Rebuild My Church

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Rebuild My Church

Today, Franciscan University continues to answer the call entrusted to its patron.

Summer 2021 | Jessica Walker

In This Article

More than eight centuries ago, St. Francis heard the Lord’s call to “rebuild my Church.” The saint quickly realized this commission was much bigger than bricks and stones. It meant caring for the poor, reigniting people’s faith, and spreading the Gospel in a world fallen into disrepair.

Today, Franciscan University continues to answer the call entrusted to its patron. Over 20,000 alumni have gone forth to serve the Lord in nearly every field from accounting to youth ministry. But more still needs to be done. The walls of society, from the nature of family to the sacredness of life, that once provided stability have become places of division. For the University to live its mission, it needs a blueprint—one that builds upon its strong foundation while also making room for new endeavors.

The Rebuild My Church Strategic Plan is that blueprint. It outlines the University’s priorities and initiatives for the coming years.

“Franciscan University has to be a place where men and women can come to be rebuilt, where the light of the Gospel can illuminate their lives, and where they can use faith and intellect to become voices of truth, charity, and humility,” said President Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, in a recent presentation on the plan. “The Strategic Plan is our faith-filled vision for the future. It’s how we will do what we do even better and rebuild a culture that has fallen into ruin. We are just beginning, but we will follow where the Lord is leading.”

“We stand firm on a legacy of faithfulness at Franciscan University, hearkening back to the Franciscan TOR friars who took a step of faith to start the school here in 1946,” said Brenan Pergi, vice president of Operations. “The Strategic Plan is the result of nearly five years of discussion, discernment, and research among our Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and many others. It’s an undertaking we cannot accomplish as individuals but, with God’s blessings, what we will accomplish together as the University community.”

The Strategic Plan presents three overarching goals: to form builders for Christ, to build up Catholic communities, and to rebuild within the culture.


Form Builders for Christ

In order to rebuild, there first needs to be well-educated, well-equipped builders. The University will continue to form those builders through enhancing and expanding academic programs, including growing the new Criminal Justice Program and developing fouryear engineering bachelor’s degree programs. Work will also go into making a Franciscan education and formation more accessible through increasing affordability and online programming.

Another formative institutional effort will encourage students in their personal vocations. The University plans to not only foster a culture where people ask, “What is God calling me to do?” but also give them the tools to live out that call. Some of those tools include establishing mentoring relationships between faculty, staff, students, and alumni and increasing engagement with internships or other vocational discernment experiences.


Build Up Catholic Communities

Over the decades, the University has drawn people closer to Jesus Christ and the Church through evangelical outreaches, such as the Steubenville Youth and Adult Conferences and the Catechetical Institute. Moving forward, those efforts will include consulting and accompanying parish leaders and parishioners to uplift dioceses and parishes across the country. A new evangelistic engagement model will also be built to deliver resources that can help followers on any stage of their faith journeys grow in their knowledge and love of Christ.


Rebuild Within the Culture

Today’s society has many pressing ethical questions—from questions of marriage and sexuality to life and death. The University plans to better meet these questions through forming new academic institutes. These institutes will focus on promoting Catholic intellectual thought and shaping virtuous, Christian leaders. In doing so, more people can be empowered to bring their professional excellence and faithful witness to a culture in need of transformation.


Read the entire Rebuild My Church Strategic Plan: franciscan.edu/strategic-plan

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