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Living Word

  • From the Office of Campus Ministry

    Aug 27, 2014

    New Student Day of Service
    This summer, the Office of Campus Ministry prepared two important initiatives for our incoming first-year students that make accessible and real our Franciscan Sponsorship Values. First, the New Student Day of Service (NSDS) is a Marian University tradition which invites all new students into a day of reflective service, both here on campus and throughout the greater Indianapolis community. Embracing the Franciscan sponsorship values, along with our vision to educate students who will transform the world, NSDS exposes students to agencies which align with the underserved and with those who have minimal access to basic resources. As students grow in awareness, they also offer their time and energy to support the initiatives of these organizations, to include Second Helpings, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Gleaners Food Bank, Peaceful Grounds, a city park, and our own Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab. This year, we had nearly 200 students at the Saturday, August 16 event. NSDS is a collaborative effort between the Offices of Campus Ministry, Student Activities, and the 21st Century Scholars Program.

    Connections: A First Year Gathering
    Our second new initiative happened on Saturday, August 23, when campus ministry hosted Connections: A First Year Gathering. This program happened at the end of Welcome Week and was organized by a group of six student leaders along with campus ministry staff. Through this program, campus ministry aims to create a dynamic community, present a radically hospitable form of spirituality, and demonstrate that campus ministry will be “with you” all four years of college. We do so by reflecting on the four Franciscan sponsorship values through personal reflections offered by the student leaders and engaging activities in the setting of White River State Park. For example, students reflected on dignity of the individual (our first value), by asking the questions, “What are my values? Who do I want to be? What type of community do I want to be a part of?” When reflecting on the value of reconciliation, students role-played how difficult college situations may transpire differently when they act upon our Franciscan values. The event concluded with a spirited prayer experience and a bonfire that wass open to entire student body.

  • Saint Francis and Pope Francis: Men of Surprises

    Aug 27, 2014

    By Daniel Conway, Senior Vice President for Mission, Identity, and Planning

    Cardinal Francis George says that a little more than a year ago the new pope’s choice of name was “his first surprise.” All the surprises that have come afterward—and are yet to come—can be traced back to Jorge Mario Bergolio’s desire to align himself with Francesco Bernadone, the saint from Assisi who was a man full of surprises. Saint Francis presented himself to the world as Il poverello (the little poor man), and he strove to be God’s jester, poet, and ambassador of peace. Pope Francis seeks to imitate his namesake and he urges all of us to do the same.

    We don’t think of popes as “spontaneous” or “unconventional.” We don’t expect them to tell jokes during their homilies or to confront Mafia members and unceremoniously pronounce their excommunication. We don’t expect the pope to live in a hotel or drive an old Ford. “Who am I to judge?” is not the kind of papal pronouncement we’re used to hearing.St.Francis

    Pope Francis surprises us. He unsettles us. He challenges us while forgiving and encouraging us. He really is like the little poor man from Assisi—full of paradoxes (apparent contradictions) and beaming with the peace and joy that can only come from Christ! When we look at these two men together, their many differences dissolve and the ways they are alike stand out in bold relief. These are men of the Church wholly dedicated to humility, charity, poverty, peace, and joy. They are unconventional but fully aligned with Catholic tradition. They are spontaneous—eager to move beyond their “comfort zones”—but they never stray from the program outlined in the Gospels, especially the Beatitudes and the parables of Jesus. They can, and do, question the way priests, bishops, and even popes preach (and practice what they preach), but they never doubt the authority given to Peter by our Lord to bind and loose, comfort and heal, challenge and forgive the People of God, the Good Shepherd’s wandering flock.

    In the end, it is the cross of Christ leading inevitably to the joy of Easter that unites the saint from Assisi and the pope from Argentina. Both sing of Jesus. Both seek to imitate him, to live as he did, as poor little men who are rich beyond all measure in the abundance of holy joy.

  • Creating Leaders of Faith

    Aug 27, 2014

    By Mark Erdosy, Director of San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership

    “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” St. Francis of Assisi’s quote is great encouragement as we begin our twelfth year in the “Rebuild My Church” Program.

    When the program started in 2003, the goal was to intentionally recruit, educate, and form future priests, religious, lay ecclesial ministers, and help all of our students, faculty, and staff find their life’s work through exploring their beliefs. To transform the campus culture, it was necessary to recruit a core group of students, faculty, and staff to be “leaven” on campus.

