In light of this year’s train of unsettling disasters, the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, called for a campus-wide “Parousia Drill,” intending to prepare the student body for the impending return of the risen Christ.
“We may not know the day nor the hour,” wrote Pivonka in a post-drill homily, “but things aren’t looking so hot for the human race right now. It’s best to be equipped. Amen?”
Students were awakened at 1:03 a.m. last Tuesday by a quick succession of official campus emergency phone alerts ranging from the alarmist (“Great sign seen in the heavens. Head to fire exits.”) to the abstract (“I sure hope your lanterns are filled!”).
As the mass of students stumbled outdoors, they were greeted with blinding lights from dozens of football field lamps intended to simulate the midnight sun of the apocalypse. Scattered white tents served as temporary confessionals, the lines for which grew quickly, stretching, as one eyewitness claimed, “from the piazza to Antonian Hall.”
As the night progressed, the administration sent hooded figures through the crowd, herding the student body into the Court of the Final Judgement (Finnegan Fieldhouse). Once they arrived, the same black-cloaked spirits separated the population into two groups on opposite sides of the gym. Large white banners labeled “Wheat” and “Chaff” indicated the final destination of each group.
Although the university assured the student body in a recent bulletin that these “judgements” were “entirely random” and “a mere formality,” this particular event has sparked intense controversy on campus in the days following the drill.
It is now not uncommon to see a wheat-chaff scuffle outside the J.C. Williams Center. The university urges the student body not to take their personal “eternal assignments” to heart, nor to pass judgement on the assignments of others.
The author of this piece, however, would like to point out that they are the only one on the entire Troubadour staff to be placed among the legions of the damned.
Student reactions to the drill have been mixed, with many saying that it caused unnecessary misery during a time of already-high stress levels.
Freshman Cordelia Shanders called the drill “terrifying from start to finish.” She maintains that she learned nothing from the experience other than the fact that she is “not ready” for Jesus’ return. “Plus, it was a little weird to see Alex McKenna wearing a black cloak and casting me into perdition,” she said.
Junior Jonathon Edwards, however, had a different perspective on the affair. A self-proclaimed “member of the elect,” Edwards felt that the drill was entirely necessary, even enjoyable for him.
“It was high time for Franciscan University to organize something like this,” he said. “God is, after all, dangling our souls like spiders over the pit of hell. I rather enjoyed watching the student body scramble about in a frenzy.”
Edwards’ favorite moment of the night was the Schola Cantorum Franciscana choir’s performance of “Dies Irae” following the organized all-campus blackout. Although he claimed to be a junior theology major, we could find no record of Edwards in Franciscan’s yearbooks, past or present. We are asking that any information on this strange man be delivered to The Troubadour office.