About Search

What is SEARCH?

Search for Christian Maturity is a Catholic program for young people aged 16 and over.  It is one of the first youth retreats to grow out of the Cursillo movement, with a ‘youth talking with youth’ approach referred to as Peer Ministry, small group and follow-up program.

During the Search retreat, youth are given an experience of Christian community; something they may, or may not, experience in their homes, school, or parish.  An atmosphere of openness and caring is created on the weekend so young people can let down their defenses. This hopefully allows them to take an honest look at themselves, along with their relationship with God. The emphasis of the weekend is not to have adults teach or lecture in a classroom type setting, but to try and take the things they already know and believe as Christians and have them make them come alive during the weekend. Many young people come to discover for the first time, that God loves them and that they can reach Him.

Search for Christian Maturity came in the 1960's from the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) of San FranciscoCalifornia.   In May of 1966, the Search for Christian Maturity was adopted by the National Catholic Youth Organization as the official retreat program for the United States of America. In the ensuing years, the Search was initiated in over 75 dioceses in the U.S. as well as in other countries. Much like Cursillo and other 3 day events, it spread quickly.

Search is a strong program which helps Catholic young people take up the Holy Father’s challenge to live out their single vocation now and to be  evangelizers in the Church today.  They witness to God's love and goodness to them and develop a spirituality of service whether it be through giving talks, leading a discussion, cooking, cleaning, listening, sharing or praying. Living out their single vocations today with their peers, as well as married couples and those discerning a religious vocation.  What better evangelizers could there be, than teens inspired to live out their vocational calling today, touched by God’s love, spreading that fire, to their peers 


Search is made possible today by the Office of Youth Ministry in coordination with the Office of Vocations for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi.  Ann and Jeff Cook, parishioners of St. Richard Catholic Church in Jackson, help facilitate the retreat along with Randy Hamilton, seminarians, married couples and young adult volunteers.  This support allows the youth staff to lead the retreat for other youth (Searchers).


Search was started in the Jackson Diocese in 1970 under the leadership of the newly ordained Father Frank Cosgrove and Father Mike O'brien.  Search lasted in the Jackson Diocese until the early 80's and was started back again in 2004 by Ann and Jeff Cook with the help of Gordy Glaze, Jeff Hill and volunteer youth staff from the Diocese of Austin, Texas.


For more information or to donate to the Search Retreat program, please contact the Office of Youth Ministry.