BY ELIJAH SIMON
Students of all ages and backgrounds, as well as over thirty stations representing separate religious communities, attended the Franciscan University Vocations Fair on Friday.
With newly arrived communities in the surrounding area along with the many annual attendees, students who attended were able to see and interact with real people who were able to give a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of a religious community.
As director of Priestly Discernment at FUS, the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR, was also the director of the vocations fair. His position in the university and involvement with the fair provides him with an inside perspective on how the fair benefits the university and surrounding area.
“The fair provides a human element of meeting and interacting with people,” Roberson said. “It’s more than just information you can read out of a packet. The fact that there are representatives of these religious communities here to relate with the youth creates an indispensable exposition to the community.”
Therese Thomason, a Spanish major student, agrees with Fr. Roberson. Her understanding of the community life was aided by the fair in a unique way.
“I came here because I wanted to see if there was another possible path God wants for me,” Thomason said. “The people here are very friendly and have a knack for answering questions before I ask them. I just wanted to see if my love for missionary work is meant to be combined with the religious life or not.”
If there was any place that Thomason should have been to discover the answer to her question, Finnegan Fieldhouse on Friday would have been it. The number of religious communities represented combined with the diversity among them was a great way for students to see the many different paths a religious can take.
One of the stations in attendance was the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, who were restored in 1979 by Pope Saint John Paul II to their life of preaching, pastoral work and a devotion to the holy Angels.
The Rev. Ludwig Oppl, ORC, mentioned that, given the fact that the order has just moved from Michigan to Carrollton, OH within the last year, the vocations fair was a good way for the order to begin their life in the area.
“I am from Germany,” Oppl said, “and it is much different here because the culture allows you to speak to the youth. It is much different in Germany because it is not socially normal to do so.”
Oppl also mentioned the joy he felt seeing the youth active in their discernment and of bringing the religious communities and the public together.
As Roberson mentioned, the greatest goal of the vocations fair is to aid in Franciscan being an integral part of the Church.
“The goal of this university is to be an active thriving part of the Church,” Roberson went on. “We want to enhance the forward thinking and discernment process in order to do that.”