Archive for st. bonaventure university

Thomas Merton Conference at St. Bonaventure

Posted in Thomas Merton with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

merton-conferenceThere are only a few days remaining to take advantage of the discounted ‘early bird’ registration for the summer conference on Thomas Merton at St. Bonaventure University (prices go up after April 15). The conference, titled “Merton as Model and Mirror: Coming Home and Going Forth,” is scheduled to take place from June 19-22 and “will celebrate the relationship between St. Bonaventure University and Merton in anticipation of Merton’s 100th birthday in 2015.” This is one of the first of what will likely be many varying celebrations around the United States and world commemorating the Merton Centenary in 2015.

There are many reasons why you should consider coming to this conference, especially if you live in New York, PA, Ohio, or Ontario, Canada, for whom it would be just a couple hours by car. For starters, St. Bonaventure University was the last place that Merton lived and worked — he taught in the English department there before entering the monastery — and it is a place where his discernment to religious life blossomed into what would become his true vocation. SBU in June is absolutely breathtaking, located in Western New York amid the Allegheny Mountains and beside the river. Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain and his journals from this time portray his experience walking the campus thinking, working, praying, and discerning. Also, there are opportunities to go out and actually visit the cabin in which he, Robert Lax, and their friends spent two summers writing, talking, drinking, and the like — you’ve likely read about the importance of that place in The Seven Storey Mountain too. You can follow in his footsteps. All this having only to do with the campus itself!

Additionally, and I’m of course biased here, there is a whole host of amazing speakers lined up. For the keynote addresses you have some very familiar names:

    • Dom John Eudes Bamberger, O.C.S.O., Fourth Abbot of the Abbey of Genesee;
    • Christine Bochen, Ph.D., professor of religious studies and the William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies at Nazareth College;
    • Fr. Daniel Horan, O.F.M.,  America magazine columnist, author, St. Bonaventure alumnus, and doctoral student in systematic theology at Boston College ;
    • Michael Higgins, Ph.D., professor of religious studies and vice president for mission and Catholic identity at Sacred Heart University.

There will also be a number of excellent ‘break out’ or ‘concurrent’ sessions that include some other important folks from the world of Merton scholarship.

For a little overview of Merton’s time in Western New York and its significance, take a look at a 2013 feature article in The Buffalo NewsShadow of a Soul: Thomas Merton’s Spiritual Path Wound Through Bonaventure Campus.”

Check it out and consider coming, it will be a Merton experience of a lifetime! Visit: http://sbu.edu/about-sbu/news-events/events/thomas-merton-conference

Dating God Podcast #14 — ‘Back To School’ with Julianne Wallace

Posted in Dating God Podcast with tags , , , , , , , on September 1, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

The latest episode of the Dating God Podcast is now out! If you’re a subscriber on iTunes, it should be on your computer waiting for you! And if you’re not a subscriber, you really should be, the podcast is free (and awesome)!

Episode 14 of the podcast features Julianne Wallace, a campus minister at St. Bonaventure University, who talks about her experience of life and ministry, what we can expect at the start of a new academic year, and what makes a campus liturgy good. Check out the Episode #14 today! Also, visit the newly created St. Bonaventure University Campus Ministry Facebook page and “Like” it to learn more about its programs and news.

Listen to the podcast online (streaming)

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (iTunes website)

Photo: File

Happy Feast of St. Bonaventure!

Posted in Franciscan Spirituality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 15, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Today, July 15th is the solemnity of St. Bonaventure, the 13th Century Franciscan friar, theologian, bishop, saint and doctor of the church! Unfortunately, this year’s celebration of this important figure in the history of the church also falls on a Sunday, which means that the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time trumps the feast (or for Franciscans, the solemnity) of this day. Although this weekend I have been and will continue to celebrate the mass for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary time and preach on the readings (although I have managed to sneak a Bonaventure theological reference into the homily), I still pause to think about and celebrate both my brother in Franciscan life and the patron of my alma mater, St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. To all my fellow Bonnies out there — Happy Feast Day!

