He is risen, Alleluia!! There is so much to be grateful for as we finish the Easter Octave, continue the 50 day Easter season, and celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday with the canonization of Pope John Paul the Great and Pope John the XIII. The Spring weather has also finally decided to show up, adding to the happy, festive atmosphere here at Franciscan University. There has been so much going on and it is amazing to me how fast this semester has flown by. I still have a hard time believing that we only have one more week left in the semester!
Campus has been quite active lately with multiple events. Easter was beautiful and busy with the Holy Week celebrations and the many visitors who came in for those events. My friends and I went to the services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, including Mass and attending the Living Stations performance. We also continued the tradition of watching “The Passion of the Christ,” which never fails to make my cry and teach me something new about the Lord’s sacrifice and love. All of these events, plus the overall energy and excitement of everyone on campus, really helps me enter more fully into Holy Week. Once Easter Vigil comes, the joy and excitement on campus is practically tangible. It is so beautiful to see everyone’s spirits renewed and their faith strengthened by the way they enter into Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. We also have a huge party after Easter Vigil called the Resurrection Party where there was Easter egg decorating, lots of fun music and dancing, as well as all the pizza, cookies, chocolate, soda, and sugary substances your stomach could handle. Easter Sunday is usually very relaxed, and this year one of my professors and his family were very generous and opened up their house to a large group of us students for dinner. It was wonderful to enjoy some home-cooked food and relax with my professor and his family! I also appreciate the fact that the professors here feel comfortable enough to reach out to us students outside of the classroom and take an interest in our personal well-being. It truly builds up the community and adds to the family atmosphere here at Franciscan. I also had many graduated friends and friends who transferred come back to visit over Easter. It was so good to hear about their lives and how they are applying and adding to what they learned during their time here.
This past week we had our “Spring fling” events geared towards welcoming the new season, enjoying the warm weather and the beautiful campus grounds, and helping everyone to relax a bit before the craziness of finals week commences. We had fun events throughout the week, including picnic food, corn hole games, and movies projected onto a big screen on the hill. It was so much fun to see everyone outside and relaxing a bit, especially after the crazy weather we had been experiencing this past winter. The week’s events culminated in our big formal dance in Pittsburgh. I went with a group of my friends and had such a good time with them. We enjoyed Spanish tapas (small portions of extremely delicious food) at a restaurant before going to the dance, and it reminded me a lot of my time in Europe! Also, dancing is one of my favorite things to do, and the D.J. was great, so that added to the fun of the night.
I will admit that after all the fun events of the past month, it is hard to discipline myself to get organized and started on studying for finals. Unfortunately it is necessary though. The hardest part of studying is getting started, but fortunately I love my major, psychology, so I know that I will enjoy the material I am going to spend many hours committing to memory. Also, I know that as long as I put in the time and effort the grades will follow. Once finals are finished I look forward to returning home and spending the summer with my family! That will also help me push through the difficulties of studying. For now, let the coffee-brewing and chocolate-eating commence! May God bless you abundantly as you finish the school year and continue to enjoy the Easter season! Know that I will be praying for you, and I humbly ask for your prayers as well. St. John Paul the Great, St. John the XXIII, and St. Faustina pray for us!