National Catholic Youth Ministry Awards

About the Awards

Through its National Catholic Youth Ministry Awards, NFCYM seeks to recognize innovative people, organizations, and programs that empower, equip, and accompany young people as they navigate the path of growing into missionary discipleship.

The four award categories endeavor to acknowledge the contributions of dioceses, apostolates, individuals, organizations, programs, and parishes in pioneering approaches that

  • embrace acompañamiento
  • are inclusive of the diversity and gifts of the young church
  • identify exceptional methods and outreach that bridge the gap between the Church and young people, especially those who are so often overlooked, (i.e., socio-economic, culturally diverse, varying languages, special needs, and geographical realities)
Nominees must have experience in the ministry for which they are nominated for a minimum of five years. 

Award Categories

The Saint Katharine Drexel Pathway Award

For a diocesan level initiative or innovator who:
• Inspires others by their efforts to support and strengthen those whom Christ leads
• Collaborates at the diocesan level to illuminate the path of Christ in ministry outreach with young people
• Advocate a comprehensive approach to ministry with young people
• Promotes cooperative engagement with one or more diocese(s) that foster the values of the NFCYM in the above-mentioned areas

The Saint John Bosco Accompaniment Award

For an individual, apostolate, or organization working on the regional or national level that:
• Promotes innovative accompaniment, which embraces the Gospel and the mission of the NFCYM
• Inspires others through their efforts to support and strengthen the faithful accompanying young people
• Collaborates with others at the national/regional level to illuminate the necessity of accompaniment in ministry outreach with young people
• Advocates a comprehensive approach of ministry with young people
• Promotes the necessity of encountering and following Jesus Christ

The Saint John Paul II Parish Leadership Award

For a parish level ministry leader or team who:
• Inspires parishioners to mobilize outreach beyond the doors of the Church by developing authentic welcome and promoting acompañamiento
• Collaborates with parishioners and staff to encourage efforts that support and strengthen young people in their daily encounter with Jesus Christ
• Advocates a comprehensive approach to ministry with young people
• Promotes witness through the sacramental life that connects young people to the wider Church: diocesan, national, or international encounters

The Saints Joachim and Anne Cross Award

For a family ministry or outreach initiative that:
• Supports the gifts and challenges found in the sacrifices and joys of the domestic church
• Inspires families through their efforts to support and strengthen young people as they encounter and follow Jesus Christ
• Collaborates to illuminate the gift of family life, seeking guidance from dioceses, apostolates, or church organizations
• Advocates for the domestic church by partnering with parents and equipping families
• Promotes cooperative engagement with other families that foster the mission and vision of the NFCYM

2021 Award Nomination Process

  1. Complete the online nomination form and two letters of recommendation, all of which must be submitted no later than July 15 for the nomination to be considered. Ideally, recommendation letters are uploaded as part of the nomination form but may be emailed or mailed, if necessary.
    – For email, please include the nominee’s name in the subject line and send to
    – For posted mail, please include the nominee’s name on the back of the envelope and mail to NFCYM,
    ATTN: NCYM Awards (Insert Nominee’s Name), 415 Michigan Ave NE Ste 40, Washington DC 20017.
  2. Nominees should be nominated once and in a single award category. (i.e. Do not submit the same nominee in multiple categories.) The Ad Hoc Committee reserves the right to adjust nomination categories as needed.
  3. Nominations must come from a third party (i.e. Nominees may not nominate themselves). Members of the NFCYM Board of Directors, Awards Ad Hoc Committee, and staff may not nominate, be nominated, or provide letters of recommendation for nominees.
  4. Nominees must have been in ministry (or operational) for a minimum of five years to be considered for an award.
  5. Nominations can come from an individual, region, and/or a group. Nominations from regions or groups must include the name and email address of a single contact person in case the committee has clarifying questions.
  6. To assist the committee in its review, nominators should be as thorough as possible in responding to questions. Please, however, only respond to the questions included on the form.

Questions about the awards or awards process can be directed to Darius Villalobos at

Award recipients (and nominators) will receive written notification on or before September 30. Awards will be conferred in conjunction with the NFCYM Annual Membership Meeting in February.

2020 Award Recipients

Recipients of the 2020 awards were recognized at a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, February 3.

The Saint Katharine Drexel Pathway Award

Encuentros Juveniles

Encuentros Juveniles is a youth movement of the Archdiocese of Miami founded in 1973 and dedicated to the evangelization of young people.

Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, ACSJ

Sr. Mary Grace is president of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, a college preparatory school for young women founded and run by her community, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

The Saint John Bosco Accompaniment Award

DR. PATRICK DONOVANDiocese of Bridgeport

Dr. Patrick Donovan

Patrick is the founding executive director of The Leadership Institute of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Rob Kaczmark

Mr. Rob Kaczmark

Rob is the founder of Spirit Juice Studios, an award-winning creative production firm specializing in the transformative power of high quality visual media.

Dr. Alan Tarlo, Sr.

Alan is the chairman of the National Catholic Committe on Scouting (Boy Scouts of Ameria) for the Archdiocese of Detroit in Region 6.

The Saint John Paul II Parish Leadership Award

Helen Megally

Ms. Helen Megally

Helen is the director of youth ministry for Mary Seat of Wisdom Parish in Park Ridge, Illinois.

The Saints Joachim and Anne Cross Award

Ms. Kim McMillan

Kim is the director of youth ministry for St. Benedict Parish in Chicago, Illinois.