Students from Franciscan University of Steubenville prayed, danced and ate food at a Shabbat night Friday in the International Lounge.
The Shabbat meal was hosted by the Beatitudes Missions, a part of a larger worldwide Catholic community composed of religious and lay members called the Community of the Beatitudes.
The festivities began at 6 p.m. with the Rev. Anthony Ariniello, founder and director of the Beatitudes Missions, opening the night with several worship songs played on guitar. Students sang along in both English and Hebrew.
At 6:30 p.m., a potluck began with foods provided by the Beatitudes Missions and various students. The Rev. Joseph Karam, member of the Beatitudes Missions, led students in prayer before dinner.
In his prayer, Karam said, “Yes, Lord, you are alive, and you are the true life that we seek. You are the true joy and the true peace that can only fill our hearts.”
During dinner, Karam talked about his home nation of Lebanon.
Several Franciscan students also shared testimonies about their trips to the Holy Land with Beatitudes Missions.
At 7 p.m., the Shabbat meal ceremonies began. Ariniello led students through the Shabbat prayers, which included spontaneous prayers and thanksgivings to God. The Shabbat meal ceremonies also included the sharing of wine and breaking of bread with neighbors.
After the Shabbat meal, students ate dessert and listened to the Beatitudes missionaries discuss different aspects of the community, including their incorporation of Jewish prayers.
Ariniello said, “There is so many things from the beginning that we continue to receive in fact with the faith in Christ, for example, the Psalms of the Old Testament and a regular prayer life.”
The night ended with dance lessons. Students were shown and taught traditional Israeli dances.
Sophomore Genny Sicree said, “I enjoyed the Shabbat celebration a lot. Since my family is partly Jewish, it was cool for me to take part in this tradition and connect with my heritage.”
Students also said that they appreciated the hospitality shown by the Beatitude Missionaries.
Senior Katie Collins said, “The Community of the Beatitudes are incredibly hospitable and joy filled.”
“It was a powerful experience to see how they incorporated Jewish tradition into a Christian night of prayer,” said sophomore Meghan DePuydt.