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Year in Review

As the Year of Grace 2011 ended, I reviewed my “to write” file for the blog, and found no less than 22 pages of notes on events and ideas I had not had time to develop into full posts. Here is a list of some highlights from the last year, with links to posts if I have them and as I develop them!

December:

November:

October:

September:

August:

  • Short visit home in the Pacific Northwest
  • Cascade Covenant Church
  • Helping my sister move: 16 hours on the road, 45 minutes unpacking the truck
  • My brother’s new house

July:

  • Netherlands: visiting Eveline, Clare
  • New York/New Jersey: visiting Courtney, Liam, Rob
  • Lay Centre 25th Anniversary Colloquium: My paper on the laity and ecumenism

June:

  • Archbishop Sartain of Seattle in Rome for Pallium
  • EuroPride in Rome – monastic perspectives from the hill

May

  • Notre Dame Chorale Concert at Sant’Ignazio: Michael and Kerri Castorano
  • Eucharistic Procession with Cardinal Marc Ouellet
  • Notre Dame Glee Club and Fr. Michael Driscoll in Rome
  • Lay Centre alumnus Theodosius Kyriakidis debuts his documentary film on Greek Christians in Asia Minor; another alumnus Mustafa Cenap Aydin of Turkey responds
  • Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald and Leijla Demiri present on Interfaith Dialogue of life
  • Beatification of JPII

April:

  • Fr. Michael Casey, O.Cist. visits Lay Centre
  • Assisi and Florence with Courtney and co.
  • David Ford and Stephen Kepnes: The Future of Theology
  • Annual JPII Lecture David Ford on Scriptural Reasoning
  • Paschal Triduum  in Rome
  • Culture Week in Rome
  • Meeting with Fr. Norbert Hofmann

March:

Earlier unwritten posts:

  • Cardinal Levada visits the Lay Centre
  • Springtime of Faith Summit in Rome – local presenters include two cardinals, two professors, and me!

Ideas, ongoing or upcoming:

  • Liberal and Conservative in the Church (see june 26, Feb 2)
  • Nostra Aetate, Dabru Amet, and Common Word
  • ARCIC III and Personal Ordinariates
  • Clericalism and Anti-clericalism
  • Laïcite, laity, secularism, and secularity
  • Vocations: discernment or recruiting office?
  • Catholic Education beyond parochial schools
  • “Catholic” vs. “Roman Catholic”: What’s in a Name?
  • The Bologna Process and Pontifical Universities
  • Papal honors as ecclesiological indicator
  • Liturgy Wars: Episode V – The New Translation
  • Call for a Common Easter
  • The Big Sort
  • Ecumenical Updates: Where have we got with all this dialogue?
  • Wikipedia as Courtyard of the Gentiles: A call for biographical articles on great ecumenists and other theologians
  • A Parable: The Kingdom of God is like the Electromagnetic Spectrum and it is Easier for a Colorblind Man to Pass Through 400-789 Terrahertz than to Enter it…
  • Upcoming article in Koinonia
  • Upcoming article and presentation for Assisi 2012: Ecclesiological Investigations Network conference

And finally: “The Diaconate in the International Ecumenical Dialogues: Toward an Understanding of the Deacon as Minister of Unity.” a tesina to be submitted for the License in Sacred Theology…

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A Tale of Two Dames

At the beginning of this year, a small group of Lay Centre residents and friends started asking the question, “During this anniversary year, how can we appropriately honor all the work that Donna and Riekie have put in over the last 25 years?”

And the answer presented itself: “We cannot… but the pope can!”

On Thursday, December 1, 2011, the co-founders of the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas were invested with two of the pontifical orders of knighthood:

  • Prof. Donna Orsuto was created a
          Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great;
  • Ms. Riekie van Velzen was created a
           Dame of the Order of Pope St. Sylvester.

The investiture took place during a mass celebrated at the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo by Archbishop Joseph Tobin, CSsR, Secretary of the Pontifical Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, in front of over 150 residents, guests, and friends of the Lay Centre.

