Where Young People in Rome Share Their Faith

St. Lawrence Youth Center Marks 26 Years

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

By Carmen Elena Villa

ROME, MARCH 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Speaking in different languages on how to live the faith, dozens of young people come together in a hall decorated with posters of World Youth Days — from Rome in 1986 to Sydney in 2008 — such is the atmosphere lived in Rome’s St. Lawrence International Youth Center.

The center is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and located just a few yards from St. Peter’s Square. It welcomes young people who are in the Eternal City on pilgrimage or to study.

Dozens of young people are expected to attend a thanksgiving Mass this Friday, which will be presided over by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, on the center’s 26th anniversary.

Logistics at St. Lawrence are managed by members of the Emmanuel Community, who come for a period of two years.

«The thing is to make the visit to Rome not only historical but also spiritual,» Leen den Blauwen, one of the current directors, explained to ZENIT.

«We are in the heart of the Church. We have the opportunity to invite bishops and cardinals who celebrate Mass here and then share ideas with the young people, and in this way we have been able to know a bit more about the Church in the world,» said Roselyne Lauwick, the other current director.

Family spirit

And the center is a success story. Blanche de Craecker, a student at La Sapienza University, told ZENIT how. Blanche arrived from Paris six months ago.

«When I arrived in Rome I didn’t know any one,» she said. «The center has helped me to know people, to pray more faithfully. I am here, far away from my family and I have found a small family here.»

This, said the director den Blauwen, is «a lovely mission for us because we have the opportunity to meet young people from all over the world. Each youth has a story. The majority of those who come to Rome wish to reinforce their faith, their love for the Church.»

Rebecca, a student from Chicago studying at the John Paul II Institute commented on the community formed at St. Lawrence.

«There is a very strong community,» she said. «Pope John Paul II said: Go and evangelize. One sees the vitality of young people, and it is beautiful to see it.»

Araceli Orleans, from Mexico, said that it was Providence that led her to the center: «I found a treasure here because we are all Catholics and share the very feeling of the Church. It doesn’t matter where you come from.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation