What is the Immersion Program?
Prep's immersion program offers rising seniors the opportunity to grow in:
- Solidarity with the poor and marginalized
- An understanding of themselves that includes the other
- “A faith that does justice"
- A radical view of the gospel message of love through action
- An experience of being a man for and with others
Located in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border region, the Encuentro Project is a collaborative project run by the Jesuits, the Marist Brothers, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Family and the Archdiocese of El Paso. This project was created to give people the opportunity to provide direct service in the shelters and ministries offered to migrants at the border while also educating them about the realities of the border, immigration, and Catholic social teaching. In this summer’s virtual Encuentro Project, students will participate in workshops with eight different speakers who work with migrants in the community of El Paso. These speakers will help us to examine the complexity of the immigration issue. We will consider the legal aspects of immigration through presentations from border patrol agents and immigration lawyers. We will also connect Catholic Social Teaching to the realities of the border and migrant experience with readings, journal entries, prayer, discussion and reflection.
Beyond the Inner Harbor and stadiums, the locations frequented most by visitors, Baltimore is a city that struggles with many challenges including poverty and systemic racism. This service trip offers an opportunity for students to serve and build community with the people of Baltimore through exposure to local culture, arts, and history. Students will engage in service to the community (appropriate to the pandemic circumstances) and hear from a diverse group of speakers about issues surrounding poverty and systemic racism.
History refers to Lakota people as the Sioux, yet the people refer to themselves as the Lakota Nation. The Pine Ridge Immersion trip historically takes place within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where a respectful and generous people have been forced to live on land that is not conducive to farming, ranching or industry. Pine Ridge Reservation is considered one of the poorest counties in the U.S., and yet, the Lakota people continue to build their culture and teach their rituals and language against tremendous odds. During this virtual immersion, students will hear from various Lakota tribe members on the reservation to gain insight into what life is like there today, the challenges, the joys, and the history. We will listen and learn from the Lakota experience. We will also hear from the Jesuits living there and from teachers at Red Cloud Indian School - the only Native/Jesuit high school in the U.S. After listening to the Lakota experience, we will discern how best to respond to the needs and desires of the Lakota people going forward. We will come to understand their core spiritual world-view which is summed up in the Lakota phrase - Mitakuye Oyasin - which translates "All my relations." Finally, we hope to plan an Assembly for the school during Native American Heritage month in November to bring the story of the Lakota people and the Pine Ridge Immersion to the Georgetown Prep community.
This trip begins by introducing students to the Ignatian spiritual practices of sacred listening and mutual accompaniment as ways to be for and with others. We will use these approaches to learn about and from the urban poor of East L.A. Our central focus will be hearing about the work that many people and organizations are doing to assist this community and engaging in dialogue with them. We will give special attention to Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ and Homeboy Industries, including reading his acclaimed book "Tattooed on the Heart."
Prep will partner with the Hope Community Center in Apopka, Florida, just outside of Orlando. Hope Community Center was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame to serve community members going through hard times. Apopka has a large migrant community from all countries in Latin America that have endured the struggles of immigration for a long time. During the course of the immersion experience, staff members of Hope Community Center will share insights on their efforts to support the local migrant community. Students will work towards building companionship with the Apopka community members by meeting with families in breakout rooms over Zoom. Students will gain a greater understanding of life as an immigrant in the US through the residents of Apopka and the Hope Community Center.
Prep will partner with the Jesuit community that serves the Flathead Reservation in Montana. During the week we will engage in conversations about Native American history in the region and the role that the Jesuits played in that history. We will meet various members of the Native American community and engage them in conversation about their culture, traditions, history and challenges. Prep will also have the opportunity to study Glacier National park and discuss issues of environmental justice, mainly climate change and its effect on glaciers at the park. After this week the students should have a deeper understanding of life as a Native American in the United States as well as the effects of global warming at Glacier National Park.