Young adult programs

Young adult programs

Long-term programs


Congregation of Holy Cross

Program: Collegiate Program

Holy Cross Collegiate Program: Opportunity to live in a Christian community and share prayer, service, and community with the brothers and candidates of the Congregation of Holy Cross.


  1. Eat dinner with community at least twice per week
  2. Share in cooking and cleaning
  3. Participate in bi-monthly meetings
  4. Volunteerism
  5. Attend Friday Liturgies
  6. $12 per day

St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX (North Wing of St. Joseph Hall)

Program is one semester or longer. Collegiate(s) are limited to a maximum of two years of residence.

Stories: Mr. Michael Minuth, lived at Moreau House community for a period of about 2 years. Began discernment of religious life during this period and became a candidate for the Dominican Order. Currently resides in St. Louis, MO and studies at the Aquinas Institute of Theology.


Bro. Steven Walsh, C.S.C
Tel: 512- 448 – 8754

Program: Old College

Old College combines a structured formation program with the advantages of a Notre Dame educational experience. The program is housed in the campus' original building constructed in 1843. Old Collegians are introduced to religious life in Holy Cross through daily Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual direction, service placements, retreats, one-on-one meetings with their chaplains, and weekly community gatherings. Old Collegians must acquire a total of twenty-four credits of philosophy and eighteen of theology but are free to pursue various degrees, depending upon their academic interests.


Holy Cross Vocation Office
University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
Tel: (574) 631-6385

Society of Jesus

Program: Six Weeks a Jesuit

  • This program is open to men who have maintained contact with their vocation director and are currently discerning God’s call to the Jesuit vocation. Participants must be willing to commit themselves to a summer of serious and intentional prayer, work, reflection and fun.
  • During the orientation weekend, the leaders will discuss what Jesuits are all about and how Jesuit vision is expressed today.
  • There is time for reflection, prayer and relaxation
  • Candidates will live in a Jesuit community and participate in apostolic experiences in summer programs

Ministry Programs include:

  • New York province Health Care Facility at Murray Weigel Hall
  • HAP- economically challenged middle school students
  • Nativity School programs
  • Serve at a Jesuit Parish


Faith Sharing
Each week the participants gather for a conference designed to discuss various aspects of Jesuit life. Topics include Prayer, Discernment, Commitment to the Advancement of Faith and Justice

Reflection Weekends
Weekends are set aside for reflection on the experience. There are also times for prayer, sharing and socializing with other participants in the program. The program concludes with a retreat for all participants.

Donne Program
The aim of this program is to allow interested men to donate a portion of their life to living the life of a Jesuit. The program is similar to the six-week program but is more appropriate for older discerners (perhaps those who may be getting finances in order) or for those who are confident in their desire to enter and would like to participate in a Jesuit apostolate while waiting for acceptance.

  • The program is structured so as to allow an interested discerner to live work and pray with a Jesuit community over a more lengthy period of time.
  • Some will live with the Jesuits for a year while teaching in a school served by the community.
  • Donnes are expected to live as Jesuits live--to live the vows at this time.


800.537.3736 ext. 231


Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Program: Pre Postulate

  • Program for women who have made Discernment Retreats and would like to explore the Formation Program without a formal application process; precedes formal acceptance into the Postulate
  • Three month program with a Spiritual, Human, Apostolic and Intellectual Dimensions
  • Deepening relational skills—stressing openness, acceptance, service and mutual respect
  • Studies Catholic Doctrine and reads spiritual works and studies: The life of the Foundress, history of the Congregation, Charism and patrons of the Congregation
  • Participate in meditation on the Word of God and community prayer, days of spirituality and retreat
  • Provides an initial experience in community living, i.e., liturgical life and work of Congregation


Sr. Susan Marie Krupp
314- 620- 8847

Saint Meinrad School of Theology

College Ministerial Internship Program

The College Ministerial Internship Program is a six-week internship for college-age students. Interns come from throughout the United States and Mexico to be formed in Benedictine spirituality for ministry in the Church and taught by monks and faculty of Saint Meinrad Schoolof Theology. They also serve as staff, catechists and theological reflection group leaders for the "One Bread, One Cup" summer liturgical leadership conferences.

Throughout the summer, interns have opportunities to be formed not only intellectually, but also in the areas of spiritual human and pastoral formation. The internship provides college students a balance of theory and practice in today's Roman Catholic Church.

College Internships begin the first Friday of June and conclude in mid July. For information or an application please contact the Office of Youth and Young Adult Formation. Applications must be received by November 15. Qualified applicants may be invited to an interview on the Saint Meinrad campus. For more information, visit the "One Bread, One Cup" website


Short-term programs

There is great value for the young adult in learning from one who has “lived the life.” A testimony from an older religious is very powerful because that testimony becomes "indisputable evidence" of life in that particular community.

These short-term activities that can be adapted to suit vocation purposes. Many of the ideas offer an indirect approach, which is less threatening for those who are just beginning to discern. However, direct contact in the longer retreat or live in may better suit those who are more seriously exploring religious life. We have included some variations of retreat models.

Theology on Tap

  • Contemporary, young adult focused, catechesis on a variety of relevant topics
  • Usually set in a local bar, offered by guest speakers and organized by the young adults themselves.
  • Usually takes between 2-3 hours, offers some time for social interaction
  • Program is followed by adoration
  • Vocation is frequently the topic
  • Funding: sometimes volunteer speakers. Can easily dovetail with other activities. Using a panel of religious to describe opportunities opens vocation awareness and curiosity.

Dead Theologians Society

  • Invite religious to come!
  • Group gathers to discuss theology of dead authors.
  • Using a work related to vocation can help promote vocation.
  • Social aspect can be involved.
  • Example: using the work of John Paul II is a good possibility.


