Most of the Theology courses at St. Bonaventure are designed to give students a better understanding of religion in its historical and contemporary expressions. Occasionally the department offers a course that relates to the practical side of Theology (i.e. training for ministry), but most such training is provided through the University Ministries program, the Journey Project, and Mt. Irenaeus.
University Ministries provides a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in hands-on ministry and leadership training. Students interested in liturgical ministry can gain practical experience in planning and directing worship services, retreats, and other religious gatherings. Students who are musically inclined can work with the Liturgical Music team. Students who wish to engage in community service can choose from a host of options, including a big brother/big sister program, a student-run soup kitchen, and an after-school tutoring program. Students who are interested in missions can participate in a variety of mission trips both in the U.S. and overseas. For more information about the many ministry options available through University Ministries, click here.
The Journey Project is a $2,500,000 eight-year program that includes a wide range of programs and activities designed to help students integrate their faith with their academic studies and future careers. Service is a key component of their programming. Among the many programs that are available to students interested in ministry training are parish internships that allow students to perform paid work in local churches (youth ministry, education ministry, social justice ministry, etc.) under the supervision of church leaders; service internships that provide paid placements in local social service agencies and other service programs; and a student-led group that puts on retreats for junior and high school students at churches across the region.
Students who are exploring a possible call to full-time ministry can also participate in a vocation group that operates under the guidance of a Franciscan friar or sister who serves as a spiritual adviser to students in the group. For more information about the Journey Project, see their Web site.
Mt. Irenaeus is a retreat center located 30 minutes from campus in a beautiful country setting surrounded by woods and hills. Students go there regularly to spend an evening away from campus, to participate in a weekend retreat, or simply to walk in the woods and engage in prayer or meditation. A group called Students for the Mountain plans and directs most of the student activities that take place at Mt. Irenaeus. The friar who directs the center also leads a peer ministry group that aims to train students for ministry and leadership.
Students can apply to spend the summer with the friars at Mt. Irenaeus as an intern or travel around the country with one of the friars talking about their experiences at Mt. Irenaeus. For more information about Mt. Irenaeus, see their Web site.