Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/20/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Charity calls us to be charitable, beginning with one another. It calls us to love all men and women as the Lord does.

Ave Maria is one of several dynamically faithful Catholic Colleges preparing future Catholic leaders. I have great respect for the courage shown by the University founder, the leadership of its President and the scholarship and dedication of those who are gathering together to build this new University dedicated to Our Lady.

Ave Maria is one of several dynamically faithful Catholic Colleges preparing future Catholic leaders. I have great respect for the courage shown by the University founder, the leadership of its President and the scholarship and dedication of those who are gathering together to build this new University dedicated to Our Lady.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/20/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in U.S.


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - I was recently delighted to learn that Ave Maria University was the recipient of a Four Million dollar ($4,000,000.) gift from a man named Tom Golisano. The first words which came into my heart upon reading the news were from St. Paul, "Rejoice with those who rejoice..." (Romans 12:15)

I am convinced that the most important work being done in this new missionary age is the preparation of the next generation of faithful, well educated young Catholic men and women, prepared to respond to the call to every Christian vocation and to participate in the mission of the Church. It is these men and women, now being prepared at places like Ave Maria, who will carry on the work of the Church well into the Third Millennium making it into a new missionary age of the Church.

Our work as Catholics called to rebuild the Church and transform the culture will take a long time given the devastation of the last one hundred years. We need "living stones", young women and men in love with the Lord and the Church and truly educated in the Truth which alone sets us free to take up the charge. They will carry on the New Evangelization through their work and their witness of life. Ave Maria is one of several dynamically faithful Catholic Colleges preparing future Catholic leaders. I have great respect for the courage shown by the University founder, the leadership of its President and the scholarship and dedication of those who are gathering together to build this new University dedicated to Our Lady.

My next response was to find out more about the donor and how this gift would be used. I discovered that B. Thomas Golisano is the founder and Chairman of Paychex, Inc. I used Paychex in my work in starting organizations in the past but never knew who founded it. I also discovered that he owns the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, so I was not surprised to read that the funds will be used to build an athletic facility. Mr. Golisano told the Press, "I am pleased to contribute to this exciting new endeavor at Ave Maria University....The new field house will be an integral part of the University's future growth and vitality. Athletic programs, sport teams, wellness activities and clubs help to round out the college experience for students and their families and more importantly, keep young minds engaged and healthy."

I have spent the last few months getting back into shape and rediscovering the essential importance of living an integrated and healthy lifestyle. This was necessary after years of pursuing a graduate degree during which I simply fell apart physically. One of the things I admire most about Ave Maria is their commitment to helping those who study there and live in the community of faith on campus to develop good habits of both body and soul. Their focus on virtue and holiness is as inspiring as it is practical. Finally, I discovered the impressive philanthropy of Mr. Golisano, much of which is done through the "Golisano Foundation" which assists people with learning disabilities. Clearly this is a man who through his giving, his charity, has helped many of the "poor" and is to be commended for that work.

However, it was what I discovered next online which prompted this article. I found petty, vicious attacks against Ave Maria for accepting the gift published in certain segments of the Catholic blogosphere. It appears that Mr. Golisano, like most of us reading this article, is a work in progress. His long life reveals that he held some positions in the past which do not comport with those which he holds today. Some within certain segments of the Catholic blogging community were only too eager to point out those positions of the past. However, they took another step; they attacked the man's motives and attacked Ave Maria for accepting his charity so as to help fund their work of forming young men and women in Charity. First, I became angry, and then I grew sad.

I immediately wrote to their President, Nick Healy, to congratulate him and to encourage him. I was sure he had seen these negative attacks. I share an excerpt from my E-Mail in order to then express some thoughts for us to consider together:

******

"...You have heard the expression about water rolling off the backs of ducks...that is how you and the founder of the University, Tom Monaghan, should approach the ever annoying peanut gallery of whining negative critics in some of our own circles. Let it roll off your back and rejoice in the Lord who has blessed you with so many gifts. CONGRATULATIONS!

Securing this gift from Tom Golisano is wonderful news for the thousands of faithful young Catholics and others who will grow in their ability to serve the Church - called into the world - while living and studying there through his generosity! It is also a great example of a Catholic vision of evangelization and mission. What are we supposed to do - not allow people whom we are seeking to bring to the fullness of the truth to be generous and assist the Lord's work with their goods?