    During Mass on the weekend of July 16, I was struck by two familiar parables in Matthew’s gospel comparing what the kingdom of heaven is like. The first is the mustard seed—the smallest of all seeds that in time becomes a large bush. The second is leaven mixed with three measures of wheat. I found myself thinking of the disciples gathered in the upper room and the 15 or so men and women who gathered monthly when the “Rebuild My Church” Program began 12 years ago.

    Many times we left meetings after asking and dialoguing amongst ourselves, “What do we do next?” I’m sure the first disciples in the upper room might have asked that of themselves, “Lord, to whom do we go next?” I know as a gardener, baker, and formator the necessity of not only having the right ingredients, but even more importantly of being patient. As a formator I have learned faith always starts small and evolves like my cucumber plants or a loaf of bread.

    Where do we see the growth of our program? The San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership has almost tripled its enrollment in the last decade. We have record enrollment again this year. There will be nearly 120 San Damiano Scholars from around the United States, plus our first international student Paula Angarita. She comes from Columbia and wants to be a youth minister when she graduates in 2018.

    This past January, we hired Patrick Verhiley to expand our recruiting base. Besides being a man of deep faith, he is a Marian College alumnus. Moreover, he was a member of our very first San Damiano Scholar class. While the program has changed since he was a student, what hasn’t changed is the commitment to recruiting high-caliber students passionate about deepening their faith and preparing themselves to be transformational leaders.

    San DamianoOur alumni are ministering in close to 20 dioceses across the country. Rev. Mr. Eric Boelscher, was ordained a transitional deacon in April 2014 for the diocese of Covington. He is our first alumnus to be ordained. Five other men are attending seminaries in the United States and at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. On August 14, Sr. Mary Gemma Kissel, FSMG will profess her final vows as a Franciscan Sister of the Martyr St. George in Alton, Illinois. One other alumnus, Brother Jason Salisbury, OFM Cap ’10, continues in temporary vows with the Detroit Province of the Capuchin Friars. Vocations to married life abound. This year, more than 20 San Damiano Scholar alumni got engaged or were married.

    St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi are models of what transformative leaders can look like in the 21st Century. In June 2015, our sophomore San Damiano Scholars will make a 14-day pilgrimage to Assisi, Venice, and Rome. The pilgrimage will help steep the students further in the Franciscan intellectual and spiritual traditions as it relates to the call of leadership.

    Leaders who integrate their well-balanced religious values into their leadership are needed now more than ever. St. Teresa of Avila summarized our task well in her poem “Christ Has No Body.” In effect, she says we are to become Christ’s body, hands, feet, and eyes, but ours.

    This is precisely how we are forming college-aged young adults through the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership. We are forming leaders who are well-prepared intellectually, spiritually, and pastorally. Their callings are discerned through prayer, sacraments, service to others, and study of lives of the Saints and other great spiritual masters.

  • Holy Thursday - A Day of Contrasts!

    Apr 17, 2014

    By: Sr. Jean Marie Cleveland, O.S.F.

    Holy Thursday – a day of contrasts! It marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Triduum. From the evening liturgy of Holy Thursday until evening vespers of Easter Sunday, we celebrate the day Jesus gave us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink, His betrayal and capture, His death and burial, and finally His resurrection.

    Jesus and His friends gather to eat the Paschal meal. He washes their feet giving them an example of service as he recognizes the dignity of each person. He gives us a great gift in the Eucharist. Imagine a meal you have shared with your friends. Remember the fun you had, the laughs you shared. Then think how you would feel if you knew one of your friends would betray you through gossip, rejection, breaking the trust you share.

    Jesus’ evening went from one of community and joy to one of rejection. He gave Himself to His apostles and one of them gave Him to the authorities. Have you felt rejection? How much did it hurt? How did you react?

    Jesus went to the Garden to pray. He took some of His disciples with Him. He prayed and agonized over what was to come. They slept! He went from a supper with friends to a time of suffering alone!

    Finally one of His trusted disciples betrayed Him with a kiss. Peter denied him. They all fled! Left alone, He faced His accusers the next morning.

    Let these Holy Days be days in which we remember the love Jesus has for each of us. As we reflect on His suffering, and our own trials, let us ask Him to give us the courage to continue looking for Him in all the people and events of our lives. Let us find Him in the Eucharist and thank Him for coming to earth to show us how to live.


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