Well, it’s already that time: I’ve finished my first year of Theological studies at the Pontifical North American College.
I want to thank all of you for your prayers. Transitioning to life in Rome proved to be a little bit more difficult than I could have expected, but with the support of your prayers and personal sacrifices, I received the Lord’s guiding care.
I keep looking back at the day when I stepped onto the plane, tears in my mom and grandparent’s eyes, and knowing nothing about the future that God had in store for me. My world was turned upside-down; I was moving away from friends, family, the comfort of being close to home. I had to learn a new language, a new culture (to which I’m still adjusting) and of course, the typical Italian laissez-faire attitude that predominates most of their activity. Of course, the hardest thing about living here was leaving behind friends, family, and my Holy Ghost parish family, that I love behind. I owe a lot to my close friends and family who supported me and prayed for me during this year: you know who you are. Know I am eternally grateful, and I offer many prayers of thanksgiving for your friendship on this side of heaven.
So, what did the Lord do in my life over this past year? First, He gave me a real sense of peace. Being so far away, I was forced to really rely on the Lord and his abiding presence with me, both in my own spiritual awareness of His work in the world, but also in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life because the Christian life is communion with Christ. The communion we share with Christ is what manifests love in our hearts and perfects us for what we were created to be. The Lord in the Blessed Sacrament opens us to true fellowship with one another by allowing us to be united (in a very spiritual and sacramental way) to each other, all the saints in Heaven, and the Holy Trinity.
When I look at the tabernacle or gaze into the heart of Jesus during adoration I realize that He REMAINS. Indeed, He is the ONLY thing that remains. Amidst all of the changes in this world, the loss, the pain, the trials and the joys Christ ALWAYS REMAINS! This year when I struggled with the language, the culture, or just wishing I could be home to spend time with my loved ones, it was Christ (and of course the support of my friends and family) that opened my heart to greater love. For the greatest kind of love is the one that remains steadfast, is sacrificial, and will never pass away! Surely this love is the love of the heart of Jesus, and God willing, with just a few more years of learning about His love, I will be able to spread that same love back home!
This summer I will be teaching in Taiwan, just south of Taipei. I will be living at a local Catholic Parish which serves the community by offering English lessons at various levels. One of my many responsibilities will be helping in the parish and teaching some of these English lessons. So, for the next couple of weeks I will be brushing up on my grammar and trying to lose the good ol’ Rhode Island accent. We’ll see how long I can keep myself from saying things like ca’ and chowda’.
Thank you again for all of your constant support and prayers. Just think, next year at this time, I’ll be heading back home for some good ol’ Rhode Island good eats and some much needed time in my beloved state of Rhode Island!