I remember when I was Dean of Students (centuries ago it seems) at the beginning of the miracle turn around at Steubenville. I was one of the first Catholics invited to attend the Coalition of Christian Colleges. The then Dean of an Evangelical Protestant School who invited me surprised me when he called me up to the dais to tell the Steubenville story during what was to be his plenary address. I simply shared what the Lord had done through the courage and fidelity to the vision of Fr. Michael Scanlan and the role of real, persevering prayer. Of course, many present at that meeting were amazed, some because they did not even believe that Catholics were Christians (those were very different days you recall), others by the story itself. I explained that like the Psalmist said, the Lord did indeed build that house!

The Dean asked if I would take questions and I assented. One of the questions was "Do you allow non-Christians to attend the College?" "Of course we do" I answered, "if they respect our way of life and commitments and agree to live by them." "Well, what do you do with them once they get there?"- came the response. I responded---"We love them in the Lord and hope they come to find Him as we have and become Christians with us."

We are called to Evangelize, to give away this treasure we have received, our Catholic faith, to all whom we encounter as we live our lives redemptively in this world. That means reaching out to all and allowing people to be generous with us - and through their acts of charity find the very Source of all Charity, Jesus Christ!

What is wrong with these folks who are attacking this gift, the giver of this and the recipient? Are they so caught in their own negative world view that they are always suspect of their fellow Catholics? That is the attitude which seems to be behind this controversy. What do they think? Do they presume that Ave Maria will compromise the truth in order to obtain a monetary gift? Of course not, she is a servant of that Truth, named after the woman whose "yes" opened the door for Truth to be enfleshed!

Mr. Golisano will now be associated even more with that Truth who is SOMEONE, Jesus Christ, who will also change his life. This gift of his to that University was a part of a loving Plan in his own life and you were all were a part of it! His act of charity will lead him to the source of CHARITY, the God who is Love and who has a human face, the face of Jesus the Lord.

I HAD to congratulate you and the founder of that University. I am inspired by your prayer, your persistence and your understanding of what it means to be Catholic - and your willingness to act upon it. You show all of us how we are all called to continue to "love the world" as the Lord does.

St. John wrote "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16) God still loves the world, and He still sends His Son, through you and me. We are called into the world to transform it from within without fear and to invite all men and women to find the source of all Charity, the One who fully reveals the Father and, in the words of the Council, "fully reveals man to himself in his most high calling." You have my full support and solidarity."

******

Some of the negative response came from Mr. Golisano's changing and growing understanding of the truth concerning the dignity of every human life, including the lives of our youngest neighbors in the womb. From what the President of Ave Maria has told me, Mr. Golisano is now truly Pro-Life. I am not surprised at this change. The reality of the Truth about the dignity of every human life is often progressive in its impact as people begin to understand it. It also leads the one who begins to perceive it to a genuine and lifechanging conversion. Years ago, I had the privilege of getting to know Steve Forbes and to later assist him in his campaign for the Presidency. He had come to understand the truth about the dignity of human life and his position evolved. I knew he had become genuinely Pro-Life. However, I remember the cynicism that came from some within the Catholic political activist community concerning his change on that vital issue. I knew Steve's change was sincere and I was very glad to help him along the way.

Maybe I have missed something but are we only supposed to associate with one another? Much like my story of accepting students at Steubenville who did not yet embrace the faith, isn't it our mission to invite - and then to help - all men and women come to find the Truth within the fullness of Christianity that is the Catholic Church? Should we not allow them, along the way, to give to furthering the work of that Church? The very act of charity is itself an occasion of grace for them and for the work of the Church.

We need to examine ourselves as a virtual global Catholic community. We are joined together in the Body of Christ through our Baptism. All of us are called to continually grow in Charity, particularly in our behavior toward one another. We should support one another as Catholics online in the manner in which we report good news such as this gift to Ave Maria University. I suggest that a good place to start is by always presuming the best about one another. St. Paul reminded the Galatian Christians, "So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith." (Gal. 6:10) We need to heed this advice in the way that we treat other Catholics.

Charity calls us to be charitable, beginning with one another. It also calls us to love all men and women as the Lord does and to remember who we are, who we were, and who we are becoming. This virtual community we now share together online is a resource and an invitation. It brings with it an obligation to practice what we preach with one another and with others who are on the road.

