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A Pilgrimage into Service
Page Count
224 pages
Publication date
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    About the book

    Immersion: A Pilgrimage into Service is a resource for those discerning or undergoing an immersive service experience or post-graduate volunteer service program. It utilizes recent Catholic social thought, Scripture, an Ignatian paradigm of service-reflection and Christian spirituality. This book helps readers to identify and navigate their innermost call to service by providing tools for reflection and discernment. It also challenges harmful attitudes that can reinforce unhealthy uses of privilege and power and perpetuate historically deleterious impacts on host communities through cultural and racial hegemony. A book which invites reflection on the motives, potential pitfalls, and outcomes of immersion and service programs is timely as the United States grapples with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and a greater sense of the need for racial justice. Despite the vast resources used to sustain immersion and post-graduate volunteer programs, there are few resources to guide students, their parents, team leaders, discerning post-graduate volunteer participants, and program directors through the personal, social, and spiritual transformation that is sparked by these experiences. Immersion: A Pilgrimage into Service fills that void.

    Encounter is at the heart of conversion. Immersion: A Pilgrimage into Service provides Catholic educators and ministers with tangible ways that they can invite others into experiences of encounter. The application of Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J.’s life as a framework for this spiritual exploration is especially heartening. Arrupe’s experiences throughout his life offer tremendous opportunities to reflect on what it means to live a life of service and be persons of justice.

    Christopher G. Kerr
    Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network

    An essential resource for anyone discerning or participating in immersion experiences. It encourages you to reflect deeply on the “why” and “what” that you bring to the experience and challenges you to enter immersion with humility and intentionality to have authentic encounters and avoid potential pitfalls

    Darcy Phillips
    Director of Immersions, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara University

    This book tackles the complex issue of immersions with the critical hope it needs. Jimmy Menkhaus threads a conversation around justice, relationship, and immersion with a rich understanding of Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises

    Susan Haarman
    Associate Director of Loyola University of Chicago’s Center for Engaged Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship

    This excellent resource will be welcomed by everyone involved in immersion trips—volunteers and leaders alike. Jimmy’s thoughtful writing will help people grow from their immersion experience personally, socially and spiritually

    Sister Kathleen King, HM
    Founding director of Humility of Mary Volunteer Service

    This book will be of great benefit to students who are just embarking on their maiden voyages away from their comfort zones. Menkhaus invites the reader to reflect on relationships with those living on the margins of our society and the edges of our vision, be they in Cleveland or Calcutta

    Br. Matt Wooters, SJ, MSW
    Vocation Promoter for Society of Jesus

    About the author

    Dr. James Menkhaus has worked in Catholic education for over fifteen years. He earned his M.A. in Religious Studies from John Carroll University and his doctorate in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University. He currently teaches Theology at Gilmour Academy and is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at John Carroll University. He has prepared and led numerous immersion groups and has developed and facilitated retreats for volunteers in Ecuador and Tanzania.