First Friday holy hour synthesizes sanctity, snow


Chapel Ministries at Franciscan University of Steubenville started the semester strong with First Friday holy hour on Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel, with several dozen students and faculty attending. 

The Rev. Jonathan McElhone, TOR, celebrated the holy hour, which began with praise and worship and a Gospel reading from Matthew 5 followed by a brief homily. 

McElhone said that the light referenced in Matthew 5:14-15 possesses the ability to illuminate what is dark or burdensome in life, just as snow brightens cloudy daylight. 

“There’s something within us that takes great delight in God’s creativity in snow,” McElhone said. “And even tonight, it’s going to be much brighter than it was last night. Snow reflects just a little bit of light.” 

McElhone incorporated his surroundings, both the exterior atmosphere and the opening music, into his homily by referencing the songs sung by the two music ministers, one of whom also accompanied on keyboard. 

“That last song (sung) was perfect: Jesus — light — makes the darkness tremble,” McElhone said. “That which was gray … that which was dark, all of a sudden became bright.” 

McElhone ended his homily with a question: “How do we experience God’s love? How does he expel darkness?” 

The remainder of the hour was filled with a chaplet of divine mercy, a period of silence and a guided reflection by McElhone. McElhone told the members of his flock to consider how they have “profoundly experienced God’s mercy in (their) lives” and to ponder how they can extend forgiveness to others and come to a more complete inner healing by doing so. 

Christ the King hosts a holy hour to honor the first Friday of every month. The next holy hour will be held at 3 p.m. on March 6.