By Lian Bunny, '17
St. Bonaventure University will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis by hosting a week of Francis-inspired events from Saturday, Sept. 27, 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.”
Francis Week kicks off with Family Weekend Mass in the Reilly Center Arena at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27.
From 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, “Healing Hands, Healing Hearts: Reflecting on our Life at St. Bonaventure,” a listening and prayer session for faculty and staff to reflect on their time at St. Bonaventure, will be held in Doyle Trustees Room, including breakfast.
Later at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30, The Franciscan Slam will be held in Café La Verna. It will be presented by the Chattertons, the Slam Poetry club on campus. They will be creating and performing poems that relate to the experience of St. Francis.
The following day, the friars at Mt. Irenaeus will host a contemplative evening away at “The Mountain” from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
From 9:30-11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, 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 11:30 a.m. later the same day, the Thursday Forum will feature speaker Jonathan Montaldo. He will talk with St. Bonaventure faculty and staff about the relationship of St. Francis and Thomas Merton in the University Club. Questions will be taken session after the lecture.
Montaldo will then be the featured speaker for this year’s Fr. Jerome Kelly Lecture at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in the Quick Center for the Arts. The title of the lecture is “Learning Wisdom in the School of Your Own Life: Lessons in Praying, Loving & Living from St. Francis and Thomas Merton.” The talk will dive into Francis and Merton’s life events and personal relationships as they may mentor us to “enter the school of our own lives.”
Later at 6 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, coordinated by students our students will feature Fr. Dominic Monti, O.F.M., as the main homilist. A candlelight reception in the Foster Courtyard will follow with special desserts such as bananas Foster and s’mores.
Saturday, Oct. 4, 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.
“The Day of Service is an opportunity for students to reach out and be aware of the needs and concerns of the wider community,” said Sr. Suzanne Kush, director of the Franciscan Center for Social Concern.
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 disadvantaged around the Olean community during the Francis Week Day of Service from 9 a.m. to noon beginning in Dresser Auditorium in Murphy Hall.
“Pope Francis calls attention to the relationship with the other, especially the marginalized,” said Kush. “We would like to bring this concept of the other to the surface like St. Francis.”
Later on Saturday, Mt. Irenaeus will host an overnight beginning at 2 p.m.
The culminating event of Francis Week, the Feast of St. Francis Mass, will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5. There will be a special fall-themed dessert reception held after this Mass in the chapel. 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.
Application forms, procedures and additional information
There are many ways to experience
St. Bonaventure for yourself
Learn more about the programs that interest you