I think it’s rather fitting to share with you a little snippet of Bonaventure’s wisdom. In this sermon, he speaks about what it means to be a friar minor and goes on to say that although not everyone is called to be a Franciscan friar as such, every Christian is called to live the Franciscan ideas in some form. This is in line with St. Francis’s vision, because the Saint from Assisi centered his entire life on the living of the Gospel. All Christians, then, are necessarily followers of the Gospel too. Here’s what Bonaventure says:

To be meek is to be a brother to everybody; to be humble is to be less than everybody. Therefore, to be meek and humble of heart is to be a true friar minor…Although it is not for everyone to take the habit and profess the Rule of the Friars Minor, it is necessary for everyone who wants to be saved to be a friar minor in the sense of being meek and humble. (Sermon V)

One way in which the friars can understand their relationship as “lesser brothers” in the world, the way in which Bonaventure expresses this reality, is to recognize that we are all equal in Christ as baptized members of His Body. No Franciscan should be over and against another person, but instead strive to recognize his shared dignity in Christian life with all others.

If you’re interested in reading some more about Bonaventure and examining a good selection of his writings, check out the new edition of Bonaventure: Mystical Writings (Tau Publishing) by Zachary Hayes — it’s a very accessible and helpful book.

For those who have just heard of St. Bonaventure today and for those who have been inspired by his life and thought for a long time, happy feast day to you all!

Photo: File

Our Hymn of War and Violence: On The Religion of Nationalism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

This reflection is now available in Daniel P. Horan, OFM’s book Franciscan Spirituality for the 21st Century: Selected Reflections from the Dating God Blog and Other Essays, Volume One (Koinonia Press, 2013).

(Always) Proud to be a Bonnie — Go Bonas!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

At 2:35 pm this afternoon the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies begin their 2012 post-season NCAA Tournament play. It begins with the Men facing off with Florida State University and will continue with the Bonnie Women playing Florida Gulf Coast University on Sunday. The Men are expected to lose, at least that’s what a lot of sports pundits and bracketologists are predicting, while the Women — who ended regular season play ranked #16 in the nation — are slated to win. But this season has been full of surprises. I’m not banking on the Men beating the ACC Tournament Champions, FSU, but anything is really possible in the Big Dance. What I am banking on is the spirit of camaraderie and enthusiasm that is shared throughout the United States today as alums, students and fans of the small Franciscan University in “upstate” New York garners the attention of a population that last heard about my alma mater and its basketball legacy in terms of a devastating recruiting scandal that cost the president, coaches, athletic director and others their jobs and contributed in part to the loss of one man’s life. My how nine years can really change a program!

That it has taken less than ten years for SBU to arise from the ashes of its arguably lowest point in its 150-plus years of history is itself, as Sr. Margaret Carney, President of SBU said in a recent interview, a miracle. The miracle has been attributed in no small part to the school’s star player Andrew Nicholson, but it extends beyond #44 to the Coach, Mark Schmidt, and the entire basketball team. It also extends to the SBU family of alums and fans who, despite painful years of NCAA play that resulted from severe sanctions and the decimation of the team in the mid-2000s, stood by their beloved Bonnies through it all. Among the MANY positive and enthusiastic articles and reports about the NCAA season and the Bonnies are found pieces this morning in The New York Times and USA Today.

A lot has been said about how proud everyone is to be a Bonnie and the truth is that I’ve always been proud to be an alum of St. Bonaventure University. Not just because of the basketball program and its gloried history (and hopefully legendary future), but for what the school represents, the education I received there, the character formation and values instilled, the spirit of community, and the joy of being a part of something so much larger than one’s self.

