Being church in the centre of Rome

By Julianne Calzonetti

On All Soul’s Day, The Lay Centre community had its weekly Mass and dinner with Father Angello Stoia, pastor of the Basilica dei Santi Apostoli, a beautiful church in the historic centre of Rome.

The day’s reading was from the Gospel of John:

“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me… For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day” (Jn 6: 37, 40).

Father Stoia spoke in his homily of the natural fear many people have of dying. However, he said, people need not have this fear for Christ conquered death and promised eternal life.


Welcoming Fr Agnello Stoia, OFM.Conv. to The Lay Centre

After dinner, Lay Centre residents had an interesting discussion with Father Stoia about the historic centre of Rome, its history and community life.

The centre of Rome is sought after by tourists, with its hotels, pizza restaurants and ice cream shops as far as the eye can see. This relatively modern phenomenon has turned what was once a community into a place that accommodates visitors, presenting the challenge of how to create a society, he said.

Rome has many hurdles to overcome because, just as it was in the time of Augustus, the historic centre is continuously under the pressure exerted by people and developments that want to conquer it, he said.

In such a context, Father Stoia said Christians must continue to embrace the people, to evangelize, and to help in creating an identity for the community. We must never cease to sow seeds, he said, because we never know where they will begin to grow.

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