- El Salvador/US-Mexico Border - January 2020
- Chiapas, Mexico - January 2020
- Jamaica – January 2020
- US-Mexico Border - Spring Break 2020
- Cleveland, OH - Spring Break 2020
- Louisville – Spring Break 2020
- Appalachia – Spring Break 2020
- Dominican Republic - May 2020
- Honduras – May 2020
- Ecuador – May 2020
- Ignatian Pilgrimage - May 2020
Dates: January 2-12, 2020
Cost: $2,000 (does not include passport or optional immunizations)
Student Coordinators: Julie Whitmore and Lillia Smyers
This is a tri-national immersion experience partnering with CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador) and KBI (the Kino Border Initiative) to explore the intimate human elements of the El Salvador/USA migration situation. This experience is designed to raise awareness and understanding of migration issues in El Salvador and the US so as to ignite involvement in a compassionate response to migrants, engage in research, get involved in advocacy and push for the transformation of policies and causes of migration.
The first six days will be spent in El Salvador visiting with CRISPAZ’s church-community based partners that work with families of disappeared migrants and examining human rights. This will include a one night community home stay where participants will learn how situations in a community influence migration decisions as well as how families are affected by migration. Conversation with various partner organizations will help participants understand more deeply the root causes of the past and present day exodus of Salvadorans. In particular, reflection will focus on listening for ways to reduce the need for people to leave their home country in addition to finding advocacy opportunities to change internal US policies towards immigration. The sixth day will be for travel north by air to the Mexico/US border at Nogales, AZ/Nogales, MX.
The final four days will be hosted by Kino Border Initiative and will focus on the migrant experience at the border. Activities will include: a hike in the US desert close to migrant trails, time with deported and northern-bound migrants at KBI’s hospitality center in Mexico, a tour along the wall between the US and Mexico, and visit to the court in Tucson where students will observe recently detained migrants who are charged with the crimes of illegal entry and reentry in a rapid assembly-style trial.
The group will stay in simple accommodations. Group members may need to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor but will have adequate usage of showers and toilets. Meals will be basic but sufficient, and there will be opportunities to try cultural cuisine.
Dates: January 2-8, 2020
Cost: $2,000 (does not include passport or optional immunizations)
Student Coordinators: Drew Kleinnman and Elizabeth Fraas
A state in southern Mexico, Chiapas is best known for its diverse indigenous culture and progressive Catholic church. The Zapatista movement, which has established autonomous municipalities, continues to struggle for indigenous rights. Participants fly in and out of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas’ capital, and often spend one or two nights there in order to meet with high-level state officials or visit the dramatic Sumidero Canyon. The majority of Chiapas programming takes place about a 1 ½ hour drive away, in and around San Cristóbal de las Casas. Program participants stay at Posada Isabel Hotel in the heart of San Cristóbal de las Casas and take day excursions to surrounding communities. Students will learn about indigenous rights, revolutionary movements, the role of the church in social change, the environment, and issues related to women.
This is a new immersion site for Campus Ministry, though we are partnering with Augsberg College, a long-time collaborator with our immersion program.
The Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) at Augsburg University works with university groups across the country, engaging them in more than 30 international locations. CGEE is focused on providing experiential-based learning experiences in the tradition of Paulo Freire’s Praxis Model of education.
Students will stay in a simple, yet comfortable hostel. There will be opportunities to try the local cuisine.
Dates: January 2-11, 2020
Cost: $1,800 (does not include passport or optional immunizations)
Student Coordinators: Rose Rife and Matthew Hallgarth
Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean, and the most populous English-speaking island in that region. Jamaica’s population consists mainly of people of African descent, which comprises close to 91% of the population. Nearly 65% of Jamaica’s population is Christian, mainly Protestant denominations. Only 2.6% of the country’s population is Catholic. Jamaicans speak a form of English known as Patois. Jamaica is challenged by poverty and a growing national debt.
Specifically, participants will be traveling to Mandeville, Jamaica. Mandeville is the capital and largest town in the parish of Manchester in the county of Middlesex and has an estimated population of 50,000. It is located on an inland plateau and is approximately 65 miles west of Kingston. It is the only parish capital of Jamaica not located on the coast or on a major river.
The experience with the Diocese of Mandeville and PVI in Mandeville is focused on accompanying the poor and marginalized. Our projects will depend on what is needed when we arrive in Mandeville and may include working with youth, down to newborns all the way to the elderly. Participants will likely spend time at St. John Bosco, a home and school for disadvantaged, orphaned, abused, and neglected boys, where volunteers engage in everything from working with the boys in their trade programs, to spending hours on their field playing soccer to not only have fun but lend a listening ear and support. Another likely service site is the Manchester Infirmary, a home for the mentally and physically disabled. JCU students may also assist the Passionist Volunteers in their PVI Literacy Program.
