El Salvador Immersion Program

Dates: Late May, 2013
Applications due: November, 2010

Information Session: TBD
Directors of the Program
Marty Kelly, - Chaplains’ Office


The Holy Cross El Salvador Immersion program began in 2008.  The program seeks to provide students with and experience of the reality of life in Latin America through the eyes of the poor and in light of the Gospel, as well as the opportunity to reflect and pray together about all that one experiences.

Our hope and our belief is that students are changed irrevocably by this kind of experience, returning home with motivation to become part of the global solution to issues of poverty and global justice. One of our goals is that they are inspired to lead generous and intentional lives, using their considerable gifts to make this world a more just and loving place.

How the Program Works
Participants have an opportunity to encounter aspects of Salvadoran culture through project sites, input sessions, day trips, memorial sites, worship experiences, and daily reflection among themselves and with IPM staff members.

It is important to realize that the immersion opportunities are meant to facilitate student appreciation and respect for the people who they encounter. In serving the poor, students will be receiving from the poor.  This openness to receive and to be enriched by Salvadoran hospitality and culture is both a prerequisite and an outcome of this program.

It is our hope that Holy Cross students will grow in awareness of their own solidarity with the people they encounter. In this way, they will come to see the ‘other’ truly as ‘neighbor'.

A Typical Day
We begin our day with breakfast and morning orientation at the Oasis Guest House in San Salvador.  During most week days students will then be transported to various IPM partner-sites in El Salvador.  We will spend our days visiting with many community projects in the region as well as witnessing the sacred sites where the six Jesuits, the four American churchwomen, Fr. Rutilio Grande, and Archbishop Romero were martyred in the 1980’s. Other sites include elementary schools, high schools, and the University of Central America, as well as other projects focusing on education and nutrition.  Late afternoons offer time for rest and the group meets each evening to reflect on daily experiences.

During some day-visits, speakers will share about Salvadoran culture and contemporary concerns. There will also be free time for rest and relaxation.  On Sunday, participants will worship with Salvadorans at the Cathedral in San Salvador. The program will also offer an opportunity to experience a home-stay with one of the members of Mujer y Communidad.  Students will break into smaller groups of two and three and spend a night in Zaragoza with their host-family.

Preparation for Immersion
Students are chosen for the program by the end of the fall semester. A series of orientation meetings for all participants during spring semester help to build community and prepare the group for the immersion.