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Catholic Ministry Internship

The Catholic Ministry Internship Program, sponsored by the Office of the College Chaplains and the Lilly Vocation Discernment Initiative, provides students who are considering a vocation in ministry within the Roman Catholic Church with an opportunity for hands-on supervised ministry during either the summer break or the academic year in parishes and other faith communities within the Diocese of Worcester or within easy driving distance of Worcester. Some of these students are considering a vocation in ordained ministry or vowed religious life; others are considering ministry as laypersons.

Internship Sites

Most of the Catholic ministry internships are done at parishes in the Diocese of Worcester or in a neighboring diocese. Depending on the interests and needs of the student, another ecclesial setting may be chosen such as a diocesan office, school, hospital or long-term care center, and sites outside of New England may also be considered. Past internship sites include St. Bernard Church and St. Joan of Arc Church in Worcester, St. Patrick Church in Whitinsville MA, St. James Church in South Grafton MA, Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton MA, St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill MA, St. Peter Church in Gloucester MA, Corpus Christi Church in East Sandwich MA, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Community in Storrs CT, St. Gregory the Great Church in Bristol CT, St. Dominic Church in Stonington CT, and St. Malachy Church in Philadelphia PA. Non-parish sites have included St. Mary Health Care Center in Worcester, Worcester Interfaith, the Pastoral Planning Project of the Diocese of Worcester, International Partners in Mission in Cleveland OH, and Aston-Mansfield Charities in London, England.

Type of Work

The internship is designed to provide the student intern with hands-on experience in pastoral ministry. Possible areas of work include (but are not limited to) youth ministry, liturgical and music ministry, religious education, sacramental preparation, outreach, community building, visitation to hospitals and homebound parishioners, prison ministry, peace and justice work. While administrative duties are an expected part of any ministerial activity, the internship is not intended to provide the parish with primarily clerical or administrative assistance. Examples of work done by previous students in the Catholic Ministry Internship Program include:

  • organizing and teaching at Vacation Bible School
  • visiting elderly and homebound parishioners
  • bringing communion to parishioners and other Catholics in area hospitals
  • helping to lead a week-long youth ministry work camp serving the needy in Georgia
  • helping parish children to organize a community service organization
  • serving as a lector and communion minister at parish Masses
  • making house calls to new immigrant families in the parish neighborhood
  • serving as a leader on a multi-day Christian Leadership Institute with parish youth
  • updating and organizing parish census information
  • facilitating sessions and organizing data for a diocesan pastoral planning project
  • attending regional gatherings of parish directors of religious education
  • participating in bereavement support meetings
  • making preparations for fall classes in the religious education program
  • producing the worship aid for the dedication of a new parish church
  • organizing summer day trips for young and elderly parishioners
  • resurrecting a parish youth group
  • producing the Spanish bulletin for a bilingual parish
  • giving Spanish lessons to a young English speaking priest in a bilingual parish
  • organizing activities to help children cope with the closing of their parish

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What Previous Interns Have Said About Their Internship Experiences

"Whether it was leading my group, or volunteering to do a 'mini-versity' - a lesson given to the entire group of participants and leaders with my partner - or doing a skit in front of everyone, I was really putting myself way out of my comfort zone. I'm so glad that I did. I got so much of out it, and that's something that I really needed. No matter what I decide to do in the future, be it ministry, or law, or anything really, this is something that will always help me."

"I know that the parish closings make this an especially difficult and challenging time to be in ministry, but I also feel it is a time when people will turn to those in ministry the most. I'm not discouraged from following my vocation during this time; I feel it is nobler to go into ministry during a difficult time and really be able to help people that are struggling with a lot."

"Talking, observing, learning, growing and working with the members of the (parish) family, staff and parishioners alike, has taught me much about ministry, about life and social interactions, and about myself. I've learned to ask questions, especially when someone else knows a lot more than I do ... As my ministry internship comes to a close, I can't think of any way that my summer could have been better spent. Learning, thinking and growing in an environment that has encouraged each pursuit has been a truly fulfilling experience. I am so very grateful to have had this opportunity."

"The Young Adult Bible Study group ... challenges me to re-think my role as 'minister,' be it music or otherwise, and realize the importance of always being in a learning role as well, and being aware of the teachers all around me, regardless of their age or background (academic or otherwise). It has definitely helped me to look at the people whom I am serving in a different, much enriched way; I have realized more deeply what a privilege it is to work with not only this group of young people, but this parish community ... and on a broader scale, with any and all of God's children."

What Previous Site Supervisors Have Said About Their Interns

"This summer internship was an excellent experience for (name) as he continues to discern a vocation to church ministry and possibly the diocesan priesthood ... Throughout his summer internship, (name) experienced some of the hopes and frustrations, the enthusiasm and the fears that are part of the fabric of parish life in this difficult period of time for the Church ... His internship this summer and his dialogue with a variety of people have helped him to envision what the Church and parish life may be like in future years."

