by Josiah Lerman
Fourteen students led by Julia Carrano and Joe Cross traveled to London, Ireland, and Rome over spring break on the school’s annual Europe Trip which may not be offered in 2019.
Students arrived at a London bed-and-breakfast on March 19th. Over the next few days, they visited many culturally rich destinations like The Shakespeare’s Globe, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Buckingham Palace. The students also delved into the big city’s cuisine and fashion during their moments of free time. After London, the trip included a five-night stay in a small town called Rosscarbery in Southern Ireland. This part of the trip allowed for students to hike, eat, and relax, as there was no designated schedule for their time there. One evening, a group ventured to the family bar of JPCatholic President, Dr. Derry Connolly. They met some members of Dr. Connolly’s family, drank, and danced to the live music at the venue.
Junior Jimena Banos spoke of her appreciation for the vacation abroad. She stated that the trip gave her “a good taste of Europe”, and commented that she was excited to return some day. When asked about her favorite part, she reminisced about Rome. “I was blown away by all of the churches we visited, and it was a reminder for me how we are made for goodness and truth and beauty,” she stated. She also commented that, from a Catholic art school perspective, “Rome brings everything together. [It] brings the faith, the art, [and] the beauty”.
Students arrived in Rome on Holy Thursday and stayed through Easter Sunday. This gave them the opportunity to partake in the Triduum and Easter services in a city rich with Catholic tradition. Led by Julia Carrano, Joe Cross, and Anthony- a friend of JPCatholic who knows Rome well- the group explored numerous churches and ancient ruins. Students visited the Vatican Museums, including spending time in the Sistine Chapel, and even attended the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum which was led by Pope Francis.
Joe Cross, the Director of Student Life, said, “The cool thing about the Europe trip is you’re traveling to a foreign place with students, and you’re seeing a different side of them. They’re seeing a different side of you.” At JPCatholic, his position requires him to interact with students in a more disciplinary capacity. This trip allowed for a more personal interaction. He added, “There always seems to be a special bond that you develop with those students [that go on the trip].”
As of now, there are no official plans for the same type of trip next year. There has been discussion of a potential European quarter to replace it. However, nothing is official. Julia Carrano, Dean of Students, stated that it is not primarily Student Life’s call for the continuation of the trip. It comes first from the administration. Additionally, both Joe and Julia commented on the difficulty in knowing whether there is a real interest from students regarding trips or quarters abroad, especially with the large monetary investment and required months of planning.
Although the future of the annual Europe Trip is unknown, this past year’s Europe Trip had many satisfied attendees. Some students wish they had longer in the beautiful city because of how much was was still to see and they stayed in Europe for the remainder of their break. Others were satisfied, but exhausted and headed home once the trip was over. Overall, the trip brought students a great break and a deeper understanding of the Catholic tradition and the subjects they study at JPCatholic. Kyle Lavin concisely exclaimed that, “Rome was the best, but [the entire trip] was also completely lit!”