Archbishop Tobin invests Dames Donna and Riekie with the regalia of their orders

Archbishop Tobin invests Dames Donna and Riekie with the insignia of their orders

The Eucharist was part of a week of events celebrating the Lay Centre’s 25th anniversary and a new alliance with the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago, IL, USA. The papal honors were a surprise to nearly everyone present, even the honorees.

“When Donna invited me to celebrate this liturgy tonight, she mentioned that St. Gregory the Great had grown up in the neighborhood and played on the property,” Archbishop Tobin said just before introducing the awards, “she had no idea that her relationship with St. Gregory was about to move to a new level!”

Truth be told, we were a little concerned that if Donna or Riekie found out beforehand, they would be too nervous or too humble to accept!

Nancy Lindsay, chair of the Board of Directors, introduced the nomination at the end of the homily. Archbishop Tobin read the papal briefs officially creating the Church’s two newest Dames, and blessed the insignia of the Orders before presenting them to Professor Orsuto and Ms. van Velzen. I had the great privilege to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the entire liturgy, including preparing the Rite of Investiture (based on resources borrowed from the Association of Papal Orders in Great Britain, who have an excellent website)

Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great

Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great

The orders carry no obligations, and primarily only ceremonial privileges: Both women are now entitled with the style “Dame” (the female equivalent of “Sir”), post-nominal lettering of the order (Donna Orsuto, DSG; Riekie van Velzen, DSS), a place in processions and seating in the sanctuary during liturgies and church events, etc. They even earn salutes from the Swiss Guard if they are wearing the insignia of the order. But the right attached to the orders that both seemed most interested in was that, as Equestrian Orders, the new Dames have the privilege of riding a horse into St. Peter’s Basilica! (Not that anyone has tried in recent decades…)

The Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great was founded in 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI. It is conferred as a reward for services to the Holy See and the Church on gentlemen and ladies who “by reason of their nobility, the renown of their deeds, or the degree of their munificence are deemed worthy to be honored by a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See.”

Pontifical Order of Pope St. Sylvester

Pontifical Order of Pope St. Sylvester

The Pontifical Order of Pope St. Sylvester was founded a decade later, in 1841, also by Pope Gregory XVI. It is conferred as an honor for “the laity who are active in the apostolate, in particular in the exercise of their professional duties and masters of the different arts.”

On a personal note, I have to say thank you a thousand times (mille grazie!) to Bishop Brian Farrell of the PCPCU for helping us navigate the process of the nominations, and devoting a great deal of time to the effort on our behalf. It is not as if he has nothing else to do, as secretary of a Pontifical Council and on the team leading the Apostolic Visitation of the Legion of Christ! The demands of his office even meant he could not be there in person, to deliver the awards he had helped obtain, as he was in Constantinople representing Pope Benedict to Patriarch Bartholomew on the patronal feast day of the Holy See of Constantinople (St. Andrew’s Day, 30 November).

Likewise many thanks to Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald for his support and direction in the process, Archbishop Joseph Tobin for presenting the honors on behalf of the Holy Father, to Cardinal Koch for his sponsorship of the nomination, and to Cardinal Bertone for his approval of the same!

Rite of Investiture of Papal Knighthood

Celebration of the Eucharist
Thursday of the First Week of Advent
25th Anniversary of the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas

Investiture of Papal Orders of Knighthood

At the conclusion of the homily

Archbishop Joseph Tobin, CSsR, and Master of Ceremonies A.J. Boyd stand at the chair

MC Boyd invites Nancy Lindsay, Chair of the Lay Centre Board of Directors, to the podium

Servers bring a table with the Papal Briefs and the insignia of the orders and place in front-center.


Presentation of the Nomination: Nancy Lindsay

Your Excellency,

For twenty-five years, the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas has contributed to the Church of Rome, and to the entire Catholic Church, through its commitment to community and ecclesial formation of students, to hospitality and dialogue, fidelity to the Church, and outreach to the broader community.

