SZE builds an international Christian student community with a Canadian priest

Széchenyi István University is building a community of international Christian students through the cross-cultural power of faith with the help of Canadian Father Andrew Lee. Father Lee will be hosting eight sessions in the autumn semester. The institution is also paying special attention to international students, offering programmes that contribute to their mental well-being.

Andrew Lee, a missionary priest from Canada is aiming to reach out to students of the Scholarship for Christian Young People Programme through a series of programmes with a goal of creating an international Catholic community at Széchenyi University, using the intercultural strength of Christianity. Father Andrew is a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, and he belongs to a Catholic Ecclesial Movement called Communion and Liberation, founded in Italy in the 20th century. As part of his work, he will be in Hungary for a number of years. "Young people are the future of our society and of the Church, so it is important to dedicate time and energy to lead them in faith and to share the beauty of faith with them.  I am very much excited to get to know the students and to journey together on the path of Christian adulthood, and to share these important years of university years together." - He underlined.

Organized jointly by the University's Alumni and Wellbeing Directorate, International Programmes and Alumni Centre, and the University's Pastor, Dávid Simon, Father Andrew will visit the institution eight times during the autumn semester. The meetings will begin with a discussion about a proposed topic from a writing by Fr. Luigi Giussani. It will be followed by Saturday anticipatory Mass at Győr-Révfalu church, and informal dinner and evening together. For these Saturday events, he welcomes not only international students but Hungarian students as well who would like to join this English-speaking Christian university community. As the sessions are informal and not superimposed, anyone can attend any of the meetings.


The participants of the student community came to Széchenyi István University from all over the world, such as Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan or Kenya.

"Christian scholarship holders have a strong desire for connection and a need for active presence in the Christian community. These young people have often experienced exclusion and persecution in their home countries because of their religion, so it is even more significant for them to be able to live their faith freely here. While for us practicing faith is a part of our everyday life, for them it is an opportunity to treasure - it also contributes to their mental wellbeing" - said Sylvia Páliné Nyiri, Centre of International Programmes and Alumni, Institutional Coordinator for the Scholarship for Christian Young People Programme (SCYP).

"There is a huge openness and demand for community from international students according to our previous experiences. That is why we are delighted to have this series of programmes, which will enable young people to connect through faith. It is also a great opportunity for Hungarian students to get to know their international peers better" - said Rita Vajóczki, Alumni and Wellbeing Officer. In addition to the Centre of International Programmes and Alumni, the Alumni and Wellbeing Directorate is also working to involve international students in the university’s wellbeing programmes: as a first step they are planning to survey for international students shortly to ensure that the institution can provide them with opportunities that meet their needs.

The fellowship will continue beyond these eight sessions, as Father Lee will plan more programmes for the young students as required. Furthermore, the Centre of International Programmes and Alumni  will be offering SCYP Scholarship holders additional activities throughout the semester: such as weekly Bible study sessions at the Management Campus, and the Dorcas Project, where Christian students can crochet blankets as a charity work for children in need.

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