By Anthony Cardellini ’17
The Office of Faith and Justice will debut immersion trips to New Jersey, a Havasupai school, northern Spain, and Haiti during this school year, said Mr. Paul Fisko, Brophy’s Assistant Principal of Ministry.
“Immersion trips are the best way for young people to have their eyes opened to what we call human reality,” Mr. Fisko said. “These immersion trips get kids to wake up a little bit.”
Though the new immersion trips may look arbitrary on paper, Mr. Fisko said that they arise due to concern in the Brophy community.
“The [new trips] are really cool for a reason,” he said. “They organically come from people who care about them.”
Mr. Fisko took over as the assistant principal of ministry and director of the Office of Faith and Justice activities last year. He said that it is important for Brophy to serve the poor at these new places.
In Spain, students walk the journey of St. Ignatius, from Loyola, the town where he lived, to Barcelona, in the hopes of deepening students’ ties with Ignatian spirituality, Mr. Fisko said.
The trip to Camden, New Jersey was inspired by Mr. Jim Bopp, who was assigned to Camden during the Jesuit formation he underwent before coming to Brophy.
Mr. Bopp explained the importance of going to Camden in an email to The Roundup.
He said the juxtaposition of wealthy Philadelphia and Camden is “something that should not be allowed to transpire in this country—and yet it is there right next to the birthplace of the Constitution.”
He also said that although the crime and lack of education are difficult to deal with, “at heart it is still a community of people trying to raise and care for children and to find a way to flourish despite having so many odds stacked against them.”
The organization that Brophy would work with is called Hopeworks, which helps Camden residents deal with lack of opportunity. The founder of Hopeworks, Father Jeff Putthoff, S.J., knows Mr. Bopp personally.
The trip to Camden will take place in the spring.
Another new immersion trip involves a hike down the Grand Canyon in a Havasupai community. Mr. Fisko said the trip was inspired by a struggling school in the community whose principal is the mother-in-law of Dr. Jose Tussell.
“That school needs our help … the trip includes taking supplies to the village to repair classrooms and start new building projects,” Mr. Fisko said.
The trip to the Havasupai community will take place in the fall.
The final new immersion trip will take students to the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. An earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, causing the deaths of over 160,000.
“The idea would be to go down there and work … for ‘Foie et Joie’ which means ‘Faith and Joy.’ It’s a type of schooling for kids,” Mr. Fisko said.
He said that the central theme of the trip is “working in a school environment and training kids.”
Ben Posorske ’16 said he is well-aware of the importance of Brophy students helping others abroad.
He has been to Guatemala twice with Brophy, and has also founded the Tech 4 Cuba club after going to Cuba two years ago.
“I witnessed first-person poverty,” Posorske said. “The schools there get the rough end of the stick where they don’t have textbooks, they have only one television.”
He said the care of the Brophy community is inspiring and has allowed Tech 4 Cuba to succeed.
“Help’s needed everywhere at all times, and we should always be ready to get that call from God, even if it means going to a country where you’ve never been,” he said of the new options.
Mr. Fisko said sometimes the meaning of seeing poverty is even deeper than that: “It breaks your heart.”