Franciscan University of Steubenville, the Federal Government and the Gates of Hell
I ask the readers of Catholic Online around the globe to pray for that wonderful Catholic University, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Ken Blackwell said the "Obama administration is also the most anti-Catholic administration in American history." He is correct. Pray for Franciscan University of Steubenville and all other genuinely Catholic Universities. The promise of Jesus still stands. The Catholic College, as a part of the Church which Jesus founded upon Peter the Rock, still stands under the protection of heaven. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. (Matt. 16:17,18)
A conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (Catholic Online) - I am an alumni of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Way back then it was called the College of Steubenville. Many of my readers know I am a "revert" to the Catholic Church. I came back to the faith of my childhood after turbulent years searching for truth and meaning. I was a teenage "hippie", caught up in the sixties and early seventies.
My journey culminated in a harrowing hitchhiking journey across the country to California searching for truth and meaning. There, on a beach, I gave my life "back to the Lord". I later came to understand He had never left me. After that experience I ended up in a Protestant Bible College where I hoped to study "the word". Naturally inquisitive, I could not shut down my brain. I questioned myself right into studying the writings of the early Church Fathers. That led me back into the Catholic Church.
Desiring to give my whole life to the Lord in the wonderful Church I had rediscovered, I soon entered a Benedictine monastery. During all of this period, I became enamored with that little poor man of Assisi, Francis, with whom I identified in so many ways. In my faith journey I reached out to one of his brothers, a holy Franciscan priest named Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. who was the rector of a seminary in Pennsylvania.
When I left the monastery - after discerning I was not called to consecrated celibacy - I called Fr. Mike. He had taken over the presidency of a small college in Steubenville, Ohio and was dedicated to returning it to the faith. I had a year of philosophy and wanted to continue my studies. So, with his full support and encouragement, I joined him at that College as a kind of "first responder". I became a part of the early renewal of that great work of the Holy Spirit which led to what is now called the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
I led one of the first student households and helped in many other ways to form the Catholic culture on campus, one of the distinctive marks of that now extraordinary Catholic College. I became a worker in the vineyard, a part of that miracle of the Lord. I soon graduated with honors in philosophy and theology. After marrying my wonderful wife on the campus we began to have children. I went on to law school in nearby Pittsburgh. Upon graduation I stayed to serve the work of Steubenville in any way that I could, standing with Fr. Michael Scanlan. I learned so much from that wonderful priest and champion of the Church.
In the nineties, I started my first law firm while still helping Fr Mike in his work. I soon left the practice to go in house as a Dean. I served as the Dean of Students and the Dean of Evangelization. That chapter of my life helped to informed the chapters of my life which followed. I love that College and consider it to be one of the seeds of the spiritual renewal which has broken forth in Catholic higher education around the world. I was privileged to stand at the side of a man who understood the mission of a Catholic College and had the courage and the heroic faith to fight to both establish it and protect it against all odds.
The Catholic College is not a private College with a church affiliation. Catholic identity is not an "add on" to its mission but the very lifeblood which animates it. Catholic identity at a Catholic College requires that the academic community understand its ecclesial nature. In an institution, just as in persons, it begins from the inside and works its way throughout like leaven or yeast in a loaf. Catholic identity must be the beating heart of a Catholic College and provide the infrastructure for its entire educational mission.
Catholic culture on campus becomes a fruit of this mission.This Catholic culture then helps to ensure the integration of the faith in every aspect of the academy, through both word and witness. Catholic identity flourishes when all who are involved in this educational mission, from the Catholic College President to the Professor in the classroom, first view themselves as disciples, lifelong learners, followers of the Teacher, Jesus Christ. The Christian life is lived within the Body of Christ, the Church, into which we have been incorporated through Baptism. The Catholic College is an expression of that Church.
The Church is by its very nature, a teacher. Those involved in serving at a Catholic College participate in the educational mission of the Church. Education is the very heart of the ecclesial mission. In speaking of herself, the Church often notes that she is an "expert in humanity" who "walks the way of the person". In the words of Pope John XXIII echoed many pronouncements of the Magisterium, The Church is, both "Mater et Magister" "Mother and Teacher." She is an educating community and institution.
Education is not something the Church adds something to, as though the ...
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