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Living Word

  • Archdeacon John Chryssavgis Visits Marian University

    Dec 24, 2014
    By Mark Reasoner, Associate Professor of Theology

    Archdeacon John ChryssavgisOn Monday, October 20, Marian University was pleased to host Orthodox theologian Rev. John Chryssavgis, Ph.D., who serves as Archdeacon to the Ecumenical Throne of Patriarch Bartholomew I. In his role as Archdeacon, he serves as advisor on  ecological issues and has edited On Earth as in Heaven: Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    While on campus, Chryssavgis discussed the theological foundations of ecological responsibility at a lunch meeting with Carl Lecher, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry; Stephanie Schuck, restoration ecologist in the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab; and Andrew Semler, Writing Center staff. In the afternoon, Chryssavgis visited the  class of Donna Proctor, assistant professor of theology and director of peace and justice studies, and talked with students about the relationship that Patriarch Bartholomew has with Pope Francis and about Orthodox-Catholic and Orthodox-Lutheran dialogues. He also fielded questions from the students.

    That evening, to an audience of more than 120 people in Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences, Chryssavgis gave a moving presentation of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, especially since Vatican II. The evening lecture began with a warm welcome from Archbishop Joseph Tobin, who himself is deeply invested in Catholic Orthodox dialogue by virtue of his position as co-chair of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. 

    Archdeacon Chryssavgis’ lecture, entitled “From Estrangement to Reconciliation: The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches in Dialogue,” offered an historical perspective that communicated what breakthroughs the past 50 years have seen in relations between Orthodox and Catholic Churches. His lecture detailed the steps that Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have taken toward improved dialogue. He showed pictures of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras and many photographs of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem last May.

    Besides a description of the steps toward dialogue, the lecture included honest identification of difficulties that hinder dialogue. The general tone of the lecture was one of respect for both Orthodox and Catholic Churches and hope for their unity. All present were encouraged by the steps toward unity that Chryssavgis outlined.

    Several departments of Marian University were especially involved in Archdeacon Chryssavgis’ visit. The Department of Theology and Philosophy made initial plans for the visit in collaboration with Holy Trinity Orthodox Church of Carmel. The Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary provided lodging and transportation for the archdeacon. Daniel Conway, senior vice president for mission, identity, and planning, hosted a dinner for Archdeacon Chryssavgis and Archbishop Tobin. Mark Erdosy, executive
    director of church relations and the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership, provided the reception after the lecture.
  • El Festival Mariano Celebrates Hispanic Heritage and the Blessed Virgin Mary

    Dec 24, 2014
    By Daniel Conway, Senior Vice President for Mission, Identity, and Planning

    El Festival MarianoOn Saturday, October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Marian University community and friends and neighbors from the Latino community in Indianapolis celebrated the first annual El Festival Mariano (The Marian Festival) in observance of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and the special reverence given by the Church to Mary during the month of October. The weather was brisk and overcast, but much warmth and light were generated by the festival’s participants as they processed from the Bishop Chartrand Memorial Chapel to the Blessed Mother Mary Shrine and Rosary Walk on the southwest side of the Marian University campus.

    El Festival Mariano began with an inspiring talk given by Marian University alumnus Father Martin Rodriguez ’09, associate pastor of St. Monica Catholic Church in Indianapolis. Father Martin spoke about Mary’s role uniting diverse cultures, especially in the Americas. “Unlike many rich, famous, and popular people whose notoriety fades
    with succeeding generations,” Father Martin said, “Mary remains a beloved figure in every age and culture. Her influence with her son, Jesus Christ, remains constant regardless of changing times and circumstances, and her love for each of us—her
    children—can never be diminished no matter who we are or what we do.”

    A bilingual and multicultural Mass followed the opening talk. Father Michael O’Mara, pastor of St. Gabriel Catholic Church, and a frequent celebrant for Sunday and weekday Masses at Marian University, gave the homily. He emphasized the hope given to us by Christ and the courage and fidelity shown by Santa Maria (Holy Mary),
    our mother. Alternating between Spanish and English in his homily and in the prayers of the Mass, Father Michael urged all present to give faithful witness to the kind of unity that our Lord prayed for when he celebrated the first Eucharist with his disciples the night before he died.

    El Festival Mariano was a prayerful event, but it was also lots of fun. Outstanding music provided by Banda Pluma Blanca and great food prepared by local restaurants, including ClassicFare Catering, Restaurant Lauritas Shop Mexican Tacos, Novedades Deisy, Circle City Coffee Truck, and Sassy’s Mexican Taco Fiesta Truck represented diverse cuisines from a variety of cultures.

    Booths staffed by Key Bank, Walgreens Pharmacy, State Farm Insurance, and Lam Law offered helpful services to the Marian University community and our neighbors and friends. This event was made possible by the following sponsors: 107.1 FM Radio Latina, EXiTOS 1590 AM, Pescador Radio 810 AM, Indy Eleven, Pepsi, Flat 12, and Key Bank. 

    In his welcoming remarks, Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener said, “Marian University is committed to providing Hispanic students with an outstanding education that will prepare them to be leaders in business, education, health care, church ministry, and other professions. We are partnering with leaders in the Hispanic community to help us recruit Hispanic students and raise money for our Latino Scholarship Fund.”

    El Festival Mariano was a grand celebration of this commitment. 
  • Living Word: My New Journey with Prayer

    Nov 14, 2014

    By: Corinne DeLucenay, My New Journey with Prayer

    “For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

    -St. Therese of Lisieux

    College years are the years that “you find yourself.” You figure out who you are, and what you stand for. At least, that is we what think and are told. In reality, it is just the beginning of getting to know yourself. After graduating in May, I found myself learning more and more things about myself daily that I didn’t realize before. As I am transitioning in this new stage in my life, my eyes are open to a new perspective of seeing myself and others.

