By Matthew Doeing
The Lay Centre inaugurated celebrations for its 30th anniversary year in Rome, 14 January, with its sights clearly set on the future.
The resident community was deeply honoured to host a luncheon meeting with Vatican diplomats and their spouses, who represented 14 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A.
Together with these Ambassadors to the Holy See, The Lay Centre residents discussed the prospect of “Creating a Culture of Peace for the Next Generation.”
Highlights included conversations over lunch about how to implement peaceful practices in society, as well as a presentation by Lay Centre resident Lailatul Fitriyah.
Fitriyah pertinently portrayed the need to extend the understanding of peace and its growth in “communities, by employing local wisdom, resources, and empowering individuals.”
Lay Centre resident Filipe Domingues, who moderated the discussion, spoke of the importance of shared experience. In his presentation, he spoke about his learning through the cultural and religious knowledge of others, notably a deeper understanding of the Qur’an from Muslim colleagues.
The ambassadors shared with Lay Centre residents their experience in these issues, including advice on the need for individuals to take a stand for the “common good” and not to be disheartened by pessimistic views of the world, such as those commonly reported in the media.
The luncheon was the first in a series of events organized to celebrate The Lay Centre’s 30th anniversary.
The next major event is a benefit evening, 1 February, at Georgetown Visitation in Washington, D.C. The theme is “Called, Gifted, Sent: Communicating the Good News to the Next Generation.”
As an initial reflection, based on this meeting with the ambassadors, we could perhaps offer the following prayer: that our dialogue with the ambassadors, as well as the wisdom they imparted to our community, nourishes our commitment to peace-building and generates within us a greater desire to contribute to the common good. Following this, that we may embody Pope Francis’ words of expressing “love for the truth.”