CRL Chapters - Catholic Rural Life

CRL Chapters

CRL Chapters

What is a Chapter?

CRL Chapters are groups of CRL members who build, celebrate, and promote rural Catholic life in their local area. These chapters are the representatives of Catholic Rural Life to their communities. They share in the CRL vision of flourishing Catholic life in rural America through thriving families, farms, and parishes – centered on faith, community and care of creation. 

What does a Chapter do?

CRL Chapters witness to the faith in a diverse array of activities.  Most chapters meet regularly, host an annual Mass celebrating rural life, organize social programs and events, and pray the St. Isidore Novena each May. Chapters often begin from individual members who are dedicated to Catholic Rural Life’s vision and want to see it flourish locally. 

Because they are local, chapters have a variety of creative ways in which they choose to focus their impact in their community. A few examples are:

» CRL-La Crosse works with a local seed company to provide seed to farmers in need at low or no cost.

» CRL-Salina hosts a seminar each spring for local farmers, covering both farming and spiritual practices pertinent to farming.

» CRL-St. Martin Deanery (Cincinnati, OH) held an event to highlight the history of the African-American farmers in Appalachia who settled in the Archdiocese after the Civil War.

» CRL-Lincoln regularly organizes Masses and prayer services at tractor shows, farming events, and on farms throughout the diocese.

Partnering with the local bishop and diocese, chapters organize religious and spiritual events including The Novena to St. Isidore the Farmer, Blessings of Seeds and Fields, and hosting rural life celebrations.

“It is my contention that people in the rural areas are so closely connected with creation that there is an inherent genius in what they can provide to the conversation on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, ‘care for our common home.’”

Diocese of Davenport

Share a renewed vision of the Catholic faith and how it applies to rural families, farmers and communities through conferences, seminars and events such as ‘Faith, Food and the Environment,’ Rural Spirituality, the Vocation of the Agricultural Leader, Farm Education Days, How to Develop Lay Leaders in a Parish, Life in Christ Lay Leadership, and Farm-to-Table dinners.

“Locally, a need has been expressed for Catholic Rural Life to expand basic agricultural education in school. We have a subcommittee working with the public and Catholic schools to see what we can do to make agriculture exciting for students.”

Campaign Cabinet Member and Chapter leader,
Diocese of Salina

Work with local seed producers to supply farmers in need at low or no cost (Project Seed), bring the needs of rural residents to their dioceses, and sponsor Century Farm/Business Awards that share inspirational stories of faith, family and community.

“A great part of our mission is to collaborate with others to begin chapters that bring people together so that people know an area of participation, that they then can be confident and assured that the Lord is really guiding them as well in the care of creation and a collaboration with God working the land and providing food for others.”

CRL Board Member

CRL Springfield
Diocese of Springfield, Illinois | Office of Pro-Life Activities and Special Ministries Donna Moore

CRL Owensboro
Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky | Social Concerns Office
Deacon Richard Murphy, Billy Bray
Visit their website

CRL St. Cloud
Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota | Catholic Charities, Office for Social Concerns JoAnn Braegelman (East), Barb Ryan (West)
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CRL Winona-Rochester
Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota |
Rev. Rick Colletti, Isaac Landsteiner

CRL Metuchen
Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey | Catholic Rural Life Ministry Office Rev. Michael Saharic
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CRL Fargo
Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota | Office of Liturgy
Rev. Matthew Kraemer
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CRL Greensburg
Diocese of Greensburg, PA | Dr. Lucas Briola

CRL Green Bay
Diocese of Green Bay, | Wisconsin Rural Life Ministry Lori Paul
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CRL La Crosse
Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin | Catholic Rural Life Committee Deacon Bob Zietlow
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CRL Madison
Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin | Catholic Rural Life Committee Tom Nelson and Fr. Bernie Rott

CRL Davenport
Diocese of Davenport, Iowa | Social Action Department Deacon Dan Freeman, Kent Ferris

CRL Des Moines
Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa Social Justice Consortium, Rural Life
Deacon Luke Tieskoetter
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CRL Maine
Diocese of Portland, Maine | St. Joseph and St. Rosa of Lima Parish
Rev. Paul Dumais, Max Becher
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CRL Jefferson City
Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri | LeAnn Korsmeyer and Rev. Matthew Flatley

CRL Mt. Carmel
National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Rev. Nicolas Blackwell, O.Carm, Carol Bezak

CRL Fargo
Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota | Office of Liturgy Rev. Matthew Kraemer
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CRL Sioux Falls
Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Rev. Timothy Smith

CRL Kansas State
St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center Elizabeth Wright, Rev. Gale Hammerschmidt

CRL Salina
Diocese of Salina, Kansas | Rural Life Commission
Art Befort, Rev. Richard Daise, Rev. Brian Lager
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CRL Saginaw
Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan
Rev. Stephen Blaxton

CRL Grand Island
Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska | Rev. Bryan Ernest

CRL Lincoln
Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska | Rural Life Conference Rev. Brian Wirth

CRL Raleigh
Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina | Dcn Arthur Powers, Dcn. Joshua Klickman

CRL Mt. Angel Abbey
St. Benedict, Oregon | Br. Anselm Flores, Abbot Peter Eberle

CRL Portland, Oregon
Diocese of Portland, Oregon

CRL Amarillo
Diocese of Amarillo, Texas | Rural Life Committee Rev. Jim Schmitmeyer, Morgan Gerlach

CRL San Angelo
Diocese of San Angelo, Texas | Rural Life Committee Deacon Charlie Evans, Deacon Floyd and Martha Schwartz

CRL Victoria
Diocese of Victoria, Texas | Catholic Rural Life Committee Rev. Stephen Vacek, Deacon Larry Hoelscher
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Don’t see your community represented? Find out more about the background and how to start a CRL chapter here and contact us at
If we have inadvertently missed your community in the list below, please let us know at

Interested in getting involved?

Contact CRL or go to your local chapter’s website for details about how you can get involved locally!

No chapter in your area?  Get one started!

Forming a chapter has three initial requirements:

  1. Connect with CRL – Call or Email Tim Streiff, Program Manager, at CRL
  2. Convene motivated and interested members who are willing to step up as leaders
    • Gather a group of interested members (at least 3!) who are willing to lead the chapter and want to share in the vision of Catholic Rural Life
  3. Approval from your local Bishop
    • Every successful chapter relies on the approval and blessing of their local bishop, religious superior, or pastor.  Chapters aren’t duplicate ministries in the diocese, rather a grassroots effort at promoting the Catholic faith and way of living to rural communities.

CRL will help walk any interested parties through the chapter planning process and connect you with the growing network of chapters across the country.

People love being members of the Catholic Rural Life community.

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