Gannon honors Catholic identity

The celebration of Catholic education at Gannon University will run from Sunday, Jan. 30, to Friday, Feb. 3. Every day there will be evening prayer at 4:35 p.m. in Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel. On Sunday, Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the chapel.

These are the same Mass times as every week, Rev. George Strohmeyer, the chaplain and vice president of mission and ministry, said. But this week it is being brought to students’ attention so they are aware of all of the services Gannon offers as a Catholic university.

On Monday, Faith Field Day will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Yehl Ballroom. This is a student competition between faith-sharing groups and other organizations on campus. Students will play games and pizza will be provided.

On Tuesday, Todd Whitmore will present The Thomas J. and Mary H. Loftus Lecture on Catholic Thought and Action. Whitmore is known for his contributions to society as a writer. He co-edited the book series “The Catholic Social Tradition.”

He is also the co-founder and president of PeaceHarvest. PeaceHarvest is an organization which seeks to help the Acholi people of Northern Uganda – forced to move into refugee camps when they were attacked by the Lord’s Resistance Army – return their lives to normal. Part of the week is celebrating Catholic social teaching, one identity of Catholicism and the university, Strohmeyer said.

This lecture is the focal point of the celebration of Catholic education.

Whitmore explains how Catholic social teaching can be applied to the current global economic crisis.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the women’s and men’s basketball teams will have games, taking place at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. in Hammermill Center against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A prayer to recognize Catholic Schools Week will take place before each game.

A community Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel. A complimentary lunch will follow.

Strohmeyer said it’s important to remember that Gannon was founded as a Catholic university, and still finds the values that come from it being Catholic important today. He said that a Catholic environment enhances students’ education.

Strohmeyer said he wants Catholic Schools Week to be a meaningful experience at Gannon. He said the main objective is to reach out to students who enjoy the faith life and Catholic tradition. But he also said he wants this week to reach out to all of students – regardless of their religion.

He said Catholic Schools Week is a celebration of why the university exists.

This week is also intended to be a reminder of Gannon’s mission, which is based on values. He said he thanked students for being a large part of this, by participating in Mass and other efforts to show their Catholic values.

“We want to make the Catholic tradition a lived reality for all of the students,” Strohmeyer said. “Catholic Education Week is truly a gift to us.”

Sarah Voegele, a freshman physical therapy major, said that she likes that Gannon is a Catholic university.

“The school has certain idea and rules that they will enforce, which makes me feel more at home,” she said. “I also love that there are more opportunities to practice my faith with others here.”

She said she plans to attend one of the upcoming masses with her friends. “Gannon really reminds me of my religious community back home,” she said.

TRICIA THEISS

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