JCU is excited to partner with the Diocese of Mandeville to offer this immersion experience. The diocese strives to live out the mission of the Gospel not only through preaching and teaching, but more so through the many social programs it offers: schools, clinics, housing programs, orphanages, senior’s home, support to HIV/AIDS victims, AA program, and more. Additionally, the JCU group will be accompanied by volunteers from the Passionist Volunteers International program in Mandeville. The mission of PVI, rooted in the pillars of service, community, simplicity, and spirituality, is to extend service by crossing borders and cultures to walk with the poor and suffering in a spirit of accompaniment.
Students will stay in a retreat center-type setting in Mandeville. Simple but substantive meals will be eaten either at the retreat center or in community with the Passionist Volunteers.
Dates: March 2–9, 2019
The border between the United States and Mexico stretches almost 2,000 miles, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. In some places, the border is only marked by a sign or a fence. In other places, the border is reinforced with barbed wire or tall steel barriers.
All the border fortification is intended to reduce undocumented immigration to the United States from Mexico. Many immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation flee extreme poverty in Mexico, Central, and South America. Every year, thousands of people travel across the difficult terrain of the borderlands in search of a new life. Many make it but live in the shadows, working menial jobs to earn money to send back home, many get detained and deported, and sadly, there are many others who die in the desert. This region can be so politicized by the news, so this immersion experience is an attempt to find the human faces of the immigration crisis.
KBI immersion experiences offer participants an opportunity to spend time with migrants and learn from their stories, as well as to understand the broader context of the border and immigration. Every trip includes time in the comedor (soup kitchen) where participants serve food and have the chance to speak with recently deported migrants. Trips often include a visit to the women’s shelter, a walk in the desert, an opportunity to participate in mass with and converse with ranchers in a rural town in southern Arizona, and a visit to criminal prosecution of immigrants in Tucson. The immersion is intended to humanize the immigration issue and to recognize its complexity, while emphasizing accompaniment of people on their journey. Over the course of the week, there are spaces for reflection on the experiences and times to plan follow-up activities upon return.
The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a binational organization that works in the area of migration and is located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KBI was inaugurated in January of 2009 by six organizations from the United States and Mexico: The California Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus, the Diocese of Tucson and the Diocese of Nogales. The KBI’s vision is to help make humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality. Its mission is to promote US/Mexico border and immigration policies that affirm the dignity of the human person and a spirit of bi-national solidarity through:
- Direct humanitarian assistance and accompaniment with migrants;
- Social and pastoral education with communities on both sides of the border;
- Participation in collaborative networks that engage in research and advocacy to transform local, regional, and national immigration policies.
Accommodations: Students will stay in housing provided by KBI. Meals and accommodations will be simple, yet adequate.
Dates: March 2-9, 2020
Come visit the Cleveland you’ve never seen before. Everyday there are people struggling to find housing, put food on their table, and survive in the Greater Cleveland Area. 365 days a year, the homeless shelters are full to capacity. Around 40% of the population live below the poverty line in our community and there are 241,400 people who are suffering from food insecurity. There is an estimated 21,000 people who experience homelessness over the course of a year in our community. 103 of these individuals died in 2016.
The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) is a Cleveland-based organization that seeks to organize and empower homeless and at risk men, women, and children, to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty through public education, advocacy, and the creation of nurturing environments. They do this in partnership with the homeless, through the publication of a street newspaper, staffing for service and outreach collaborations, coordination of the Homeless Congress, improving and expanding access to services, sponsorship of the Homeless Candlelight Vigil, protecting the right to vote by homeless people, publication of various Street Cards, and construction of a host of educational and advocacy activities.
This immersion seeks to put a human face on statistics. Over the course of the week, participants will have the opportunity to visit local organizations to understand the interconnecting issues around poverty and homelessness. The group will volunteer in local service providers but also sit down and eat at a soup kitchen in order to better understand another’s reality. Participants will build relationships with people who are experiencing homelessness and understand the deeply human and systemic reasons why people struggle with housing. The immersion group will rely exclusively on public transportation during the course of the week.
Simple floor space provided for sleeping bags. Simple meals provided. Some meals will be at meal sites in the community.
Dates: March 2-9, 2020
Since 1975 more than 10,000 refugees from 30 different countries have settled in Louisville, Kentucky, with the assistance of the Diocese of Louisville Office of Migration and Refugee Services.
The experience provides opportunities for each participant to develop a greater understanding of the challenges and realities that people seeking refuge in the United States face each day. The group will literally explore the path that a refugee or immigrant takes when they arrive in Louisville.
This will include opportunities to visit and volunteer at social service centers that work directly with refugees and immigrants. The group will also have an opportunity to visit the Abbey of the Gethsemani, former home of Thomas Merton, to spend a day in contemplative reflection regarding their experience.
