Finding God on Gannon’s Campus


Night shifts are the worst. For anyone who has worked a job on campus, walking home late at night with the cold Erie weather and just the streetlights for company is not my idea of a good time.

Last week, my co-worker, Matt, and I sat in the little Writing and Research Center (WRC) and waited for walk-in appointments.

However, this shift was not like our normal ones.

On this night, the Student Success Center was full of older men and women whom I have never seen before.

After a brief prayer and meeting that occurred at the beginning of my shift, they dispersed.

About three appointments later, I looked up to find that they had all trickled back in, this time with pizza boxes, baked goods, and drinks.

Matt and I sat in confusion, feeling like zoo animals on display behind the Writing Center’s glass walls.

A short time later, an older, gentleman opened the door, stating that we “better get some food before it’s all gone.”

With my mind full of curiosity, I asked what the event was for.

Evidently, all of these individuals had attended Gannon back in the 1960s and had a professor named Father Pete.

He had such an impact on the lives of his students, they decided to all come back once a year and host a phone-a-thon for the Mercy House.

The Mercy House is a charity for ex-convicts that Father Pete deeply supported.

Twenty-five years after his passing, and they still meet on a night in November to remember Father Pete and celebrate the legacy he left behind.

After a long week of tests and stress, I felt that this was the perfect example of the beauty of God’s love extending beyond our own lifetimes.

Father Pete gave his love and passion to every person he touched throughout his life and even after his passing, they remember him and all he had done.

Despite what we think of legacy in regards to monetary value, Father Pete moved it beyond that.

Proverbs 13:22 states: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”

This is not about how much money he left or what physical building was named after him at Gannon.

It is about the souls he touched during his time on earth and the lives who carry his love for others into new generations.

Matt and I were invited into a celebration with those who had life stories to tell us and foods to give us.

Over pineapple upside-down cake, we heard about how Father Pete led men into the ministry with his simple sermons or how some became teachers themselves and carried his lessons into their own classrooms.

If there is one thing Father Pete could teach us, it is that your legacy is not in the words left on paper or the money in your pocketbook.

Your legacy is left in the light of God’s love as you touch others’ hearts.

So, Father Pete, your legacy truly does live on.


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