James Zwilling (pictured above, second from the left) is a participant in 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.”

James wrote the following reflection after returning home from a summer spent in Italy:

“New York feels good. The pace and structure of the city feels very familiar to me, and I am more comfortable traveling around on the subway, then on the Roman buses. Being able to communicate with everyone easily is also a nice bonus of being back in America. On the topic of language, my experiences over the last couple weeks has taught me about the universality of prayer. In Rome I had the pleasure of attending mass in Latin, Polish, and of course Italian. Morning and evening prayer with the Friars was in Italian. Back in New York, mass and prayer are often in English, but my fellow interns and I did attend a Russian Catholic Divine Liturgy that utilized Church Slavonic at parts. On all of these occasions, despite sometimes being unable to understand the words being said, I felt the same reverence and peace that prayer provides. It allowed me time to listen to God as I sat quietly and heard the prayers of so many faithful. I really felt that even though the words may be different, we all pray to the same risen Christ.”