SEMINARIAN IMMERSION IN GUATEMALA
From 3-17 January, President-Rector Fr. Gregory Boquet accompanied two groups of seminarians on a mission immersion experience to Esquipulas, Guatemala. Esquipulas hosts the Shrine of the Black Christ and the monastery responsible for its care, established by Saint Joseph Abbey in 1959. The two seminary groups comprised nine senior class men each; both groups spent a full week in the city.
Coordinated and directed by Mr. Matt Rousso, a Maryknoll missionary, Fr. Gregory explained the purpose of the trip as "an opportunity for the senior seminarians to expand their vision and appreciate the multicultural dimensions of the Catholic Church."
The students explored the city and were educated about the political and economic struggles in Guatemala. They visited schools, orphanages and clinics in the surrounding countryside and spoke with teachers, doctors and carpenters who are helping the people in their struggles with poverty.
On each of the Saturdays, they walked the way of the cross on a hill located in the outskirts of the city. Each station was spaced about 40 yards further up the hill. At each station, someone would read the Gospel, someone would read a reflection, and someone else would read the closing prayer for that station. As they climbed to the next station, the seminarians sang the Kyrie in Spanish. At the end, they were at the top of the hill, marked by a small chapel. From there, they viewed all of Esquipulas and the beautiful basilica below.
At the close of each day, the group would gather and discuss what they had seen. Then, they were asked the question, "what did you really see?" As Fr. Gregory commented, "the trip is designed to enlighten the seminarians about immigration and the politics and economics that are driving undocumented persons to move to the States. In reality, it prepares them for the future Hispanic church of the United States."