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Father Scanlan Celebrates 50th Anniversary As a Franciscan


Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2009

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STEUBENVILLE, OH—In recognition of his outstanding contributions to Catholic higher education and the Church, a special event is planned in honor of Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville where he has served for the last 35 years, first as president and now as chancellor.

On Saturday, October 17, 2009, the University will hold a celebration marking Father Scanlan’s 50th anniversary as a professed Franciscan. Events will include an afternoon conference, a Mass of Thanksgiving, and a gala reception and dinner, all hosted by University President Father Terence Henry, TOR.

After studying at Harvard Law School and serving in the U.S. Air Force as a Judge Advocate General, he answered God's call to join the Franciscan Third Order Regular in 1957. He made his first profession of vows in 1959, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1964.

In 1974, Father Scanlan assumed the presidency at Franciscan University in the midst of turbulent times, transforming it over the next 26 years from a small Catholic regional college struggling to keep its doors open into a world-renowned leader in Catholic higher education.

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Under Father Scanlan’s leadership, the University’s theology professors became the first at any Catholic college or university in the nation to publicly pledge an Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium.

Father Scanlan has affected vocations on campus by encouraging the Pre-Theologate Program, which enables young men to discern a call to religious life while attending Franciscan University. About 250 men who were in the Pre-Theologate Program at some point have gone on to become priests or members of religious communities.

Father Scanlan also founded the household system at Franciscan University, which anchors students in Christian fellowship and fraternal charity. His work in defense of human life continues to inspire students to pray outside abortion clinics and to March for Life every January in Washington, D.C.“Above all,” Father Henry said in a letter to alumni, “Father Mike’s legacy is the over 12,000 Franciscan alumni living in the world, passing on the faith by the witness of their words and lives. These alumni are one of the reasons Pope John Paul II could speak about a new springtime of the faith in America. They are renewing the Church and transforming the culture, just as St. Francis, the University’s namesake, did so many centuries ago.”A man filled with joy and the Holy Spirit, Father Scanlan greets every student with a genuine smile. His priesthood is rooted in a love for the Eucharist that he often preaches at campus Masses and Franciscan University conferences.

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“I’m excited to honor Father Mike and raise money for the cause dearest to his heart: helping bright, faithful, and deserving young people attend Franciscan University,” said Father Henry.

Proceeds from the 50th anniversary celebration will benefit the Father Michael Scanlan Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition assistance to students. These “Scanlan Scholars” are often offered full-ride scholarships to Ivy League schools, but choose to come to Franciscan because of their love for Christ and his Church.

Father Henry said, “This scholarship fund is one of the most important ways the University can ensure that Father Mike’s legacy lives on for generations to come, both at Franciscan and in the life of the Church.”

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At the mini-conference, Ralph Martin, director of graduate programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, and Kimberly Hahn, author of many books including Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage, will speak on the new evangelization and dynamic orthodoxy taught by Father Scanlan’s example.

Father Scanlan’s 50th anniversary celebration will begin at 2:00 p.m. with the conference speakers. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be offered at 4:00 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel, celebrated by Father Henry, followed by a reception and gala dinner at 6:00 p.m. in Finnegan Fieldhouse.Tickets for the entire event cost $75 per person. To register only for the dinner and reception, the cost is $50 per person, and for the conference only, tickets are $35 per person.

To send a message to Father Michael, make a donation to honor his legacy, or register for the event, visit www.franciscanconferences.com or call 800-437-8368.

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