I invite all of our readers to join me in praying for Ave Maria University, honoring Tom Golasano for his act of Charity and thanking the Lord for this wonderful news.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

'Church ladies' finally force phony priest in Los Angeles to authorities Watch

Image of Erwin Mena  was arrested by Los Angeles police for allegedly impersonating a Roman Catholic priest and on suspicion of grand theft (Los Angeles Times).

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

For months, Erwin Mena donned vestments, called himself "Padre," and convinced Southern California Catholics that he was a priest, police say. Los Angeles, Calif. (CNA/EWTN News) - He was good at it, too, reportedly. He attended seminary in El Salvador for a time ... continue reading


Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis to Meet in Cuba in Historic Move of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Orthodox Christian Patriarch Kirill and Catholic Christian Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that ... continue reading


'Deeply disturbing': ANOTHER Planned Parenthood video has been released by the Center for Medical Progress (Warning: Graphic Content) Watch

Image of Yet another undercover video featuring the horrors of Planned Parenthood's illegal acts has been released (Leda Oreskovich).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released another video featuring Planned Parenthood officials casually - and even happily - discussing the revolting practice of murdering infants in the womb then mercilessly cutting them to pieces for profit. Meanwhile, after ... continue reading


Phony priest celebrated masses, funerals and performed marriages - for more than 20 years! Watch

Image of Operating out of St. Ignatius of Loyola in northeastern Los Angeles, Erwin Mena allegedly sold tickets to a pilgrimage to visit New York to see the Pope during his visit to the United States last year (Facebook).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

He might have talked a good talk and walked a good walk, but authorities finally caught up with fifty-nine-year-old Erwin Mena, who posed as a priest for more than 20 years in Los Angeles. Mena was arrested and will enjoy a lot of time in small rooms - with bars on the ... continue reading


'Christian Refugees 2 Christian Nations, Muslim Refugees 2 Muslim Nations, That's Only Fair': Protesters rally in Missoula County Courthouse Watch

Image of Protesters stand in snow (not pictured) to stand against new influx of refugees into America (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In an effort to ease the strain on other countries who have accempted several thousand refugees, the Obama administration plans to send refugees to smaller Montana cities. Over 120 Montana citizens faced snow and ice on Monday to protest outside the Missoula County ... continue reading


Why did secret Muslim Obama visit a controversial mosque? Watch

Image of Why is Obama visiting a mosque with questionable ties?

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

President Obama is visiting a controversial mosque in Baltimore today, one that has ties to Islamic extremism. Even fellow Muslims are upset that he chose the Islamic Society of Baltimore for his visit, when he could have chosen more "moderate" mosques. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


In the minds of murderers: 9/11 began with a small question and grew to a national tragedy Watch

Image of 9/11 was based on a flight that crashed into the sea (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The horrific tragedy of 9/11 was reportedly started when Osama bin Laden heard of the murder-suicide on EgyptAir Flight 990. The plane's pilot crashed into the ocean, prompting bin Laden to wonder why he didn't choose to crash into a building. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


What does the Super Bowl have to do with the Catholic Church? Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

Who else is facing off during the Super Bowl? Catholic Charities. Whether fans are rooting for the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers in the upcoming NFL Super Bowl 50, Catholic Charities of Denver, Colorado, and Charlotte, South Carolina are uniting to host ... continue reading


Did the Groundhog see his shadow? 6 fun facts about Groundhog Day you never knew before Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The fate between winter and spring anxiously awaited the arrival of the weather-predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. The furry groundhog emerged from his hole on February 2 in search of a shadow ... that he never found. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According ... continue reading


'The Way' with Deacon Fournier: Are We Driving Jesus Out of Our Lives? Watch

Image of An artists rendering of the anguish of the Gerasene demoniac before he was delivered by the power of Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

These biblical accounts need to be read, re-read, prayed over, and then read again and again and again. They need to be applied in our own lives, if we want to fully experience the healing of the wounds caused by our own sin and be freed from our own spiritual ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 3:4-13
4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
9 How can a young man keep his way spotless? By keeping your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:30-34
30 The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 6th, 2016 Image

St. Paul Miki
February 6: Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. ... Read More