Peace and Blessings!
As with many of you, I walk into our new academic year with a mixture of thanksgiving for returning to a place that has meant so much to me and a bit of nervousness for beginning the next part of my journey.
Although I grew up in Colorado, Franciscan University has become home to me. Thirty-three years ago, as a student, I lived a life many of you live today: attending household commitments, writing theology and philosophy papers, and growing deeper in my faith through the examples of the holy men and women around me. I discovered my vocation to the Franciscan Third Order Regular as a student; five years later, I served my apostolic year here. And, in 1996, I was ordained to the priesthood in the Finnegan Fieldhouse. That’s the familiar.
But starting something new, even in a place that’s well known to us, brings its own set of anxieties and challenges. Perhaps you’re switching majors. Maybe you’ve moved off campus and will be living on your own for the first time. Likely, as you near graduation, you’ll be actively discerning where God is calling you next. In these moments, it can be tempting to hunger for control, for a road map, for something to relieve stress of the unknown. Yet, it’s precisely in these moments that we remember that only Jesus can satisfy our hunger for direction and purpose.
This year, we focus on Jesus as the “Bread of Life” (cf. John 6:35). He gives this great gift of himself as food for our journey, and what a blessed food it is! Strength, healing, hope, conversion, consolation—Jesus provides every grace we need to become who he created us to be in the Eucharist. So, instead of seeking to fill ourselves with crusts that can never satisfy, let us receive Jesus in the Eucharist frequently and come before him gratefully in Eucharistic adoration. If we do this as a community, it’s going to be an amazing year!
I look forward to meeting each of you, and I keep you in my prayers daily—please keep me and our University in yours.
Father Dave Pivonka, TOR
Franciscan University of Steubenville
This year Franciscan University will reflect in a particular way on the theme “I am the Bread of Life” (cf. John 6:35). This Scripture verse calls to mind the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. There are so many ways that Franciscan University already lives out this reality: through our eucharistic chapels in the residence halls, perpetual adoration in the Portiuncula, the many opportunities we have to celebrate Mass every day here on campus, and the time we spend pondering and studying this mystery in our theology courses.
But the charism of ongoing conversion calls us to re-examine our lives in light of this theme. Has familiarity caused us to lose our sense of wonder at the amazing reality of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist? Do we give priority to the frequent and worthy reception of communion? Or to regular prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?
Most importantly, do we remember that the Blessed Sacrament is not a concept or an idea or a holy object—rather, the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus, our Savior and Lord and brother and friend! John 6:35 reads in full: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Through the Eucharist, Jesus is calling to each of us, drawing us to intimacy with him, offering to be with us both spiritually and physically, satisfying our need for meaning and purpose and intimacy and love.
After years of trying to satisfy his hunger with disordered attachments and desires, St. Augustine wrote in his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” My prayer is that each of you may find your rest in Jesus, our Bread of Life.
May the Lord bless you abundantly!
Mr. David Schmiesing
Vice President of Student Life
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Dear Fellow Students,
On behalf of ourselves, the rest of Franciscan University Student Government, and the entire student body, welcome to Franciscan University of Steubenville! We are extremely honored and blessed to have been elected to serve you as Student Government president and vice president, and we are looking forward to working with each of you this year, both professionally, in the various clubs and organizations you will become a part of, and personally, as we get to know you through our interactions on campus.
As you adjust to and grow in your roles as Franciscan University students, we hope you avail yourselves of the numerous opportunities available on this campus. Be it in households, clubs, or ministries, there is no end to the chances you have to get involved in campus life. Whether you are looking for professional development, spiritual growth, or simply a hobby to occupy your weekends, we encourage you to find it. And if it doesn’t exist, start it!
This whole campus is excited to help you grow, and we both promise to give nothing less than everything of ourselves as we work alongside the faculty, staff, and the entirety of Student Government to assist you in becoming the man or woman of God that he intends you to be.
We hope you take advantage of your time here in academics, sports, clubs, and households. We encourage you to work hard, pray hard, and play hard. May you thoroughly enjoy your time here at Franciscan University of Steubenville!
Your brothers in Christ,
President, Franciscan University Student Government
Vice President, Franciscan University Student Government