What I learnt from meeting the Pope

Recently I had the honour to attend the IV World Congress on the Pastoral Care of International Students hosted by the Vatican and whilst I was there had the chance to meet one of the most influential people on Earth, the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

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Pope Francis

I had the opportunity to attend this congress because the organiser took this chance to invite several different religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam in order to open up dialogue and allow international students to learn more about the different beliefs of different religions.

I attended this congress on behalf of the Taiwan Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Having been a part of the charity since I was young, I am now  in charge of the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association in the United Kingdom. I was able to attend this congress because I am an international student, studying at the University of Portsmouth.

This amazing opportunity allowed me to represent my religion (Buddhism), to exchange talk with others and to share my beliefs.The whole week was a great experience and has allowed me to learn a lot more about other religions and beliefs.

The main thing that I learned from the congress, was that we may all have different faiths, but we share common believes in our life. We should look more on what unites us as humans, rather than what divides us, we can achieve greater good when we are united.

On the 1st of December 2016, I had the honour to meet the Pope Francis himself. During a private speech from the Pope Francis to the students, he invited the students to approach their studies as a springboard to contributing to a healthier society. He reminded the students “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

The message he delivered was very meaningful and  positive and I hope that I am able to pass on this message to many more students so that everyone can work towards a greater good.