I’m not going to watch the game this afternoon with a group of alums in Washington, DC, anticipating any major sweep of FSU. If that happens, that would be awesome. I’m there to enjoy the game and spirit of my alma mater. As Coach Schmidt has said in recent interviews, the Bonnies in the Tourney are “playing with house money” at this point, with nothing to lose. They are the underdogs and to be a part of the dance is the reward in itself.

As one blogger recently captured so well as he recalled his experience watching the 2000 NCAA tourney, SBU’s last entrance to the Big Dance, I am not obsessed so much with the winning or losing of the school (although a W would be great!), I’m obsessed with the overflowing pride shared by the community of SBU around the globe this last week. He wrote, of the 2000 experience watching the game in Cleveland with a bar of alums and fans:

If you walked up Prospect Avenue that Thursday morning, guided through the city’s quiet hum by a distant, thumping tavern chant of, “Let’s go, Bonas,” you’ll never forget it. You’ll always remember the pregame bar scene, complete with Bob Lanier-era grads hoisting breakfast pints with robed Franciscans and graduating seniors; the overwhelmed Flannery’s bar staff, who were not prepared for over 150 patrons at 11 a.m.; the laughing conversations between strangers in brown, yellow and white. And, whether you watched the game on the edge of an arena seat or on the edge of a barstool, you’ll never forget the unfortunate ending.
But the game itself didn’t instill the meaning of Bonas; the two halves and two overtimes didn’t define the St. Bonaventure experience. It was what happened at Flannery’s after the game that’s always stayed with me. Slowly but surely, students and alums found their way back to the bar not to complain, but to celebrate how little St. Bonaventure University nearly shocked the Kentucky Wildcats on national television. We charged rounds of pre-St. Patrick’s Day Guinness and started up the Bona clap-chants. Those at the game relayed stories of how the Gund Arena crowd–regardless of their collegiate affiliation–joined in the rising Rudy-like chants for the overlooked Bonnies as the game stayed tight. Before we finally embarked on the drive back to Olean, we stood amid a sense of unexplainable communion that most SBU alumni associate with their time as college students.
And this is the essence of the Bonaventure connection. This is the embrace of the underdog, the intrinsic bond that breeds such overt loyalty from the school’s graduates. It was evident through my four undergraduate years, and it’s been fact through the 12 years after. That’s what Bonas means to me.
It’s great to celebrate the spirit of such a wonderful institution that can count, among its many gifts to the world, a sports legacy that is small but strong (we still boast of being the smallest college or university to make it to the Final Four, which happened in 1970 NCAA semifinal game). No matter how things turn out with both the Women’s and Men’s Teams, it is a great time to be Bonnie!  I will always be proud to be a Bonnie — no matter how well our sports teams play. GO BONAS!

UPDATE (8:39AM): Here is an additional media piece by fellow SBU alum and New York Post sports columnist, Mike Vaccaro: “Campus, Alums Dreaming Big.” Check this quote out:

On the other side of the country, the school’s most famous living alumnus heard this and it warmed his heart. Last Sunday, he had gone to his golf club in Scottsdale, Ariz., to hit balls and burn off nervous energy. He had sat in the men’s grille as he watched the Bonnies play Xavier for the A-10’s automatic berth, and he was afraid he was going to be asked to leave, he was so animated.

“Instead,” Bob Lanier said, “suddenly everyone else is joining in, saying ‘Let’s go, Bonnies!’ and ‘Bring ’em home, Bonnies!’ And then, wouldn’t you know it, they did. They did! The Bonnies won, and we’re going to the NCAA, and you just don’t know what that does to my heart.”