Home Bible Study

  • Weekly meetings.
  • Similar to a book club in terms of reading a text and offering an open forum for scriptures reflection and “check in” with young adults present.
  • Goals: community growth and growth in individual faith.
  • Combined with other events: adoration, scripture study, social interaction.


Shadow a Religious

  • Experience the daily life of the religious by “shadowing” them in their daily life.
  • The focus is to spend time with one particular religious rather than with other discerners, etc.


Mission Trip

  • Whirlwind tour of missions in a given region of a state/country.
  • Offers the chance to see living situation, ministry, prayer, etc.
  • 50% application rate from interested participants.


Meet the leadership night

  • Modeled on the opportunity to meet the leaders of a diocese/religious group
  • This seems to be effective for those who are younger discerners; especially it can be an honor to meet the leaders of a congregation.
  • John Paul II as major influence on many young adults. Replicate world youth day on the diocesan level
  • Invite bishop/archbishop to be present for such a program


The reverse interview

  • The candidate is invited to interview the pre-selected religious about their life and vocation, etc.
  • Young Adults love to know about the life of others.
  • Better not as a stand-alone program, but as part of a larger vocational program.


Prayer/Holy Hour for Vocations

  • Adoration-invitation sent to the parish or area
  • People who come to these events are usually those most interested in the possibility of a vocation.
  • Seminarians lead the hour of prayer/adoration. Litany of all the patron saints (of parishes) in the diocese.


Ask the Vocation Director

  • Some orders have a searchable database of questions that have been asked and answered by the vocation director.
  • Website:

Stump the Religious Night

  • ‘Stump the Priest’ night, which is enormously successful in my experience.
  • Last season the Cincinnati group reserved some time after the bishop’s presentation for stumping questions—we ran out of time.


Camping retreat

  • Of course a silent retreat at the motherhouse can be a great experience but
  • An outdoor setting offers a nice twist to the silent retreat.
  • Purpose of the retreat is to give the opportunity for the young adult to discern within himself whether God may be calling him here, to learn the spiritual charism through prayer, talks and example, or both.
  • The young Fr. Karol Woytyla was famous for taking young people on wilderness trips. Later in life, he contributed to vocation promotion.


Twilight retreats

  • Can have the same format as a silent retreat or wilderness retreat but done in the evening by a lake or the ocean has the wonderful closeness to God in nature and attracts many of the “camper discerners”



  • Visit to a convent or Motherhouse-
  • Visit 3-4 in one day or
  • 4-6 in one weekend


Busy-Persons retreat

  • Usually sponsored by the Campus Ministry on a college campus
  • Team of speakers attend the Sunday Liturgies to invite all students to the nightly talks
  • Each evening a team member speaks on a different topic-Eucharist/Reconciliation
  • During the day students sign up to speak one-on-one to a retreat director


Frank J. Lewis Institute

  • An Orientation for Campus Ministry people-developing leaders
  • Forming Faith Community


Charis Ministries

  • Ignatian Spirituality for those in their 20s and 30s


Freedom and Desire Panel

This Panel was designed by the Young Adult Committee for a National Conference of the NRVC. Young Adults were invited to attend and ask questions and dialogue with panel members. It was advertised as a session for Young Adults seeking more information on the Vows of Religious Life. The materials for facilitating this panel are included here.

  • Explanation of Freedom and Desire Panel
  • Presentation format
  • Prompts for Religious Reflection on Vows
  • Formula for First Vows (used as part of the presentation)
  • Flyer for Freedom and Desire Panel
  • Evaluation form

For more information please contact:
Sr. Christine Kiley ascj
265 Benham St.
Hamden, CT 06514

Within These Walls

A guided tour of the signs, symbols and treasures of your parish church. This program is to heighten awareness and cultivate appreciation of the Mass and an appreciation for all things religious and spiritual.

  • Materials for facilitating this program are included here.
  • Ways to set up this project
  • Flyer on the vessels, vestments, books and sacramentals used in Holy Mass
  • This could be included in a session with an Explanation of the Catholic Mass

For more information check the Archdiocese of Chicago website.


Programs that young adults have said in evaluations that they found helpful in their discernment:

Lectio Divina

During discernment retreats as part of Night Prayer-Compline the Examen prayer is incorporated. An explanation of the Ignatian prayer and how it can be used nightly to complement ones prayer life.

Taize Prayer

Taize is a simple, meditative prayer which includes scripture, music, and periods of silence. It is used as part of a Night of Reflection, Advent/Lenten Day of Recollection and is a favorite of many of the Discerning Young Adults.

Examen Prayer

The examination of conscience originally written by St. Ignatius has been adapted and is very appealing to young people. There are many different formats and they usually contain the following basic componants.

  • THANK God for the blessings of the day
  • ASK for the grace to see clearly and growing in my relationship with Christ
  • EXAMINE actions, omissions, thoughts, desires in my relationships with God and with myself and others in God.
  • ASK for forgiveness for the areas of my life that have offended God

“Young adults want to develop their spiritual life. They speak of this as being the foundation—the rootedness of their lives. It is through this spiritual life that young adults grow in appreciation for the way God works in their lives.”

--Sons and Daughters of Light

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NRVC Member Areas

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Member Area Gathering - Midwest

October 9-11,

Frankfort, IL

Virtual Orientation Program

October 9-13,

Virtual workshop

Behavioral Assessment 1 workshop

October 17-19,

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October 24-26,

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Young Adult Retreat Day

November 4,

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November 5-11,

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Behavioral Assessment 2 workshop

December 2-3,

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December 4-8,

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