The Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, premiered the first episode of his new video series on ongoing conversion Monday in the International Lounge to about 70 students, faculty and staff.
Entitled “Metanoia” and produced by 4PM Media and The Ministry of the Wild Goose in association with Franciscan University and the TOR Franciscan Friars, the 10-episode series encourages metanoia, or ongoing conversion, in an individual’s life. Attendees watched the first episode, “Who do you say that I am?”, and then discussed in small groups the significance of those words.
“Each one of us needs to be able to wrestle with that question personally,” Pivonka said, referring to the question that Jesus asks his disciples in the Gospel of Mark.
In addition to simply reflecting on the question, Pivonka said that each person must come to terms with who he believed Jesus to be and discover in a moment of grace who Jesus really is. He shared a personal story about how he used to see God as a mean, harsh God who would punish people for their sins and how that view turned into one of a God who was loving and forgiving.
“That was one of the most freeing, liberating experiences I’ve ever had,” Pivonka said.
Amber VanVickle, a subject of one of the series’ interviews, also shared an experience with understanding the person of Jesus.
“I dressed God up in so many costumes,” VanVickle said. “It was an eight–year process really of trying to find God and finally getting to that moment where I surrendered and said, ‘Lord, I can’t. I have just made such a fiction of you. Just reveal yourself to me.”
After viewing the video, attendees gathered in small groups to discuss the meaning of the video using a study guide supplied at the beginning of the event. The guide included a reflection to encourage personal discovery.
The Rev. Vincent Yeager, TOR, who took part in the discussion, spoke about metanoia as a charism of Third Order Franciscans.
“Metanoia — ongoing conversion — is the primary charism of the Third Order Regular Franciscans,” Yeager said. “(The series) is a really great opportunity to help people kind of immerse themselves in that experience.”
The “Metanoia” series discussions will continue for nine weeks on Mondays at 1 p.m.