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According to History.com, Valentines Day is believed to commemorate the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s death (estimated to have occurred around A.D. 270). Legend has it, that Valentine secretly performed weddings for young lovers after Emperor Claudius II prohibited young men from tying the knot; due to the opinion that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and children.
Campus ministry offers several retreats throughout each year. Some focus on service like the spring break immersion trips to Camden and New Orleans. Other retreats focus on spirituality like the First Year Get- away and SEARCH; however all the retreats have an underlying theme of personal reflection.
Recently campus ministry sponsored the First Year Get-away and Men’s Woodcutter Retreat in November. On the First Year Get-away several upperclassmen served as mentors for an amazing group of freshman who were willing to step out of their comfort zones and meet new people. The retreat originally was scheduled to take place in Long Beach Island, New Jersey; however with the recent hurricane it seemed as if the trip would have to be canceled. Luckily an opening at Mariawald, a retreat house outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, became available last minute. The retreat provided reflections from both the leaders as well as the students attending the retreat on topics that commonly are faced by first year students. The leaders shared their experiences for the younger students with the hope that they would see that the first year challenges in college are shared by many.
The men’s retreat, organized by The Circle, a male faith sharing group led by campus minister Michael Martin, was a reflective service trip where the men of the Neumann community were called to split wood for Princeton-Blairstown Camp. The camp is the oldest survival-based camp in the United States. All the wood split in the one weekend is used to fuel fires and warm cabins throughout the camp for the next year. The camp itself provides free camping opportunities for underprivileged youths who wouldn’t otherwise enjoy this experience. After a long day of spitting wood the men circled up around a fire to share life’s experiences with each other.
Campus ministry offers more retreats in the spring semester, our spring break immersion trip “Urban Plunge” to Camden, New Jersey and we also have four students attending a spiritual retreat in Ireland with Sr. Linda and Melissa Hickey to celebrate the “Year of Faith.” In addition, many women connected to the Women of Wisdom faith sharing group have a retreat in February, and our very popular SEARCH retreat will be held in the beginning of April right after Easter break. If you are interested in our retreat and reflection opportunities, do not hesitate to visit Melissa in Room 131, or Michael in Room 135. We as Neumann students are blessed for the numerous opportunities offered by the university and the department of Campus Ministry and should try to take advantage of them whenever we can.
The Circle is Neumann University’s Men’s Group. Twice a month we come together over pizza to discuss what it means to be a man in today’s society. On television men are often portrayed as goons who do nothing but make mistakes hoping their wife, girlfriend, or mother will be there to clean up after them, much like Homer Simpson. In cinema men are often viewed as cold and disconnected from emotion, over sexualized and violent – the action hero. Neither serves us as role models. In The Circle these gender stereotypes are broken with discussions about life’s experiences though our own discoveries and the experiences of others. The men of The Circle search for new models of manhood as beloved Sons of God. We are joined each meeting by Michael Martin, one of Neumann’s Campus Ministers and founder of the group, along with professors Ed Hastings, Joe Glass, and Phil Pagan. These men bring their life experiences and there wisdom to share with a younger generation of men to grow and learn through each other’s victories, mistakes and discoveries. Michael Martin often says “If you’re not making mistakes you’re probably not making anything.”
Each meeting begins with a check-in to give each man an opportunity to share recent experiences and give an idea to where they are at mentally. The check-in usually reveals a topic for conversation. A recent discussion was about liminal space; liminal space being the uncomfortable transition period between two chapters of our lives – it can be the transition from high school to college, a recent breakup, or, for seniors, graduation and finding our place in the working world. After the discussion there is a checkout which is a lot like the check-in except it focuses of future goals. Richard Tutak, a member of this year’s Circle says, “The Circle is a place for me where I can go, and for an hour forget about school work and talk about what is going on in my life.”
In November The Circle has a service retreat to Blairstown, New Jersey. There we stay at the Princeton Blairstown Center (a beautiful campground) and spend the weekend chopping wood that will fuel the camp for the upcoming year. There are meditations in the mornings and reflections in the evening both headed by Michael Martin. This retreat strengthens the bonds of manhood through both physical labor and quiet prayer and reflection.
If you are interested in joining us our next meeting is Monday November 22nd at 7pm in the Divine Hospitality Suite of the Mirenda Center. Show up and be real. Aho!
