Homecoming set at Franciscan

STEUBENVILLE – Franciscan University of Steubenville’s annual homecoming weekend will combine Parents’ Weekend, an Alumni Reunion, and the St. Francis Festival into one grand celebration Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend events begin with a Mass in honor of the university’s patron, St. Francis of Assisi, planned at 4 p.m. Friday in Finnegan Fieldhouse.

The alumni reception and banquet will take place at 6 p.m. Friday evening.

Seven alumni will be honored for their achievements, including the Rev. Michael Gaitley, 1999, recipient of the Bishop John King Mussio Award for Faithful Service to the Church; Adam Tate, 1994, recipient of the John J. Carrigg Award; Col. Laurence Burgess, 1969, recipient of the Alumni Citizenship Award; John Fischer, 1983, recipient of the Rose M. DeFede Faithful Franciscan Award; Dr. David Born, 1992, recipient of the Father Dan Egan Award; Albert “Ray” Challis, 1967, recipient of the professor Edward J. Kelly Award; and Aaron Cunningham, 2007, recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Other events on Friday night include the dramatic production, “A Celebration of the Life of St. Francis,” and the student talent show.

Saturday morning will feature the Kelly Roggensack Memorial Races at 8 a.m.

Then, from noon to 4 p.m., the medieval-themed St. Francis Festival will offer games, entertainment and refreshments. Activities include a children’s medieval costume competition, a living chess match, a Tomato Theatre performance, food and arts and crafts booths.

The university will hold its annual blessing of animals at 2:45 p.m. near the Portiuncula Chapel on Saturday,

University Chaplain the Rev. Dominic Scotto, TOR, will bless the animals in a rite that includes a hymn, sprinkling with holy water and a prayer that the pets continue to reveal God’s love and presence to the world, according to officials.

All are invited to bring their pets to receive the blessing.

A Festival of Praise will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday in Finnegan Fieldhouse, followed by a free concert featuring Ceili Rain in the Piazza dei Santi. Ceili Rain plays an original blend of pop-rock music with an Irish flavor.

The weekend also includes Baron athletic events featuring the women’s tennis team on Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, and the men’s rugby team will play at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Information about the homecoming weekend is available at www.franciscan.ed/Homecoming/Schedule/.