"(Name) has continued our presence in the psychiatric hospital, an area we'd otherwise be hard-pressed to cover. He's also going to be taking the lead on the reflections with our teens going to Catholic Worker House ... I hope you will continue to make interns available to us."

" (Name) is the ideal intern. If it needs to be done, she does it - completely responsible in all things ... Her participation in work camp with our youth was wonderful. This has been a great gift to our parish both years!"

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Structure and Requirements

Summer internships are for ten weeks of full time supervised ministry. Full time is understood to mean an average of 40 hours per week. Because of the nature of church ministry, it is expected that the hours may include weekends and/or evenings, and these times are considered part of the forty hours per week. The internship experience should include training in respecting one’s need for time away and avoiding the temptation to work beyond forty hours per week on a regular basis. The pastor/site supervisor and the intern will come to an agreement about the specific weeks and hours, and these will be listed in the contract. The internships may not start before final exams for the spring semester have ended, and they must end by the start of classes for the fall semester.

Internships during the academic year are for five to ten hours per week. The pastor/site supervisor and the intern will come to an agreement about the specific hours, and these will be listed in the contract. Academic year internships begin with the start of the fall semester and end with the completion of the spring semester. Normally, the intern does not work during College holidays.

  • Interns will sign an internship contract before commencing their internship and it will be countersigned by the pastor/site supervisor and the Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program.
  • Interns will complete a learning goals worksheet before commending their internship.
  • Interns will meet with the site supervisor on a regular basis. Summer interns will meet with the site supervisor on a weekly basis.
  • Interns will participate in two on site meetings with the Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program and the site supervisor during the course of the internship.
  • Interns will submit brief reflection papers on their internship experience and the development of their sense of vocation to the Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program. Summer interns will submit reflection papers every two weeks for a total of five reflection papers, and academic year interns will submit reflection papers twice a semester.
  • Summer interns are required to participate in the Chaplains’ Office Internship orientation session (usually a weekend afternoon in the late spring semester), a midsummer reflection session at Holy Cross, and an end of the summer wrap-up session at Holy Cross.

Site Supervision of Interns

The pastor or another member of the pastoral staff of the parish or other faith community is designated as the site supervisor for the student intern. The site supervisor is expected to meet regularly with the student intern, providing guidance on the work to be done, providing direction and feedback to the student’s ministry, and sharing his/her wisdom and experience in ministry. The site supervisor will be asked to provide an evaluation at the end of the internship.

Supervision from the Chaplain at Holy Cross

The Chaplain director from Holy Cross will provide an orientation for the intern before the internship begins and will be in contact with the student intern and the site supervisor periodically. Two on-site meetings are held with the Chaplain director, the site supervisor and the intern. The Chaplain director is available to the student intern and the site supervisor throughout the internship for questions or in the event of any problems.

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Pay, Housing and Transportation

Student interns are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from the internship site. During summer internships, interns are also responsible for finding their own housing. The only exception is the summer placement at Jesuit parishes for students discerning a vocation in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). At these sites, the intern lives with or near the Jesuit Community in order to participate in Community life and activities.

Summer interns are paid $400 per week, for a summer total of $4,000. Interns are responsible for securing the signature of their site supervisor on their time card each week and delivering or mailing the time card to the Holy Cross Controller’s Office. Academic year interns are paid $8.00 per hour, and are responsible for completing a time card each week in the Holy Cross Chaplains’ Office. Pay is fully taxable, and interns need to complete a W-4 form and other College financial paperwork with Accounts Payable at Holy Cross.

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Application Procedure

The internships are open to Catholic sophomores, juniors and seniors. Seniors may only apply for the academic year internship, not for the internship in the summer following their graduation from Holy Cross. Exceptional first year students will be considered on a case by case basis. Male and female students may apply for an internship. Interested students must complete complete the application attached and submit it with a copy of a resume and a recent Holy Cross transcript. After an initial review of the application, potential internship candidates will have an interview with the Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program.

Following the interviews, students are conditionally accepted into the internship program pending successful placementat a parish or other ecclesial setting. The Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program will contact parishes or other ecclesial office to identify an appropriate placement. At that time, the student will interview with the pastor and/or other supervisor at the site. If the pastor or other site supervisor and the student agree that this would be a good placement, then a contract will be drawn up and signed by the pastor or site supervisor, the student, and the Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program. Conditionally accepted students may be asked to interview at more than one site.

For more information, please contact Paul Covino, the Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program, at the Campus Ministry Center at Campion House, 508-793-2448.

The deadline for receipt of applications for summer Catholic ministry internships is in January. Applications for academic year Catholic ministry internships are accepted on a rolling basis, with preference given to applications for internships that will begin with the start of the new academic year.

Download the Application form:

Catholic Ministry Internship Application .pdf
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html)

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For more information, please contact Paul Covino, the Director of the Catholic Ministry Internship Program, at the Campus Ministry Center at Campion House at 508-793-2448.

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