CrossRoads Ministry is an inner-city retreat center that engages young people in peacemaking through urban retreat experiences, outreach to the margins, prayer, service, and a bridging of communities for justice. Now in its 16th year of operation, CrossRoads has touched the lives of more than 15,000 youth through a variety of retreat options. CrossRoads is a Christian organization in a Catholic tradition.
Accommodations at CrossRoads are comfortable but simple. Most people sleep in same-sex shared rooms with separate communal bathrooms. Meals are simple but plentiful.
Dates: March 2-9, 2020
Appalachia is a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from southern New York to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. Living among the beautiful Appalachian Mountains are approximately 25 million people who share a similar history and culture. People work as miners, mill hands, and mountaineers, farmers, artisans, and musicians, educators, machinists, and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the people have often been stereotyped as uneducated and isolated.
Although Appalachia has abundant natural resources, such as coal and timber, the people of Appalachia have always struggled with poverty and have not enjoyed long-term benefits from these industries which were developed during the industrial revolution. In recent years, Appalachia has diversified its industries and has largely joined the economy of the rest of the country, but it still lags behind in most economic indicators. The region also still struggles with access to health care and quality education.
Two landmark Catholic pastoral letters, This Land is Home to Me: A Pastoral Letter On Powerlessness and At Home in the Web of Life: A Pastoral Message on Sustainable Community, give a moving and poetic description of the beauty of the region and its exploitation for energy resources. Billions of dollars worth of coal have been removed from the area, largely by people who do not live on the land, resulting in the impoverishment of the Appalachian people and environmental damage.
The ACW Farm has a variety of community partners that immersion participants may serve. Though the service site will be determined upon arrival, participants can expect to participate in a variety of service projects that may include community outreach, physical service and farm work, and education about the local area.
Our community partner for this immersion is the Appalachian Catholic Worker Farm outside Spencer, West Virginia, just north of Charleston. ACW describes the experience they offer students as being one-third service, one-third education, and one-third reflection. Learn more details on the ACW website.
Participants will stay in rustic, communal housing on the grounds of the ACW farm. Meals will be simple and nourishing.
Dates: May 21-30, 2020 (exact dates TBD)
This is a new immersion to the Dominican Republic. Our focus will be on ethical trade. Students will meet with experts on the topics of fair trade and the living wage, globally and in the DR. We will visit the Alta Gracia apparel factory - currently the only producer of a certified living wage t-shirt in the developing world. Alta Gracia ensures the people making your clothes can provide their families with all of life’s necessities – good nutrition, decent housing, medical care, the cost of education for themselves and their children. This model will be compared to sweatshop conditions of other apparel factories in the area.
The group will also examine the plight of migrant workers - many in sugarcane and plaintain farms - and the politics, economy, and labor issues between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
We are excited to partnering with the Caribbean Social Immersion Program. Their programs are hosted by Centro Montalvo, a social and educational center of the Society of Jesus in the Dominican Republic.
Centro Montalvo is dedicated to implementing programs of accompaniment and social training, as well as research, communication and advocacy.
They work closely with Jesuit organizations in the Caribbean and South America.
Students will be staying in Jesuit retreat facilities and residences. Accommodations will be simple, yet comfortable.
More information is coming soon!
Dates: May 23-31, 2020 (exact dates TBD)
Cost: $2,000 (does not include passport or optional immunizations)
Honduras is a beautiful and mountainous Central American country with lush greenery. Once part of Spain’s vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely-elected civilian government came to power in 1982. Honduras is one of the 10 poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with GDP per capita at U.S. $4,200 per year (2010). The economy has continued to grow slowly but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized with average wages remaining low. 65% of the population lives below the poverty line. It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million people who are unemployed, the rate of unemployment standing at 27.9%.
Our work for the week will be to offer medical services to those who are very poor. Ideally, participants will be students preparing to enter the medical field or public health and alumni doctors and nurses. Medical professionals from the Cleveland community are also invited to provide care to the people of Honduras and act as mentors to our pre-health students. We expect to participate in a number of medical brigades where simple diagnoses are made and medicines are distributed. We will also work on public health mapping projects by identifying the locations of various transportation patterns, water supplies, clinics, and diseases. By understanding the relationships between geography and the local people, we can better serve the people of rural Honduras both in the present and future immersions.
In addition, we will be visiting some of the other ministries of Sociedad such as Flor Azul, a farm for boys that allows them to live productive lives and learn valuable skills. As we visit them and other people of Honduras it is important to convey that we are there to serve them and that we care about them. This is the most important service we will offer in Honduras.
