Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Welcome to a new academic year at Franciscan University of Steubenville, a year in which we will focus together on the theme, “Be Rich in Mercy Like the Father” (cf. Eph. 2:4-5).
As Catholics, we frequently call upon God’s mercy. In every Mass, we pray, “Lord, have mercy!” and in the sacrament of confession, the priest offers the prayer of absolution addressed to “God, the Father of mercies.”
We rightly seek God’s mercy for ourselves in the sacraments of the Church and in our prayers and devotions. But we must also challenge ourselves to pass along the mercy we receive to everyone we encounter, telling others of our heavenly Father’s merciful love and being his mercy to them.
To help us become rich in mercy as our Father is merciful, Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy beginning December 8, 2015.
Quoting St. John Paul II, he said, “The Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy—the most stupendous attribute of the Creator and of the Redeemer—and when she brings people close to the sources of the Savior’s mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, No. 11).
Let us make it our aim, then, to live that authentic Christian life and become more capable of mercy this year, especially by: 1) meditating on the Word of God and accepting the invitation to deeper conversion; 2) going on pilgrimage, whether to our own Portiuncula Chapel, Rome, or other places of pilgrimage; and 3) opening “our hearts to those living on the outermost fringes of society” (No. 15) particularly in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, for which we find many opportunities and programs on campus.
In short, let us dedicate ourselves as the Franciscan University family to “living out in our daily lives the mercy that the Father constantly extends to all of us” (No. 25) and watch for the fruit of his merciful love to abound in our midst.
May God continue to bless you!
In Christ and St. Francis,
Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR
President, Franciscan University of Steubenville
As we begin our new school year together, we anticipate the Holy Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis with our theme “Be Rich in Mercy Like the Father” (cf. Eph. 2:4-5). What are some way this theme might apply to students living and studying in our intellectual and faith community of Franciscan University?
In order to receive the Father’s mercy, one thing is required—that we admit that we need mercy. We can’t earn this mercy, and we don’t deserve this mercy. In this way, mercy destroys our own pride (whether spiritual or intellectual) and self-righteousness and opens us up to the transforming power of God’s love and grace and truth.
Once we joyfully accept God’s mercy, we don’t just stop there. Rather, we respond to this gift with a life of ongoing conversion and mercy towards others. If the Father “even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4), how can we do anything other than respond by taking up our own crosses and following Jesus as disciples? How can we do anything but serve our brothers and sisters, not because we are intellectually or morally superior, but because we see our own brokenness and need for mercy present in each of them? Since we have been given so much, how can we do anything but strive with all of our strength to develop our own gifts and talents for the good of all? In this way, then, mercy compels us to pursue excellence in our academic and other pursuits, and holiness throughout our lives.
May the Lord bless you abundantly!
Mr. David Schmiesing
Vice President of Student Life, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Dear Fellow Students,
It is our pleasure to welcome you to the Fall 2015-Spring 2016 academic year here at Franciscan University. We are extremely honored and blessed to be your elected student president and vice president. We look forward to working with the clubs and organizations on campus to make sure your time here is as memorable and fulfilling as possible.
We hope that you take advantage of your time here at Franciscan, and that you get involved in some way, be that through clubs, households, or other opportunities.
Not only is this is a place for you to learn and study your field of interest, but this is a place where you can grow in character and faith. A place where you can fully immerse yourself in a great community and cultivate relationships that will endure for the rest of your life.
We are excited to work on behalf of this great student body, and we promise to give nothing less than everything of ourselves as we work with the rest of Student Government to serve you. In closing, we encourage you to study hard, pray hard, and enjoy your time here at Franciscan University.
President Ben Stroka
Vice President Christian Ferris
Franciscan University Student Government