Life at The Lay Centre has several key characteristics that really define the spirit of the residence, as well as the type of student who applies to live here. It is important that students consider carefully whether these aspects of The Lay Centre’s are suitable to their needs and expectations, before submitting their application.
A Life of Dialogue
An important aspect of The Lay Centre mission is its commitment to promote Christian unity and interreligious dialogue. The student community is both ecumenical and interreligious, and it flourishes with mutual respect, openness, charity and good will.
In their daily interactions, the students engage in a “dialogue of daily life”; with patience and listening, they learn about each other’s cultures and religions, and grow in understanding and concern for the other.
A Life of Community
The quality of community life at The Lay Centre depends largely on student involvement. Students participate actively in community life. Certain events are geared toward building community, namely a weekly community evening, every Wednesday, which includes a Roman Catholic Mass. Students of other religious traditions are welcome to attend the Mass, but are not obliged. The entire student community takes part in the evening meal and discussion.
In autumn, at the start of the academic year, the students share in a weekend retreat outside Rome, which offers an opportunity for residents to learn about each other and to form friendships. A daylong field trip is arranged in the spring.
A Life of Study
The Lay Centre is located in a separate wing of the Passionist Fathers’ historic monastery. The grounds make up the largest private garden in Rome, providing a very quiet environment, away from the bustling city, that is conducive to study. Residents must be mindful of The Lay Centre’s location within the monastery and agree to a lifestyle that privileges calm and academic study.
A Life of Learning
The Lay Centre is committed to promoting the lay vocation in the Church and in the world. To this end, it offers learning opportunities, intended to complement the residents’ studies and to equip them for a future of leadership and service.
In order to cultivate such opportunities outside the classroom, The Lay Centre regularly invites prominent figures in the academic and ecclesial world in Rome to join the student community for evenings. Residents can engage in serious theological discussion and learn about current trends in thought and pastoral work in a relaxed environment.
In addition, The Lay Centre sponsors regular series of theological lectures on various themes for the local community in Rome. Students are invited to join in, according to their availability.
The Lay Centre also organizes student workshops with professionals in the fields of psychology and intercultural dynamics in order to facilitate human growth and maturation as an integral part of preparation for service in the Church and in the world.
A Life of Faith
Student life includes prayer together. In addition to weekly Mass, we offer daily celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, namely Vespers, and nightly prayer in the chapel. Vespers and nightly prayer are optional. The chapel is available for personal or group prayer throughout the rest of the day.
A student may also become involved in the pastoral life of The Lay Centre by volunteering to serve the Mass, either as a member of the choir, as a lector, a cantor or an altar server.
The Lay Centre can also help students find a spiritual director, who can accompany them on their faith journey during their time in Rome.
Students of all religions are encouraged to share about their experience of faith. Many students in the past have invited each other to attend their respective worship services.
A Life of Service & Hospitality
The Lay Centre seeks to nurture a life of service among its students. In order to facilitate common life and to express a sense of service towards each other, students take on a “house help” each semester.
The students also help with public events at The Lay Centre, about six times per year, mostly welcoming the guests and extending to them The Lay Centre’s warm hospitality. Students are also encouraged to engage in dialogue with guests and to share with them about their studies in Rome.
A spirit of service must also extend beyond the home, and so residents of The Lay Centre community also volunteers regularly with charities that assist the poor and the marginalized of the city.
A Life Rich in Culture
Rome is among the rare cities in the world, whose streets and monuments offer so much to learn outside the classroom.
Various excursions, in and around Rome, are offered to students to help them enrich their knowledge of history, culture and art. Guided visits to major basilicas and churches, as well as opportunities to attend presentations and exhibits, are offered throughout the year.
Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities and to soak in all that Rome has to offer their education.
While The Lay Centre accepts applications throughout the year, students who are interested are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, and spaces for new residents are limited.