International Priest Internship

Working in collaboration with dioceses and religious communities to provide welcome, orientation, and support to international priests.

Priests arriving from other countries to serve in the U.S. encounter dramatic challenges as they adjust to cultural and pastoral environments radically different from their homeland. Oblate School of Theology (OST) responds to these needs via the International Priests Internship (IPI) enculturation program. The IPI assists the participants in translating their existing pastoral skills into a new cultural context and adjusting to the rhythms of a well-balanced pastoral life in the service of a U.S. faith community.

This Certificate Program consists of two 5-day (Monday through Friday) seminars on campus (early August and early June) and on-line sessions (held approximately every three weeks on a weekday afternoon) between September and May. Members of the IPI team will have one-on-one conversations with participants both in the fall and in the spring.

Program Overview

The IPI includes both on-campus and on-line sessions, as well one-on-one conversations with members of the IPI team each semester.
The opening session provides an opportunity for participants to build community and become familiar with the purpose of the program and the resources at OST. Participants will have the opportunity to talk about their initial experiences of cultural encounter and be introduced to a process of theological reflection. Presentations will be offered on topics such as “understanding culture,” “working with women,” and “sexuality and gender in the U.S. context.” Participants will also be instructed in how to access the on-line segments and give practical pointers for effective priestly ministry in the U.S.


Between September and May, IPI will offer on-line segments to address a variety of important pastoral issues that participants will encounter in their priestly ministry in the U.S.  These 3-hour sessions will be scheduled approximately every three weeks on a weekday afternoon.  The topics will correspond closely to the curriculum recommended by the USCCB document, Guidelines for Receiving Pastoral Ministers in the United States, Third Edition, 2014.  Topics will include:

  • U.S. Church History
  • Liturgical and Sacramental Practices in the U.S.
  • Preaching in a U.S. context
  • Marriage preparation and annulments
  • Faith formation in the U.S.: Children and Youth
  • Ecumenism
  • Holy Week and Triduum in the U.S.
  • Faith formation in the U.S.: RCIA and Adult Formation
  • The Experience and Exercise of Authority
  • Understanding and Addressing Conflict


IPI will provide one session each semester that is devoted to the practice of theological reflection upon their ministerial experience as well as the availability of one-on-one conversations with members of the IPI team.  Throughout the entire process, IPI will seek to support the participants in their process of integrating and implementing what they have been learning both in their ministry and in the program.

Concluding Session

The concluding session will provide an important opportunity for participants to identify and reflect upon what they have learned throughout the year and to begin to talk about areas for continuing growth and development.  IPI will invite conversation not only about the experience of pastoral ministry, but also the exercise of pastoral leadership.  The final session will include a day of prayer and the opportunity for participants to evaluate the program and to identify personal and pastoral goals for themselves in the future.

From the USCCB

  • “The presence of international pastoral ministers continues to be a gift to the Catholic Church in our country. They serve in a myriad of ways and are a vital part of the New Evangelization.”

    USCCB’s Guidelines for Receiving Pastoral Ministers in the United States, Third Edition, 2014
    [Introduction, page A-1]
  • “The large number of international pastoral ministers and their importance for the life of particular Churches in the United States challenge us to prepare them well for their service and to prepare the communities that receive them… We hope to receive them well, to integrate them into the life of the local Church and US culture, and to support them personally and ecclesially.”

    USCCB’s Guidelines for Receiving Pastoral Ministers in the United States, Third Edition, 2014
    [Introduction, page A-1]
  • “The very nature of the Church tells us that cultural encounter and orientation is not a one-sided but rather a mutual process… It is of crucial importance that international pastoral ministers coming to serve in the United States gain an understanding of the cultures of the people among whom they will serve. Such understanding will improve the experience of their transition between cultures and reduce conflict for them and liabilities for receiving communities.”

    USCCB’s Guidelines for Receiving Pastoral Ministers in the United States, Third Edition, 2014
    [Reception and Orientation, Page G-1]

Contact Us

Fr. James Myers, PSS, IPI Coordinator,, 210-349-9928, ext. 804.

Ms. Yolanda Garcia, Administrative Assistant,, 210-341-1366, ext. 219

Goals for IPI Participants

IPI strives to assist the international priest in his awareness and understanding of various levels of inter-cultural encounter in priestly ministry, and to develop the capacity to minister effectively in his new environment. Our goals for participants have four dimensions:

  • Informative goal: Acquiring an understanding of important issues of life and ministry in the U.S.
  • Formative goal: Acquiring an appreciation of the value of diverse cultural expressions of the Catholic faith, both their own and that of the people they serve.
  • Transformative goal: Developing openness to personal and pastoral conversion through their experience of priestly life and ministry in a new environment.
  • Performative goal: Developing the pastoral skills for effective ministry in the U.S.

IPI Admission Requirements

The applicant must be a Roman Catholic priest ordained to the priesthood outside the United States:

• Who has been assigned to minister in the U.S. within the past two years and is sponsored by a U.S. bishop or major superior.
• Who has a functional knowledge of English and is committed to following the entire IPI program.

IPI Tuition & Fees

Registration fee: $100
Program fee: $2,400
Total cost: $2,500

IPI Dates (2017-18)

Opening session:
July 31 – August 4, 2017

On-line sessions:
10 – 12 weekday afternoons
between September and May

Concluding session:
June 4 – 8, 2018