The following reflection is from Dalton LaTessa (far left) a participant in Franciscan for the Summer—a summer discernment internship which includes living with the Friars while studying in Rome about ”Ecumenical and Interreligious Movements from a Catholic Perspective.” He is pictured with Fr. Jim Puglisi, SA, Dave Sebastian, and Kevin Marston. Dalton offered the following reflection:
I have been reflecting a lot this last month on this “Franciscan for the Summer” program I am participating in. I have already had many experiences, from being able to hear stories of Men at St Christopher’s Inn to going to Rome and learning about Ecumenical and Interfaith dialogue. My faith is growing and my outlook and perspective on my spirituality is changing. My preconceived notions of religious life in the Catholic Church have been altered throughout this journey. In short, I have done a multitude of things in these last four weeks. Still, of all these experiences and learning opportunities, none of these has been life-changing quite like the encounters I have had with ordinary people.
The many Friars I have encountered have shown abundant love and kindness enabling me to truly witness a way of life resembling St. Francis. The students in the ecumenical and interfaith dialogue class at the Centro Pro Unione taught me so much. I not only learned the immeasurable importance of dialogue through this diverse group of people but also a deeper understanding of the many cultures and backgrounds of the students. Finally, the lay people who assist the Atonement Friars in their mission have opened my eyes to the dedication of everyday people who work tirelessly for a better world. Whether they work at St. Christopher’s, Graymoor, or one of the many Friaries I have visited, each of their contributions is vital. They might be ordinary people, but their impact is extraordinary. These many interactions I have already had this summer are a constant reminder that human beings are truly made in the image and likeness of God.