An Unforgettable Day - Franciscan University of Steubenville

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Avanti con Maria
“ F o r w a r d
Fall 2008
From the
Director’s
Desk
A
s our academic year began, we
welcomed 28 new members to
the Pre-Theologate Program. They
join our 28 returning students, and
together the group represents 20 states
as well as our Canadian neighbors.
The Lord continues to bless our
program of discernment and formation in many ways. A major highlight
of the spring semester was the opportunity to be with Pope Benedict XVI
at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers,
New York. Forty-eight of our PreTheologate students (minus the 11
who were in our study abroad program
in Gaming, Austria) joined 2,000
seminarians along with over 18,000
youth in a never-to-be-forgotten
pastoral visit by our Holy Father.
It was a great joy for me to see so
many of our Pre-Theologate graduates who are in seminaries and in
religious life throughout the United
States, and to hear their rectors and
formation directors speak so highly
of them. Your generosity as well as
the support of Franciscan University
and my own religious community at
Graymoor in Garrison, New York,
helped make this trip possible.
Another major highlight of the
spring semester was our annual silent
retreat, which was directed by Father
Tom Acklin, OSB, a Benedictine
monk and former rector of St. Vincent’s College Seminary in Latrobe,
Continued on page 4
w i t h
M a r y ”
Pre-Theologate Program/Franciscan University of Steubenville
An Unforgettable Day
O
n April 19, 48 of our Pre-Theologate
men traveled to St. Joseph Seminary,
Yonkers, New York, to see Pope Benedict
XVI at a special event for seminarians. A
few of them shared their impressions of
that unforgettable day.
“I recall the energy the crowd had,
even though we were waiting six hours
for the pope to appear. Just the amount
of time he took with us—one hour longer
than scheduled—was impressive. He said
things we needed to hear, encouraging
prayer and talking about the example of
the American saints.”—Ben Cahill
“The pope’s speech was out of this
world. He challenged us, telling us what
our attitude had to be to strengthen faith
in America. He was so sincere…so real.
Before, he was a figure we respected, but
now we saw him as a real man, facing a
tremendous task with grace and poise.
At one point, he came within 10 feet of
us! When it was over, we could scarcely
believe it had happened.” –Brian Shook
“He gave us a new courage; a new
perspective on our spirituality. I could
really sense the warmth and kindness
of the Holy Father. You could see how
much he cared about his people. He told
us seminarians not to give up hope, to
make prayer the foundation of our lives.
Every word he said had power because
of what he represents: He carries that
weight of the Chair of Peter with him.”
—Jeff Pomeisl
“He spoke with such simplicity, which
really struck me because his books are so
very intellectual. He really touched our
hearts. You could see that this was truly
a shepherd. You could see an example of
holiness and see Christ revealed in him.
[The whole experience] gave me a new
zeal. It just set me off like fireworks!”
—Anthony Fischer
Men of the Pre-Theologate Program at the April 19 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in New York.
“You Might Have the Makings of a Priest”
S
enior Eric Scanlan from Fort Myers,
Florida, comes from the kind of family
that often nurtures vocations to the priesthood. He is the oldest of 11 children and
was homeschooled through the eighth
grade. As a child, he and his family would
pray the Rosary and read the Bible together
on a daily basis. Eric thought about the
priesthood at an early age.
“I remember sitting at Burger King
with my parents and another family
we were friends with, and making the
announcement that I was going to be a
priest.”
But Eric lost his early fervor when he
entered high school: “I never stopped going to Sunday Mass. I always believed, but
I became far more interested in material
things. Clothes and music and involvement in sports—all that became very
important to me. I’d gotten into the party
and drinking scene. My only goal was to
have a good time. It was really rough on
my mother: I was the oldest and going
down the wrong path.”
“I came back so on
fire. I couldn’t stop reading about the saints—I
was hungering to catch
up on what I had been
missing for the past eight
years.”
After graduating from high school,
Eric went to the University of Florida,
Gainesville, where he majored in business and political science. There, his lax
spiritual lifestyle continued, but the strong
devotion to Mary that had developed as a
child carried him through that time.
“I’d still say a Rosary now and then.
2
Avanti con Maria
Eric Scanlan, who was recently accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice, Florida.
I knew I would come back to a stronger
practice of the faith someday, but I was
not ready yet.”
The summer before his senior year,
Eric’s mother asked whether he would go
with her on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje.
He accepted promptly, figuring this would
make for an exotic vacation, an adventure
of sorts. Instead, it was a turning point.
“It was the most amazing week of my
life. While there I felt so full of peace,
so sure that God loved me. My eyes
were opened to how badly I was living
my life.”
Within a few days Eric could not
let the Rosary out of his hand. He also
went to confession, and for the first time
he experienced the power of eucharistic
adoration.
“I came back so on fire. I couldn’t stop
reading about the saints—I was hungering
to catch up on what I had been missing
for the past eight years.”
