CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
Franciscan University of Steubenville’s newest residence hall, St. Junìpero Serra Hall, was blessed during a ceremony on Oct. 11.
The Rev. Richard Davis, TOR, minister provincial for the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, from which most of the TOR friars at Franciscan University come, presided over the ceremony, which took place in the residence hall’s chapel.
The university’s Board of Trustees and residents of the hall, including members of Living Stones, Koinonia, In His Image and Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam households, packed into the chapel to participate in the ceremony.
Before administering the blessing, Davis read from the Gospel of St. Luke and gave a reflection to the audience on the reading and its relevance to the new residence hall.
The selected Gospel passage was the parable of the house built on a solid foundation, in which Jesus says that the house built on a poor foundation will fall into itself, but the house built on a solid foundation will not fall.
Davis related the passage to St. Junìpero Serra’s building of missions along the West Coast and said it was a good reminder for the residents of the new hall that the type of life within the hall will depend on the type of men that live there.
“Build, and therefore, live with the valor that we saw in the life of St. Junìpero,” Davis said.
Davis told those gathered that Serra’s motto was “Always forward, never back,” something the students could take to heart in their current state of life at the university.
Davis then proceeded to the blessing, which included petitions that the dorm’s halls “be illuminated with the light of the Gospel and its walls resound with the joy of discipleship.” He asked God that the hall be a testament to Serra and his saintly life.
The Revs. Sean Sheridan, TOR, and Gregory Plow, TOR, then joined Davis in going down the hallways of the building, sprinkling holy water on its walls.
Junior Robbie Simon, a member of Koinonia, said he was impressed at how big a deal the ceremony was. “It was really cool to have Father Sean and Father Malachi Van Tassell, the president of St. Francis University, and members of the Board of Trustees there. To have them here made it a very personal experience,” said Simon.
The residence hall has only been lived in for a couple months since it opened in August for the fall semester. Residence Director Ian Gill said the blessing was in some ways a new starting point for the hall.
“With this hall blessing, it feels like the hall has arrived,” said Gill. “We’ve settled in, we’ve worked out some kinks and the hall now has an identity, so this is just that seal that J. Serra has arrived.”