Sociedad Amigos de los Niños was founded in 1966 by Sister Maria Rosa Leggol of the School Sisters of Saint Francis. The Mission of Sociedad Amigos de los Niños (SAN) is to provide a nurturing environment for the neglected and impoverished children of Honduras. Sociedad provides shelter, health care, education, training, and the opportunity to live in dignity to children and families ravaged by extreme poverty. SAN addresses their basic needs and at the same time creates the opportunities for each child and young person to acquire the necessary skills to enjoy a productive and meaningful life. From her own experience as an orphan, Sister Maria Rosa has always been concerned with the needs of the poor and has rescued and educated more than 35,000 children who today are productive citizens of Honduras. Perhaps the biggest project of Sociedad, and our host for the week, is the Nuevo Paraiso Community which is a small village about two hours from Tegucigalpa. This tiny village of 60 homes is a safe haven for those who are victims of extreme poverty and neglect. It is here that Sociedad Amigos de Los Niños helps them build their dreams one step at a time. Nuevo Paraiso offers a kindergarten for 60 children, an elementary school for 230, and a high school for 350 students. The Santa Rosa de Lima Medical Clinic attends 40,000 patients per year. In addition, there is a training center, soccer field, Cielos de Honduras brick factory, a plantain chip factory, and the beginnings of other micro-businesses.
In Nuevo Paraiso, participants will be staying in modest, but comfortable, accommodations which are designated for volunteers. Beds, linens, and pillows are provided as well as laundry service. Shared bathrooms and showers are available.
Honduran cooks will prepare three meals a day in Nuevo Paraiso. Hondurans demonstrate their affection for others through their cooking, andthey would appreciate hearing that you enjoyed your meal. We will also have the opportunity to dine in a Honduran restaurant during the trip and experience other aspects of the Honduran culture.
Dates: May 21-30, 2020
Cost: $2,000 (does not include passport or optional immunizations)
Ecuador, on the western coast of South America, earned its name for its location directly on the equator. The Spanish speaking country has a population of about 13 million which is 95 percent Catholic. The country has been challenged by poverty since its transition from Spanish rule in the 1800’s.
The John Carroll group will spend their time in Duran, located across the Guayas River from Guayquil, the second largest city in Ecuador and a bustling center of trade and commerce. Duran’s population has grown significantly over the past 15 years and now has a population of approximately 200,000.
Education is a major challenge for the children of Ecuador. The country’s constitution guarantees free basic education for all children. But in practice, schools operate on such limited budgets that families must cover the cost of books, teaching materials, and utilities. These fees hinder poor families from sending their children to school. Net primary school enrollment rates are above 97 percent, but only about half of all students enroll in secondary school. Between the ages of 12 and 17, 16 percent of students drop out in order to work.
(Unicef – http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ecuador.html)
The experience with RDC in Duran is focused on being with the people. Time is spent at afterschool programs, daycare centers, hospitals, schools, social service centers and in the community surrounding the retreat house. The focus of the experience is not on building or construction.
Rostro de Cristo is a Catholic program whose mission is to provide spiritual and educational opportunities for young people from the United States to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ together with the people of Ecuador. The program invites participants to:
- Lead a simple lifestyle.
- Build an intentional Christian community.
- Be in relationship with the Ecuadorian people and reflect on the face of Christ in their joys and struggles.
- Work with the Ecuadorian people to find long term solutions to the problems of poverty and together seek opportunities to improve the lives of the people.
Rostro de Cristo participants are thus witnesses to the Gospel and a source of hope and light in the community. These experiences inspire life-long commitments to service, social justice, and solidarity with the people of Ecuador and the world.
The group will travel throughout Duran and Guayaquil in a microbus or truck provided by Rostro de Cristo. JCU groups stay in a retreat house specifically for groups from U.S. colleges and high schools. The house has simple accommodations that allow participants to live in solidarity with those who surround them in the community. The house does have running water and working plumbing. The group will eat simple meals three times a day including rice, beans, lots of fruits and vegetables, and freshly baked bread for breakfast and lunch.
Dates: May 26 - June 7, 2020
Inspired by the pilgrim St. Ignatius of Loyola, the mission of this program is to provide an international journey which engages awareness, experience, prayer, and reflection for students through the Ignatian tradition of pilgrimage. The journey is bidirectional: (1) an outwardly-focused pilgrimage of deep engagement with the lived experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and (2) an inwardly-focused pilgrimage discerning our own relationship with God.
Students will walk prayerfully in the footsteps of St. Ignatius through Loyola, Montserrat, Manresa, Barcelona, and other parts of Northern Spain. Students will have the opportunity to be in some of the significant places of St. Ignatius' life and walk approx. 120 miles of the same ground St. Ignatius walked almost 500 years ago.
This is a collaboration with Creighton University of Omaha and other Jesuit institutions. It will be a unique opportunity that differs somewhat from our typical immersion program. More details will follow!