A Letter from Father Sean Sheridan, TOR, President of Franciscan University of Steubenville

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Fear is something we all experience in life. It is also something that manifests differently in each of us. We may fear not living up to expectations or fear for our future. Increasingly, as we look around the world, we may fear living in a society that sees us as outsiders. I vividly remember my initial fears when I entered the Franciscan TOR community—particularly when it came to leaving my devotional books behind during Holy Hours, relinquishing my desire to control the way God would speak to me. Through all of our fears, Christ’s words in the Gospel resound: “Be Not Afraid” (cf. Matthew 14:27).

Our theme for the 2018-2019 academic year is this familiar refrain, often quoted by St. John Paul II and Pope Francis. In his recent apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, the Holy Father reminds us to “not be afraid to set your heights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God” (No. 32).

Oftentimes, this means learning to listen to God in a state of complete surrender and attentiveness—something my old spiritual director referred to as “growing up.” When we do this, maturing in a faith that recognizes our own humility, we find that the noise and confusion in the world around us, so often the cause of our fears, fades behind the steady beating of our own hearts in union with God. It is in this union, in which we allow Jesus to truly make his home in our hearts, that we become the people the Father had in mind when he created us. Through this union, we seek holiness in our daily lives and embrace a love that leads to true joy and true happiness rather than a life dominated by fear. It is both my hope, and my prayer, for us as we begin this year. May we listen to the Lord attentively, and liberation from our fears.

In Christ and St. Francis,
Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR
President, Franciscan University of Steubenville


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The Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Blessed Virgin Mary,

Queen of Heaven, I commend

my heart, my life, my family,

and my school to the triumph of

your Immaculate heart this day.

Keep us, under the protection

of your motherly mantle,

faithful to the life to which

your son has called us.

Grant us zeal to spread the Gospel,

and by the Holy Spirit,

magnify Jesus to all we meet.

Sweet Virgin Mary, lead us on

the Way of salvation.

Immaculate Heart of Mary,

pray for us. Amen.

A Prayer From Saint John Paul II

to Catholic university students in America

I leave you now with this

prayer: that the Lord Jesus will

reveal Himself to each one of

you, that He will give you the

strength to go out and profess

that you are Christian, that He

will show you that He alone can

fill your hearts. Accept His

freedom and embrace His truth,

and be messengers of the

certainty that you have been

truly liberated through the

death and resurrection of the

Lord Jesus. This will be the new

experience, the powerful

experience, that will generate,

through you, a more just society

and a better world. God bless

you and may the joy of Jesus be

always with you!

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,

we offer you our prayers,

along with those of our family, friends,

and Franciscan University Community,

in reparation for sins that have

offended you and grieved your Church.

Lord, this day we commend ourselves

to you and your Most Merciful Heart,

seeking healing for those most in need

at this time. Jesus, we stand in the light

of your countenance filled with hope

that your Heart will see us through

from darkness to light

and from death to new life.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

make our hearts like your own.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,

have mercy on us. (3 times)