ministers, educators, and advocates, the Parenting for Peace and Justice Series, on-site luncheon discussions at St. Francis High School, the JusticeWalking program facilitated in cooperation with JustFaith Ministries, an opportunity to bridge rural and urban realities called Breaking Bread and, most recently, Send Down the Fire, a series of offerings for Confirmandi.

In June 2004, CrossRoads realized a most ambitious retreat vision: CrossWalk, a weeklong immersion experience. A community of unlikely friends was created between high school youth, college-age and adult companions, local and nationally known musicians, the clients and staffs of various social justice agencies, special speakers, Cistercian monks of Gethsemani, and residents and neighbors of St. Vincent de Paul. Participants crossed divisions of race, ethnicity, religion, geography, age, socioeconomic status, and physical and mental capabilities. It was an awe inspiring experience for all and continues to be. CrossWalk is held annually.

In response to the equally important prophetic call of all people, in May 2009, CrossRoads expanded its mission to include adults. This expansion of the mission to serve teenagers, college-aged people, and adults continues to grow the circle of community created at CrossRoads.

In our short history, CrossRoads has been blessed by the leadership and dedication of its Directors: Shannon Queenan (2000–2003), Fritz Gutwein (2003–2005), and Dawn Dones (2006–2015), Assistant Directors: David Golemboski (2006–2007), Erica Olson (2008–2009), Kara Morrell (2010) and Retreat Director, Sam Thomeczek (2012–2013), and Alex Flood (2014-present).

In 2010, CrossRoads began its Retreat Associate Program. This supervised program was designed to provide each Associate with ongoing education, training and formation in various aspects of CrossRoads retreat ministry as well as provide assistance to the Director in the ongoing mission and work of the organization. Mandy Olivam was the first Retreat Associate (2010–2012) and Randy Barth (2011–present) the second.

As a leadership team, Dawn, Mandy and Randy were able to combine spirituality, passion for justice and administrative skills to further the reach and deepen the impact of CrossRoads’ vision for prophetic ministry. 

In the last year more than 2,000 participants have visited CrossRoads. These groups have included students from John Carroll University, Trinity High School, Loyola University Chicago, Sacred Heart Academy, Presentation Academy, and numerous groups from the Archdiocese & beyond. During the 2015-2016 school year, CrossRoads will host almost 100 retreats.