Bonfires and pipes keep men warm at Men’s Ministry event

Photo by Elizabeth Wagner

Christopher Dacanay

Distribution Manager

Male students and friars bonded over bonfires and pipe-smoking at the Men’s Ministry “Pipes and Priests” event in the Finnegan Fieldhouse courtyard Monday night.

Though the evening air was frigid, men braved the cold to enjoy some quality time with fellow males and to get to know the friars. The courtyard was packed with men huddled around three separate fires.

The social event went from 8-9 p.m. Attendees were given free corn cob pipes and tobacco. Not all men joined in the smoking, but the friendly conversations were all-encompassing.

Bob Lesnefsky, the head of evangelization on campus, kicked off the night. He said, “We believe, in Men’s Ministry, that ministry happens best for guys when we’re doing stuff together. … Whether it’s fishing, punching each other, smoking a pipe or reading each other stories.”

After introductory remarks and prayers, a student instructed first-time smokers on how to smoke a pipe.

The male students were joined by a handful of Franciscan friars, including the university’s president, the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR. The event was meant to help students get to know the friars, a similar goal to that of the last Men’s Ministry event, “Pipes and Professors.”

Senior Claudio Ferrari, the coordinator of Men’s Ministry at Franciscan University, said that the ministry’s pipe nights were the only event the university’s administration would let them continue to host due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Everything else was kinda shut down,” Ferrari said, “so we tried to run with what we had so far.”

Freshman Bryan Black attended the event. He said, “I thought this was a really cool experience. … Everyone’s having fun, and I got to meet a lot of people, so it was good.”

Sophomore Matthew Millenheft said, “It was kinda nice to be able to get out here with all the dudes, with all the boys. … Especially before the upcoming election, this is kind of a good way to go into that.”