The Ignite Missionary Program is an immersive, year-long ministerial experience. Members of the Ignite Missionary Program live in community on the grounds of the Jesuit Spiritual Center in the historic Rock House. As members of the Youth Ministry team, Ignite missionaries take an active role in providing approximately 75 retreats for over 6,000 students. During the course of this program, missionaries are given the opportunity to discern committing to a second year. This Missionary Program is an opportunity to develop as a professional, especially in preparation for future roles in ministry, while also giving members training in the Ignatian Spiritual Tradition.

What to Expect as an
Ignite Missionary

During the Ignite Missionary Program, participants live in the historic Rock House on the grounds of the Jesuit Spiritual Center. Built in the late 1800s, the house was bought by the Jesuits in 1927 and used to host retreat groups, including young men from Xavier College in Cincinnati. Since that time, it has also been home to Jesuit novices, priests, and lay ministers. The house was recently renovated in 2017 to prepare for the next generation of guests.

Each missionary has their own private room, and use of the various common spaces on the first and third floors, which included a large dining room, living room, library, solarium, and kitchen. The third floor contains various study rooms, an office space, and a music rehearsal room.

In addition to housing, missionaries receive a community food stipend to cover all meals, a personal monthly stipend, and health insurance.

Ignite Missionaries commit to living together in an intentional faith-based community, which provides opportunities not only for social engagement, but also faith formation and discernment. Each will make several personal and team retreats throughout the year, and have opportunities to receive spiritual direction. Missionaries decide together how to approach the contributions and challenges of community life, finding appropriate schedules for regular community meetings and gatherings for prayer.

Missionaries commit to living out the following 3 core principles:

  1. Solidarity (from Latin solidus = firm, strong)

A principle of Catholic social teaching that aims at strengthening community and promoting a “civilization of love” (Pope John Paul II). Solidarity deals with the “unity that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards.” Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, superior general of the Jesuits from 1983 to 2008, stated that solidarity is learned through “contact” rather than through “concepts.”

  1. Spirituality (from Latin spiritus = of breathing, wind)

Spirituality refers to a set of attitudes and practices (spiritual exercises) that are designed to foster a greater consciousness of the spiritual dimension of persons. They are forms of piety in the Church, which in many cases developed out of the spirit-filled way of life of the saints. Thus we speak about Benedictine, Franciscan, or Ignatian Spirituality.

  1. Stewardship (from Old English stīweard, stī = hall, weard = ward)

What identifies a steward? Safeguarding material and human resources and using them responsibly are one answer; so is generous giving of time, talent, and treasure.  Being a Christian steward means more – magis – living “for the greater glory of God (AMDG).” As Christian stewards, we live under the First Principal Foundation: we receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.

“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10

Whether working as a Youth Minister, Campus Minister, Religious Educator, Service Coordinator, or other ministry profession, understanding Music Ministry and being able to incorporate it into your work is a valuable skill. Each Missionary learns to play an instrument, and receives regular lessons and instruction on how to grow their own musical ability. Music is utilized in a variety of settings, from high energy Praise & Worship events, to Adoration and Mass.

Beyond instruments and singing, interns also learn skills working with multi-media tools. From setting up a professional sound system to building powerful presentations, a variety of different opportunities are available to develop technical skills.

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola provide a foundation for the retreat model used by the JSC Youth Ministry team. Ignite Missionaries learn to facilitate a variety of interactive experiential learning exercises with groups of students ranging in size from 10 to 600. Activities include games, prayer services, icebreakers, trust exercises, presentations, and skits. Developing skills in small and large group facilitation is a key benefit of the program. Our goal is for each intern to leave the program equipped with the knowledge and skills to be successful in a variety of ministry professions.

In addition to facilitating retreats, missionaries learn the process of planning and designing each retreat, as well as well as receiving detailed evaluations and feedback.

All Christians are called to be a living witness to their faith. As part of the Ignite Missionary Program, participants have an opportunity to develop and share their personal witness. Our ministry team works one-on-one with each intern, coaching them on the art of storytelling. Throughout the course of the year, interns have an opportunity to share their faith story with thousands of young men and women.

In addition to sharing in this formal setting, missionaries share their witness through their hospitality to all of our retreat guests. Our center provides retreats for over 12,000 men and women each year, all seeking a deeper encounter with Christ. Our team is committed to offering transformation experiences, rooted in the Gospel, as expressed through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19

Throughout their year, missionaries help facilitate approximately 75 retreats for over 6,000 students. Our ministry partners include more than 30 grade schools, high schools, and parishes across the mid-west. Missionaries have an opportunity to meet and work alongside ministers, religious educators, and clergy from across the country, as well as our local community.

The team also travels to various professional development events and conferences each year. Past trips have included the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM), the National Catholic Educators Association Conference (NCEA), and the SEEK Conference (presented by FOCUS). These trips are included as part of the Ignite Missionary Program.

Cincinnati is also home to a number of different young adult service and ministry programs, including NET Ministries, Vincentian Volunteers, FOCUS, Regnum Christi Missionary Corps, Mercy Volunteer Corps, VIA Missionaries, and more. Throughout the year there are many opportunities to gather together for prayer and fellowship.

Want more information?

Daniel Poat

Director of Ignite Missionary Program

(513) 965-6988