This summer, five young men are seeking to live out Servant of God Paul Wattson SA’s call for at-one-ment in their work with St. Christopher’s Inn and Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.
As the first update of several this summer, here are the participants’ thoughts as they begin their journey of service, learning and prayer.
In response to the question “What most excites you about volunteering with the Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project?”:
Liam Farrer, St. Christopher’s Inn, Toronto, Ontario, 28:
The friars, it seems to me, are interested in healing. They want to step back and allow Jesus Christ to take the lead in ecumenical discussion. They want to acknowledge the wounds and lay them open before Jesus so that they can move through him, with him, and in him, guided by his Holy Spirit to probe the wounds, anoint them with the oil and wine and bind them so that we can all be one as Jesus and the Father are one. This healing is something I long to be a part of and I long to learn how to do it so that I can help to bring about At-One-Ment for all the people of God.
Andrew Tran, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, Hanford, CA, 22:
When I first came across the word “atonement” as “At-One-Ment” in one of the Friars’ YouTube videos, I was awe-struck by its profound meaning. That singular word had the power to sum up the entire Gospel: to return home to God just as Jesus had prayed to the Father, “that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:22). Everything about the At-One-Ment Mission Project strongly resonates with what I believe in and my pursuit in life: to be a life-giving example of unity, healing, and openness to my family, friends, and everyone around me. I am excited that this project is an open-door opportunity for me to understand what it means to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
Dillon Smith, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, Venus, TX, 21:
I honestly wish to learn what ecumenism is, and be able to truly study it. From there I hope to be able to better understand friends and strangers of different faith backgrounds, and hope to be able to more positively discuss and interact with them.
Konner Kloster, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, St. Louis, MO, 24:
The most exciting aspect of volunteering with the Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project is the opportunity to learn and practice dialoging with people from all backgrounds and faiths. Throughout my life and educational history, I have consistently been moved to think and ponder deeply about the meaning of life, our origin, where we are going and why. I seek to share the riches of what I continue to discover within Christ’s church, his mystical body, and am encouraged that the Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project offers an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in this field.
James Zwilling, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, Franklin Square, NY, 20:
I believe that it is by talking to other people that we are able to best grow in our own faith. Discussion with people who grew up in a tradition different than one’s own allows both parties to gain a better understanding of the world. Dialogue also is a very helpful way to dispel misconceptions about other people and to help people grow. I hope to bring my personal love of learning to this program, and to be able to help the other participants grow along side me. Studying and teaching are two passions of mine, and I hope that through this program I am able to share these loves of mine with others.