The co-founders of the Lay Centre, Professor Donna Orsuto and Signora Henrica van Velzen have lived in Rome for more than thirty years each, and have lead the growth of the Lay Centre from its modest beginnings within Foyer Unitas in 1986. Their service to the Church has had an impact beyond all expectations. As Fr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, said during his visit to the Lay Centre in March, “this community has had a significant impact in Rome – on one hand, yes, it is a small community, but it is in fact a big thing!”

It is for their decades of dedicated service to the Church, both individually and in particular for the creation, development and growth of the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas and its notable contribution to the life of the Church in Rome and the world – and with considerable gratitude to Bishop Brian Farrell, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, for their support and sponsorship of this nomination – that we propose Professoressa Donna Orsuto for recognition with the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and Signora Henrica van Velzen with the Order of Pope St. Sylvester.

 

Introduction of the Orders: Archbishop Tobin

The Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great was founded in 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI. It is conferred as a reward for services to the Holy See and the Church on gentlemen and ladies who “by reason of their nobility, the renown of their deeds, or the degree of their munificence are deemed worthy to be honored by a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See.”

The Pontifical Order of Pope St. Sylvester was founded a decade later, in 1841, also by Pope Gregory XVI. It is conferred as an honor for “the laity who are active in the apostolate, in particular in the exercise of their professional duties and masters of the different arts.”

Becoming a Papal Dame does not merely mean receiving a title of honor – even though it is well deserved – but fighting evil, promoting good and defending the weak and oppressed against injustice.

Archbishop Tobin or MC Boyd invites the candidates to present themselves before the altar.

Archbishop Tobin, with mitre and crozier,
and MC Boyd, process to the front of the altar.

MC Boyd holds the order of investiture for Archbishop Tobin

 

Reading of the Papal Decree: Archbishop Tobin

Addressed to Donna and Riekie:

The Papal Brief which creates you, Donna Orsuto, a Dame of St. Gregory the Great reads as follows:

Benedict XVI, Supreme Pontiff, gladly acceding to a request made to Us from which we have gathered that you are most deserving for what you have done for the Holy Catholic Church and its affairs, and in order that We might give a clear sign of Our pleasure and appreciation, We choose, make and declare you, Donna Lynn Orsuto, of the diocese of Rome, a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great. We bestow on you the right to use and enjoy all the privileges which go with this high dignity.

Given at St. Peter’s in Rome on 7 October 2011,
Signed and sealed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State.

Likewise, the Papal Brief which creates you, Henrica van Velzen, a Dame of Pope St. Sylvester, reads as follows:

Benedict XVI, Supreme Pontiff, gladly acceding to a request made to Us from which we have gathered that you are most deserving for what you have done for the Holy Catholic Church and its affairs, and in order that We might give a clear sign of Our pleasure and appreciation, We choose, make and declare you, Henrica Filomena Apollonia van Velzen, of the diocese of Rome, a Dame of the Order of Pope St. Sylvester. We bestow on you the right to use and enjoy all the privileges which go with this high dignity.

Given at St. Peter’s in Rome on 7 October 2011,
Signed and sealed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State.

 

Oath and Blessing of insignia: Archbishop Tobin

I have been delegated by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to invest you with the insignia of the Orders to which he has appointed you.

Before performing this solemn task, I must ask you: Do you promise faithfully to maintain unswerving fidelity to God, the Supreme Pontiff, the Holy See and the Holy Church and exercise the office of a Pontifical Dame in accordance with the high ideals and standards expected of you?

Donna and Riekie: I do.

Archbishop Tobin blesses the Brief and Insignia saying:

Almighty and Eternal God,
bless these symbols approved by your Servant, Pope Benedict XVI.
We invoke your omnipotent power to confound all evil spirits
and protect your servants Donna Orsuto and Henrica van Velzen,
who, from this day forward, wear them.
Protect your Dames from all harm
and may they be ever faithful to you all the days of their life.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.


Investiture of insignia

 

 Archbishop Tobin to Donna Orsuto:

In the name of the Holy Father I herewith invest you with the insignia of a Dame of St. Gregory the Great and I present to you the Papal Brief.

