A group of 37 students, faculty members and staff from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute, Switzerland, visited Rome and the Vatican from 20–26 January 2020 . The students came from 19 countries and represented over 20 different Christian Churches including the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, as well as various Protestant communities, both historic and new, such as Evangelicals and Pentecostals.
The programme covered visits to different dicasteries of the Roman Curia, encounters with representatives of religious orders and with Catholic lay movements, visits to theological faculties and guided tours to the main sites of Christian history in Rome. The students visited the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, where they were received by the President, Cardinal Kurt Koch, and met with some staff members who introduced them to the ecumenical commitment of the Catholic Church. One of the highlights of this year’s visit was the participation in an ecumenical panel held at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas commemorating the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Encyclical Ut unum sint of Pope John Paul II. The group also attended the Wednesday audience with the Holy Father and on Sunday participated in the Catholic Mass in one of Rome’s parishes.
The culmination of the programme was their participation in the Vespers presided over by Pope Francis to conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which was held in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls on Saturday 25 January.
This annual study visit organized and sponsored by the Pontifical Council offers a unique opportunity to the students of Bossey to gain a fuller understanding of the Catholic Church.