Serve, Pray, & Discern

At Catholic Familyland®

Grow and Prepare is a Catholic gap year program for young adults who desire to volunteer with the AFC’s mission, grow in their spiritual life, and discern where God is calling them next. Sometimes you are not sure what God wants you to do next in your life and a change of scene will help you discover that. Catholic Familyland® can provide a unique opportunity for you to take a break from the world in a place set apart to serve, pray, and discern what God wants you to do next.

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope." -Jeremiah 29:11

A Catholic Gap Year Program

That Will Equip You for Life
  • GROW in a life of prayer, maturity, confidence, and responsibility.

  • PREPARE for your future by learning effective work habits, how to develop healthy relationships, and ways to evangelize.

Serving at Catholic Familyland®

Here’s What to Expect

What You Can Expect

• A quiet environment where you can hear God’s voice and grow in your prayer life
• Meaningful work to grow in practical skills
• A mentor and recommended spiritual director to walk beside you on your journey
• Free time on most evenings and weekends for additional formation, prayer, and leisure
• Room, board, basic personal needs, and local transportation

* Read program details below for clarification of what is provided


What You Commit To

• Daily Holy Hour with the Catholic Corps community, Mass, Rosary, and Divine Mercy Chaplet
• Daily work in the AFC’s mission for families (full-time schedule)
• Assisting with AFC events (may require work on evenings and weekends)
• Meeting regularly with a mentor and a spiritual director
• A 3-5 month period of service, with a review and opportunity for renewal at the end of each period (Sep-Dec, Jan-May, June-Aug)


Program Details

Here’s What to Expect

Housing & Meals

AFC Provides:
Room (e.g. utilities, internet)
Basic personal needs (e.g. shampoo, soap)
Local transportation (e.g. Wintersville, Steubenville)
* Bringing a vehicle is recommended but not essential.

GAP participants prepare their own meals within the kitchen connected to their living quarters. AFC can reimburse reasonable grocery expenses based upon the needs of our participants.

You can expect to share a common bathroom with other participants or college students who live in your hallway/household. Bedrooms for women are in different buildings than for the men. However, all participants will have access to common spaces for meals, movies, and social time.

GAP participants live, work, and minister at Catholic Familyland®—a place set apart for families—in Bloomingdale, OH.

About 20 minutes from Franciscan University of Steubenville
About 45 minutes from Pittsburgh International Airport


Work Assignments

You'll be assigned to a variety of tasks. This may include:

  • Event prep
  • Cleaning
  • Gardening
  • Media work
  • Facilities management
  • Food service
  • Data entry
  • Child care
  • Traveling to a remote event
  • And much more!

Whatever your assignment might be, you can work knowing that you are building up the kingdom of God on earth.

Sample Schedule

Note: This general schedule gives you an idea of a typical day as a GAP participant. Your actual schedule may be different, especially during AFC events.

Monday to Friday
6:45–8:00 a.m. Prayers with Catholic Corps Community (Holy Hour, Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary)
8:15 a.m. Holy Mass
9:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. AFC Work
12:15–1:00 p.m. Lunch Break
1:00–3:00 p.m. AFC Work
3:00–3:30 p.m. Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Snack Break
3:30–5:30 p.m. AFC Work

After work, the rest of the evening is free for supper, personal time, prayer and study time, and recreation. There may be some events in the evening.

9:00 a.m. Holy Mass
Weekends are free, unless there is an AFC event you are assisting with (e.g. youth retreat) or you join a Catholic Corps gathering.

10:00 a.m. Holy Mass
Weekends are free, unless there is an AFC event you are assisting with (e.g. youth retreat) or you join a Catholic Corps gathering.

Frequently Asked Questions

about the Catholic Gap Year Program

How to best benefit from the Catholic GAP year program?

  • Joyfully undertake your commitment with an attitude of service, ready to work a full-time schedule
  • Be open to learning new job-related skills and to developing your practical life skills
  • Put your whole heart into the several opportunities to encounter Jesus: Daily Mass, Confession, Eucharistic Adoration, spiritual direction, etc.
  • Take joy in a family-style and supportive Catholic environment
  • Trust in God’s love and providence in your life, remaining open to His holy will
  • Be self-motivated and responsibly schedule your free evenings and weekends, developing as a virtuous man or woman
  • Follow God’s promptings and then move on with confidence and peace!

