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Catholic Education Daily


"New Evangelization" Event Marks Inauguration of New Franciscan University President

Franciscan UniversityA symposium at Franciscan University of Steubenville considered the role of Catholic colleges and universities in the new evangelization earlier this month, the University announced.

Titled, "The Catholic Higher Education and the New Evangelization Symposium," the event marked the end of a week celebrating the inauguration of new university's new president, the Rev. Sean Sheridan, TOR.  A video compiled from the symposium is available online here.

Noted speakers included Steubenville Diocesan Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, Fr. Sheridan, and Catholic University of America (CUA) president John Garvey.  Franciscan University theology professor Dr. Scott Hahn delivered a follow-up speech to students.

Fr. Sheridan said of the institution he now leads, "As a Catholic university that is academically excellent and passionately Catholic, we must focus our daily activities toward Christ, toward our own personal conversion, so that we can be authentic agents of the new evangelization."

Fr. Sheridan also pointed to the importance of resisting attacks from federal mandates against the university's ability to evangelize.

During his presentation, CUA president John Garvey addressed Blessed John Henry Newman's school of thought and warned of the failure of education that "omits central truths of mankind," according to a release from Franciscan University. 

Garvey also remarked about the importance of appointing Catholic professors to teach at Catholic universities so that a majority of faculty is comprised of those committed to the truth.

In his presentation, Dr. Scott Hahn cut to the heart of the symposium by addressing the history and purpose of the new evangelization.  He explained:

The new evangelization is ‘new,’ not because the Church had suddenly stopped evangelizing for centuries.

But what is so new about the new evangelization is not only that it calls for the efforts of every believer in Christ and every single institution of the Church, with no exceptions, no exemptions, but that it also is intended to target those who have suffered the loss of faith.


John Paul distinguished two forms of evangelization. The first form he identified as primary, and that is precisely what the Church has been doing for peoples who have never heard of the Gospel or encountered Jesus. It’s an unbroken record of 2,000 years of priests, religious, missionaries, societies, and martyrs. But a second evangelization, or a re-evangelization, is precisely what is required wherever Christians have lost a living sense of the faith and no longer consider themselves as living members of Christ’s mystical body.

Bishop Monforton spoke to the attendees about the "pivotal roles" of enthusiasm, joy, and courage for Catholics.  He asked, "who wants to be a member of a lackluster, depressed, and cowardly community?"

Franciscan University of Steubenville is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

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