Archbishop Tobin to Riekie van Velzen:

In the name of the Holy Father I herewith invest you with the insignia of a Dame of Pope St. Sylvester and I present to you the Papal Brief.

MC Boyd or Archbishop Tobin presents the newly invested Dames to the Assembly, before all retire to their respective places.

Assisi 2011: The delegates

The official Christian delegates included Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, Archbishop Norvan Zakaryan of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Secretary General Olav Fyske Tveit of the World Council of Churches.

In all, there were representatives of the Orthodox Churches from the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow, Serbia, Romania, and the Ukrainian, Belarusian, Cypriot, Polish and Albanian churches. The Oriental Orthodox were represented by the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch, the Armenian Apostolic Church (both Catholicossates) and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The Assyrian Church of the East was represented by the Metropolitan of India, the bishop of California and a priest.

The Anglican Communion, the Old Catholic Church, Lutheran World Federation, World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Methodist Council, the Baptist World Alliance, World Convention of the Churches of Christ, the Mennonite World Conference, the World Evangelical Alliance, and the World Council of Churches were all represented, along with the Church of Scotland, the Disciples of Christ, the Salvation Army, and the classical Pentecostal churches.

176 representatives of non-Christian religions were present, including Reform and Orthodox Judaism; Sunni, Shi’a, Alawite and Ismaili Muslims; Hinduism (including Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma); Jainism; Zoroastrianism; Buddhism (including Shaolin, Zen, Tibetan, Theravada, Tendai, Jogye,  Jodo-Shu, and other forms); Confucianism; Taoism; Shinto; Mandaean (Gnostics); Sikh; Baha’i; traditional African, American, and Indian Religions; and “new religions” such as Tenrikyo, Ennokyo, and Myochi-kai.

Four “non-believers” were invited, a first, emphasizing Pope Benedict’s interest in the New Evanglization and his effort to engage secularism and religion on a level of common interest in the quest for truth. These included Julia Kristeva, Bulgarian-French psychoanalyst; Guillermo Hurtado, the Mexican philosopher; Walter Baier, a politician from Austria; and Remo Bodei an Italian professor of Aesthetic and philosophy.

Assisi 2011: The pilgrims

 

The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, in collaboration with the new Pope John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue, planned a day trip to Assisi on 27 October 2011 to join Pope Benedict XVI and world religious leaders – and a few secular agnostics – in a day of pilgrimage toward peace.

Our group included seven from the Lay Centre, six Russell Berrie Fellows and alumni, and one who could count for both. Additionally, we were joined by Rev. Tom Ryan, CP, of the Paulist Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Anna Maria Kloss, wife of the Austrian Ambassador to the Holy See; and seven other pontifical university students, including two from the Gregoriana’s late Interdisciplinary Center for the study of Religion and Culture.

We were 24 people representing 16 countries, including: Austria, Belarus, Bosnia i Herzegovina, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Turkey, the U.S., and Venezuela.

Our day began at 0500, enough time to get up and ready for an 0600 departure by tourbus, for the 3 hour drive to Assisi. At a coffee break on the way, we ran into the Turkish Ambassador to the Holy See. After arrival in Assisi we met up with our local guide and Lay Centre alumna, Lori King; Dr. Marian Diaz and staff of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.

The schedule of the day was relatively light. At 1030 the morning session at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, in the valley below Assisi proper, lasted for a little under two hours. We then made our way up the hill to a restaurant near the Basilica of Santa Chiara (St. Clare) for lunch. After lunch a leisurely stroll took us to the other end of town, to join a World Youth Day in miniature going on in the lower piazza before the delegates arrived. The closing event started at 1630, and was over in time for us to get a quick pizza and be on the road to Rome by 2000.

Assisi was, if anything, quieter than many of my visits. Expecting large crowds for the event, most who did not have tickets stayed away, so in fact there was just a right amount – those with tickets admitted into the venues, and then only locals from Assisi and nearby towns lining the roadways or in the piazza outside the church. It was a welcome change from the unruly hordes that accompany papal events in Rome. Inside the basilica in the morning, we were seated barely 15 meters from the platform, though at an obscure angle. In the afternoon, the lowere piazza was filled, but it is not very large, and we were seated at just the place where the pope, patriarch, and archbishop disembarked their shuttle.

