Franciscan University Graduates 761 “Points of Light”—Largest Class in School’s History
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Dr. Peter Kreeft Address Class of 2022.

May 16, 2022

Calling Franciscan University of Steubenville and its graduates “a great beacon of hope, a shining light in so much darkness,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco set the tone for May 13-14 commencement exercises that honored the Class of 2022.

With 761 graduates from Franciscan University’s 100 academic programs, the Class of 2022 became the largest in the University’s 75-year history, eclipsing last year’s record class of 733.

Graduates came from across the U.S. and 14 countries, with California, Texas, and Florida among the top 10 states represented. Included in this year’s class are the first graduates in two new programs, the Master of Arts in Catholic Studies and the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Archbishop Cordileone received an honorary doctorate of Christian ethics at the May 13 Baccalaureate Mass for his “defense of truth in the public square” on matters such as abortion and his call for increased reverence of the Blessed Sacrament to combat the culture of death.

“In a certain sense, we are now again facing a civilizational collapse. There are many forces in the world today that want to make us feel ashamed to be Catholic,” Archbishop Cordileone said.

But like the manner in which monasteries became the points of light across the face of Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, Archbishop Cordileone said the Church needs “new points of light” that will rebuild civilization in a Christian way.

“When people think of points of light in the Church in the United States of America, you [Franciscan University of Steubenville] come immediately to mind. You’re at the top of the list.

“Of course we’re thankful there are many other points of light as well, where the Church is vibrant, young, and growing. Where the fullness of our Catholic faith and tradition is joyfully embraced. You are a great hope and inspiration to me and to all of my brother bishops.”

A leading Catholic apologist and the author of over 100 books, philosophy professor Dr. Peter Kreeft delivered the commencement address at both the science and arts ceremonies, held Saturday, May 14.

He received an honorary doctorate of humane letters “for empowering people to rise to the contemplation of truth, defend the dignity of unborn children, and grow in knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.”

With the engaging approach used in many of his books, Kreeft warned the graduates to be on the lookout for 10 lies championed by the contemporary culture, lie No. 1 being you can be whatever you want to be.

“That’s not true even for God. He can’t be the devil even if he wanted to be,” said Kreeft. “Good cannot be evil, and evil cannot become good.” To further illustrate, he said, “Hobbits cannot become wizards, only better or worse hobbits. Men cannot become women, only better or badder men. You cannot make yourself immortal. You can’t even make yourself a saint. Only God can do that, though you can let him do that.”

Summing up the lies of the “whatever” culture with its emphasis on personal freedom at all costs, Kreeft said: “Cavities hate dentists. And cancers hate radiation. And cockroaches hate light. And demons hate truth. But love cannot stop waring against hate. And light cannot stop waring against darkness. . . .

“Just go forth and preach the truth, the good news in both word and deed. Remember Mother Teresa’s life-changing and liberating principle, “God did not put you in this world to be successful but to be faithful.”

To much applause, Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of Franciscan University, announced that on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Franciscan University reached the initial $75 million goal for the Rebuild My Church Capital Campaign—the largest in the University’s history.

The campaign funds a new academic building and conference center, scholarships, and financial aid for students, and evangelistic initiatives, and will continue to raise funds for phase two needs.

Reflecting on the rebuilding theme, he told the graduates, “In the last four years, my hope and my prayer is that you have been rebuilt. That the Lord is doing a work in you.

“I guarantee that if you go with your plan, your desire, your vision, it will lead to chaos and confusion and ultimately away from the Lord.”

But, if you surrender your plans and desires to the Lord, “what he builds is much more beautiful, much more amazing, much more remarkable than anything you can possibly imagine.”

Commencement ceremonies also included an invocation by Father Jonathan St. André, TOR, vice president of Franciscan Life; a welcome by Father Joseph Lehman, TOR, chairman of the Board of Trustees; and a benediction by Father Jonathan McElhone, TOR, local minister of Holy Spirit Friary.

For videos of each event, and the commencement program, go to the Franciscan University Commencement Events webpage.

As the University’s senior-ranking faculty member, Theology Professor Dr. Alan Schreck served as Grand Marshal and carried the ceremonial mace.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco received an honorary doctorate of Christian ethics from Franciscan University of Steubenville at the May 13 Baccalaureate Mass for his “defense of truth in the public square.”

Catholic apologist and philosophy professor Dr. Peter Kreeft received an honorary doctorate of humane letters and delivered the commencement address at both the science and arts ceremonies, held Saturday, May 14 at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Franciscan University of Steubenville bestowed degrees May 14, 2022, on 761 students—the largest class in the University’s 75-year history.

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