A Very Bonnies NCAA Championship Week

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

If you haven’t heard by now, the St. Bonaventure University Men’s basketball team has made it to the Atlantic-10 (A10) Conference tournament championship! One of the advantages of having a blog is that you can hijack your own website now and then to cheer on and promote your alma mater. It has been an awesome season for both the Women and Men’s teams at SBU, a well-deserved and greatly appreciated comeback after ten years of very, very difficult times (google the SBU basketball scandal of 2002-2003 to catch up if you don’t know what I’m talking about). The Women Bonnies ended the regular NCAA season ranked #16 in the nation, the smallest team to reach that distinction this season, the only A10 team for either women or men to be nationally ranked for most of the season (until Temple’s Men entered the top 25 in the last weeks of regular play), and the first time in SBU history (the women have been playing since the mid-1980s) that they’ve reached that national status. They are sure to get an at-large bid to the “Big Dance” tomorrow evening during the Women’s NCAA Tournament selection process — stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, the Bonaventure Men have been taking Atlantic City by storm! Despite some tough losses during the regular season, the Bonnies were able to hold on and get a first-round bye in the A10 Tourney this weekend, earning a #4 seed in the bracket. They’ve won at both the quarter- and semi-final levels and earned a place at the Conference Championship game TODAY! At 1:00 pm on CBS watch the St. Bonaventure Bonnies take on the Xavier Musketeers for the A10 title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney.

This is, by the way, the only Franciscan school left in post-season play! Regardless of how things shake out in Atlantic City this afternoon, the Bonnies Men will have some post-season play in the NIT tournament, so either way there is much to celebrate. Credit is owed to Coach Mark Schmidt and his team of Bonnies who are simply excellent!  They make this SBU alum (and thousands more) very proud to be a Bonnie.  The star of the team — the A10 Player of the Year — Andrew Nicholson only played 25 mins of the last game, yet the Bonnies (in part thanks to #11 D. Congar, in photo above) were able to clinch the W. Hopefully Nicholson and the rest of the Bonnies are able to play well, play hard and play proudly this afternoon — tune in!

GO BONAS!

Photo: AP

‘Dating God’ Events This Weekend

Posted in Dating God Book, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 19, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

So it’s been a wonderful time so far this weekend at my alma mater St. Bonaventure University, where I came to visit yesterday during the annual “homecoming” or alumni weekend. I was in town for a book signing (see the photo) and to cheer on the SBU women’s and men’s basketball teams — two excellent victories, by the way — as well as to join the campus music ministry this morning for a guest appearance as the liturgical accompanist on piano. All were great fun.

This evening I head up to St. Joseph University Parish at The University at Buffalo to preach at the 8:00 pm Mass and spend some time with folks afterwards for a late dinner and to talk about my new book, Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis. If you are in the greater Buffalo area, stop on down, it’s open to all. There will be an opportunity to pick up copies of the book at a discounted rate and to have them signed by the author if you are interested.

For those readers of DatingGod.org who are students at St. Bonaventure University, the campus ministry office has announced today at the campus masses that the first 25 people to come by the Thomas Merton Center (University Ministries) on Monday can receive a free autographed copy of the book! Can’t beat that deal! Thanks to the generosity of the campus ministry office at SBU for that!

Photo of SBU Alum’s Father Praying Touches Hearts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 13, 2011 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Chances are you’ve probably seen this photograph, it has been published in a number of print and digital outlets. It shows a grieving father praying at the new 9/11 Memorial at the Ground Zero site. The father is Robert Peraza and the person he is praying for in the photograph is his son, Robert David Peraza, at St. Bonaventure University alum who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

ABCNews published a story about this image and its impact, noting details of Robert David Peraza’s life, including the scholarship the family created in his memory. Here is the story.

“The next thing you know my cell phone would not stop buzzing,” Neil Peraza said. “My wife said, ‘You have got to see this picture.’”

When he saw his father kneeling in front of his brother’s name, the image told him more than words ever could have.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ It was breathtaking. It kind of sums up how a lot of us were feeling,” he said. “My heart breaks for my dad and my mom — the two of them especially. As a parent now myself, I cannot imagine losing a child.”

Neil Peraza and his father are both quick to say 30-year-old Rob Peraza did not “die” on 9/11. They say he was murdered.