Eric found his senior year to be a time
of transition and discernment. He began
going more frequently to daily Mass and
receiving spiritual direction, “and shortly
thereafter my confessor said, ‘You might
have the makings of a priest.’ I hadn’t
thought about all that since childhood.
Now the desire came back to me. It scared
me at first.”
Eric Scanlan continued to pray and discern during his Christmas break. Before
the end of break, he came in contact with
several Franciscan University graduates
who told him about their alma mater. Soon
he applied to Franciscan’s graduate school,
but was not yet sure the Pre-Theologate
Program was for him. He arrived in the
summer of 2007, and ran into program
director Father Ken Cienik, SA, almost
immediately. Father Ken suggested a
novena to the Holy Spirit.
“Within four or five days,” says Eric, “I
knew I should enter the Pre-Theologate
Program that fall.”
And he hasn’t regretted it.
“The brotherhood I’ve experienced
here has carried me through my discernment. For years I had no solid Catholic
friends. Here there are so many with
the same issues I’ve had. It’s been such
a boost to have their support. Through
the ups and downs they are always there
to pray for me.”
Eric has been accepted as a seminarian
for the Diocese of Venice, Florida.
From the Heart: A Word From Our Grads
M
any Pre-Theologate Program
alumni traveled from their respective seminaries around the country
to see Pope Benedict XVI. Here, a few
of them share their memories, as well
as some reflections on their time in the
Pre-Theologate.
“Our entire seminary went. I’d seen
the pope in Rome and definitely wanted
to see him again. I wanted to hear the
father of the Church speak to me as a
seminarian—to teach me how to be a
priest. His message created in me a zeal
for the ministry and a sense of renewal.
To know that the Holy Father prays for
me daily: That’s something I took with
me from that visit.
“As for me, things are going well.
This summer at my parish assignment,
the priest thought I was a fourth-year
theologian, not a second year. I credit my
time at Franciscan for that. The forma-
Pre-Theologate alumni Tony Robbins and Edward Leonard with program director Father Ken Cienik, SA,
at the papal event in New York.
Father Tom Acklin, OSB, center, with Father Ken Cienik, SA, and Father Rick Martignetti, OFM, surrounded by the Pre-Theologate Program men at the spring retreat. Father Acklin is
a theology professor and former rector at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He is a well-known spiritual director, psychotherapist, and author who has shared his insights into
Christ’s sufferings on the cross and other spiritual topics on EWTN.
Avanti con Maria
3
“You Might Have the Makings of a Priest”
S
enior Eric Scanlan from Fort Myers,
Florida, comes from the kind of family
that often nurtures vocations to the priesthood. He is the oldest of 11 children and
was homeschooled through the eighth
grade. As a child, he and his family would
pray the Rosary and read the Bible together
on a daily basis. Eric thought about the
priesthood at an early age.
“I remember sitting at Burger King
with my parents and another family
we were friends with, and making the
announcement that I was going to be a
priest.”
But Eric lost his early fervor when he
entered high school: “I never stopped going to Sunday Mass. I always believed, but
I became far more interested in material
things. Clothes and music and involvement in sports—all that became very
important to me. I’d gotten into the party
and drinking scene. My only goal was to
have a good time. It was really rough on
my mother: I was the oldest and going
down the wrong path.”
“I came back so on
fire. I couldn’t stop reading about the saints—I
was hungering to catch
up on what I had been
missing for the past eight
years.”
After graduating from high school,
Eric went to the University of Florida,
Gainesville, where he majored in business and political science. There, his lax
spiritual lifestyle continued, but the strong
devotion to Mary that had developed as a
child carried him through that time.
“I’d still say a Rosary now and then.
2
Avanti con Maria
Eric Scanlan, who was recently accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice, Florida.
I knew I would come back to a stronger
practice of the faith someday, but I was
not ready yet.”
The summer before his senior year,
Eric’s mother asked whether he would go
with her on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje.
He accepted promptly, figuring this would
make for an exotic vacation, an adventure
of sorts. Instead, it was a turning point.
“It was the most amazing week of my
life. While there I felt so full of peace,
so sure that God loved me. My eyes
were opened to how badly I was living
my life.”
Within a few days Eric could not
let the Rosary out of his hand. He also
went to confession, and for the first time
he experienced the power of eucharistic
adoration.
“I came back so on fire. I couldn’t stop
reading about the saints—I was hungering
to catch up on what I had been missing
for the past eight years.”
Eric found his senior year to be a time
of transition and discernment. He began
going more frequently to daily Mass and
receiving spiritual direction, “and shortly
thereafter my confessor said, ‘You might
have the makings of a priest.’ I hadn’t
thought about all that since childhood.
Now the desire came back to me. It scared
me at first.”
