The Disciples Exchange Program at St. Mary is a Ministry at St. Mary Catholic Parish (Parish) in Littleton, Colorado, in cooperation with the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Disciples), in which American and Spanish students, acquainted with the Parish and the Disciples, are offered the opportunity of opening their lives to a new culture, language and relationships while growing in their faith in a Catholic and family-centered environment.
THE BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN
But, what is “the best”?
No doubt it is that which helps them to face the adventure of life, to build a life that is great and beautiful. While young people are open to life, we want to offer them the opportunity to open themselves to another culture, another language, and another family. It takes effort to learn to adapt, to establish new relationships, to assimilate a new language, and to share their faith with a new family and new friends. This effort will expand their hearts, broaden their minds, help them grow in new virtues, and make them great.
Spanish families and American families alike understand the responsibility that they have to prepare their children for the adventure of life, and want to support each other in it. A shared vision of what makes life great and beautiful, informed by the Christian faith, and fostered by the environment of the Disciples of the Hearts Jesus and Mary, ensures a fantastic setting for girls and boys to acquire new strengths of character and become great. Whoever sends their son or daughter knows that they are taken in by a family who understands the wonder of what is unfolding. Whoever hosts knows that their hospitality will expand both their homes and their hearts.
“The best” for our children is not giving them things, but offering them opportunities to grow new potential within.
A LITTLE HISTORY
The Disciples Exchange Program is a beautiful apostolic activity initiated by the Disciples in 2008. In that year, 11 Spanish students came to America during July to learn English, take part in the life of St. Mary Parish and meet American families. We are now in our 8th year, each year increasing the number of students served and broadening the scope of the program. We now offer Spanish stays for American students. Or if you’re not ready to travel to Spain yet, we also offer Spanish classes at St. Mary during the month of July, overlapping with the Spanish students stay here. Regardless of your interest now, don’t hesitate to consider joining us in the future for what we think will be a life changing journey.
Being a host family is both an honor and a joy. Welcoming someone new into your home brings new responsibilities but also tremendous rewards. That is evident by the fact that so many host families repeat year after year. It is not uncommon for student and family to remain in touch far after saying their "good-byes" and likewise no surprise when families are able to visit their gracious students at their homes in Spain.
This year we have 25 students who are anxious to discover a welcoming family in the New World.
LEARN SPANISH AT ST. MARY
A second part of the program was started in 2012 in which American high school students take Spanish classes from a native Spanish speaker, interacting with the Spanish students during the day at St. Mary and accompanying them on field trips.
Being present at Stella Maris La Gavia and Stella Maris College, both in Madrid, Spain and at St Mary Catholic School, in Littleton, CO and Queen os Apostles in Alexandri, VA, United States allows us a rich exchange between schools where we are present For this there are several programs in which students have the opportunity to interact with those of the other country. Some students travel and spend a period in one of the schools of the other continent hosted by families of students of the school itself.
Every year we prepare a new Summer Program.
If you are interested, you can contact us at the international email firstname.lastname@example.org