Pope Benedict XVI announced that a Year of Faith would be initiated to help Catholics appreciate the gift of faith, and to encourage them to deepen their relationship with God and also commit to sharing their faith with others.
The Year of Faith will begin on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and will end on November 24th, 2013, with the feast of Christ the King.
The Pope explained what his intentions for the Year of Faith consisted of in Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), which was an apostolic letter released on October 17th, 2011. At the beginning of the letter, Pope Benedict writes, “It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime.” This is not the first time the church has been called to celebrate a Year of Faith. Pope Paul VI announced one in 1967 to commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul.
This year of faith focuses on New Evangelization. Now you may be asking yourself, “What is that?” Perhaps you have heard the word “evangelization” before, but may be wondering what is so “new” about it?
Too often Christians considered “evangelization” to be the work of missionaries who traveled to foreign countries or remote areas of the world to spread the Gospel message. However, one of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council was a call to “all baptized Christians” to a renewed encounter with God, who is the source and substance of all that we believe, and to share this gift of faith and love with others. What will Neumann do to celebrate the Year of Faith? Well, to sum it up in two words: A LOT!
First of all, the source and summit of our faith lies in the celebration of the Eucharist. Daily Mass is offered in the Assisi Room on the second floor of Bachmann at Noon. You may be asking yourself, “why the new room?” Our Sacred Heart Chapel is undergoing renovation and the Assisi room is our temporary sacred space on campus. Sunday liturgies are held at 7 PM in beautiful Our Lady of Angels Chapel and nothing celebrates a Year of Faith more appropriately than filling that Chapel with the faithful.
In addition, we are focusing on various saints with our “Saint of the Month” board located outside of Sr. Marguerite’s office, Room 126 in Bachmann. The biographies of the saints are written by student leaders from the campus ministry COR team. The Neumann Institute for Franciscan Studies will be offering several wonderful programs throughout the year for faculty and staff; off campus and on campus retreats offered through campus ministry, a planned spiritual pilgrimage to Ireland over spring break (keep checking your emails!!), a collaborative effort for pilgrimages to local shrines, and also on-campus speakers and programs, between Mission and Ministry and Student Activities, and a partnership with Professor Glenn Holmstrom and the Art Department to sponsor student art work that will incorporate the lives of the saints. Finally, there will be a phone APP with daily readings and reflections written by Neumann students, faculty and staff that will make its debut in Advent of this year. This idea was initiated by Sr. Linda DeCero, and the Mission and Ministry APP, through development and collaboration with Jim Gallo, Director of Student Activities, will give easy access to prayer and reflection right on your own smart phone! This is just a preview of how excited our community is about the Year of Faith!
Neumann Campus Ministry also offers a faith formation program: RCIA. This program is for any student on campus who would like to explore the Catholic faith, and also for Baptized Catholics who may not have completed all of their sacraments. If interested in any of our programs, you may contact Melissa Hickey, Director of Campus Ministry, who is located in Room 131, or Michael Martin Jr., campus minister, located in Room 135.
One of the CORE values of Neumann is “stewardship.” This word can have many different definitions, but most importantly it calls us to be caregivers to the gift of faith and the gift of each other. Let’s work together to make this upcoming Year of Faith one filled with discovery and renewal. It’s a glorious opportunity to meet the Lord face to face in the sacraments, in our prayer life, and most of all in the service that we give to others in need.
Perhaps you have noticed the beautiful pillars in the Bayada Atrium in the Mirenda Center for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development and wondered about them: What do they represent? Why were pillars chosen and placed in the Bayada Atrium? How were the names of the pillars chosen? Why do the pillars light up?
We chose to represent our unique vision of the integration of sports, spirituality and character development with the symbol of pillars because we believe these pillars undergird whatever we do. You’ll notice that they don’t specifically hold anything up, but they undergird all that the Institute stands for and speaks about.
We wanted our athletic facility to be more than a gym; we wanted it to embody not only the mission of the Institute but also the mission of our Catholic, Franciscan values.
The pillars sit in a relatively quiet space where they can be viewed in a reflective manner.
The five pillars are respect, reflection, balance, beauty and play. We chose these five significant aspects of the life of St. Francis and St. Clare because these five most easily connect with sports.
Not that sports were a part of the lives of Francis and Clare, but these important aspects of their lives can be seen in contemporary sports for those who have eyes to see them.
