This Catholic summer internship combines prayer, traditional construction in the southwest US

Kate Olivera By Kate Olivera for CNA

Two women enjoy the Saint Kateri Rosary Walk, still under construction in Gallup, N.M. / Saint Kateri Rosary Walk via Facebook.

Gallup, N.M., Feb 6, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

A summer internship program in the Diocese of Gallup aims to provide college-aged Catholic men spiritual formation and hands-on experience in traditional southwestern building techniques.

“We are inviting young men to prayerfully consider applying to become missionaries to the Diocese of Gallup for the third year of this program,” Bishop James Wall told CNA. “It’s not just a job with a paycheck, but an opportunity to witness to the Gospel and prayerfully serve the Native American Catholic community.”

Men will live and work at the Sacred Heart Retreat Center and help with the ongoing construction of a rosary walk on the grounds dedicated to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be canonized a saint.

The program also includes spiritual and academic formation, as well as travel and enrichment opportunities related to the life and history of the Catholic Southwest.

“This totally unique program provides intense leadership training that fosters steeled Catholic Manliness for a lifetime…At the same time, building something beautiful for Our Lady and St. Kateri that will last for generations,” said William McCarthy, CEO of the Southwest Indian Foundation, which is co-hosting the internship program.

The Saint Kateri Rosary Walk will include four trails representing the sets of mysteries of the rosary, including the luminous mysteries. Each trail will include five nichos constructed using traditional southwestern building techniques and depicting the mysteries of the rosary.

The project was inspired by the prayer life of the saint herself. Kateri was known to pray while walking through nature and she would use stones and wooden crosses to indicate the decades of the rosary.

“I think when you look at saints like St. Kateri, she is an incredible example that we try to emulate, and we are trying to reflect who she is in this project,” said Deacon Ed Schaub, executive director of the Saint Kateri Rosary Walk. “The whole effort of this project is to bring everyone and anyone to God.”

The Saint Kateri Rosary Walk is the first installment of an ongoing project to build a shrine dedicated to the Native American saint and to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Diocese of Gallup, with the Knights of Columbus and Southwest Indian Foundation, broke ground on the Rosary Walk and shrine in August 2019.

“It is our hope that in the years to come, this St. Kateri shrine will become a national, spiritual home for Native Americans and, equally importantly, for all Catholics in North America,” then-Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in his 2019 announcement of the project, which is part of a larger Knights of Columbus initiative to support Native American communities.

Plans for the current phase of the shrine include the rosary walk with a plaza dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a large outdoor chapel.

The Diocese of Gallup is accepting applications for the 2022 Catholic Pueblo Revival Internship through Feb. 25. The program will run June 4 – Aug. 7. Missionaries will receive free housing, most meals, and a stipend of $4,200.

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