Academic year convenes with faith and reason


Students were urged Monday to embrace the unity of faith and reason as the annual convocation ceremony and Mass marked the official opening of the 2013-2014 academic year.

The convocation address, delivered by Dr. Daniel Kempton, vice president for Academic Affairs, began by reminding the audience of Franciscan University of Steubenville’s scriptural theme from 2 Corinthians this year: “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

The need for continual conversion espoused by this passage is uniquely expressed in the Franciscan Third Order Regular rules, said Kempton.

“We as faculty, staff and students should respect and even embrace the Franciscans’ unique metanoi,” said Kempton. Taking advantage of the uniqueness of the Franciscan environment enables students to better discern their vocation, he said.

Kempton explained that Franciscan University lives out its mission of continual conversion today by striving to provide a faith-filled environment for serious academic study.

“To be made anew, you must study hard,” said Kempton, highlighting the harmony of faith and reason.

In his homily during the celebration of Mass, new University president the Rev. Sean Sheridan, TOR, emphasized the Holy Spirit’s role in the lives of individuals and how it enables a person to practice faith.

Noting the competing interests in the lives of students, Sheridan encouraged students to ask the Holy Spirit to enter their lives and help them remain faithful to studies and prayer life.

“We celebrate this liturgy today to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives to lead us and guide us in all the many good things we do: our studies, our work, our ministry,” said Sheridan.

Sheriden invited all members of Franciscan University to use the academic year to enthusiastically join the ongoing dialogue between faith and reason.

The convocation and opening liturgy aptly expressed the continuity and necessity of both faith and reason, echoing Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio.

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