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franciscanway - Franciscan University of Steubenville

franciscanway - Franciscan University of Steubenville

IPOD iPodEvangelizers

IPOD iPodEvangelizers vangelizers By To Tom m Sofi o With a couple of mouse clicks, the world is literally at the fingertips of a growing number er of Catholic podcasters who send their audio and video programs to an Internet-wide audience. And, as might be expected, Franciscan University faculty and students have jumped right into this new form of media. Podcast pioneer Father Seraphim Beshoner, TOR, teaches history at Franciscan’s study abroad program in Gaming, Austria. His coyly named show, Catholic Under the Hood (not a rap term, the title refers to the hood on a friar’s robe), is approaching its 175th episode. With snippets of music and reams of knowledge stored in his head, Father Beshoner brings Church history from a Franciscan perspective to a receptive audience that spans the globe. A recent show presented an unfl inching account of the persecution experienced by Australia’s fi rst Catholics. He also tells listeners about his travels in Europe, life as a Franciscan priest, and throws in an occasional movie review ( At a recent gathering of Catholic new media producers in Atlanta, Father Beshoner said participants agreed on two driving objectives for their “Internet parish.” “We want to be faithful to the teaching and traditions of the magisterium of the Church. And we want to present our ideas in such a way that they are inviting to non-Catholics. We have all heard accounts of people who came into the Church as a result of our podcasts.” Using new forms of media to evangelize is exactly what the Church should be doing, says Dr. Jim Coyle, communication arts professor. “Christ went out among the people. He was in the marketplace, not just the synagogue. The Internet is the marketplace where a signifi cant number of people now gather.” Coyle cites low cost, technology that is fairly simple to operate, and a potential audience in the millions as reasons for Catholic podcasters to get involved. Coyle’s stall in the Internet marketplace is Sp SSpirit irit and Life Podcasts 32 Franciscan Way • Autumn 2008 (, which he describes as “behind-thescene chats” with speakers at Franciscan University’s adult summer conferences. “Much like the foreword of a book, I hope people learn a little more about the speakers from these personal conversations.” Theresa Tizedes ’08 podcasts for Franciscan’s popular summer youth conferences ( Each episode gets over 600 downloads. “The kids tell me how much they appreciate them,” says Tizedes. “They get involved in their faith at the conference but that doesn’t always last when they return home.” Tizedes is one of the fi rst batch of graduates to benefi t from the multimedia concentration the Communication Arts Department began offering in 2006. Dr. Eugene Gan, who spearheads the program, says that bringing “a Catholic worldview to modern media is exactly what Pope John Paul II asked us to do—to engage and be ‘in communion’ with modern society.” Because today’s media is so tailored to the senses, Gan believes St. “Christ was in the marketplace, not just the synagogue. The Internet is the marketplace where a signifi cant number of people now gather.” Francis would be supportive of today’s iPod evangelizers. “Francis gave us the Christmas crèche and the Stations of the Cross. He wanted to engage our senses to point us to the transcendent.” At the Pontifi cal Congress for Social Communications, which Gan recently attended, he was struck by the powerful connection between the Church’s timeless teachings on art and and the technological explosion brought forth by the Internet age. “Media is all about sight and sound. Now infuse that with the Catholic worldview that says anything artistic should refl ect beauty, and truth with a capital T, and we have the opportunity to bring God into the modern media.” ��

Assisi HEIGHTS By Tom Sofi o On n one of the last lazy days of summer, the city bus squeaks to a halt haltonacurvedresidentialstreetandpicksupapassenger on a curved residential street and picks up a passenger. Afew A few moments later the mailman makes his appointed rounds. Another typical day in suburban America? Not exactly. Look closely and the clusters of young adults walking down the street with book bags slung over their shoulders are all headed in one direction—to class. Welcome to Assisi Heights, Franciscan University’s fi rst-ever neighborhood-style residential living site. Assisi Heights is the new name for Parkview Circle, the government-subsidized apartment complex that was built in 1958 on the same hilltop that would soon become home to the College of Steubenville. Two years ago, the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority ( JMHA), which operated the apartments, began discussions with the University about possible purchase of the units. The fi nal sale that was approved this summer enables JMHA to develop federal housing that better meets the needs of the elderly and physically handicapped. The transition from Parkview Circle to Assisi Heights is a gradual one. This semester, 102 students moved into 32 of the 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom units. The remaining 92 units will be renovated and occupied gradually over the next two to three years. “We call this privileged living, the next step in Christian maturity,” says Michael Brown, the neighborhood coordinator for Assisi Heights. Limited primarily to upperclassmen and graduate students, Brown says Assisi Heights is a great way for students to transition from the structure of the residence halls to living off-campus in private housing. Each unit has its own kitchen and living room, and the residents are responsible for their own cleaning and general upkeep. Many students now have their own bedroom—a big step up from on-campus living. The cooking and cleaning takes some getting used to, says Brown, but everyone appreciates the sense of independence that comes with living in “the Heights,” as it’s quickly becoming known. To help establish a sense of community, Brown and his neighborhood assistants will host evening get-togethers, similar to block parties, and other events at the activity center. “We consider Assisi Heights to be very much like a parish neighborhood,” says Brown. “We will have a monthly neighborhood Mass, with refreshments and social time afterwards, and our chaplain, Father Jim Morman will visit people in their apartments.” ASSISI HEIGHTS Peter Bortz Rachel Carpenter, Brittany Brown, Katie Pikula, and Genai Rosa set the table in their new kitchen. One of the Pre-Theologate Program’s households, Electi Mariae, is based in Assisi Heights. Members of Fishers of Men, Handmaids of the Lord, Regina Angelorum, Knights of the Holy Queen, and other households live together in some of the apartments. “This adds a new dimension to the household experience,” says Brown. “Already the household members living here invite freshmen and sophomores in their household over and cook a meal for them. And households are using the activity center for gatherings.” By the fall 2010 semester, it is anticipated that over 350 students will be living in Assisi Heights. Though there is no getting around the architecture of the 1950s-style structures (which many people compare to military housing), much is being done to update the apartments and the grounds. As each apartment transitions to Franciscan ownership it receives a new coat of paint, new furniture and appliances, along with upgrades to the bathroom and electrical service. The grounds will be improved with landscaping and other amenities that will help Assisi Heights seamlessly blend into the University campus. “It’s an exciting time,” says Brown, as he looks out at the apartments from his offi ce at the activity center. “We’re the forerunners. We get to be the fi rst to transform Assisi Heights into a Franciscan neighborhood.” � Franciscan Way • Autumn 2008 33

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