From the President

Seeing the Fruit

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From the President

Seeing the Fruit

“Seeing immediate fruit would be nice, though it doesn’t usually work that way. But sometimes it’s already there; we just need to look for it.”

Winter 2023 | Father Dave Pivonka, TOR

In This Article

Christ the Teacher Academic Hall and Conference Center isn’t finished yet. Seriously? It’s been almost five months since the groundbreaking ceremony!

Joking aside, I think we’re often that impatient. We want what we want now. We don’t like to wait. We expect results immediately. I have felt some of this impatience watching Christ the Teacher Hall being built.

In September, for example, I had the wonderful opportunity to lead a pilgrimage to Germany for the Passion Play in Oberammergau. When I returned, it appeared the only thing the construction workers had done for two weeks was move dirt around. But, of course, for a new building, moving dirt provides a solid foundation, which is vital to the stability of the entire structure.

In heat and humidity, rain, and now winter cold, the workers have spent months making absolutely certain the foundation is perfect. That it’s solid, so when the storms come—and they will— Christ the Teacher Hall will not fall.

Even though I understand all that, I am so eager to see the building finished, to see the fruit of so much effort. Don’t we always want to see fruit right away?

I remember talking to a friend of mine who was considering planting a fruit tree in his yard. “The problem is,” he said, “I want fruit this season. I don’t want to plant a tree and wait a few years to start harvesting the fruit.”

Seeing immediate fruit would be nice, though it doesn’t usually work that way. But sometimes it’s already there; we just need to look for it.

Even at this stage of construction, Christ the Teacher is the tangible fruit of so many people’s generosity, many people’s hard work, and God’s faithfulness. I get to walk outside my office and see this powerful sign growing every day.

I also learn about the good fruit of Franciscan University in many other ways.

Franciscan lays a firm foundation while our students are on campus. They are educated well by an outstanding faculty and are formed in the essentials of our faith: Christ in the center with the Church and the sacraments continually nourishing them within a supportive community.

While Franciscan is not perfect, we continually strive to be better and more faithful. This is the simple blueprint that transforms young men and women who go forth to produce tremendous fruit.

As I travel around the country, I hear stories of the good our alumni are doing and see just how they’re benefiting our culture and Church.

Take the alumni gathering we held at Notre Dame with about 75 alums in attendance, for instance. We had alums who had just graduated from Franciscan and were in their first year at Notre Dame law school and others close to finishing their doctoral degrees. Other alums there work in the software industry, business world, accounting, education, and nursing. They are producing the apps that help us pray, creating businesses that give others employment opportunities, and caring for those who are vulnerable and in need. I saw so much fruit!

And I’m not the only one to notice the good fruit from our alumni.

I recently had dinner with a couple who made a generous donation to the Rebuild My Church Campaign. They had never donated to Franciscan, and when asked why they were being so generous, they said, “You are impacting lives. Everywhere we go, we see and meet people doing amazing things, and inevitably, they have graduated from Franciscan. We want to support that.”

I am so blessed to be a part of a place where men and women are allowing God to use them to produce fruit a hundredfold. Let’s recognize and celebrate the fruit of God’s goodness all around us. And let’s wait with as much patience as we can when we don’t see a new academic building, or another much-anticipated fruit, immediately.


Father Dave, TOR

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