At one point, just before the delegates arrived for the afternoon program, one of our company had gone looking for water. We wanted to find him before it was too late to re-enter the piazza, but were barred from exiting by security as the delegates who were coming on foot were about to arrive. As we watched the nearly 300 religious delegates enter the piazza, wondering where Muhammad had gone, there he comes in the middle of the delegates procession, engaged in deep conversation with a professor from Sarajevo! It looked so natural, that security did not even think to stop him. It was classic, and again, left me wishing I had had a working camera with me!

In the end, the trip came together wonderfully, especially in that most of it was put together in only a week. It is a once in a decade event, made well worth it with the companionship of friends and colleagues in dialogue.

Muhamed and I engaged in some serious dialogue and sightseeing

Assisi 2011: Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace

“Assisi alone is enough reason to beatify Pope John Paul II” was the headline of the Catholic Herald in the UK last April, a fortnight before the late pope was approved for veneration on the calendar of the diocese of Rome and in Poland as one of the “Blessed”. Karol Wojtyła became a pope of many firsts, and John Allen, Jr. has recently quipped that Joseph Ratzinger has become a pope of seconds – but that these second times can be as important as the first.

In part, this is because it gives certain sustainability to an event or program, showing that it was not a personal proclivity of the past pope, doomed to die with him. This has been true of World Youth Day, and now of the Assisi pilgrimage for peace.

Another aspect is this: Pope Wojtyła was an actor, a master of stage and screen. He had the timing and the panache to make big waves with spectacular images and actions. One curial cardinal was asked, at a meeting of his dicastery, “When will we see some of these grand images of [the pope’s] turn into policy?” The cardinal leaned to his secretary and was overheard to say, “Come si dice ‘senza fiato’ in inglese? (How do you say, ‘we are out of breath’ in English?) … We can barely keep up with him!”

The current bishop of Rome is a theologian, a teacher, and an introvert. He takes a few of these grand points, and is digging deeper, giving them ‘staying power’ in the system and with reflection. In the process, he is adding his own spin on things, too. Much ado was made of the fact that this time around, the fourth gathering of interreligious leaders to Assisi for the cause of peace, there would be no ‘common prayer’ so that not even the most rigorous of the right-wing could cry foul (or so it was thought).

Never mind that there was never ‘common prayer’ in the first case, either. Coming together to pray is different than coming to pray together. In 1986, the day concluded with a series of prayers, each religious group leading its own prayer, while other participants looked on in respectful silence. It was close enough that even Ratzinger was reserved about the appropriateness at the time.

(In the annals of the bizarre, and as a reminder of how much of Italian journalism at the time was about inflammatory rhetoric more than fact, one Italian reporter made claims that African animists sacrificed a chicken on the altar of the Basilica of Santa Chiara, inciting charges of sacrilege and syncretism. The fact that the basilica was closed and no such act ever took place does not stop certain elements from bringing it up from time to time to discredit the Spirit of Assisi and Pope John Paul II.)

This year, the day started at the Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli with a series of 10 scheduled talks on peace, after an introduction from Cardinal Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which organized this year’s event. The appeals were offered by four Christians, followed by five non-Christian religious leaders, and one ‘non-believer’. There was a confused moment as the apparent Muslim guest was brought to the lectern, refused the notes he was offered, and went on to explain in Arabic that he was not the person listed on the program, but offered a reflection anyway. Only after the last scheduled speaker was the original Muslim representative produced to deliver his address; I still do not know who the first Muslim presenter was or what else he said.

Before the day, Fr. Tom had asked what language the day would be presented in. Based on my experiences in Rome for major liturgies and events, I indicated Italian, with only smatterings of others. I was wrong. Throughout the day, the three cardinals all spoke in English. In the morning, it was clear that efforts were made to be as universally understood as possible: English was used by the Anglican, WCC, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, African animist religious representatives. French was spoken by the Orthodox and agnostic. The Buddhist representative spoke in Korean, and the unplanned Muslim speaker was in Arabic. In the afternoon, native languages were used, and worth noting that Arabic was not just “the Muslim language” but also that of the Syrian Orthodox and the Lutheran representatives.

