Solidarity, Spirituality, Simplicity and Social Justice
- Fall Holiday: EAST LOS ANGELES (October 23-26, 2014)
- Intersession: EL SALVADOR (January 11-22, 2015)
- Spring Break: TIJUANA SPRING BREAKTHROUGH (March 27-April 2, 2015)
University Ministry's Romero Immersion Programs are designed to:
- form hearts that long for justice
- develop critical skills for social analysis
- empower you to be always conscious of the poor
- encourage you to live in solidarity with people living on the margins
- see the world with new eyes
- go deeper in your faith
- cultivate an enduring commitment to social justice.
What does a Romero Immersion Program look like?
- Pre-departure meetings to prepare for the experience by developing relationships within the group, learning about the community to be visited, and reflecting on your hopes for the experience.
- An extended experience of direct contact with people who are poor and vulnerable.
- Intentional conversation and community building through the sharing of stories and daily life of the community visited.
- Ongoing and intentional reflection during that experience.
- Being open to God's presence and movement through regular and purposeful prayer.
- If appropriate and possible, practical service activities designed to foster interaction with the community visited as well as a fuller understanding of that community's reality.
- Post-trip follow-up reflection sessions designed to help you integrate the experience into your life by examining your role in the world and discerning your contribution to the common good.
What are the four core values of the Romero Immersion Programs?
- Social justice: You will be challenged to recognize and understand the complex systems that oppress the most vulnerable. Through these experiences you will be encouraged to make more just and sustainable lifestyle choices that promote full human flourishing and enable all to contribute to and benefit from the common good.
- Spirituality: You will be encouraged and supported in the process of asking profound questions regarding the meaning of your life and of God's presence in the world. Especially during the structured prayer and reflection sessions, and by meeting faith-filled people, you will deepen your relationship with God and develop a mature spirituality.
- Simplicity: In order to enter into the experience fully you will be challenged to live simply, refraining from the usual pulls and influences of technology and other material comforts, to reassess the balance between wants and needs, and to recognize your privilege.
- Solidarity: In order to understand the fullness of our shared humanity, you will be challenged to live, reflect, and work as a community, as well as to engage the hopes, joys and struggles of the community you visit in a spirit of mutual vulnerability.
What inspires Romero Immersion Programs?
- The values and demands in the Gospels where, through the person of Jesus Christ, we encounter God's vision of compassionate justice and preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. Throughout Scripture, God takes the side of the oppressed and is deeply concerned with those who are most marginalized. God's special love for the outcast -- "the widow, the orphan, the stranger" -- is radically revealed in the life of Jesus Christ.
- The tradition of Catholic Social Thought that presents a vision of society that is transformative, radical and challenging – a structure that, if implemented, would make visible the reign of God. CST strives to foster a living faith that leads to loving action and calls us to live out the principles of preferential option for the poor, human dignity, solidarity and the common good.
- The mission statement of the University of San Diego, which commits to preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service. Upholding these values encourages students to create positive social change in their communities and fashion a more humane world.
Is there a cost?
The approximate cost of a Romero Immersion ranges, but always includes travel expenses, insurance, all meals and lodging, in-country transportation, contributions to our partner agencies and other materials.
While we understand that these experiences do incur a significant financial cost, we never want anyone to be deterred from participating because of financial need. Financial assistance is available to students for whom the cost of the immersion would cause a significant financial hardship that would otherwise prevent their participation. Students requesting financial assistance will be expected to participate in fundraising efforts. According to available funds, UM may be able to provide financial assistance and is always able to arrange for a payment plan that would ease the burden of the total cost over time.
Who is Oscar Romero?
Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador martyred in 1980 for his advocacy on behalf of the poor and powerless. Encountering the reality of poverty and injustice transformed Romero into a powerful agent for social justice. His life and witness to peace inspires every Romero Immersion Program.