CNS photo/Paul Haring
By Drew Dillingham
Catholic News Service
(Second in a series)
ROME — They say stereotypes exist for a reason. Well, the first person my wife Kim and I met in Rome was named Mario. How much more cliche can it get than meeting an Italian man named Mario? But this Mario is not a plumber and he doesn’t have a twin brother named Luigi. He is the barista at the cafe around the corner from our apartment in Rome. He makes some pretty good cappuccinos, which I indulge in frequently.
While we all know that the “all Italians are named Mario” stereotype is not true, our Mario is the only Italian that Kim and I have had the chance to befriend in the two weeks since our arrival.
The people we have met so far have very un-Romanesque names because they all hail from places like Uganda, India and Mexico. When most people think of Rome, they don’t typically think of it as a melting pot. Yet here we are making new acquaintances with such a diverse group of people that would make any American university admissions officer jealous.
Drew and Kim (center) with Lay Centre scholars, Isaias Marcano from Mozambique (left) and Filipe Domingues from (right). (CNS photo courtesy of the Lay Centre).
Some of the new friends we have made reside at the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas. The Lay Centre “promotes the lay vocation, Christian unity and interreligious dialogue.” Thanks to the warm hospitality of the staff, we were able to meet scholars from Mozambique and Brazil, and sit in on a roundtable on human trafficking that featured the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See and a Kenyan member of Jesuit Refugee Service. I highly recommend making a point of visiting the Lay Centre while you are in Rome. They go above and beyond to make you feel welcome.
Drew and Brother Amandi Mboya in front of the Gregorian University. (CNS photo courtesy of D. Dillingham)
However, most of our new friends are my fellow students at the Gregorian University — 24 students from 18 different countries. On Tuesday, I had the chance to speak with one of my classmates, Brother Amandi Mboya, a Christian Brother who works in Kenya. Our conversation centered around issues of abuse in East African communities.
I was not surprised to (Read More)