Instead of a series of prayers lead by different religious groups, this time the afternoon session in the lower piazza of the Basilica San Francesco included a series of solemn commitments to peace by assorted religious leaders. This was introduced by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and lead by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I. Ten religious leaders and another non-believer made their solemn commitments, followed by an address of Pope Benedict XVI, and closed with an invitation to exchange a sign of peace by Cardinal Kurt Koch of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (and the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews).

There is no question that it was a beautiful day, and inspiring simply to bring all of these people together as a witness for peace, the positive contribution of people of faith to the world, and even of the potential to overcome the modern myth of a necessary animosity between “people of faith” and “people of science” – ie, secularity.

Yet, there also is no question in my mind that something was lost with the over-emphasized intentional lack of prayer. How can a ‘pilgrimage’ be true to its nature without prayer? How can you gather religious leaders together, and tell them not to pray? This year, there were not even the sequestered opportunities for prayer that marked the last such event, in 2002, held in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, much less the series of prayers offered in public that marked the first event 25 years ago.

There was a moment of silence in the afternoon session for everyone to “pray or commit their thoughts to peace” – on one hand, very hospitable for even those who do not pray. On the other, I think the type of prayer offered in 1986 lends itself less to accusations of syncretism (exaggerated in either case), where each tradition is allowed to be true to itself, rather than having a single, mixed, everybody-do-what-you-want moment or prayer and positive thoughts.

Some of the speakers offered prayers spontaneously as part of their delivery, others quoted scriptures.

For our own part, an unplanned opportunity presented itself. In what must be a first for a papal event, the closing ceremony actually finished half an hour early, and the restaurant we planned for a quick pizza before returning to Rome was not yet open. With half an hour to kill, our group split in various directions, some to shop, some to wander, some to pray. About ten of us wandered up to the 13th century Church of Santo Stefano, a beautifully simple church whose bells were said to have miraculously pealed at the moment of Francis’ death.

As the Christians prayed in the front of the church, some of our Muslim pilgrims prepared for their own evening prayer, at the back of the church. As Christians finished, instead of walking out past the praying Muslims, most stopped and waited as respectful observers. It was just a few minutes, it was spontaneous, and it made the day a genuine pilgrimage of truth, for peace.

Return to Rome

Time Flies. Two years on the Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies have come and gone. For those who know me well, it is unsurprising that my two major goals here – learn Italian and write my thesis – are still works in progress, despite a number of other accomplishments.

I am returning for a third year to the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, Rome’s pre-eminent collegio for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free lay students. Which is, basically, anyone who cannot play on a pontifical university football (soccer) team for the annual Clericus Cup – but I digress.

Only two of us, aside from director Donna Orsuto and assistant Robert White, are back for a third consecutive year: the other being my newly-wed friend and next-door neighbor from Morelia, Mexico, David. Others who were here last year, or at least part of the year, include Muhamed (Bosnia), Marija (Croatia), and Julia (Hong Kong).

In total, we have citizens of 16 countries this year:

Belarus, Bosnia, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, and the U.S.A.

Religiously we are:

  • 1 Secular Jew
  • 3 Muslims (2 Sunni, 1 Shi’a)
  • 4 Orthodox Christians (Belarusian, Georgian, Romanian, and Serbian Churches)
  • 13 Catholic Christians (12 Latin, 1 Syro-Malabar)

This year I also start a new role continuing the relationship with the Russell Berrie Foundation, through the Institute for International Education, in the form of a graduate assistantship at the new John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue, housed at the Angelicum.

The first month back in Italy consisted of jet lag, a severe cold, orientation week for new Lay Centre residents, and then orientation week for new Russell Berrie Fellows. The tesina awaits. There are a few highlights I will be, ah, highlighting shortly.

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