Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

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Student Spotlight: Panini Distribution

Rome-- On Friday, September 31, a group of the Loyola Rome Center students embarked on the weekly Panini Distribution, led by the one and only Pedro Guerrero. The Panini Distribution, held in Vatican City, consists of volunteers serving a variety of foods and beverages for those living a life of poverty in Rome. In order to fully give of yourself for those less fortunate, you must show care; and having a lack of care in your volunteer work beats the purpose of the action.

I’ve been involved in a variety of service projects, but the Panini Distribution had a special impact in my life. Not only did we get to serve the people of Rome, but we also had the privilege of interacting with them. Distributing food to those who are hungry and are in great need felt incredible, however, my interactions with a few of the people were a pure blessing, a blessing that was incomparable to many. There were two individuals in particular that significantly affected me. We spoke about Jesus and faith life in general; and while there were certain points they made that I disagreed with respectfully, there were other points, I was a firm believer in. The two men said how there were times where they felt they were not cared about by those with higher authority. This was an upsetting notion to hear, solely because I am a true advocate for equality and I feel that serving the poor is the greatest service one can give. The two men continuously expressed their love for Jesus Christ and how they believe that all a Catholic needs is to pray to Christ, and that He resides in all of our hearts. They did not believe that people should pray to anything or anyone other than Christ, which I found interesting.

The two men were inspiring and it felt great to supply them with a full dinner that night. There were many things that the two men and I did not see eye to eye on, but there was one thing we did agree on, and that was our love for Jesus Christ. They made me realize that all you truly need is Him, and material things are simply irrelevant to a happy life. I pray on their behalf and hope that they continue to have their relationship with Christ and to keep moving forward. I am excited to return to St. Peter’s to serve my new friends, and create many more relationships.

 

By Jeff Ackels