The following reflection is from Andrew Tran (pictured above – in the center – with Fr. Jim Puglisi, SA, and another student from the Rome Summer Course), who was a participant at the Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project—a discernment internship that took place earlier this summer, and which included living with the Friars while studying in Rome about “Ecumenical and Interreligious Movements from a Catholic Perspective.”
Alas, the epic Rome Summer Course finally comes to a conclusion! At the last hour, we seated all of our desks in a circle and faced each other. Three weeks ago we were just strangers, but now we could laugh or talk about our deepest insights with one another. I looked around and knew that I was going to miss these people.
This was perhaps the greatest class I ever participated in, even more than any of the ones at my university. Why? Because everyone there was on the same journey with the same goal: coming together as one. Not only did we learn together in the classroom, but we walked together on our tours, explored together in the churches, and celebrated together in prayer. The course itself was demonstrating the spirit of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue; it allowed our shared experiences to build a strong foundation of trust and therefore opened our minds and hearts more to each other’s way of life. This class showed me that my entire life and pursuit of truth is a continual dialogue with God and also the other, as Pope Benedict XVI brilliantly says it, “The truth cannot unfold except in an otherness open to God, who wishes to reveal his own otherness in and through my human brother and sisters…Truth is disclosed only in an encounter of love.”