Finding God on Gannon’s campus

The pillars of Catholic identity exhibited around the community

Megan Loibl

Respect. Service. Community. Sacramentality. Dialogue Between Faith and Reason. Each pillar of our Catholic Identity is present in my Gannon experience every day, especially this year, as we work together to re-open and stay open amidst social injustice, disease and political polarization.
These pillars, whether you were aware of it or not, probably had a huge impact on your decision to attend Gannon. They are what make us uniquely us.
The first three pillars are values we’ve all known prior to coming to Gannon but are still of particular importance, as they speak to the influence of God’s work on our campus and in our hearts.
Knights are showing Respect to our fellow Gannon family members by wearing our masks, keeping our hands clean and maintaining distance. This also demonstrates our respect for Human Dignity, a foundation of Catholism, and others’ Well-Being, one of our university Service Standards.
We engage in Service to our community when we act with sacrifice to put others before ourselves. We show God’s love for us by showing love to one another and being stewards of generosity.
Community is our sense of belonging, the thing that makes Gannon home, and I have seen no other institution foster this feeling as well as the Maroon and Gold.
We embody Sacramentality when we internalize and personalize what it means to be a Golden Knight in our roles as students and employees of this great university. Each individual’s journey in this mission, whether it’s based in rigorous coursework, competitive athletics or spiritual discernment, fulfills their purpose for being here.
The final pillar that defines our identity is my favorite, what impresses me about everything Gannon does and what drew me to move 1,100 miles to be a part of this mission.
Dialogue Between Faith and Reason is evident everywhere on campus. It means being open to, encouraging and actively engaging in conversations with people who have different beliefs than yourself and discovering your own truth. While we are each responsible for doing this in our own lives, Gannon University itself does a fantastic job fostering this welcoming environment.
Gannon not only supports but intentionally seeks opportunities to promote Dialogue Between Faith and Reason by celebrating all faiths beyond our Catholic roots.
One of the most recent manifestations of this Gannon culture is Opening Mass of the Holy Spirit, one of the most beautiful offerings by our university’s Mission and Ministry team. My favorite aspect of this event is when students and employees are invited to share their prayers, wishes and intentions for our university, Erie community, nation and world in their native tongue, according to their faith tradition.
This exposure sets the stage for a year of learning about what I like to call diversity of lived experience, the way we accomplish connecting with people who appear or act or believe unlike us, on the most fundamental level: the fact that we are all human.
With the stage set, Gannon continues to remind us why we’re here throughout the year. University-wide employee meetings start with prayer and reflection before delving into our improving how we serve students. We observe a sacred hour 11 a.m. Thursdays for Community Mass to fuel our souls for a week of loving others. We proudly display our Mission in each classroom where our students pursue their callings in accordance to their skills and passions.
There is no better way to appreciate the diversity of human creation than by welcoming all of God’s children to our family, valuing them and guiding them along their personal, professional and faith journeys. For Gannon students and employees, this is just second nature.
Gannon exists to transform lives through everyday connections and extraordinary moments, to help each member of our community become the best version of themselves. The version we were each uniquely and divinely created to be.
And that’s where I find God on our campus. Every day. And everywhere.

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