University inauguration announced

STEUBENVILLE – The inauguration of the Rev. Sean O. Sheridan, T.O.R., as the sixth president of Franciscan University of Steubenville will take place on Oct. 10.

The occasion will be marked by three major events open to the general public, including a Mass at 10 a.m. in Finnegan Fieldhouse, the inauguration ceremony at 2:30 p.m., also in the fieldhouse, and an Oct. 10-11 inaugural symposium on Catholic Higher Education and the New Evangelization.

The Franciscan University of Steubenville Board of Trustees unanimously elected Sheridan as president on April 19, and he began his duties as president on June 1.

As the university’s sixth president, he continues an unbroken chain of leadership by Franciscan Third Order Regular priests of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which operates Franciscan University of Steubenville.

“When I learned I had been selected as Franciscan University’s sixth president, I felt a tremendous sense of peace and a tremendous sense of responsibility to lead this great university. It is inspiring and truly humbling for me to be here at Franciscan University with the students who are pouring their hearts into their education and their prayer life, falling in love with God and the church, and striving to become saints,” said Sheridan.

A native of Cresson, Pa., Sheridan was ordained to the priesthood in December 2006. He holds a juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a doctorate in canon law from the Catholic University of America, where he served as an assistant professor. A member of the Franciscan University of Steubenville Board of Trustees from 2007 through 2012, he began teaching theology at the university in 2012.

Sheridan said he sees the inaugural events as a way to “thank God for the many ways he has blessed Franciscan University” over its 67-year history.

“This is an opportunity to advance the university’s mission through thoughtful discussion and prayer on our unique role in Catholic higher education, especially ways our students can go forth as Christ’s ambassadors to impact the church and the secular world,” said Sheridan.

The inauguration ceremonies will be rich with academic significance and will be witnessed by the university’s academic, student and alumni communities, the board of trustees and board of advisers, civic leaders, administrators from other colleges and universities, representatives of the Franciscan T.O.R. province and friends of Franciscan University, officials said.

Sheridan will prayerfully prepare for his inauguration by leading Franciscan University of Steubenville students in a Holy Hour in Christ the King Chapel at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.

The main celebrant for the Oct. 10 Inauguration Mass will be the Rev. Richard Davis, T.O.R., minister provincial of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The homilist will be the Rev. Nicholas Polichnowski, T.O.R., minister general of the worldwide Third Order Regular.

Sheridan selected the readings for the Mass, which will be a Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart, the namesake of the T.O.R. province. He also selected the music, which will be performed by Franciscan University of Steubenville students and organist, the Rev. Chris Dobson, T.O.R.

Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of the Catholic Diocese Steubenville and Bishop Emeritus Gilbert Sheldon of Steubenville will participate, as will many other priests.

The 2:30 p.m. inauguration ceremony will begin with a procession of the Franciscan faculty in academic attire, then an invocation by Monforton and words of welcome by various officials associated with the university.

The inauguration itself symbolizes a transfer of power, as the Rev. Terence Henry, T.O.R., Franciscan University president, 2000-13, and now university chancellor will bring forth the presidential seal of office. The seal of office then will be conferred on Sheridan by Davis, chairman of the Franciscan University Board of Trustees.

Sheridan will present his vision for leading Franciscan University of Steubenville in the years ahead.

The public then is invited to the president’s reception in the J.C. Williams Center. Later that evening, the Inaugural Symposium on Catholic Higher Education and the New Evangelization will begin at 8 p.m. with an address by Monforton.

John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America, will speak on the symposium’s main theme at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 11.

At 10:15 a.m., Sheridan will give “A Presidential Perspective on Franciscan University of Steubenville and the New Evangelization.” The afternoon session will consist of a faculty panel discussion and remarks by Daniel Kempton, vice president for academic affairs.