Pictured from left to right:  Br. Paolo Nicosia, SA, Fr. Jim Loughran, SA, and Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project participants George Nemanich and Eric Britt.

Eric Britt offers the following reflection upon recently completing the Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project—a summer discernment internship which includes living with the Friars while studying in Rome about “Ecumenical and Interreligious Movements from a Catholic Perspective.” 

Growing up in Washington D.C. during the days surrounding 9/11 and the subsequent terrorist attacks have given me a somewhat negative view of the world. This was then compounded by the media’s focus on violence and division.  For all the time people talk about the wounds in the world, people spend very little time talking about what is being done to heal these wounds. Through my participation this past 8 weeks in the Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project, I have a more hopeful view of the world. The program has increased and directed my desire to show the world that most fights amongst humans, Christians in particular, are tragic and unnecessary.

While I always wanted there to be less fighting in the world, going into the program I was not aware of just how much was being done to make peace and produce healthy dialogue between religions. A case in point is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Lutheran Church and Roman Catholic Church.  Many people still understand the doctrine of justification as being the dividing line between Catholics and Lutherans, yet we have officially agreed on doctrine for almost 20 years. People just don’t talk about this stuff.  Now I know and see the world in a brighter light. By learning about all that is being done and who is doing it, I have a better idea of the resources I can draw upon when dealing with these dialogues.

With regards to my personal plans, immediately after this program I will be continuing my studies and beginning a Ph.D. program in Astrophysics at Michigan State University.  I hope to become a competent and productive scientist and study the stars in their immense beauty.  I would also like to improve the dialogue between religion and science. I will also be working in interreligious and scientific/faith dialogue. This program has helped me see these desires more clearly.