Also, the pillars light up. Here we were trying to capture the idea from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5, verse 15 that says: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do we light a candle, and put it under a bushel basket, but on a candlestick . . . Let your light so shine before all, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We are called by the Gospel of Jesus to proclaim our gifts and talents to the world, not for our sake but for the sake of promoting the kingdom of God. The Institute attempts to promulgate this message in whatever it does.
You can view these pillars online at www.isscd.org . This website will take you on a virtual tour of the pillars and you can view them. There will soon be some new renovations of the pillars, so watch for them.
[This article is the first in a series by Dr. Hastings. Watch the Joust for the next installment. –eds.]
On October 27, 1986, 70 representatives of major religions accepted the invitation of Pope John Paul II to gather in Assisi to pray for Peace. This experience came to be called the Spirit of Assisi. John Paul II chose Assisi as the location for this day of prayer because St. Francis is a symbol of peace, reconciliation, and brotherhood.
In January 1993 and again in 2002, Pope John Paul II invited religious leaders to come back to Assisi. The Pope asked world religions to turn themselves into instruments of peace because hate and violence generate nothing except more hate and violence.
On Thursday evening, October 27, 2011, more than 150 members of the Neumann University community and Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Spirit of Assisi. The Neumann community gathered in silence with lighted candles to express solidarity with those who joined Pope Benedict XVI in Assisi as “pilgrims of truth and pilgrims of peace.” The lighted candles served as reminders that each of us can be a light to spread peace and to confront the threats to peace and to the environment that we face in our world today. Slowly a reverent procession, led by the haunting sound of drums, moved through the halls of the Bachmann Main Building and into the Sacred Heart Chapel where participants overflowed into pews, aisles, floor, sanctuary, and hallways!
Following the introduction and welcome, the Neumann University Gospel Choir offered a song of prayer and praise. Then members of the Student Government and the Dean of Students read excerpts from the Jewish and Christian scriptures, the writings of Francis of Assisi, and reflections from the Muslim tradition. Following intercessions, offered by the president of the Neumann University Student Peace Alliance, the Neumann Praise Dancers performed their prayerful plea that God’s peace would shower down upon all peoples.
Before the closing song, the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis, participants directed their attention (virtually) to the Neumann University Peace Pole which was first dedicated in October, 1995, during a weekend program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. The Peace Pole was originally placed among trees on the lawn between the university and Our Lady of Angels Convent. Recent construction on the campus made the Peace Pole practically invisible. Therefore, it was re-positioned in the center of the large rocks which stand between the St. John Neumann Circle and the Rose Garden.
Each Peace Pole, an internationally-recognized symbol of the hopes and dreams of the entire human family, bears the message May Peace Prevail on Earth in different languages on each of its sides. Tens of thousands of Peace Poles in nearly every country in the world stand as reminders that Peace begins in the hearts and minds of each individual.
According to Pope Benedict the message of peace is needed as much today as it was 25 years ago. As Pope Benedict XVI has said, the world has changed since the first Spirit of Assisi celebration. Violence threatens not only the human family, but also all of creation. Religions are asked to dialogue among themselves, and to reach out to all people whether they are believers or not. Therefore, in addition to over 300 representatives of world religions, Benedict extended an invitation to people “to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God.” On October 27, 2011, in Assisi, Italy, and at Neumann University in Aston, PA, people of good will joined as sisters and brothers in a fervent prayer that Peace will Prevail on Earth!
I was really rude today.
Well, I wasn’t really, but that’s what I’m positive a lot of people thought as they passed me in the hallways and said hello or tried to spark a conversation with me.
Because I simply smiled, but didn’t say anything to them.
Because I participated in the Free The Children Vow of Silence.
For 24 hours, beginning at midnight, people all over the world are fundraising and raising awareness for children across the globe who are silenced daily due to disease, poverty, abuse and exploitation.
Free the Children’s slogan is simple: “Because millions of children across the world don’t have a voice, today you won’t hear mine.”
Those participating had several choices. Refrain from speaking unless necessary, refrain from using email, Facebook, text messaging or Twitter, or a combination of both.
I chose to refrain from verbal communication. (Which is why I’m going to have to do a lot of explaining tomorrow morning.)
People who took part in the Vow of Silence, some of who you might know—Nina Dobrev, Joe Jonas, Shaquille O’Neal, those weird dudes who film The Buried Life, will.i.am, Mia Farrow, Brad frickin’ Pitt—the list goes on, either donated, pledged themselves or collected sponsors.
I did a combination of all three. My pledge?
$1.00 per minute.
