FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Administrative

Can I defer my student loans?

Yes.  Many SLMs have deferred their loans and have needed a letter from the Salesian organization stating that they are not receiving any type of salary and working as a volunteer. The deferment process and requirements depend on your loan provider, but we would be happy to work with them.

Do I have to do fundraising?

No.  SLMs do not have to do fundraising; however, many SLMs, once at their respective site, decide that they would like to raise money for a specific project or for a general donation to their site.

Do I need a second language to go overseas?

Conversational knowledge of the language spoken in the mission is a plus. We also have ministries with diverse cultures in the United States that will allow you to use second language skills, especially Spanish.

Does the SLM program cover the costs of immunizations?

No.  Once accepted, SLMs are required to get the necessary immunizations for the country they are going.  This will be covered by the SLM.

What are my financial responsibilities?

You are responsible for paying your way to & from our orientation. (Room & board are taken care of during the orientation.) Vaccinations are another financial responsibility for you. Visa expenses and travel expenses to & from site are paid by the Salesian Lay Missioner (SLM), but will be reimbursed upon completion of commitment.  Travel to/from required discernment weekend are covered by the applicant (Room/board/program fees are covered by the SLM program).

What does the SLM program provide?

We will pay for room, board, and medical insurance. Travel expenses to and from the site are paid by the SLM. Upon completion of commitment, travel is reimbursed by the Salesian Lay Missioner program. The stipend of $50 per month for all SLMs, domestic and international.

What is expected from missioners?

SLMs represent both the Salesian Lay Missioner Program and the Salesians of Don Bosco, and are expected to conduct themselves properly. Missioners are also expected to live a Christian lifestyle and participate in community living through mass, prayers, meals etc.

What is expected from missioners?

SLMs represent both the Salesian Lay Missioner Program and the Salesians of Don Bosco, and are expected to conduct themselves properly. Missioners are also expected to live a Christian lifestyle and participate in community living through mass, prayers, meals etc.

What is the length of service commitment?

One year minimum and three consecutive years maximum.

Application Process

Can I choose where to go to serve?

Placement is a process of mutual discernment, involving the missioner, SLM program, and the ministry site. We will take your geographic and ministry preference into account. It’s important to us that you will be able to use your gifts and feel you are making a difference. It is also important that we are responding to the urgent needs of the people we serve, and so we ask applicants to be flexible and open to a true discernment process.

Do I need to attend a Discernment Weekend?

To help ensure a good program fit, we require that each candidate attend one discernment weekend.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about the program, its charism, the work, etc.

Does the SLM program place families with dependents?

No.  Due to the complexity of placing families w/dependents (i.e. housing, schooling, etc.), the SLM program is not set up to handle such cases.  There are, however, programs that are able to take families with dependents.  You can check out these programs at www.CatholicVolunteerNetwork.org.

How long does the application process take?

Usually 3-6 months. It all depends upon the applicant and how quickly forms are returned.

Is there an application deadline?

A Candidates must have the formal application turned in prior to attending a discernment weekend.  All other forms, references, and medical/driving checks must be submitted prior to orientation.  Orientation begins at the end of July and lasts 3 weeks.

Once I am invited to orientation, is it a “sure thing” that I’ll be headed to mission?

As a program, we want to make sure that every candidate and potential SLM are the best fit and are going to have a positive and life-giving experience in mission. If, at any point during orientation, there are serious concerns that would affect or jeopardize the safety or well-being of the SLM, the Salesian receiving community, or the SLM community, we may ask the SLM in formation to withdraw from the program.

What can I expect from the orientation program?

Orientation is a three-week experience.  The first two weeks focus on service and cross-cultural training.  The last week of the orientation is spent at the Salesian Retreat Center in Stony Point, NY, where SLMs learn more about the Salesians:  youth ministry, spirituality, Don Bosco’s Preventive System, and much more.  The orientation finishes with the commissioning of the SLMs.

What if I can’t make the orientation?

We feel that the orientation is important to the success of not just your ministry, but also your health and well-being out in the missions. Therefore, it is required that SLMs attend the entire orientation.

On Mission

Are the mission sites safe?

We feel that your safety is closely monitored by the local religious community along with the SLM office. However, it must be stated that there is always inherent risk in any service site, especially being someone not as familiar with the area. As a program, though, we go to lengthy levels to minimize this risk and provide each SLM with the tools and knowledge necessary to promote safe living and travel.

When do SLMs depart for mission?

SLMs are free to depart for mission after successful completion of the orientation program. Because of the complicated logistics and the timing of administrative tasks that must be done prior to leaving, we do not allow people to leave for mission directly from orientation. It is recommended that SLMs depart for mission within 1 month of the end of orientation. There is no “fixed date” that all lay missioners depart for mission.

Where do SLMs live?

They normally live in community with Salesian Priests, Brothers or Sisters. Sometimes they do live with other Salesian Lay Missioners and/or volunteers from other organizations or different countries.