“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”
“Love turns work into rest.”
“In the measure you desire Him you will find Him.”
~ St. Teresa of Jesus



Are families allowed to visit while in the GAP year Program? Yes, families can visit in designated areas, and may even stay at Catholic Familyland® for a night or so (pending room availability).

May I bring my pet to Catholic Familyland®? Sorry, for the health and safety of everyone who lives, works at, and visits Catholic Familyland®, no pets are allowed on the grounds.

Can GAP participants leave AFC grounds if they have time off? Yes, you are free to leave the grounds on your time off during evenings and weekends.

Is there a curfew or lights out? No, it is up to you to responsibly schedule your evenings in accord with the prayer and work duties for the following day.

Are GAP participants required not to date during their commitment to the program?
No requirement here is given by AFC. However, some may find it most suitable for their discernment to enter into this special time of prayer during the GAP program to be maximally free and not in a dating relationship.

Dress Code


You are expected to follow the guidelines below during your time as a GAP participant.


  • None of the following are permitted at any time:
    • Shirts with the sides cut out
    • Strapless, halter, or spaghetti strap shirts
    • Low-cut tops
    • Tight-fitting tops
    • Shirts that are see-through or reveal your undergarments
    • Bra straps hanging out or showing (including sports bras)
  • Necklines should not fall more than 3 finger widths below your collarbone.
  • Tank tops with 2” or wider straps are permitted.

Shorts & Pants

    • None of the following are permitted at any time:
      • Cut-off shorts
      • Leggings or jeggings
      • Tight skinny jeans
      • Shorts or pants that sag below the waist or hip line
      • Shorts or pants with holes that reveal your undergarments
      • Boxer shorts or underwear hanging out or showing
    • Shorts should be no more than 3 finger widths above the knee when standing.
    • A belt should be worn if needed.

Dresses & Skirts

  • Dresses and skirts must fall at least to the knee.
  • Slits in dresses or skirts should not go above the knee.


    • Swimsuits must be modest. No bikinis.
    • A cover-up, or shorts and a T-shirt, must be worn outside of the pool area.


  • Proper footwear must be worn at all times for safety and appearance purposes.
  • Closed-toe shoes are required for kitchen, yard, and maintenance work.
  • Dress shoes must be worn when working in the office and for Mass.
  • Flip-flops or sandals can be worn for casual occasions or when otherwise appropriate.

Dress & Business Attire

  • Dress attire or business attire is required for Holy Mass and for special occasions.
    • Men: dress slacks, button down shirt, tie, and dress shoes
    • Women: nice dress, skirt and blouse, or dress slacks and blouse, dress shoes


  • GAP participants are expected to have:
    • Basic personal hygiene habits (i.e. bathing regularly)
    • Neat hairstyles
    • Clean clothing
  • Men should shave daily or as needed.

What to Pack

Pack for the GAP Program as if you were packing for a semester at college. What will you need during your time away from home? Just remember...if you forget a necessity, you can probably get a replacement!

• Modest clothing (see Dress Code guidelines) • Work clothing (for both outdoor and office work) • Shoes (sandals, tennis shoes, etc.) • Alarm clock • Sheets, blanket, & pillow (twin bed) • Portable toiletries • Towel & washcloth • Hair dryer • Water bottle • Bible • Prayer journal • Rosary • Backpack • Prescription medication • Watch • Laptop & charger • Phone & charger • Musical instruments • Sporting gear • Anything else you might find helpful

Banned Items

  • Weapons
  • Illegal drugs, narcotics, and controlled substances

How to Apply

Catholic GAP YEAR Program

To apply, please send a letter of intent with your contact information, age, and availability to [email protected]. Applicants must be 19+ years old, out of high school for at least 1 year, and have a valid driver’s license. If you are a practicing Catholic with a passion for your faith and open to learning new skills, we encourage you to apply!

In addition to your letter of intent, please:

1. Fill out and submit an application form.

2. Submit three letters of recommendation.