One dollar for every minute that I spent talking—seems like a pretty good incentive to keep my mouth shut, right?
Well, one would think. And… one would be wrong.
So far I’ve donated close to three hundred dollars.
THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS.
($299.00 if you count the dollar that Joust writer Rob Foster handed over after he tricked me into talking to him. By tricked, I mean asked me a question. By asked me a question, I mean talked to me in general…)
Either way you look at it, that’s a lot of frickin’ money. A lot. Like, a lot, a lot.
But what’s more than that— that’s a lot of minutes.
That’s five hours!
There are only 24 hours in a day and I’ve spent five of them speaking.* (Honestly, I over estimated at times, which may be why my number is so high, but hey! It’s for a good cause.)
Now, some of you are probably thinking: “Cool. This girl said she was going to be quiet and failed. What’s the point?”
The point is—I didn’t fail. I didn’t even come close.
For those of you that know me, you know how easy it is for me to go off on a tangent and ramble.
(When Alex Crofoot asked what responsibilities were included in being The Joust’s Managing Editor, I specifically listed keeping my mouth in check and asking me to be quiet if I babble. He does. Often. And with good cause.)
See what I did there? Babbling. I just do it—I honestly can’t help it. I’m opinionated and loud and aggressive and… there it is. The point of all of this.
I get to say what I want every day. And I do. All the time. But there are millions of children around the globe who can’t say anything. Nothing. Not a single thing. Not unless they want to be abused and in some cases, killed. And if they are able to voice their opinions without fear of physical harm—for exploited children, the reality is, no one is listening and after years of being ignored, they’re not speaking anymore.
Neumann University was founded on the teachings of Saint Francis. At Neumann students, staff and faculty are asked to live their lives according to the Core Values:
Interestingly enough, Free the Children has a similar foundation:
“Human rights are basic standards and freedoms that every person requires to live. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual. Regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability, these rights apply to every human being, everywhere.”
Honor the dignity of the human person. Challenge unjust structures and work for social reformation. Act ethically. Preform to the best of our ability. Work for peace with justice for all.
That’s what I did today; I acted according to the Neumann Values and in doing so, I learned an important lesson.
We say a lot of needless things.
You may think I spent a lot of time talking, but in reality, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I stopped, looked at my watch and asked myself, “is this really worth $1?” A lot of times, the answer was no.
And you want to know something funny?
The world didn’t fall apart because I didn’t voice my opinion. No one died; no one was raped, beaten or abused. No one suffered from AIDS; no one went without food or water.
But children all over the world are and do and it’s all because no one is listening.
The Free the Children Vow of Silence officially kicked off at 3PM this afternoon and doesn’t end until 3PM tomorrow, December 1, 2011. However, many, including myself, chose to begin at midnight today (for verbal communication) and end tomorrow at 3PM (electronic, beginning at midnight). Our goal is to raise awareness by educating and standing in solidarity with the silent children.
Obviously, while you can still donate, it’s too late to sign up. (Donations are accepted year-round and volunteer work is always needed.) But, you don’t have to take the Vow to make a difference.
You could always do something simple. You could shut up.
Before you say anything, take a moment to consider if your words have meaning, if they’re beneficial and if they’re wanted. If you find yourself answering hesitantly, reconsider your wording or if you should be speaking at all.
If in doubt, remember that words have power and using power needlessly takes away from those who desperately need it.
I won’t lie and tell you today was a complete success. I wish I had had as much commitment as I did persistence, drive and want. But, Free the Children is about changing the world through teaching and education and, in reflection, I think I understand their message and I know I did my very best to spread it to my fellow peers.
I’m not going to tell you that I won’t stop saying pointless things, one of the Core Values is after all Integrity. But, I will tell you that I’ll try my very best to recognize when I’m using my voice needlessly.
Today, I stood up and, for once, I shut up and my hope is that by denying my voice, I helped a child gain theirs.
* I spent two of those hours tutoring & 45 minutes in play rehearsal.
By: Brittany Schafferman
Charter Day is celebrated annually to recognize the birth of Our Lady of Angels College, founded in 1965 by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia that subsequently became Neumann College in 1980 and Neumann University in 2009. The day celebrates our past but also offers hope for the future that we look to as a university of higher learning in the Catholic Franciscan Tradition. The day recognizes two men’s contributions to Catholic Education and the Church.
