Parish Internship in Home Diocese – 2nd Theology

All second-year seminarians participate in two full-time internships: one in a parish of their home diocese and one in a hospital setting.

In the second semester, our seminarians return to their home diocese to intern at a parish, where they are fully immersed in the life and ministries of the local Church, learning from an experienced mentor pastor.

Internship Reflections

Casey Flack | Archdiocese of Dubuque | March 11, 2020

“Do you know what I have done to you?” (Jn 13:12). In their immediate preparation for the events of His passion, death, and resurrection Christ knelt to wash His disciples’ feet. This act of love foretold of their humble service for the Church which they too would suffer and die for. This passage of the Gospel remained in my own prayer as I was in immediate preparation for my pastoral internship at St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center. The School of the Good Shepherd helped to prepare us in practical ways for the internship experience by helping us to plan our ministry, teaching us how to read finances and coordinate new events, but it was the spiritual preparation that truly brought us to a readiness to serve like the Good Shepherd, who lays down His own life for the sake of the sheep.

This would be brought into greatest clarity through the echoed refrain of Fr. Dennis Spies, “Your pastor is a goldmine.” Fr. Spies meant this as a reminder for us to turn back to our pastors again and again for their wisdom and experience. As I launched into my experience at St. Thomas Aquinas I found that much like it was for the disciples, it would be the example and care of the shepherd that invited me to deeper service of the people of God. My pastor Fr. Kyle, thoughtfully engaged me in the parish and invited me into his ministry. That first week was a flurry of greetings, events, council meetings, Masses, and anointings and by the end of it I found myself spent.

The next week I found myself at Come Awake – an event inviting college students at Iowa State University across the street to prayer, reflection, and praise and worship. Kneeling before Christ, I found in my tired state a depth of joy. Even more profound was the depth of love I was called to. Never before could I respond as meaningfully to Jesus’ question posed to the disciples, “Do you know what I have done to you?” Before Him that night I saw the people I have been called to love and serve, and in that moment I felt strengthened in the mission.

Jesus, you have called me to a deep love of your people by the laying down of my life. The School of the Good Shepherd was helpful in practical ways – but it was in preparing me to pour myself out after the model of my pastor that would be the most important lesson it could teach me. Oh Jesus, our beloved Good Shepherd, hold us ever closer to your most Sacred Heart.

Seth Arnold from the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas is serving at the Church of the Magdalen. In this video interview, you can learn more about what lies ahead for Seth’s internship experience and a little bit of his own journey to get to this point in seminary.