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franciscanway - Franciscan University of Steubenville

franciscanway - Franciscan University of Steubenville


FROM THE PRESIDENT 4 Franciscan Way • Autumn 2008 Graule Studios Aweek after our fall New Student Orientation, one of our Admissions counselors received a letter from the father of a newly arrived freshman. In it he detailed their two-year journey discerning where his daughter should go to college and their deep peace in her decision to attend Franciscan University. He then wrote: “Anyone familiar with the life of St. Francis of Assisi knows of his total embrace of the radical life of the Gospel. Not surprisingly, then, if I had to summarize what exactly it is that makes Franciscan University such a special place it would be this: The entire focus is on answering the call of Christ in our lives (or, in a word, discipleship).” That phrase “answering the call of Christ” struck a chord with me, because it so neatly summarizes what I hear from so many new students about why they chose Franciscan. A handful always seems to be here under parental duress, but most have freely decided to attend. More than that, they believe this is where God has called them to study, and they have often faced down opposition—from siblings who have left the Church, parents worried about the distance or costs, or peers enrolling in Ivy League schools—to answer God’s call. While they’re here I see them taking their fi rst adult steps forward in living out that call on their lives. They take advantage of the sacramental, spiritual, social, and academic opportunities to grow as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They participate in works of mercy, mission trips, youth evangelization, and civic and pro-life initiatives, both those sponsored by the University and those they dream up and carry out themselves. It’s so inspiring to watch them develop and mature as Christian men and women who seek to infuse the culture with the love and truth of Christ. It’s even more inspiring to see how they continue to respond to God’s call after they graduate. Even in the briefest conversation with students or alumni, their commitment to living as salt and light shines forth, but it was even more apparent when I spent an entire week this summer in Washington’s Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier with 10 alumni and 3 current students. We hiked the Grand View Trail. We swam in the Pacifi c Ocean (truth be told, they swam—I only waded knee-deep in that icy water). We stood in awed silence before the glory of Mount Rainier. And we talked about their lives, their work, their ministries, and their goals. Agents of the New Evangelization � Rev. Terence Henry, TOR R T H TOR One alumna in Florida now works for a crisis pregnancy center after teaching in an inner-city school in Louisiana. Three alumni from our Nursing Program also hit the trails with us. They told me about the challenges of witnessing to life in the hospital environment and of their readiness to stand up for the teachings of the Church. (I had the chance to see their compassion and skills in action as our group’s four-member human toboggan came to grief on the rocks at the bottom of a snowfi eld. No serious injuries, thank God!) One young man said he decided to do graduate work at Franciscan because everywhere he traveled in the Air Force he met our graduates serving in works of mercy, in parishes, and in missionary work. He’s now in our MA Theology Program, learning more about the Catholic faith so he can become a missionary. To a person, these young men and women are fi lled with a joyful, evangelizing spirit. They, like the catechetics and theology alumni in our cover story (see page 12), see themselves as disciples of Christ and agents of the new evangelization. And if my experiences so far with our newest students are any indication, they will soon be assisted in the great task of building a culture of life and love by a new generation equally eager to answer the call of Christ in their lives, wherever he may lead them. � Father Terence Henry, TOR, with his Franciscan hikers in front of Mount Rainier. Tommy Lahey

God’s Man By Emily Stimpson FRANCISCAN FACES Ryan Mahar is what you might call a man’s man. He hunts, he fi shes, and he rebuilds engines. He knows how to wire heavy explosives and thinks of pepperoni pizza and beer as the world’s most perfect meal. He also spent fi ve years putting his life on the line in the U.S. Army, enlisting immediately after high school. During those years in the military, Maher jumped out of a plane with 30 pounds of explosives strapped between his legs, trained soldiers for guerilla warfare in the Mojave Desert, fell out of a helicopter, was nearly crushed by a tank twice, and even survived fi ve parachute malfunctions. So, what’s the most terrifying experience this seemingly fearless 30-year-old senior philosophy and theology major from Orange County, California, has ever faced? Going on a mission trip with Franciscan University. Last March, Maher was one of 12 Franciscan students who spent their Spring Break volunteering with Emmaus Ministries, a Catholic and Evangelical Christian apostolate that ministers to male prostitutes in the Chicago streets. According to Maher, that mission trip challenged his courage in a way no military maneuver ever did. “I signed up because it was about as hard core of a mission trip as you could get,” Mahar recalls. “Anything that challenges other people, that seems too tough, I want to do. I want to be the guy holding the fl ag as we charge forward. But I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be, for how afraid I would be. I was completely out of my element.” Over the course of that week, however, as he talked with the men, learning their stories and hearing their struggles, that fear was transformed into love. “That trip changed my life,” Mahar says. “It taught me to see Christ in people and places I never thought I would fi nd him. It showed me where I needed to be—with the people, bringing Christ to them.” And with God’s grace, that’s where Mahar hopes to be for the rest of his life. This fall, Mahar joined Franciscan’s Pre-Theologate Program. Over the course of the next year, he’ll wrap up his undergraduate studies, fulfi ll his pre-theology requirements for seminary, and pray about whether God wants him jumping out of airplanes again as a military chaplain or serving in a quiet parish far away from foxholes. “We’ll see what God has in store,” Maher says. “All I want is to Bonjour be a priest.” � Andy Franciscan Way • Autumn 2008 5

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