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Service Immersion Trips

The major inspiration for the Immersion Program of St. Joe's is Jesus’ call to “Come and See” (John 1:39). Jesus invited the first disciples to step out of their normal lives to encounter God in a new way. The SJCI Immersion Program provides opportunities for students to do the same. They leave the life of a Buffalo area teenager and encounter God in the people on the margins of American society.

The trips are not tourist excursions, but are community-based experiences, witnessing real-life situations. Students develop a deep respect for the people they visit, and they recognize God’s presence in the lives of the people they encounter.

Currently, two immersion experiences are available:

Camden, New Jersey
This “Urban Challenge” gives 10 students and two adults from St. Joe's the opportunity to wrestle with issues of urban poverty in one of the economically poorest cities in the United States. While in Camden, they live at the Romero Center, a retreat center with a mission of social justice education. Students work at many different sites throughout the city including meal programs, preschool programs, a senior day care center, and Habitat for Humanity. The next immersion trip to Camden will take place in the summer of 2018. Visit Mr. Panepinto for an application.

Bethlehem Farm, Talcott, West Virginia
Bethlehem Farm is a Catholic community in rural Appalachia which provides services to the local community. Ten students and two adults spend a week completing home repair in the area. The volunteers from St. Joe's join the Bethlehem Farm community for the week and live the Gospel principles of service, prayer, and simplicity. This immersion trip will take place in the spring of 2018. See Mr. Panepinto for more information.
food bank photo