“Charter Day is a day intended to celebrate our founding Congregation, the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia and our founding mission as a Catholic University in the Franciscan Tradition,” said Vice President for Mission and Ministry Sister Marguerite O’ Beirne, OSF. “This year we are celebrating a triad of events: the 20th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Higher Education from the late Pope John Paul 11, the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman, a significant voice on the meaning and purpose of Catholic Education and the 200th birthday of our patron Saint John Neumann.”
A large source of confusion with many people is the difference between Saint John Neumann, for whom our university is named, and John Henry Newman, a writer, preacher and educator who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, a formal step in the process of declaring John Newman a Saint in the Catholic Church. John Neumann worked closely with Mary Francis Bachmann to form a third order of Franciscan Sisters, the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia. Saint John Neumann was born on March 11, 1811 in what is now the Czech Republic. He was ordained a priest at age thirty one and became an American citizen six years later. He lived by the words of our Lord, “Go and teach all nations.” Just ten years after being an ordained Priest, Saint John Neumann was ordained as Bishop of Philadelphia. Continuing with his life long mission concerning education, he expanded the Catholic School system from two to one hundred schools and reorganized the parochial school system into diocesan. He became the first American Bishop to be beatified in October of 1963 and canonized in 1977. Saint John Neumann died on January 5, 1860 and is buried in St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia.
John Henry Newman
John Henry Newman was an Anglican priest for many years, but felt called to become a priest within the Roman Catholic Church and was accepted into the Catholic Church on October 9, 1845. He spent the remaining 45 years of his life in service to the Church, and his impact on Catholic faith and doctrine has endured and increased in the 120 years since his death. This year at Neumann University we celebrate Saint John Neumann and Bishop John Newman on March 16, 2011. Both Newman and Neumann are being honored on Charter Day for their contribution to Catholic education and faith, and their enduring love for the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
It is not uncommon to come across students at Neumann whom have not received all three Sacraments, are of a different faith, or do not belong to any religion. Many students express a desire to learn about the Catholic faith, for it is very involved and often misinterpreted. For such students, Neumann provides a program entitled Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This program gives students an opportunity to explore the Catholic faith deeply at a time of their convenience and with a participating faculty member of their choice.
The program is personal and unique to each individual. Every person has their own reason for showing an interest in the Catholic faith: Last fall, the first semester of my freshman year of college, I had a revelation of sorts. After the unexpected passing of a good friend I could no longer harbor the anger I had for a God, whom I previously claimed never existed. My questioning him acknowledges that there is a God. I felt myself being comforted by the faith of her family. They were not angry with God for taking their daughter, sister, cousin or girlfriend. They were relieved that she was in a better place, and they accepted the fact that God had called her home. After this experience I researched their religion, Catholicism, to try and make sense of the faith they had in this mythical creature. I do not know how to put the feeling I had in words, but I like to think of it as the Holy Spirit at work in my heart. I contacted Melissa Hickey, the Campus Minister, and began the RCIA program that is offered to all students. I never realized how incomplete my life was when I had my back to God. My life is completely different now. It is not like I was a murderous, hateful person before, but my life had new meaning. There is a spiritual aspect of my life now that I never let myself explore before. Instead of being angry at everything “bad” that happens I now look to God to help me make sense of what has happened.
I will be baptized at Easter Vigil, and receive the other two sacraments as well. I can honestly say I have never been more excited about something in my entire life. I hope my story inspires my fellow students with questions and curiosity to explore and find a happiness that does not exist unless God is in our hearts.
Other students will be joining me at Easter Vigil – Amanda Addesso and Sean Bianchini. I am sure they agree with me in saying that it is a life changing experience. In addition to the students entering with me, many other students are still working through RCIA. Faith is a journey that never ends.
Other Mission & Ministry News
A major component of Catholicism is service. An alternative spring break trip to New Orleans, LA was offered to all students. A group of students, including myself, traveled to New Orleans over spring break. The experience was amazing. The city is rich in culture, and one of a kind. The work we did there was so rewarding!
Knights for Life
Currently Knights for Life is sponsoring Baskets of Hope, an endeavor that helps to support children with cancer who are currently at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOPS). We will be collecting items until April 16th to fill the baskets: books, crayons, activity books, coloring books, play dough, gel pens, journals, playing cards etc. for children of ages 3 through 16. Items can be dropped off in the Ministry Center, Room 137 Bachmann building.
Other service opportunities are offered through the Ministry Center year round.