Eloy Escamilla cmf, Claret Center, Chicago, May 27,2012
urbanplunge-1The Claretian novices of the province of USA, along with Fr. José Sanchez CMF, novice Master joined the 8th Day Center for Justice for a week of plunging into urban injustices and positive solutions from May 22-26, 2012. Fr. Mathew Vattamattam cmf, General prefect of formation, too joined the group for a couple of days during his visit to the Claretian formation houses in the US. The program integrates practical exposure with daily reflection and social analysis. Located in Chicago, Illinois—which acts as a microcosm of the problems facing people and our environment around the world—this week-long immersion program delves into both systems and structures that are at the root of injustice today.

The program helps us novices to integrate Catholic social teachings into our program of formation. We believe that the mission of our church includes service and we live out this mission as we serve one another. It is our goal to stress justice issues along with charity.

Through the urban plunge experience as well as social analysis, theological reflection, discussions and other activities, we explored organizations that support people in their struggle for a just and fraternal society. We visited organizations that cater to Worker Rights, Community Development, Migrant Issues, Women and Children, Prison Abuse, Alternative Banking, Urban Farming and Food Access, and many others. We examined these organizations through the lenses of five different systems: Ecological, Cultural-Social, Political, Economical, and Religious. The process was to engage us in reflection and discussion on how the system, assigned to each individual, manifested itself during each visitation.urbanplunge5

During the plunge, all of us had a chance to participate in the social analysis based on different questions, and we also reflected upon the ways in which the organizations moved from analysis to action. The purpose of the analysis and reflection was to raise awareness so that each one of us might be engaged in action in favour of justice. The different activities of the program were very participatory and justice-focused, and were accomplished during a weeklong immersion.  We shared our experiences by reflecting on and acquiring a better understanding of social justice issues. 

In general, Urban Plunge was a very good experience because it gave us the taste of both systems and structures that are at the root of injustice today. It was an opportunity to see the reality of the people more closely. At the same time, it provided us many different tools that will be helpful in our future ministries. “You have been told what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

          To know about 8th day center, visit: www.8thdaycenter.org