2019-2020 BERSI Program Application
APPLICATION DUE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th, 2019
Welcome to the application for all 2019-2020 BERSI program.
Program Mission: The Blessed Edmund Rice Solidarity Initiative (BERSI) is a collection of travel-based educational service and immersion programs facilitated by Campus Ministry. Led by CM faculty and staff, each program offers students a profound opportunity to immerse themselves in a global community, build meaningful relationships with their fellow trip members and the people of their host community, while also reflecting on the role of faith and God in their life.
Enlivened by the spirit of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, each trip will cultivate a reflective faith-sharing community amongst students, and include elements of education and advocacy for peace, social justice, global awareness, and stewardship. The program empowers our students to put their faith-in-action, and to develop the sense of compassion and responsibility that is essential to stand in solidarity with those marginalized by poverty and injustice.
Each BERSI trip program has three mandatory components:
1. Two pre-trip reflection meetings to prepare for the trip.
2. The trip program itself.
3. Two post-trip meetings where students will create a group Advocacy project to share an aspect of their trip experience with the CM community
Each program will count towards 50% of a student's given outside-service requirement. (5 hours for Freshman, 7.5 hours for sophomores, and 10 hours for juniors. BERSI programs do not count towards a senior's Capstone Service Project).
Please complete the following application as soon as possible; BERSI program trips fill up quickly. Trip placement is a holistic, rolling process based upon application completion order, but with priority given to students who have not participated on a given trip, or to students in their last year of eligibility who have not participated on a trip. Please note that certain trips have grade restrictions.
Once the application window closes, students and families will be notified via email if they are placed on a trip. Students will be required to submit a non-refundable $100.00 deposit online to secure their position on the trip, which will go towards the trip cost.
If a student's financial situation may prevent him from participating, please contact the Campus Ministry team to begin our financial aid process. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Mr. Michael Dermody at
Please refer to the 2019-2020 BERSI trip program descriptions below:
Brownsville, Texas (US/Mexico Border)
Theme: Immigration Immersion with Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America
Date: Saturday November 2nd to Saturday November 9th, 2019
Grades: Open to all high school students
A group of Knights will join 20 students from Christian Brothers schools across the United States in a week-long immersion trip to the southernmost tip of Texas. Students will spend the week working side by side cultivating connections within the Edmund Rice network, and growing spiritually through reflections led by Christian Brothers. Students will work at Ozanam Center, Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities Center, and Guadalupe Regional Middle School to serve a marginalized population who have limited access to education, adequate housing, and employment, while reflecting on the complex perspectives and issues surrounding the topic of immigration.
Theme: The Sanctity of Life
Date: Thursday, January 23rd to Saturday, January 25th, 2020
Grades: Open to all high school students
Be a part of Catholic Memorial’s annual journey to our nation’s capital, and reflect on the sanctity of life while visiting sites of historical significance in the Nation’s Capital. Students will begin by participating in the annual March for Life, the nation’s largest gathering to advocate for the sanctity of life. Participants will visit the White House grounds, the Smithsonian Museums, and witness a changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown solider at Arlington National Cemetery. Students will walk the historic National Mall and visit the Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson Memorial. Delegates will reflect on the weekend’s theme during their visit to the Holocaust Memorial as well as the Korean, Vietnam, and WWII War Memorials. This year’s trip will also visit the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Theme: Serving the Poor and Marginalized: Christian Brothers Missions in Latin America
Date: Tuesday, February 18th to Tuesday, February 25th, 2018 (February Vacation)
Grades: Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students only
A group of twelve students will explore the “underside” of Lima, Peru, including the pueblos jovenes or “young towns” on the desert outskirts of Lima, which formed after the guerilla warfare led the farmed to flee to the cities. This life-changing trip is intended to introduce students and faculty to the serious problems and issues that affect the lives of the poor in the Third World including lack of education, malnutrition, and disease as they effect an urban population. Students will spend several days constructing housing at the Christian Brother school mission site, Fe y Alegria 26. The group will visit Villa El Salvador, one of the largest and best-established base Christian communities in Latin America. In Villa, they will work at a comedor community kitchen, visit a clinic, and volunteer at a Church-run day-care center.
Theme: Serving the poor and marginalized in urban areas; “Hungerfest”
Date: Thursday, April 23rd to Saturday April 25th 2020 (Spring Vacation)
Grades: Open to 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students only
The tenth year of CM’s popular “Hungerfest” will again head to Philadelphia during Spring vacation. We will spend our time at Philabundance, the organization responsible for supplying soup kitchens and shelters in Southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as Broad Street Ministry, and Project H.O.M.E. In the “Hungerfest” tradition, students will engage in a fast to stand in solidarity with those we will be serving. Some students will prepare the meals in the kitchen while others act as waiters and serve the guests as if they were at a restaurant. Our group will also take advantage of being in the City of Brotherly Love by running up the “Rocky” steps, touring the world renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art, viewing the Liberty Bell, and exploring the Constitution Museum.
Wyoming: Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons
Theme: Care for God's Creation
Date: June 16th to 20th, 2020 (Summer Vacation)
Grades: Open to 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students only
Enjoy the breathtaking Rocky Mountains and the pristine pastures of Wyoming. Participants will experience life in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, touring sights such as Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone Lake - a water filled crater over Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent – and the numerous herds of Buffalo roaming the land. Leaving the parks behind, the group will be immersed in Native American life and culture, while reflecting on the unique challenges that face Native American communities.
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