Hi, everybody. My name is Minsu Li-Ching Chang in Taipei, Taiwan.
Thanks to the scholarship from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and its Nostra Aetate Foundation, I had a great opportunity to live at The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas and to study at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy, for five months from 28 January to 29 June, 2016. It was a wonderful experience and now a sweet memory.
I’m a follower of the T’ienti (God) Teachings (a new 36-year-old religion) in Taiwan, the Republic of China, and the first Nostra Aetate Foundation fellow in my community. I was very lucky to stay at The Lay Centre.
The Lay Centre is situated on Rome’s Cealian Hill, near the famous Colosseum. It is in one of the buildings inside the monastery of the Passionists. It’s very quiet and beautiful, and we can watch the beautiful sunset from its terrace.
My housemates came from different religions and countries. There were Catholics from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mozambique, Poland, Finland and Italy; an Anglican from England; a Jew from Israel; a Unitarian and Universalist from Canada; Orthodox followers from Egypt and Greece; a monk from Myanmar; and Muslims from Indonesia, Germany and Pakistan. We had interreligious conversation all the time. I learned a lot at The Lay Centre.
There were many religious and academic activities sponsored by The Lay Centre. I joined some of them. They were terrific. I attended the regular Scriptural Reasoning Forum and Interfaith Café. We learned about different religions and shared personal viewpoints on certain topics and texts. I even made my first visits to Catholic basilicas and churches, a Jewish synagogue, a Greek Orthodox church, and an Islamic mosque, and attended their prayers. It was amazing and I was touched.
The Lay Centre also organized sightseeing, such as a trip to Tivoli, a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo, and an open bus tour around Rome at night.
We had great chefs to make delicious meals and desserts every day. I miss them very much.
Everybody staying at The Lay Centre needs to contribute to community life. My responsibility was to get the fresh bread at the front door every morning and to bring it to the student kitchen upstairs for everybody’s breakfast. It was a difficult job for me because I had to set my alarm clock and wake up early. But I’m free of that now!
The Lay Centre had a great team, which is why I could enjoy my life there. To the dear staff in the office: Thank you very much. I miss you.