It was powerful to be in that place, where Augustine received his charge to go to England. The connection to our Church is so strong.
We walked through the rooms looking at the various paintings, frescoes and placques. It was moving to think of Gregory and Augustine walking on this site (albeit some of the buildings were probably changed). When the 1,100 anniversary was celebrated, both The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope were there for the event -- it is truly a joint Anglican/Roman Catholic holy site.
We had went our separate ways for lunch, knowing we had to meet at All Saints Anglican Church at 3:00. As the Shin's and the Bruce's decided to head out together, we were going to go over and have lunch near the church where we were meeting. On the way, Allen spotted a church and asked the
We grabbed a quick dinner and went back to our rooms -- tired from the long day!
On Friday morning we woke up early to be at the Joel Nafuma Refugee center by 8:30. We were greeted when we arrived by Charles who is a member of the Young Adult Service Corps. We were taken upstairs and given a briefing on the current state of the refugee situation and the reality facing refugees in Italy. It is not an easy situation in the least!
Here are a few slides you can read that were shared with us:
The Dublin Regulation means that where you land in Europe is the country that will work with you through the asylum process.
We then spent about 3 hours talking to the refugees downstairs. It was a good group of men from Mali, NIger, Pakistan and Afghanistan (at least the ones I spoke with). We were not allowed to take pictures, or else you'd see the wonderful art pieces the men make. People were playing foosball, checkers and chess. They were waiting until their number was called to get basic supplies (including clean, new clothes -- this is rationed out strickly per month). There was a group of volunteers from the local college -- John Cabot University -- who come every Friday to volunteer. Some were teaching English. Some were talking with the refugees. Some were playing serious games of foosball with the refugees!
This is a serious situtation not only for Europe but for the world! In our Diocese I have been told that IRIS is about to process its first Syrian refugee family. It is part of the ministry of the diocese. You can check it out here -- http://iris.ladiocese.org. You can read more about the Joel Nafuma Center at http://jnrc.it.
We spent a little time processing the morning together with the Center workers. This was a powerful discussion. For me, I felt that the meeting with the Pope on Wednesday was a back drop to the deep needs of the refugee community -- meaning that the people the Pope speaks about were exactly the people we met this morning. Part of the reason I admire this Pope is because he has such a heart for the poor and those who have no voice -- indeed this is the group that this Pope talks about us all serving and helping. I was proud of St. Paul's Within the Walls -- an Episcopal Church in Rome -- for doing this work. It is indeed a holy work.
We had lunch together for a final time as Pierre our leader (and the Suffragan in charge of the Convocation of Churches in Europe) has to leave tomorrow. We will miss him!
The rest of the day (what little was left) was spent running some errands.
Here are some pictures from the last two days.