Prayer, sports, music at St. Francis Festival this homecoming weekend

Catholic Values Columnist

Franciscan University of Steubenville celebrated another homecoming weekend of festivities on Oct. 3-5 filled with prayer, food, sporting events and music.


The weekend kicked off with a household life Mass held in the Finnegan Fieldhouse celebrated by the Rev. Gregory Plow. Plow mentioned at the beginning of the Mass that it was being offered up for 2004 Franciscan University graduate Sarah Harkins, who passed away unexpectedly after suffering a brain aneurism while pregnant with her unborn daughter.

Following the Mass, a 45-minute Transitus service was held in Christ the King Chapel to commemorate the life of St. Francis.

Talent show

Franciscan homecomings would not be the same without the ever-popular talent show. This year’s show was no less anticipated than previous years. Singing in a packed, standing-room-only Fieldhouse, Baron Harmonics opened the night with their rendition of The Beach Boys’ song, “Come Go With Me.”

David Sheehy and Maddie Appleby debuted a song, “Ring by Spring,” an original song from their brand new musical “Franciscan University: The Musical,” premiering this November on campus. Elijah Simon, a junior transfer student from Buffalo, New York, wowed the crowed by singing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” on the harmonica and piano at the same time. The Annunciations touched the overflowing room with their selection, “Fix You,” originally preformed by Coldplay.

“The talent show was absolutely incredible, everyone was so talented,” said Charis Willey, a freshman from the United Kingdom. “There was such a high quality in each of the acts. All the MC’s were hilarious. Everything was so good, it would be hard for me to pick my favorite act.”

Fun runs

Even though Oct. 4 dawned chilly and rainy, it did not stop the crowd of 224 participants from running the 7th Annual Kelly Roggensack Memorial Races.

“We have way more participants than normal,” said Matthew Howder, member of Franciscan’s cross country team, commenting on the number of people registered for the races.

The overall winner of the 5K Run was Shaun McKeegan, Franciscan’s assistant cross country coach. He finished with a time of 18:32. Megan O’Keefe, sister of Franciscan volleyball player Amy O’Keefe, was the female overall winner, cinching a time of 21:14.

Lisa Nguyen, a freshman from Minnesota, said, “The first time I ran a 5K was right before serving a confirmation Mass. This time it was a lot less stressful! I got to run with the Life Runners and it was awesome to be able to run with them. I love being prolife and I love running.”


Men’s soccer lost to Penn. St.–Behrend in a 4-0 game. Despite the cold and wet conditions, the Lady Barons tennis swept the Redhawks in a 9-0 victory. The Lady Barons soccer also came away with a victory in their match against Penn St. – Behrend. Lady Barons volleyball came out of their conference match victorious, making for a very exciting day on the field. The Barons rugby team kept their undefeated title this weekend due to a forfeit by Point Park.

St. Francis Festival

The St. Francis Festival certainly did not lack for variety in any area the afternoon of Oct. 4. Members of Conquer through Love and Knights of the Holy Queen played live music, building an energetic atmosphere, And many people wearing medieval-themed outfits were seen strolling about the grounds.

Even pets had a place in the homecoming. Rev. Dominic Scotto, TOR, blessed pets near the Portiuncula Chapel, another example of the spirit of St. Francis being incorporated into the weekend.

Each household and a good amount of venders offered diverse culinary creations. Some of the goodies included cotton candy, Philly cheesesteaks, chili, turkey legs, bonbons and gelato.

“I love it,” said Pilar Delany, mother of a student from Mobile, Alabama. “I just got my face painted and was serenaded by the singing beggar. He sang a ‘Les Miserables’ song for me, and my husband had him sing a love song as well. We went to a soccer match and have eaten more food than we can imagine,” Delaney said.


Following the outdoor festival, Finnegan Fieldhouse was yet again filled to capacity for the first Festival of Praise this semester.

“I come to the FOPs because they are amazing,” said sophomore Rachael Popčak.

A concert by Ceili Rain concluded the night of Oct. 4. Franciscan University student Nick Medly said that the concert was an awesome.

“Their jig in 6/8 timing was especially cool,” Medly added.

Christa Henry, a transfer senior from Combermere, Canada, was sweetly surprised by the weekend.

“Usually I don’t like festivals or fairs but this one is different,” Henry said. “Everyone is just so happy. It has been really enjoyable.”

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