This year’s Homecoming Weekend was full of family, entertainment, faith and festival in which visitors to campus and returning alumni were able to participate in a number of activities.
The weekend started with the second Household Life Mass of the semester on Friday. The Mass took place in the Finnegan Fieldhouse, which had to make use of the bleachers to accommodate the number of visitors. Many households had alumni members visiting for the weekend, as well as many of their parents and families.
Friday night ended with the school talent show, “Franciscan’s Got Talent.” This event also filled the entire fieldhouse. It was hosted by William Davis and Will Maciejewski, who starred in an opening recorded act with the Rev. Shawn Roberson and Rev. Rick Martignetti. They also preformed an mid-show lip-sync act with Bob Lesnefsky, who stole the show with his increasingly popular chicken.
There were a wide variety of acts, preformed from anywhere from a single individual to a group of four or five. A majority of the preferences were songs, including several originals written and composed by performers. There was also a tap dance routine, a yo-yo artist returning for his second year, an improvised cello and hammered dulcimer performance and more.
The Saint Francis Fest itself started early on Saturday and lasted until mid-afternoon when it wrapped up in time for Lord’s Day. Lines of tables were set up under one large tent where the vast majority of student organizations were selling different items. There were also several tables worked by locals selling handmade items and food.
Many of the student ran tables at which they sold food made by Parkhurst or that they had made themselves, including bread and other baked goods. This food included giant turkey legs, hot beverages and classic fair food such as soft pretzels and funnel cake. Also sold were hand decorated mugs, felt hats, vases and cards.
There were additionally a few games for visitors and students to play. One of these was a log sawing competition in which contestants would saw through a log as quickly as possible while being encouraged by a violinist. In another activity, individuals would shoot a toy bow and arrow at targets for a prize.
The festival was bustling with activity, with the crowded tent full of people interacting with each other, trying new foods or coming back for their yearly favorite. To get into the spirit of things, some of the students were dressed up in period costumes and there was a generally cheerful air about the campus. When asked about her experience freshman Desiree Shields said, “as someone new to Francis Fest, the experience was marvelous seeing how all the different people came to celebrate Saint Francis in an unusual but special way.”
Also happening during the festival was the annual performance of St. George and the Dragon in the amphitheater behind the Christ the King Chapel, and the blessing of the animals behind the Portiuncula Chapel.
Ending Saturday night there was the semester’s first Festival of Praise (FOP). During the FOP the Eucharist was exposed for adoration and was praise through prayer and praise and worship.
The last official part of Homecoming Weekend was a Mass in the Finnegan Fieldhouse to accommodate all of the families and visitors still on campus and see them off as many of them started the journey home. It was a fitting end to a fun and busy weekend centered around family and celebrating the life of the university’s patron saint.