Catholic Youth Organization

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Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) is a Roman Catholic youth organization originating in Chicago.


The first CYO was initiated by prison chaplain and auxiliary bishop Bernard J. Sheil in Chicago in 1930 during the Great Depression. The first CYO was conceptualized as an athletic association. Its aim was to offer young males, especially from the working class, a community and constructive leisure activity in the hope to dissuade them from taking part in criminal activities. The first CYOs adopted structures similar to the older Protestant youth movement, the YMCA. However, unlike the YMCA, the CYO used Catholic social teachings and New Deal ideology. Furthermore, under the patronage of archbishop George Cardinal Mundelein, it became a core principle of CYO not to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or gender, as was common in other youth organizations of the time.[1]


The organization's main purposes are guiding the young Catholics to live a Christian life from a young age, developing trust between peers, and living a happy life in a positive manner.


Usually each group uses the church for meeting and gathering, although some have their own premises. Activities vary in accordance with local culture but often includes prayer, singing, charity, sales, sports and visiting the sick. In the United States, CYO is mainly known for its organized sports programs, notably boxing, basketball, baseball, track and field, and volleyball, as well as marching bands. Its athletic contests are often so competitive that CYO has been jokingly described as "Crush Your Opponents."[citation needed]

CYO organizations in the USA and world wide[edit]

The logo of shared by CYO organizations is a green circle split in three sections. Each section contains one letter of the acronym.[2]

CYO Ghana

CYO Ghana is a Catholic youth organization in Ghana. At international level CYO Ghana is a full member of the Catholic umbrella of youth organizations Fimcap.[3] (see: Catholic Youth Organization Ghana)

CYO Nigeria

CYO Nigeria is a Catholic youth organization in Nigeria. At international level CYO Nigeria is a full member of the Catholic umbrella of youth organizations Fimcap.[4] (see: Catholic Youth Organization Nigeria)

CYO Sierra Leone

CYO Sierra Leone is a Catholic youth organization in Sierra Leone. At international level CYO Sierra Leone is a full member of the Catholic umbrella of youth organizations Fimcap.[5] (see: Catholic Youth Organisation Sierra Leone)

CYO Archdiocese Indianopolis

The CYO in the Archdiocese Indianopolis was founded in 1939 by bishop Ritter.[6]

CYO Philippines

There are also active units of this organization in the Philippines. Most units are choirs of their parishes, and they also organize various activities under sports, spiritual, social, cultural, formation, ways and means, and membership committees. All of these projects have helped in nurturing the faith of the Filipino Christian youth, their holistic growth, leadership capabilities, cultural and artistic talents, love for the family, and for the community. CYO in the Philippines was founded by Fr. George J. Willman in the year 1938, with Loreto Parish in Sampaloc, Manila as the pilot unit. Its National Chaplain, Emeritus is Msgr. Francisco Tantoco, and Fr. Jerome Cruz as National Chaplain. CYO's Founder's Day is celebrated every 29 June, which is also Fr. George J. Willman's birthday.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Riess, Steven A. (2015-03-26). Sports in America from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 9781317459477.
  2. ^ Young, Julie (2011-01-01). The Cyo in Indianapolis and Central Indiana. The History Press. ISBN 9781609492069.
  3. ^ "CYO Ghana". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  4. ^ "CYO Nigeria". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  5. ^ "CYO Sierra Leone". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  6. ^ "CYO". Retrieved 2016-06-08.