Nervously awaiting their cue, a group of seniors sit at the front of the large crowd. After Mr. Host gives the call to worship, Dr. Riemer gives some short introductory remarks. Three seniors walk to the stage, sit down on stools, and read from their journals, which contain their thoughts and reflections from their trip to Peru.

Setting Up

Dr. Riemer envisioned a very casual setting for the prayer service. The stage, decorated with large carpets, set a relaxed atmosphere. Red lights surrounded the stage, and one light projected an ornate cross, the symbol of the journals.

The Prayer Service

First, one senior came up and read an excerpt from a renowned Catholic figure. Another senior followed with a reflection. Finally, one of the seniors on the stools read a personal reflection from his journal. The rest of the prayer service repeated this pattern three times in total.

What were originally written as private reflections, these students took a large step of faith and bravery to share their intimate thoughts with the school. Matthew Freeman ’20 commented “Fully immersing myself in the culture, language, and lifestyle of the people in Anda was a great experience. Living simply and in community with each other, the Jesuit Volunteers, and the locals allowed me to be fully present in every moment. My favorite part was playing outside with the kids during their gym classes and helping out in the classroom with arts & crafts activities.”

Silas Hartman ’20 also reflected “I was really excited to share our group’s experience in Peru because it’s unlike any other immersion trip. We put a lot of hard work into preparing it, so hopefully, people got something out of it.”

Final Remarks

Dr. Riemer remarked “One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that when you join the Peru team, it’s not just for a one time trip. It really is a year-long journey. Throughout the entire spring semester, we host numerous formation meetings for students and families. We host fundraisers, share meals, and we meet on campus for prayer and sharing. Then in the fall, we host a family gathering and the boys make presentations about their growth and their memories from the trip. Already this fall we have gathered on several occasions to continue to work on initiatives and projects that have grown out of our experiences together in Peru. This prayer service was a sort of culmination of all of that. It provided the guys an opportunity to reflect back on their journey, continue to ask difficult questions – but also to invite their classmates to share in that journey. I could not be more proud of the guys for all of their learning and openness over the past 10 months – and especially for all the hard work and effort they put into this particular prayer service.”
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