FR. DAVE PIVONKA, T.O.R.
PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE COLUMNIST
It looks like I am going to be writing a little column for the Troubadour each week. My thought is that it would give me another place to meet you and share some of my reflections. Sometimes it may be serious while other times maybe not. It won’t be long, and hopefully it will be worth your time. It will be my pleasure to share my perspective, thoughts, prayers, hopes and dreams. So here we go.
Our first semester together is concluded, and we all made it. So far so good.
I’ve been asked many, many times what’s it like to be president at Franciscan University. The short answer is that it is amazing.
Franciscan has been such an important part of my life for so long, and to be back as the president has just been incredible. I know it sounds like a line of Dorothy’s from the Wizard of Oz, but there really is no place like Franciscan. I’ve known that for a long time, but being back has confirmed this for me. The students, faculty and staff are such wonderful men and women, and to be back here is a great blessing.
Last semester was a tremendous time of learning for me. Most importantly, it was a time for me to begin learning who all is a part of the university family. This includes all of the students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and people from the local community. At times this has been a bit overwhelming. Sadly, I have had a few blunders, like going to social gatherings and introducing myself. “Yes, Father Dave, I know you, I work at the university.” That’s awkward.
In time I am sure I will know everyone’s name and face and know exactly what they do at FUS, but it might take another semester. This is particularly true with the students, so please be patient with me – I will eventually get your name right …. you know who you are!
I really do want to get to know you. Some people say to me that it’s okay, that there are so many people. Yes, this is true, but the reason I am here is for you, and I want to get to know as many of you as possible.
I will say: at times it’s difficult because many of you look so different throughout the day. I mean, the friars, we pretty much look the same day after day. But this is not true for the students. What you look like walking up the hill to your 8 a.m. class is often amazingly different than how you look for Mass on Sunday morning. So, it would be helpful if you took a page out of the friars’ playbook and dressed exactly the same each and every day. Thanks, that would help me out a ton. Or name tags, ya, that would help too.
Here’s the thing, the more we can get to know each other the more we become a Catholic community. We don’t just work together, and you do more than just take classes here. We are working at creating a faith community, and knowing each other is a part of that.
Getting to know names and stories is really important, and I encourage you this week to have lunch, dinner or coffee with someone new. Or on the way to class, talk with that person who is next to you; introduce yourself. This may sound simple, but it helps to foster a spirit of community.
Oh, lastly on the topic of names: it’s Christ the King Chapel. I kind of like stating who Jesus is every time I mention the name of our chapel. It’s the little things.
Thank you everyone for signing up for prayer in the Portiuncula. I can’t stress enough how important that prayer is to the life we live here at the university. Thank you for serving our community in that way.
Finally, the Kansas City Chief will win the Superbowl.
Do know that you are in my prayers and the prayers of all the friars.
Be a saint.