    One of the things I thought I would have figured out in a more graceful manner is my prayer life. I thought, “Yay! I actually have more time now, it won’t be difficult like college sometimes was.” This is so very wrong. Even though, I, at times, struggled with my prayer life during undergrad, it was still easy to take a walk across campus to a chapel, or somewhere serene. Now, I have realized, that I have to make more of an effort. Not only do I have to find have a place, but my bigger issue: find the time. Somehow, during my time at Marian I could find some time. Even during my crazy hectic semesters or when I needed to have my little revamp on my prayer life, I found the time for prayer.

    Now, there seems like there is not enough time in the day to fit everything. This is not a new feeling, but it is felt in a new way. Not only do I have to pay attention to my own time, but I also have to pay attention to the time to those around me in my community. I live with four others, and it is such a beautiful experience. I learn something new every day. Living with four others, now I have new challenges. Along with balancing my work schedule, I have to balance community time and personal time. I admit, I am definitely still learning, and I tend to choose community time after a day at work. This leaves me with little time to be intentional about prayer and other things. I do not get too bent out of shape because, I see community time as a time to grow in my faith, and I know the Lord is speaking to me through them. I see it as one form of my prayer life that is prominent.

    I take my “difficulty” in truly setting time for intentional prayer throughout my week, besides Mass, as the Lord letting me know that is a choice. It is a choice to follow Jesus Christ. How humbling is that? The omniscient God has given me the opportunity to choose Him, each and every day. This not only means that I say “Amen, I believe,” but that I make sure I foster our relationship, by coming to Him in prayer.

    I see it as a privilege that the Lord has called me to live a life of holiness. Since it is my choice to have a prayer life, I must work at it. Like many choices or decisions in life, it is not always easy. It takes time and effort, and you truly have to be committed. I have chosen to follow through with this commitment, allowing myself to falter.

    In this new time in my life, there is so much room for growth and adventure, this includes my prayer life. In choosing to work on my prayer life, I feel the Lord calling me to be creative, to find new ways to encounter him each and every day. This call has had me to take initiative to find a Spiritual Director in my area. I have only had a couple of meetings with my new Spiritual Director, but I have already experienced the fruits of it. I find this particular part of my Spiritual life to be crucial. I am in such a searching time in my life, so to have someone mediating the Holy Spirit is such a blessing. I try to take time a few times a week to reflect on Scripture, pondering on the Lord’s Word in Lectio Divina. I do this to try to take time to truly listen to the Lord, and try to drown out my controlling thoughts on my life.

    A new devotion to Mary has been brought to the surface, and I give Marian some credit to this. Many things led up to this, and looking back, it is quite obvious. Mary has been a prominent presence in my whole life, not only due to my Catholic faith, but in so many other ways. Because of this, I have chosen to consecrate myself to Mary, and have new found appreciation devotion to Our Mother. Through this I have become closer to Jesus, and learn more about her. It has added a new dimension to my prayer life that is beautiful, and challenges me as a daughter of God.

    In the ways I am trying to enrich my prayer life, I am constantly fumbling. I either miss my opportunity for a good prayer time choosing something else instead, or I rush through my prayer like it is a chore. When these moments happen, I try to pause and take time to talk with the Lord. I try not to worry how short or long my prayer time is, and let him know that I am in this relationship for the long haul. I am still learning. When I stumble, I often remember the words of St. Therese: speak to the Lord from the depths of my heart, even the simplest of cry, whether sorrow or joy, is showing God you love him. That is what I am attempting to do: showing God that I truly do love him. 

  • Living Word: Do unto Others

    Nov 07, 2014

    By: Jimmy Cox,
    Everyone has those sins that they struggle with and I am no different. Recently as I was quietly pondering over a retreat reflection I am giving, I came across two pieces of scripture that related well to my reflection story. I decided writing about this for the blog made the most sense. In addition, for a long time I have felt God was helping me to work on this particular sin; judgement.

    Luke 6: 31-33, 35

    Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.  But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and give, expecting nothing back.

    I am a quick decision and impatient person. In addition, the love for my family and friends can make me irrational as I imagine it can for a lot of us. The situation involved my family and one person in particular who I felt had wronged my family and I multiple times. The challenge was this person cannot exactly remove themselves from our lives. In this scripture, he would be my enemy. While I have tried to pray for him and pray to God that I am going to change, I would be lying if I said my attitudes toward him had shifted. Every time I feel like I am making progress, something happens that makes me revert.

    I have struggled to love those that are my enemies, who do wrong to my friends and family. I believe in terms of sin, this is the most challenging. However, it relates to one of the most fundamental principles that Christ taught us. Christ endured pain and suffering from so many people, but while he was dying on the cross he asked his father to forgive them. It was the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate expression of love. If Christ can forgive and love those that wronged him and give us salvation, then we must work in our lives to love those that are our enemy and that would see us suffer. Then we are truly living as God called us to live.

    Just think what would happen if the world practiced love more? We have so much war, hate, jealousy, and anger out there. We try to fix it while failing to realize that the only thing that fixes it, is loving one another the way God wants us to. My challenge to you is to practice love more. Ask for forgiveness for those times you have failed to do so. Sit down with those who have wronged you. Talk to those whom you would rather not. Most importantly, work to forgive these people and yourself. I know I still am.  

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