We come face to face with local people, empathise with them and share their daily joys and sorrows, celebrating their richness and gifts, and feeling for their pain.
We learn as much from them, possibly more, as they learn from us. Guided throughout the experience by critical and prayerful questioning, we recognise that we are involved in and partly responsible for their reality in this global society.
Marcellin Champagnat’s work and mission in making Jesus Christ known and loved can be summed up in one word – community. An immersion is an opportunity for students to be exposed to these Marist communities around the world. It enables students to experience a different culture and to gain knowledge of the global nature of the work of Marists. Selected pilgrims are cultural and spiritual ambassadors for Australia and more specifically, St Gregory’s College.
The core value of an immersion experience is solidarity:
“Solidarity is the conviction that we are born into a fabric of relationships,
that our humanity ties us to others,
that the Gospel consecrates those ties,
and that the prophets tell us that those ties
are the test by which our very (w)holiness will be judged.”
It means recognition, respect, collaboration, alliance, friendship, help.
Jesus taught, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.’
An immersion enables pilgrims to experience first hand being poor in spirit, that is, the realisation that everything comes from God for the good of humankind. In community, the pilgrims live simply and share generously. It is a way for different groups of people to help one another, but in a way that makes them all grow at the same time, because solidarity recognises the identity of the other. While we often think of these places in terms of what we can do for them, these experiences usually are of greatest benefit to the visitor.
The experiences take place during the Easter and Term 2 holiday, visiting communities in Fiji, Timor Leste, Vanuatu and India. Students are accompanied by staff from the College.