Community Evening Diary: Insights on Solidarity, Hope and Responsibility

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Throughout March, The Lay Centre community welcomed Sr. Raffaella Petrini, Dr. Austen Ivereigh, Dr. Alessandra Campo and Dr. Debora Tonelli

Community Evening Diary: Insights on Solidarity, Hope and Responsibility

By Stefanie Bross

Throughout March, The Lay Centre community gathered for a series of engaging evenings, each focused on a different aspect of societal concern. 

  • Sister Raffaella Petrini, FSE, the first woman appointed secretary general of Vatican City State, held a profound discussion on solidarity and co-responsibility. Drawing from her extensive experience in welfare economics, she emphasized the importance of prioritizing collective well-being over competition. She reminded attendees of the power of discernment in decision-making and urged them to consider the broader community's welfare in every choice they make: Solidarity over competition. She also remarked that all people are dependent on God and knowing that he can provide will lead people to hope and happiness. 
  • Dr. Austen Ivereigh, a Catholic journalist, author, commentator and biographer of Pope Francis, led a reflective dialogue on the sources of hope amid the world’s uncertainties. The Lay Centre and the University of Notre Dame - Rome co-sponsored a public event on March 13, 2024 titled "Called, Chosen, Send: What is the source of our hope? Austen Ivereigh in dialogue with young adults." During the session Ivereigh will discussed some themes of his new book, "First Belong to God: On Retreat with Pope Francis," and engaged in a conversation with young adults. Designed as an eight-day Ignatian retreat, the book serves as a roadmap to deeper discipleship by focusing on three foundational forms of belonging: to God, to creation, and to others.
  • Dr. Alessandra Campo, a professor at the Institute of Anthropology (IADC) at the Pontifical Gregorian University, spoke about the urgent need for abuse prevention in society, and particularly in Church contexts. Through a thought-provoking workshop she shed light on the structural factors in society that perpetuate harm and highlighted the shared responsibility everyone has to protect the vulnerable. Her discussion spurred conversation on strategies for safeguarding the well-being of the most vulnerable.
  • Dr. Debora Tonelli, the Georgetown University representative in Rome, led an interesting conversation on dialogue between believers and non-believers. By emphasizing common values and fostering understanding across diverse perspectives, she encouraged community members to seek unity amid differences. Her insights underscored the importance of empathy and mutual respect in building bridges of communication and cooperation – not trying to convince someone but rather to understand the other.

Photo: Evelyn Blacklock

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