“It was a murderous act that happened on 9/11 and we should not forget that,” said Robert Peraza, who is now retired from his job as a systems manager at Proctor and Gamble.

Neil Peraza described his brother Rob as “the life of the party,” an outgoing, gregarious guy with an infectious laugh.

“One of the toughest parts for me, as I’ve gotten older, is he would have been a hell of an uncle,” Neil Peraza said.

He says the family still talks about Rob frequently, and Neil Peraza’s three children all know who “Uncle Rob” was.

It’s a sentiment Robert Peraza expressed during the brief time he was allowed to say a few words about his son, after reading the names of 10 others: “Dearest Robert we love you and pray for you every day. We will never forget, we will never forget, we will never forget.”

So far the family has raised about $250,000 in scholarship money for Catholic college St. Bonaventure through yearly golf tournament fundraisers and the university’s website.

Since 9/11 three incoming students from St. Bonaventure who play rugby, one of Rob Peraza’s passions, have benefited from the need-based scholarship.

To read the rest of the story, click here…

Photo: Associated Press

St. Bonaventure: The Legacy, The Challenge, The Inspiration

Posted in Franciscan Spirituality, Solemn Vow Retreat with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2011 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Friday 15 July 2011

Today marks the end of the Solemn Vow retreat and the Solemnity of St. Bonaventure. What a notable day indeed! This month has been an interesting experience, spent in a part of the country in which I’ve not spent much time previously (I’ve been to the greater LA area three times before, but for much short stints).

Last night we celebrated the Eucharist in the chapel of the former minor seminary of St. Barbara Province, St. Anthony’s Seminary. It was an odd place in that it is well known in this area as “ground zero” of the clergy abuse crises nearly half-a-century ago. Yet, as we were setting up for our closing mass, the vigil for St. Bonaventure, a man showed up who was a high-school student there decades earlier who happened to be driving through. We invited him to stay and he did, praying during the intercession in thanksgiving for his four years as a student there because they were some of the best years of his life.

It was striking that such a place could both be incredibly significant, holy and meaningful for some and yet painfully associated with some of the most horrendous crimes of decades past. It was indeed a microcosm of our world: both a blessing and a place perpetually suffering from the imperfection and sin of human finitude.

Today my thoughts are with my friends, brothers and sisters at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, as well as with the thousands of alums that “bleed Brown and White” around the globe. Today is our Feast Day and I celebrate the legacy of such a fine institution of higher education in this country. Founded in 1858, years before the Civil War, St. Bonaventure University – small as it is – remains a place of peace and education. It has, as so many small private schools in the Northeast have in recent years, suffered the challenges of declining enrollment and financial struggles, but it moves forward, educating yet another generation in the Franciscan tradition.

My hope is that the current and future administrations will wisely recall the mission with which they have been entrusted, placing the university’s energy and effort into highlighting the Franciscan charism that remains at its institutional core. Now is not the time to acquiesce to the ages-past notion that a small Catholic school must distance itself from its Catholic and Franciscan identity to attract students. Instead, quite the opposite is needed. Today’s students are looking for those places that distinguish themselves among the overabundant and nondescript schools that blur together like milemarkers along a highway. The premiere Franciscan University in the Americas, the entire Western Hemisphere, is better than that.

Today my thoughts are with my brother and sister friars throughout the world. Those who struggle to carry on the tradition that Bonaventure himself was entrusted with safeguarding as Minister General. It is quite something to have spent the last month living with Br. John Vaughn, OFM, the former Minister General (successor of St. Francis) of the Order of Friars Minor. He is also an inheritor of the position of fraternal service once held by St. Bonaventure himself.

Today my thoughts are with my friends, some professed Franciscans of one of the three Orders, others joined in charismatic sympathy, who study the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure. I think of the hard work and dedicated scholarship that has resulted in the emergence of excellent research in recent years. I am deeply honored to call many of these Bonaventurean scholars my dear friends.

