Let us connect

We’d love to hear from you. Drop us an email, or visit our facebook page.

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We’re always on the move, so please call us on the following mobile numbers if you’d like to speak directly to one of us.

+27 (0) 84 686 3696

Timothy Harris, (Director) will be able to help with daily opperational matters, anything to do with our local projects or future training opportunities

+27 (0) 83 258 6571

Adrian van Stolk, (Chairman) will be able to help with board matters and the strategic position of the Catholic Leadership Academy.

Frequently asked questions

1Is CLA really Catholic?

The Catholic Leadership Academy is unapologetically Catholic. We work in close collaboration with our Archdiocesan youth structures and enjoy the blessing of our Archbishop, Stephen Brislin. We are passionate about Catholicism; we revere Scripture and Catholic Tradition and hold firmly to the tenets of the Catholic Church. We are so passionate in fact, that seeing young people drift away from Christ and The Church inspired us to seek ways in which we might reverse this trend. The Catholic Leadership Academy is the result of this searching process. We are responding to a personal calling to work specifically with lay leaders and their parishes to build up the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church. Alongside our firm beliefs, we also acknowledge the deep value of all cultures and faiths and strive to love as Jesus Christ loves every member of the human family.

2Where did CLA come from?

CLA is the culmination of many journeys. It began very long ago, but it only really emerged into view when, after an inspiring World Youth Day experience in Madrid, Tim Harris approached Adrian van Stolk, with a desire to be more, do more and to give more, for the sake of the Kingdom. Adrian’s prophetic ‘Yes’ was the definitive point of ignition that set in motion a process of research, prayer, and many hours of hard work which has lead us to this point. Years before, Adrian had founded a parish based movement for young adults, centered on Christ that aimed to provide a dynamic platform for young people to express and experience their Catholic faith and through it, draw closer to God. The movement intentionally encouraged diversified leadership, aiding in the movement’s sustainability. Tim has worked effectively within the movement since the beginning, leading it at certain times. The movement has now expanded, offering a life stage specific platform for all six life-stages from infancy to ‘post young adult’.

The movement continues draw young people into relationship with Jesus Christ, and Adrian and Tim are still very much involved with each new phase in the story. It is this fourteen year leadership journey that has provided a portion of the insight and understanding that forms the bedrock of the Catholic Leadership Academy’s approach.

For a more detailed story, or for more info on either Adrian or Tim, please get in touch and we will gladly share what, for both of us, has been a grace filled experience of faith, hope and love.

3What is CLA trying to achieve?

We are trying to increase the number of equipped, committed youth leaders working in the Catholic Church. We are motivated to achieve this so that more young people can find a place of belonging in their parishes and thereby come to know Jesus Christ.

4Who is CLA endorsed by?

We are fully endorsed by the Archbishop of Cape Town, Stephen Brislin, and we work closely with the Archdiocesan Youth Office.

5What is the CLA definition of a young person?

We have a very broad interpretation of the word ‘youth’. It is important to note that when we talk of ‘young people’ we do not refer only to teens or kids. While age can be a useful starting point, we pay more attention to what life-stage people find themselves in. For the purposes of focusing youth movements, we speak of six different life stages: Infancy, Toddler, Primary School, High School, Young Adult and Post Young Adult. So for us, ‘young people’ refers to any person who fits somewhere on this continuum.

6Why not only focus on a local audience?

We have spent the last three years focusing our efforts on local leaders and parishes, and we are now ready to throw the net wider. We know there is a world out there of catholic leaders who are excited about leading young people to Christ, who are craving input and guidance in the form we can offer. We are also aware that in order to grow, we need to draw on a larger pool of leaders. We believe that bringing candidates from outside of Cape Town into our midst, will contribute to the improvement of youth leadership on a local level. And we are also excited about the long term prospect of developing a global network of well equipped catholic leaders.

7How sustainable is CLA?

CLA is still in its developmental phase and as such we are reliant on donor funding. This is not our preferred model of sustainability. We are working toward a situation where tuition for our full time course covers the majority of our running costs. In the future we will continue to solicit donor support but only in order to train particular leaders who would otherwise not have the means.

8Where is CLA based?

We are based at 220 Ottery Rd, a CWD owned training center in Ottery, Cape Town. See us on Google Maps (http://bit.ly/2e8jyPr)

9How do parishes and communities benefit?

It is a requirement of the course that CLA leaders return to their home communities to establish a team, and a youth movement that can provide the platform for other young people to experience and express their faith and thereby draw closer to God. This has immeasurable benefits for the young people who participate in the movement. Parishes that enjoy the success of a sustainable youth movement generally have an increase in energy and vibrancy that flows into other areas of parish life. There is the potential for your CLA leader to assume a large portion of the responsibility for young people that may otherwise have fallen to the Parish Priest. This would allow him to focus on other pressing matters thereby improving the parish in an indirect way.

10I would like to offer practical or financial assistance, how might I do so?

We welcome all input from those who desire to see the Catholic Leadership Academy succeed. If you have a contribution that you would like to make, please do not hesitate to be in touch.

1Will I be safe in Cape Town?

