The third day of Urban Immersion embodied the theme “Human & Natural Environments,” and consisted of local activities and experiences within the Bronx community surrounding Fordham. The group kicked off the day bright and early with a prayer and morning walk around campus led by Fr. Lito Salazar, S.J., Executive Director of Campus Ministry and Jesuit Housemaster. The walk allowed for an initial reflection before the day ahead and a look towards the approaching Holy Week.
The group was then joined by Dean Annunziato (FCRH) and Dean Totino (Gabelli) who accompanied the group to Part of the Solution (POTS), a local organization that aims to help low-income families and individuals on their path to stability. The group was divided and participated in various tasks, from peeling and washing potatoes for meal preparation, to distributing clothes to low-income individuals to use for job interviews, to helping stock the pantry for families to pick up their food. Through these various experiences, the Scholars were able to reflect upon the help that is needed on a regular basis within the local community, as well as the resources that are able to be provided to these low-income groups.
After a lunch break, the group took a short walk to Murray-Weigel Hall Jesuit Infirmary, the home for retired Jesuits just outside Fordham’s gates. Here, the Scholars participated in a discussion with three Jesuits on the topic of “Ignatian Stories that Transform”. The men highlighted key stories from their Jesuit apostolates that illustrated how lives can be transformed in daily life.
Over dinner, the group reflected on the relationship between the UN’s 17 Sustainable Goals that were surfaced on the second day of Urban Immersion, and their experiences at POTS on this third day. The Scholars drew connections between the efforts and resources available at POTS in correlation with the global goals to better the world’s well-being.
Following this, the group watched a PBS documentary on the Triangle Shirt Factory fire in the 1920s, which prompted discussion on the issues of gender and labor inequality, unionization, and the resolutions of change in response to social problems such as these, then and now. Dean Totino helped facilitate a final Ignatian Reflection of the day, giving the Scholars a chance to settle in with their personal thoughts and considerations after their day full of community-engaged, eye-opening experiences and conversations.
Lindsey Register, FCRH 2020
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2017-2018