BY: CATHERINE DURAND
Any Franciscan University of Steubenville student who has studied abroad in Austria has heard of Donald Asci, STD, and now students who have never left main campus will have the opportunity to meet him, as well.
Asci is teaching on the main campus of Franciscan for the first time this semester. He worked for the university’s study abroad program in Gaming, Austria for 14 years before being transferred to work in Steubenville at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester.
Asci said that coming to work on main campus “was always on the horizon.” He explained, “I felt that to be a complete part of the university, I needed to be on main campus. It hasn’t been with heavy hearts or sadness that we have left Gaming,” he added.
“(Franciscan is) a very effective witness in public evangelization. To be a part of that is very exciting,” Asci said. He also said there is a lot for him to look forward to on main campus.
“I enjoy being part of the larger theology department and the colleagues,” Asci said, and he is excited to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the professors here.
“It’s also a good time for our family,” Asci said. “Our children were all born and raised there [in Europe], and we wanted to give them a good experience of America.”
The biggest difference between teaching in Gaming and in Steubenville is the interaction with the students. He said he will miss “not having our classroom time balanced by time outside the class.”
“I’ll miss having that integrated life with my students,” he said, explaining that Austria offers a chance to interact with the students inside and outside the academic setting for a brief time, while interaction on main campus, though primarily in the classroom, is longer lasting.
He also said that he will miss “the holiness of the Kartause” and teaching within the setting of the Kartause itself, as well as the frequent visits to Rome.
“I feel like we said good-bye to Europe, but especially we said good-bye to those regular and somewhat frequent visits to Rome, the center of the Church,” said Asci.
When it comes to teaching, Asci’s classes will remain somewhat similar to those that he taught in Austria.
“My expertise hasn’t really changed,” he explained, but continued on to say that, in addition to the usual classes regarding moral theology and marriage and family, “I get to do new classes as well.”
Asci said his new classes will include teaching graduate students, something he has been unable to do for several years and is very excited about.
“It’s been very difficult getting here and getting to this point,” he said. After 17 years in Europe, Asci said his family’s arrival in America is like “coming to a foreign country.”
He added that it was hard to move his family of eight.
“There’s no easy way to do that,” he said. He and his family feel “very blessed to have come through this difficult transitional period and have so much to look forward to.”