In response to the unique set of challenges and circumstances presented at the start of the COVID-19 quarantine in March, Fairfield College Preparatory School, evaluated their Christian Service program and re-imagined what contributing to the broader community might look like for students given recently imposed travel constraints, both locally and abroad. Not only was Prep’s basic local service program redesigned to adhere to new safety protocols that were implemented to protect all involved, but our global immersion opportunities also had to be reconsidered. Ironically, at a time when justice-minded and service-oriented young men and women are needed most to serve as conduits for change, they are unable to be physically present with their brothers and sisters in need both in their local communities and globally.
With this irony in mind, Fairfield Prep was compelled to create the Ignatian Distance Ministry (IDM) Program, a fully virtual, mission-centered opportunity designed for students in Jesuit Schools to foster meaningful connections and relationships with their peers in their respective Provinces, as well as with others on the JSN Conference level and around the world.
The IDM is intended to educate students in Jesuit Schools on universal global issues by interacting with undeserved and under-resourced populations to the ends that our students are inspired to take action against injustice.
The elements of this program provide a unique blend of the Universal Apostolic Preferences, Christian Service, Campus Ministry, and Global Citizenship, in a retreat format.
Fairfield Prep offers the Ignatian Distance Ministry (IDM) as a template for other Jesuit schools to adopt, modify, and adapt to their own unique contexts and circumstances during this unprecedented pandemic.
Though COVID-19 has hindered the efforts of thousands around the world to directly serve others, the mission and ministry of Jesuit education does not cease; it simply evolves.
Photos of students’ service work on immersions pre-COVID: