ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Sept. 18, 2015 — St. Bonaventure University will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis by hosting a week of Francis-inspired events from Saturday, Sept. 26, to Sunday, Oct. 5.
Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., executive director of University Ministries, said the yearly observation of Francis Week is to honor St. Francis as a teacher who has much to teach us.
“St. Francis of Assisi is by far one of the most recognizable saints we have,” he said. “Everyone loves St. Francis. Francis Week is our celebration of a man, who lived over 800 years ago, that brings to life his message that is still relevant to us in our day. The Pope’s visit to the United States next week makes the celebration of Francis Week even more significant and relevant.”
Francis Week kicks off with Family Weekend Mass in the University Chapel at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26.
At 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28, the first floor of Robinson Hall will host “The Word” Open Performance Show, an open floor for students, faculty and staff to perform Franciscan-themed music, poetry and other performing arts.
The following day, Walsh Auditorium hosts “Francis Goes to Washington: a Panel Discussion on the Pope’s address to Congress,” at 7 p.m. Sept. 29. Four panelists of students, faculty and staff will give their reactions and impressions of Pope Francis’s speech to Congress.
Mount Irenaeus then hosts Francis Week Speaker Dr. Matthew Cressler on Sept. 30 for a contemplative evening with the topic “Francis and the Cross: Go Repair My Home.” Vans leave for the Mountain from the Thomas Merton Center at 4 p.m.
From 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, University Ministries will be giving out Lady Jacoba Cookies and coffee outside of Plassmann Hall and the Swan Business Center. This is to honor Lady Jacoba, who in her support for Francis would often bring him almond cookies.
At noon later the same day, the Thursday Forum will feature speaker Matthew Cressler. He will talk with St. Bonaventure faculty and staff about the rise of Black Catholic Chicago in the University Club. Questions will be taken after the lecture.
Cressler will then be the featured speaker for this year’s Fr. Jerome Kelly Lecture at 4 p.m. the same day in the University Chapel. The title of the lecture is “A Catholic Case for Reparation.”
Friday features a men’s overnight at Mount Irenaeus. The theme is “The Lord Gave Me Brothers.” Vans leave the Thomas Merton Center at 4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3, the Feast Day of St. Francis will be dedicated to the Francis Week Day of Service. This offers students and community members the opportunity to help those in need in the spirit of St. Francis.
Part of this Day of Service will include the March for Babies, sponsored by the March of Dimes. This will help fund research of childhood diseases and will take place on the Allegheny River Trail. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 11 a.m.
Students also have the opportunity to serve the local community by helping restore areas of the Allegheny River Trail during the Francis Week Day of Service starting at 10:30 a.m. beginning in the Swan Center Atrium.
Later at 7 p.m. will be the Transitus of St. Francis. This dramatic service, depicting the death of St. Francis, will be held in the University Chapel. This prayerful experience is coordinated by students.
The culminating event of Francis Week, the Feast of St. Francis Mass, will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4. This will be the only Sunday celebration on campus this day.
All of the Francis Week events are designed to showcase and celebrate how impactful St. Francis remains for us today.
“St. Francis is so much more than the saint who loved animals or a perfect accent piece in one’s garden,” Fr. Francis said. “St. Francis was a man of his time as well as a man of our time.”
Francis Week activities are sponsored by a generous gift from John, ’58, and Kay Meisch of Canandaigua. For a full list of events, go to http://www.sbu.edu/FrancisWeek
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.