The Immersion Groups Program started in 2006 as a collaborative way among the North American Province and the Latin American Region. Brother Stephen Casey (ERCBNA) and Brother Paul Keohane (LAR) lead the program
More than a hundred immersion groups, and more than a thousand people have lived this experience in Lima and Cochabamba.
In Lima, each immersion group builds a prefabricated house for a family in extreme poverty. The families live on the hills in Canto Grande or Jicamarca, two neighborhoods hit hard by poverty. Building a prefabricated house costs approximately $ 1,500. Each immersion group gathers sufficient amount of money to build a small house and to make small donations of school supplies or used clothing for families.
In preparation, Brothers Stephen and Paul visit the families on the hill of Canto Grande and Jicamarca, together with the neighbors decide which families should receive a prefabricated house. All families who receive a house live in extreme poverty. Thus, the family contributes in kind, with work, for the construction of the prefabricated house. Afterwards, it is painted with the preferred color of the family.
The Brothers do a follow up with the families through visits, accompanying them to solve small difficulties related to the education of their children, health or sanitation.
The immersion program changes lives not only of the families who now live in better conditions but also of the participants who experience life from another perspective.
An essential part of the immersion program is having time to reflect on the service.
It is a time of personal reflection, group sharing and community prayer. The purpose is to awaken the social consciousness in the participants of the immersion group.
Jan 02 - 12 Iona College, NY
Jan 23 - Feb 01 Bergen Catholic, NJ
Feb 20 - 26 Catholic Memorial, Boston
Feb 13 - 19 Hendricken, RI
Mar 02 - 09 Saint Laurence, Chicago
Mar 15 - 22 Vancouver College
Apr 10 - 16 Iona Prep, Pupils
Apr 12 - 20 Lewisham College, Sydney
Apr 23 - 30 Newman 1 - Pupils
May 03 - 10 Newman 2 - Pupils
May 13 - 20 Newman 3 - Fathers & Sons
May 22 - 29 Newman 4 - Teachers
May 31 - Jun 08 Newman 5 - Mothers
Jun 09 - 16 Edmund Rice, Michigan
Jun 14 - 22 Palma, Salinas, California
Jun 29 - Jul 06 St Thomas More, Burnaby, BC
Jul 10 - 16 Iona Prep - Fathers & Sons
Jul 17 - 24 Pilgrims in Perú - North America
Aug 07 - 14 Stella Maris, Montevideo - Adults
Aug 21 - 28 Stella Maris, Montevideo - Pupils
Oct 04 - 13 Fremantle College, Perú
Nov 03 - 10 Newman 6, - Board Members
Editor's Note: It is with sadness that we report, that since this article was written, Brother Paul Keohane passed away in Ireland on September 19, 2019. We fondly remember Brother Paul and all he contributed to the immersion program.
May he rest in peace.