An Evening With Archbishop Schnurr

By Emily Benintendi

One Sunday afternoon last semester, 12 people were gathered around a table in the basement of Liberty Hall. These individuals were the officers and peer ministers of Catholic Life, and someone threw out the idea the of inviting the Archbishop of Cincinnati to campus. Without thinking much of it, we asked Campus Ministry what it would take to make it happen, not thinking we would get anywhere.

Fast forward to October 14, 2016, and those same 12 people, along with Campus Ministry representatives and Dr. Spina, were gathered in the President’s Suite in Kennedy Union, patiently awaiting the arrival of Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr.

The Archbishop arrived, accompanied by Fr. Jan Schmidt who works for the archdiocese as the Director of Pastoral Services, and everyone sat down to dinner. While enjoying the meal, a lively conversation ensued concerning Catholic education. The Archbishop talked a lot about how Catholic education, not just at the university level, but at all stages of education, is important to forming the whole person. He spoke about how academic education allows us to explore different subjects like math, science, and language arts, but when the faith component is added to schooling, students can really begin to explore their vocation. Archbishop Schnurr talked about how Catholic schools bring students in contact with “faith in its entirety” and a Catholic education calls students to consider more than their future career plans, but to being asking the question “What is my definite purpose?” He firmly believes that we are “restless without [a purpose]” and that educating in the Catholic faith is the best way to come to realize that purpose.

The conversation also included contributions from everyone present about their experience of Catholic education at UD. Members of Catholic Life spoke about growing in servant leadership through their participation in the organization, coming to a deeper understanding of the sacraments because of the prevalence on campus, and about being able to share their faith with both their peers and professors as they took religion classes and attended residence hall Masses. Members of Campus Ministry spoke about the atmosphere at UD, about their experiences of teaching and leading students in faith, and of deepening their own faith through working here day in and day out. Finally, Dr. Spina spoke about how he sees the Catholic identity of the University of Dayton as one of its most important identities, and how he loves seeing students living out their faith on campus.

After this very fruitful conversation, everyone moved to the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception and were joined by students and members of the Dayton community to hear what the Archbishop had to say about Mercy and Justice in the Jubilee Year. He gave a short talk on how we are to live out mercy in our daily lives. He advised us to incorporate the works of mercy, both spiritual and corporal, into our daily lives, but also reminded us that simply living the way we should and being a visible sign of God’s love and working in the world was a form of mercy. The Archbishop commended everyone present for being willing to live as an example of God’s love and for working to bring his presence to UD in so many ways.

After his talk, the Archbishop began Eucharistic Adoration and closed the evening with Benediction and a simple prayer for all of us here who are trying to further the message of Jesus Christ.


Edited by Barb Miller and Ben Swick

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