Today my thoughts are with St. Bonaventure. He is my brother and an inspiration. I recognize Bonaventure’s intercession and presence in my life. He managed to negotiate three very different, yet individually important and intertwined worlds: the Order of Friars Minor, the Academy and the Roman Catholic Church. As a Minister General, as a theologian and teacher, and finally as a Cardinal of the Church, Bonaventure is remembered for his pastoral sensibility and humility – oh, how so many friars, theologians and bishops could learn from his example!

St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, ora pro nobis! And “Go Bonas!”

The Edifying Comments of those Inspired by the Twins

Posted in Franciscan Spirituality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 15, 2011 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

I’m a bit slow to post something today because I find myself running around taking care of a number of details that relate to my impending departure for a month-long retreat along with all the other Franciscan friars in the United States and Canada who are preparing to profess Solemn Vows this summer in our respective provinces. In addition to packing and making various arrangements on this end, I have several editorial deadlines, essays to finish and article manuscripts that I need to send to this or that place before I drop off the usual radar for some contemplative time. That said, I took a moment to read through some of the hundreds of reader comments that people posted on the New York Times website in response to my fellow St. Bonaventure University alum and NYT staff writer Dan Barry’s story about my recently deceased Franciscan brothers, the twins so many have been discussing.

I offer here a selection of the many, many comments that have touched me. In an age when internet newspapers and blogs elicited all sorts of treacherous and often-times anonymous comments, seldom building up others but tearing people down, it was incredibly edifying to see such sympathy, kindness, spirituality and joy online. Julian and Adrian have indeed continued to minister in a gentle way to those who continue to be touched by their lives.  There are many more comments, but here is a selection.

*****
Prayer, love, service.
No crystal cathedral, no self-named university, no crusade, no book tour, no public book burning, no sex scandal, no prayer breakfast with notable politicians, no TV show, no hate mongering at soldiers’ funerals.
Humility, kindness, joy.
Looks like SOME members of the clergy got Jesus’ message.
*****
Great article. I’d like to encourage NYT to post more articles like this. This, being a real life story, lifts the spirit of people. Too many trash stories like the IMF man and Mr. Weiner littered the front page recently.
*****
Bless them – they seem to have found in life AND death what so many of us spend a lifetime fruitlessly seeking: happiness and peace.
*****
In this era where every motive is questioned, and every good person and good deed is suspected of a sinister sub plot, I thank-you for reminding us of the good and selfless. God Bless and God speed.
*****
It all the “Spiritual” converstations I have had
- it was always the ‘Brothers’ and not the Priests
who had the best advice.

God Bless those twins and all who humbly serve.

*****
What a wonderful story, of humility, life lived in simplicity, ego-less. How cruel to separate the twins, in 1956. For 17 years! It must have been terrible for both of them. This, separating siblings, I will never understand, but this isn’t the theme of the article.

Thank you, Mr. Dan Barry, for sharing this story with your readers. I feel the world is a better place because of those two good souls. May God bless them.

*****
In their case the meek did inherit the earth. They seemed to be at one with it, to appreciate it and minister to it, and every day to revel in its gifts. Thank you for enriching our lives with the story of theirs.
*****
As we say in Judaism, “May their memory be for a blessing”.
*****
This reminds me of what Mother Teresa said, in reply to a question about the sheer magnitude of her operations and how she managed to achieve it under dire circumstances.

“You cannot do great things. You can only do small things with great love”.

Simple profound. This tale appears straight to be out of Chaucer’s Canterbury tales.

*****
Humble religious like these friars are in the majority. The horror stories are out there, yes, but the vast number of priests and brothers are good men, and good followers of Christ.
*****
This is simply a beautiful story and an example of spirituality. I’m very touched by these men. They are shining examples.
*****
I will try to hold close the spirit of the brothers as I proceed in my work today. Thank you for a most wonderful story. Hard not to believe in a higher power.
*****
Photo: Stock
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