Tomorrow will be the highlight of our 10th year anniversary celebrations as we gather as a university community to celebrate our patronal feast, the Annunciation.
We are Our Lady’s university, and the beautiful bas relief on the front of the Oratory reminds us each day of Mary’s “yes” to God, her breathtaking humility and her unfailing trust of and invincible love for Jesus. We will have Mass at 5pm followed by our annual steak dinner on the mall (weather permitting, otherwise we move inside). And then some musical entertainment will follow to cap off the night. I look forward to having our student body and University community together for this joyful occasion.
Divine Providence has chosen the feast of the Annunciation in 2014 as the day when the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Obama administration’s unlawful health insurance mandate. Ave Maria University filed a federal lawsuit against this mandate because it requires religious employers like us to be complicit with the government’s efforts to make abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and other contraceptive services available for free to our employees under the health plans we offer.
This spring break Ave Maria students went out on mission trips to Haiti, Mexico City, Jamaica, and Destin, Florida to do service work. This is the first round of mission trips with the Mother Teresa Project. With launch of the new Mama T Project, we went out to put her teachings into action and follow in her footsteps of giving ourselves in service.
Today we had a Service Learning retreat, and all the spring break mission groups came to share their stories. I’m finally getting a chance to blog about my spring break experience after catching up on my sleep and homework this week. Along with six other students, I went on the trip up to Destin for Habitat for Humanity. I had never done Habitat for Humanity before, so I was super excited to get to work on a house for someone. After packing up our van (the Holy Roller) we set off on the nine hour drive up to Destin. We met up with students from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of South Florida; they joined our group for the week. That Sunday, we went to Mass together and then hit up the gorgeous beach to relax and play football in the sand.
At first blush, it seems like a terribly odd convergence today. The liturgical season of Lent and the annual rite of spring where college kids flock to the Florida beaches (including those thirty-five minutes from our campus!) seem to go together about as well as tanning oil and holy water. Change and repentance with recreation and revelry? You are “dust and unto dust you shall return” one minute and “eternally young” the next?
We had our annual scholarship dinner last Thursday and it was a huge success! Four hundred people crowded into the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton on Naples beach and the dinner probably was our best yet. Fittingly enough for our tenth anniversary as a University, Ave Maria conferred an honorary doctorate on our founder, Tom Monaghan. It came as a complete surprise to him and we were thrilled that his wife of 51 years, Marge, was there by his side as Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael Timmis hooded Tom. The photo below says it all.
Beautiful morning at Ave Maria University with the temperature in the mid-60’s - and this evening the University holds its annual scholarship dinner and we will have an overflow crowd of 400 of our closest friends in attendance as we celebrate our 10th anniversary as a University.
Today the University is announcing the dedication of the Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall. When Mother Teresa died in 1997, you students were in kindergarten or younger. This small museum, and the larger Mother Teresa project, will provide you - and those who follow you at Ave Maria - the opportunity to meet Mother Teresa, to learn from her, and to follow in her footsteps. I hope you can come at 11:30 tomorrow morning and be there for this historic event.
In an hour or so a man who has spent his life as a missionary working for the Church and serving her poor, Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., will be addressing our students as part of the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal’s annual conference.
The photo of him with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and soon-to-be-canonized John Paul II speaks volumes.
The Super Bowl may be a test between the two best football teams in America, but there is another competition taking place that is every bit as heated, and of course I am referring to the race to the bottom between Hollywood and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Recently the film “The Wolf of Wall Street” was released with high acclaim. It has grossed over $100 million already. In the past I have enjoyed some Scorsese movies but I couldn’t in good conscience go and see this one. I read its review on Pluggedin.com and “The Wolf,” aptly named, is nothing less than a mainstream porn flick (making a mockery of the “R” rating, so families everywhere take note: R is the new X when the Motion Picture Association decides to contort its flimsy standards). “The Wolf” boasts of having over 500 uses of the F word, and so I am sure that in no time the 1,000 threshold will be reached with another of Hollywood’s “avant-garde” films.
It is not a coincidence that the Mass readings for Wednesday of the second week of ordinary times are perfectly applicable to the March for Life events today. A seemingly random alignment of liturgical readings and world events is a phenomenon not uncommon for people of faith. It is God’s way of speaking to us through His word in the circumstances of our lives.