Cape Town is like any large city, while there is potential for incident, this can be almost nullified by remaining sensible and alert. Enquire about the areas you are likely to visit to gain an understanding of your surroundings. Should you participate in the Course, we will advise you on what areas to avoid. Always remain vigilant. Do not carry valuables openly or flaunt expensive tech or jewelry. Avoid carrying cash. Do not walk alone at night or behave in an antagonistic way. These are basic safety pointers that would apply anywhere. Generally, Cape Town is a safe city and you will be very safe if you are not reckless. There is a high police presence, and many areas have local security services that minimize crime.

2What are the dates of the courses?

Next Courses:

  • 10 September - 10 December 2017
  • 11 March - 10 June 2018
  • 12 August - 11 November 2018
3What are the hours of the course?

Candidates should expect to participate in an eight-hour day five days a week. The weekly timetable will vary with certain compulsory weekend and evening activities. We insist on a healthy balance of ‘study’ and free time. It is also worth noting that we undertake to utilize every good thing that our city has to offer, so candidates can expect regular visits to spaces of interest throughout the Archdiocese of Cape Town.

4How will candidates experience community?

Each candidate will be hosted by a local Catholic family. As a class of leaders we will eat regular meals together, we will pray, attend the sacraments and enjoy the outdoors together, we will also embark on a variety of social and cultural adventures. The activities, of course create the context, you and those around you create community.

5How old must I be to apply?

We do not have an upper age limit for applications, however candidates must be eighteen years or older. Candidate selection is based on a combination of factors, with one of our primary considerations being be the strength of your desire and commitment to lead young people to Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church.

6How will this course affect other areas of my life?

Apart from becoming a better leader for young people in the Catholic Church, the Catholic Leadership Academy will equip you to become a better leader of yourself, a better leader in your work environment, in your family, in your friendship groups and in the society in which you live. In fact, we expect more from our leaders than just to return home to lead a youth movement. The true measure of whether we have been effective in our mission is the extent to which our candidates become complete Catholic leaders in every facet of their lives.

7Do I have to work in full time ministry before or after attending CLA?

The short answer is, “No”. While we acknowledge that full time employment in youth ministry is not a sustainable reality for many dioceses or parishes, we certainly are inspired by the idea of more, paid, Catholic youth leaders. We also know that for some, this is a feasible reality and so we invite leaders from either experience. CLA makes no judgment about a person based on their status as a volunteer or an employed youth ministry worker. We would be very pleased if our work, and your success contributed to the number of qualified youth leaders available and thus enabled an increase in youth ministry employment. Equally, if over time, CLA leaders were to influence a trend toward more resources being made available by communities for youth ministry employment we would also be very pleased.

8What language is the course delivered in?

The course is delivered in English. All candidates are required to have at minimum a working grasp of the English language.

9Who pays for the course?

We require that each applicant is affiliated to a parish, diocese or similar Catholic entity involved with young people. And because both the organization and the individual stand to benefit we encourage that the fee is split between the two parties. This helps ensure necessary buy-in from the candidate and the requisite support from the organization during the course and upon the candidate’s return. The split can be negotiated independently of CLA, however proof of a two party investment will positively influence the selection process of any applicant.

10I can’t afford the course but want to apply. What can I do?

We do not wish to exclude individuals purely on the basis of affordability. Please note that the course fee is inclusive of tuition, meals, accommodation with host family, course related transport, outings and retreats.

We recommend that applicants and their home parish or diocese share the course fee, as it is an investment into the individual and the community.

Please contact us to discuss potential financial support, or to structure a payment plan should it be required.

11I want to apply for the course, but my Priest is not supportive. What should I do?

It is imperative that you have support from your Priest. If you are not from a traditional parish and have a supportive Superior other than a priest, please contact us and share your situation. If on the other hand you are in good standing with your Priest and he remains unsupportive after various attempts to excite him about the CLA opportunity, please be in contact and we will advise potential next steps based on the merits of the situation. The simple truth is that without support from a Catholic superior we will not be able to consider your application.

12My Priest wants me to apply, but I remain unconvinced. What should I do?

In this situation, there is very little that we can say to change your mind. If you are sure that CLA is not the right fit for you, we encourage you to state this clearly to your Priest so that he is aware of your decision. If you are open to being convinced but everything you’ve read here leaves you uninspired, take one final risk and drop us a note expressing your feelings - we’ll read between the lines and tell you if this really is something to ignore, or something to grab a hold of. Trust us, we will be honest.

13I know somebody who should apply for this course. What should I do?

If you’ve already sent them a link to the website and encouraged them to be in touch, and if they have chosen not to contact us, it’s safe to say they’re not the right candidate for CLA, at least at this moment. If your conviction persists, drop us a note and share the details of the situation with us. We may intervene, we may choose not to.

14I would like to fund a student, but I don’t know one, can you help?

We are always in need of funding to support worthy candidates, of which there are many. If you would like to show your support for this cause by part or full sponsorship of a candidate, please do contact us and we’ll set up a Skype conversation to discuss the details. Alternatively please click on the ‘donate’ button above and make a once off or monthly pledge to the Catholic Leadership Academy.


Send us a message

Whether you’re Young leader, a Priest, a Bishop, a Parent, a Volunteer, a Sponsor, an Alumni, a Trainer, or anyone else, we’d love the opportunity to engage with you. Send through your query or comment, gratetude or gripe and we’ll respond directly to you.