Saturday, January 25, 2020

FSSP Spanish Immersion Program in Mexico This Summer

The St Junipero Serra Spanish Institute is pleased to announce that registration is open for its fifth year of Spanish immersion for priests and seminarians in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. This year the program will run from June 15th – August 14th; for more information, and to register, see their webpage:
Participants stay at Casa Cristo Rey of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, where, in addition to 4 hours of class daily, they live in a pastoral environment that immerses them in Spanish and nourishes them spiritually. Each day begins with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the singing of the Divine Office. Seminarians have a wide range of opportunities to put the Spanish they learn in practice through interaction with local families and participation in pastoral activities of the FSSP’s parish in Guadalajara.

Some of the highlights of the programs:

Academics: Students attend 4 hours of class daily with professional language instructors. These professors have developed their own curriculum specifically designed to meet the needs of students whose primary goal is to apply their knowledge of the language in a pastoral setting. Students will be asked, according to their proficiency in the language, to prepare sample sermons and conduct practice confessions. Private tutoring sessions are also available several times per week at the student’s discretion.

Immersion: Upon arrival students will sign a pledge to only speak Spanish during their time in the program. Each week they will have dinner with a local family and will enjoy many opportunities to interact with people in situations which necessitate speaking Spanish.

Pastoral: Because the St. Junipero Serra Institute is designed for priests and seminarians, students have a wide array of pastoral opportunities during their time in Guadalajara. These include visits to hospitals and orphanages, participation in parochial groups and activities, and lectures on vital cultural elements of ministering in a Hispanic culture. Additionally, the curriculum is specifically designed for seminarians and priests. Our professors have created the language program “¡Habla Cristiano!” which takes its name from the history of the Reconquista in Spain. During the time of Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, Catholics would differentiate themselves from Muslims on the basis of the language they spoke. To speak Castilian was to speak the Christian language.

History and Culture: Part of immersing oneself in a language is immersing oneself in the culture in which that language is spoken. Each week students will attend lectures on Mexican history and culture. Students will participate in pilgrimages to various important shrines and historical sites, including the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and various sites related to the Cristero martyrs. Because of the students’ involvement in the pastoral activities of the apostolate, they will also receive an immersion in local Hispanic customs and traditions. They will participate in devotions, processions, and other events that form an integral part of the Hispanic religious experience.

Spirituality: There are a wide array of Spanish immersion programs available, including many that target seminarians and priests. Many of these programs lack a truly religious and formative environment for their students. What makes the Saint Junipero Serra Institute unique is that we seek to provide our students with a formative and spiritually enriching ambience while they study Spanish. Students participate in daily Mass and singing of the divine office. They live in community with other priests and seminarians and form lasting bonds of comradery.

The full program lasts nine weeks, which includes a missionary experience in which the seminarians together with the lay faithful engage in door to door evangelization. The program can also be customized for different lengths of time. For priests who may be on a more limited schedule, we offer the opportunity for a private immersion experience that can be scheduled for other times of the year. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions.

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