The benefits of learning Esperanto all those years ago

Dear Editor, Your reference to Esperanto in the July 24 issue brought back many very happy memories. For many years going back decades, I was immersed in La Internacia Llingvo, i.e. the international language, and I could speak it as fluently as English or Irish. I am a bit rusty now, as my vocabulary has gone back a bit from lack of use. I must admit that is my own fault as I am still a member of the Esperanto Association of Ireland, some of whose members meet in Dublin once a month, but mea culpa, I am not making the effort.
One Esperanto event, in particular, stands out in my mind and that was The Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum in Rome, conducted in Esperanto by Fr Modesto Carolfi of the Franciscans in Rome. That particular year, he was the organiser of the annual congress or convention of the International Union of Catholic Esperantists (IKUE), which was attended by people of all ages from over 20 countries.  The same week we had the unique experience of participating in a liturgy in St John Lateran, after which we processed along Via Merulana to another devotional exercise in St Mary Major, with short spiritual talks in Esperanto by Fr Carolfi’s fellow Franciscans. Esperanto has the solution for many problems of the present. My own personal view is that, at the very least, it is the ideal introduction to learning other languages. Also, at international gatherings, Esperanto gives all the participants a level playing field, with no advantage accruing to any of the great imperial languages.
Yours etc.,

Joe Conroy,


Co. Kildare.