Pastoral Internship Year
The Program of Priestly Formation states: "The goal of the seminary is to form true pastors of the people of God after the model of our Lord Jesus Christ, Teacher, Priest and Shepherd." Mount St. Mary's Seminary pursues this goal by means of both a program of spiritual formation and one of ministerial education. Our purpose is twofold: to provide an opportunity for the student to acquire through study, research and supervised experience the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for effective leadership of the faith community; and second, to assist the intern in integrating his developing ministerial identity and in acquiring the ability to think critically and creatively. Training in the necessary ministerial skills (e.g., liturgical skills, religious education, pastoral counseling and leadership) takes place in the classroom in practica, which are applied learning experiences in conjunction with the course, and in carefully designed and properly supervised field experiences.
At Mount St. Mary's the Pastoral Internship is usually a third theology experience. Typically the seminarian will have two years of theological studies on either side of the internship. The pastoral internship is usually preceded by a nine-week non-parochial internship such as a CPE. Assignments for the pastoral internship year are made by diocesan personnel to a parish within the sponsoring diocese for all other seminarians. Supervision during the nine-month internship is given by the pastor or one of the other pastoral leaders at the assigned parish. It is in this context that the intern experiences typical parish life and pastoral service. The intern is involved in full-time ministry where pastoring skills are tried and developed. Rectory living and pastoral responsibilities provide an important perspective to the seminarian's discernment of vocation. Mount St. Mary's considers the Pastoral Internship a significant ecclesial and personal experience in the priesthood candidate's seminary process. Because it is crucial not only for ministerial preparation but also for vocational discernment, we tend to think of this pastoral internship as a "diocesan novitiate." It is in this context that one discovers how diocesan spirituality is formed, through and out of pastoral ministry.
Further details of the Pastoral Internship Program can be found in the Course Catalog and in a separate handbook given to seminarians and supervisors.