FAQs - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Do you have to be Catholic or meet other requirements?

Maryknoll Lay Missioners welcomes you to apply if you are:

Motivated by faith and drawn to participate in cross-cultural mission in the context of a Catholic community

 Experienced in volunteer service

 Age 21 or older

A U.S. citizen or permanent resident

 Single, a married couple, or a family (usually with no more than two children, eight years old or younger. Exceptions considered on an individual basis.)

 Willing to make a 3-1/2 year commitment to overseas service (2-1/2 year commitments available in some regions)

Will I be able to come home during my contract?
Yes. Missioners are given four weeks of vacation each year, and many missioners make a visit to the U.S. part of their vacation plan. However, we ask that you not return to the U.S. during your first year overseas, as you are adjusting to a new culture and a new language. Also, you may not be able to take all four weeks together depending on your ministry needs.
Can family and friends visit me overseas?
Absolutely! They are most welcome to visit and see first-hand the work you’re involved in. We also have an entire program called Friends Across Borders devoted to arranging trips for groups that travel to our mission sites. Your friends and family may be interested in this program. Visit the “Take a Trip” tab of our website to learn more.
Can I choose what country I go to?
Although Maryknoll Lay Missioners makes the final choice of where we will place you, we do so only after considerable consultation, dialogue, and a process of mutual exploration and discernment.  Through the placement process, we try to match your skills, experience and passions with the ministry needs in our regions.
What are the financial arrangements? Is there a stipend?
Maryknoll Lay Missioners pays your transportation to and from your country of assignment. You will be provided with a stipend sufficient to cover housing, food, local transportation, and personal expenses based on the cost of living for that area. We also provide comprehensive medical insurance while you are overseas.
Where do Interviews take place? Are there any cost related to interviews?
All interviews are held through Zoom. If you are accepted for an interview, we will schedule a time together.
How will I pay for expenses during Orientation?
Although you will pay your own travel expenses for getting here to Ossining, NY, once you arrive for Orientation, we will provide housing and a small stipend to cover food and incidental expenses. You will be responsible for maintaining health insurance while you are in Orientation. Our insurance only begins once you are overseas.
What do I do about my student loans while overseas?
Through our Student Loan Repayment Program, Maryknoll Lay Missioners will pay up to 100% of your monthly student loan payment while you are in mission. Alternatively, you can usually obtain a deferment on student loans for up to 36 months. We can provide any supporting documentation required by your lending institution to qualify for deferment. Talk with us about applying for the federally-funded Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, for which we are an eligible employer.
Will I have health insurance?
Yes. We provide health insurance once you have arrived in your mission region. Because the health insurance applies only while you are overseas, you will need to extend your current health insurance or purchase some insurance to cover you while you are in Orientation. Retirees on Medicare and others who have access to ongoing U.S. health insurance are strongly encouraged to keep their policies active so that they will be covered during times they are in the U.S. and will have no gap in coverage after they leave.
What vaccines are required?
Before coming to Orientation, you will be responsible for making sure you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, as well as be up-to-date on your flu vaccine, and all standard childhood immunizations in the United States. Once in Orientation, Maryknoll Lay Missioners will provide any travel vaccines you will need given the area of the world you will be going to.
What are the living arrangements for lay missioners overseas?
Once you are assigned to a particular country, the Regional Director for the assigned country begins preparations for your arrival, and the region will work on plans for your accommodations. Single people might share a house or apartment with other single missioners; couples and families usually have a small house or apartment.
Will I be assigned to a specific ministry, or will I find my own?
Your placement to a particular country will largely be based on where we think there will be ministry options for how you might use your skills. Once you arrive in your mission country, the regional team will guide you in exploring those options and getting started in one. They will continue to accompany and support you as you do your work.
Is there a retirement program for lay missioners?
Missioners may contribute from their stipend to a 403(b) retirement savings plan from their first day under contract. MKLM contributes upon commencement of the second and subsequent contracts.
Can Fido come with me?
Unfortunately, we do not allow you to bring your pet to mission. We seek to live simply and to conduct ourselves in culturally appropriate ways overseas, and in most places spending the money to transport a pet from the US would have a negative impact on how you are seen in your host country. Given complex international laws, unfamiliar environmental challenges, and very different cultural norms, the situation could also prove dangerous for your pet and distracting for you while you are trying to get settled into your ministry.
What is community life like for Maryknoll Lay Missioners?
With Maryknoll Lay Missioners, you are not placed alone in a country. You will be joining a community that is already on the ground in the country where you are going. Exactly what that community is like, how often it meets, and whether you will be living with another lay missioner, varies from country to country based on a variety of factors, including where people’s ministries are located, but every lay missioner will meet with others in the region regularly for prayer, reflection, and support.