I don’t know about you, but it’s been a busy last few days!  Not only for me, but for most all of the Saint Mary’s University students.  Tuesday marked the final day of spring semester exams, and a large number of students had already vacated the classrooms and their residences, but hopefully, not their experiences of this past school year.  Saturday, we celebrate our seniors as they move on to their next adventures.  Later that evening, another adventure begins for fourteen Saint Mary’s students and staff.

This trip is the final chapter to my first year at SMUMN.  It’s been a beautiful journey of ups and downs, lessons and triumphs.  Most days, all I can do is to thank God for the path He’s given me…wherever that may lead.  As far this week, that path takes me directly to East Los Angeles, California.  For me, this immersion will be an opportunity to better get to know a small community of students and to share my love of immersing one’s self into an entirely new situation and allowing growth to happen between the seams of discomfort, joy, and barriers.

This week, we are not vacationers, nor are we saviors.  We are merely servants seeking to accompany those we encounter.  Sisters and brothers in Christ, all sharing in one journey.  Sometimes, we will serve with our hands, but other times, we will serve with our eyes, our ears, and our hearts–listening, watching, and learning from the grand experiences to the smallest moments of meeting in passing.

While you might not be with us in LA this week, I hope you’ll join us in spirit.  Lift up these bright students and all those who we’ll meet in prayer and positive thoughts.

This week, our home base will be the Dolores Mission Church, a Jesuit Catholic parish serving Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles.  This parish responds to the needs of its community in unique ways, responding to the spiritual, educational, physical, and emotional needs.  They partner with outside agencies to allow Christ’s healing and transformation and to raise consciousness about larger issues of justice and peace.  If you follow along this week, I’ve no doubt you’ll hear all about our experiences both within and outside of this parish and community.

Stay tuned for more reflections and photos from our group throughout our trip!  Thank you for journeying with us!


Kirsten Rotz, campus minister