BY MARGARET BOYLAN
A group of 40 Franciscan University students gathered for an evening of food, games and a bonfire Oct. 16 at the Apostolate for Family Consecration, located in Bloomingdale, Ohio.
Franciscan students were invited by the staff of the Apostolate for an evening of fun and fellowship. The Apostolate for Family Consecration, also known as Catholic Familyland, is a retreat site that offers week-long family retreats throughout the summer as well as weekend retreats that are offered to men, women, youth and married couples throughout the year.
The Apostolate has a team of people working on creating a liaison between Franciscan University and the Apostolate.
“It’s been something we have wanted to do for many years,” said Theresa Schmitz, vice president and chief operating officer of the Apostolate. “We just weren’t sure where to start and what to do, and we decided that this year was going to be the year we started something.”
Barney Yosten, the official liaison between the Apostolate for Family Consecration and Franciscan University and an alumnus of the university, was brought in to help create a connection between the school and the Apostolate.
“My job is to create a core relationship with Franciscan University,” said Yosten, “and also in a number of ways, one, through these Franciscan Friday events, to invite young people out here, to socialize, to have a good time for food, fun, and fellowship and a time for prayer.”
In addition to these “Franciscan Fridays,” the Apostolate is also looking into opening up its grounds to households. Yosten has been officially invited by the Rev. Gregory Plow, TOR, to come speak to the household coordinators about hosting their household retreats at the Apostolate.
“There is an amazing place, a 1,000 acre place, place for retreats,” said Yosten, “and they can do a lot of different things; they can do hiking; they can use our sports fields, if they want … we have Frisbee, golf, volley ball, a big playing field and so forth.”
The third connection between Franciscan University and the Apostolate is the opening up of the Apostolate as a place for Franciscan students to live off-campus during the academic year.
Some Franciscan students shared their input on the evening’s events.
“I was super happy with the turnout,” said Gabrielle Armstrong, a junior theology and catechetics major. “There were a lot of people here who have never been here before or who I have seen around school and I didn’t know they were connected to Familyland, so it’s just really awesome.”
Tricia Carey, a freshman English and communications arts major agreed, saying, “It’s just nice to get off the hill sometimes and come to an equally passionately Catholic place.”
This is the first of six “Franciscan Fridays” at the Apostolate throughout the academic year. The next one is happening Nov. 13.