Eric Scanlan continued to pray and discern during his Christmas break. Before
the end of break, he came in contact with
several Franciscan University graduates
who told him about their alma mater. Soon
he applied to Franciscan’s graduate school,
but was not yet sure the Pre-Theologate
Program was for him. He arrived in the
summer of 2007, and ran into program
director Father Ken Cienik, SA, almost
immediately. Father Ken suggested a
novena to the Holy Spirit.
“Within four or five days,” says Eric, “I
knew I should enter the Pre-Theologate
Program that fall.”
And he hasn’t regretted it.
“The brotherhood I’ve experienced
here has carried me through my discernment. For years I had no solid Catholic
friends. Here there are so many with
the same issues I’ve had. It’s been such
a boost to have their support. Through
the ups and downs they are always there
to pray for me.”
Eric has been accepted as a seminarian
for the Diocese of Venice, Florida.
From the Heart: A Word From Our Grads
M
any Pre-Theologate Program
alumni traveled from their respective seminaries around the country
to see Pope Benedict XVI. Here, a few
of them share their memories, as well
as some reflections on their time in the
Pre-Theologate.
“Our entire seminary went. I’d seen
the pope in Rome and definitely wanted
to see him again. I wanted to hear the
father of the Church speak to me as a
seminarian—to teach me how to be a
priest. His message created in me a zeal
for the ministry and a sense of renewal.
To know that the Holy Father prays for
me daily: That’s something I took with
me from that visit.
“As for me, things are going well.
This summer at my parish assignment,
the priest thought I was a fourth-year
theologian, not a second year. I credit my
time at Franciscan for that. The forma-
Pre-Theologate alumni Tony Robbins and Edward Leonard with program director Father Ken Cienik, SA,
at the papal event in New York.
Father Tom Acklin, OSB, center, with Father Ken Cienik, SA, and Father Rick Martignetti, OFM, surrounded by the Pre-Theologate Program men at the spring retreat. Father Acklin is
a theology professor and former rector at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He is a well-known spiritual director, psychotherapist, and author who has shared his insights into
Christ’s sufferings on the cross and other spiritual topics on EWTN.
Avanti con Maria
3
Continued from page 1 – From the Director’s Desk
Continued from page 3 – From the Heart
Pennsylvania. A sought-after spiritual
director, psychotherapist, and author of
The Unchanging Heart of the Priesthood and
The Passion of the Lamb, his conferences
presented us the key to a new evangelization through Christ’s passion. He said we
must learn to become little and simple,
otherwise it is impossible for our passion
to be in Jesus Christ and in his passion.
We must take literally what he said, and
realize explicitly and concretely the words
of Jesus, “Whoever does not receive the
kingdom of God like a child shall not
enter it” (Luke 18:17).
Our new year is off to a great start, and
Father Rick Martignetti, OFM, and I look
forward to the many blessings the Lord
has in store for us. Know that we and the
men of the Pre-Theologate Program keep
you in our prayers.
tion I received there gave me a feeling
of confidence coming in. I know where
my gifts come from!”
Kyle Stanton, second-year theology, St.
John’s Seminary, Archdiocese of Boston.
“A group of 50 of us went to New
York. Seeing the Holy Father in person
and being in his presence is indescribable.
You could sense the Holy Spirit at work
in him. We were strengthened in faith
and in our response to the call.
“Pre-The was great preparation for
where I am now—a beautiful time to
get rooted in prayer life and form a community of brothers I know I will be in
touch with for the rest of my life.
“And academically I was more than
prepared for my theology studies.”
Zach Webb, second-year theology, St.
Mary’s Seminary, Houston, for the Diocese
of Dallas.
“After looking at the pictures [of
American saints] that were presented to
him, he smiled, looked out, and asked
Sincerely,
Father Ken Cienik, SA
Director, Pre-Theologate Program
Avanti con Maria
www.franciscan.edu
800-783-6447
[email protected] • 740-284-5844
Ken Baldwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advancement Office
[email protected] • 740-283-6495
Fr. Rick Martignetti,OFM . . . . . . . . . . . . . Assoc. Director
Fr. Ken Cienik, SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director
For more information, contact:
Pre-Theologate Program
1235 University Boulevard
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
1-800-783-6447 • www.franciscan.edu
Nonprofit Org
US Postage
PAID
Steubenville OH
Permit No. 119
4
us, ‘What about today? What are you
seeking? What is God whispering to
you?’
“Several things stand out in my
memory: the energy and enthusiasm of
the youth—it took us at least 15 minutes
to settle down and let the pope speak; the
blessing of seeing my brothers—old and
new—from the Pre-Theologate, which
I looked forward to almost as much as
seeing the pope; receiving the pope’s
blessing at the end of the encounter.
For me it was a tangible experience, an
embrace of God’s grace.
“I am thriving in the seminary…I
owe so much to my time in the PreTheologate, which gave me the support
and opportunity to immerse myself in
prayer, study, and discernment with
a community of like-minded young
men.”
David Hammond, third-year theology,
Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, for the
Diocese of Albany, New York.
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