We did it! The class of 2014 has graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville! It was an extraordinarily special time this past weekend. I look back with immense gratitude, and I look forward with eager excitement.
The Baccalaureate Mass was very special and probably the highlight of all the events for me. Archbishop Daniel Cardinal DiNardo was the main celebrant and he gave a rockstar homily, and I have yet to hear of someone who wasn’t strongly affected by his words. At one point he says, “[You have] Paul behind you. You have the Bread of Life with you. And in feeding upon Him, you will abide in a way that no scholarship, no degree, no honor, no fame could ever give to you.” These words mean so much to me, and I have learned how to abide in Him while spending the past for years here at Franciscan. I’ve worked my tail off to graduate summa cum laude in the sciences, but I really have received so much more. I’ve been in an environment that allows my true self to flourish, without significant distractions that keep me from being less than the man God created me to be. At the end of the day, looking back, I see myself having discovered so much truth… about the human person and heart (scientifically and philosophically speaking!) and God.
My sophomore year, Fr. Dominic Foster said in a homily, “If you need Franciscan University at the time you graduate [to remain a faithful Catholic], then Franciscan University will have failed you.” I can confidently say that I do not need to remain at Franciscan University any longer. I can say, however, that I have taken advantage of the formation to be had here. I’ve given it my all and God has blessed me… I have come to know so much truth. While it has been an opportunity of a lifetime to be here, my time is coming to an end on this campus and I have resounding peace with that. I’m not called to remain here, but to remain—to abide—in Christ. To take what I have learned here and to go set the world on fire.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6)… and the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:32). Thank you, Franciscan University, for leading me to the source of Life in a way I could never have expected.