Image credit: Jay Doherty

Today, we touched down in Rome. As I write these words, it’s astonishing to think that I’ve been awake for thirty-four hours, with only a brief two-hour nap and a few meals in between. Yet, the sheer delights of our journey to this place have made every minute worth it. We’ve marveled at Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, the Church of Saint Agnes, and indulged in genuine Italian gelato—far creamier and less processed than what we find in America. The winding alleys, vibrant nights, and delectable cuisine make Rome feel just as enchanting as I remember it. 

As I reflect upon today, a sense of wonder and happiness engulfs me, but above all, the predominant emotion that surfaces is gratitude. Few educational institutions, friends, professors, and leaders would endorse or partake in such an extraordinary journey, and I am profoundly thankful that Fordham University is truly embracing the Jesuit mission of being contemplative in action. I look forward to the Synod and hope to learn more about Rome in the coming days. 

Already on Tuesday, we met with Sister Nathalie Becquart, a Xaverian sister appointed by Pope Francis to be the second-ranking official in the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops office. She has a remarkable story, which The New York Times profiled. She is so accessible and passionate about the process she has been instrumental in launching. What struck me was her explanation of the process as one in which, in effect, “We make the path by walking.” 

As our Fordham group walks our path, my prayers are for our upcoming days to be safe and filled with peace, participation, and learning.

Jay Doherty is double-majoring in Journalism and Philosophy at Fordham University (FCRH ‘26) and he is a 2023-2024 Duffy Fellow.