Franciscan University homecoming weekend features sports, family, faith

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homecoming 2This year’s Homecoming was another hit as families and alumni returned to Franciscan University on Oct. 4-6 for a weekend of reunions, athletics, community and faith.

Oct. 4 ended on a high note with the Exc!te Talent Show in the Finnegan Fieldhouse, hosted by Issac Archibeque and Abraham Kane. The crowd was entertained by a cover of Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait,” several original songs and medleys, and Disciples of the Word household’s dance to NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.”

The last act entailed artist Amber Pitts painting to music. The canvas was originally upside down, leaving the audience puzzled as to what her creation was. As the song concluded, she rotated the canvas and revealed a breathtaking black and white image of the crucifixion. “The picture was amazing,” said Junior Kathleen Caldwell, “I was so confused, then she flipped it and it was ‘wow.'”

Senior Maggie Twigs enjoyed Andrew and Sons’ cover of “I Will Wait.” “They were fun to watch,” she said, “the audience really came alive while they were playing.”

The St. Francis Festival on Oct. 5 was lively with bouncing castles, obstacle courses and crafts for kids in the piazza. Vendors and households sold food, jewelry, t-shirts, paintings. And Captain Jack Sparrow, in the flesh, made an appearance.

“One of the things I love about the festival is that you get to see alumni brothers,” said David Belkowski, a member of Knights of the Holy Queen household. “It’s a reminder that the brotherhood doesn’t end after graduation.”

A costume parade around the piazza featured kids dressed as knights, renaissance princesses, friars, St. Faustina, and Batman. A young boy dressed as Pope Francis and a girl dressed as St. Joan of Arc won the costume contest and both proudly took home a trophy as a prize.

The Finnegan Fieldhouse Masses throughout the weekend united everyone who visited as the main celebrants delivered homilies encouraging attendees to deepen their faith. On St. Francis’ feast day, the Rev. Sean Sheridan urged all Catholics to answer the call to serve and love the Lord with humility, just as St. Francis did during his life.

The Rev. Gregory Plow compared sin to a weed during the Household Life Mass on Oct. 5. He encouraged attendees to “pull sin up from the root,” then “toss it into the street to be run over by cars and fry in the hot sun.”

Baron teams won victories in rugby, volleyball and track over the weekend. The men’s rugby team played against Carnegie Mellon University on Oct. 5 and won 25-10 after a very close match.

The women’s volleyball team hosted the Dig Pink volleyball game in an effort to raise money for breast cancer research. Funds went to the Side-Out Foundation and the T.E.A.R. Fund at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center. The Baron team played the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and won 3 of 4 sets.

The final victory was the 6th Annual Kelly Roggensack Memorial Races on the morning of Oct. 5, hosted by Franciscan’s track team. The races available included a 5K run, a 3K walk, or a 1K kids fun run. The race is in honor of Kelly Roggensack, a student at Franciscan and a member of the track team who passed away in 2008.

Adam Estavillo won the 5K with a time of 18 minutes, 42.0 seconds. Jane Crosby was the first female to finish the race in 21 minutes, 37.0 seconds.

After many tearful goodbyes, the weekend concluded, leaving students, families, staff and alumni excited for what Homecoming 2014 will bring.

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