LA archbishop to speak at Franciscan

STEUBENVILLE — Archbishop Jose Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will bless Franciscan University of Steubenville’s newest residence hall and deliver a talk on the new evangelization during a visit to campus Thursday.

Gomez will give a talk titled “Integration of Culture and Impact on the New Evangelization,” at 11 a.m. in the Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery at the J.C. Williams Center. He then will celebrate Mass in Christ the King Chapel at 12:05 p.m. before blessing St. Junipero Serra Residence Hall on University Boulevard at 1:15 p.m. The public is invited to attend all events.

Archbishop Gomez has led the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States, since 2011 and has been outspoken on issues affecting his flock, especially immigration.

He previously served as archbishop of San Antonio and auxiliary bishop of Denver and is serving a three-year term as vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In 2013, Archbishop Gomez received an honorary doctorate of Christian letters from Franciscan University for being the voice of Hispanic Catholics in the United States.

St. Junipero Serra (1713-1784) was a Franciscan friar who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2016. He is the principal patron of vocations and has been called the “saint of missions” and the “Apostle of California,” all of which give him a special relationship with the mission, charisms and students of Franciscan University.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has a special relationship to the Franciscan saint. Several of the California missions Serra built were the foundations of the archdiocese, and Archbishop Gomez said in a 2015 address to the Pontifical North American College that “Father Serra should be remembered as one of the great pioneers of human rights in the Americas.”

Located in an extensively renovated and redesigned former hotel on University Boulevard, St. Junipero Serra Hall can accommodate 181 male students and is the new home of the University’s Priestly Discernment Program. The new hall includes a Eucharistic chapel, several study rooms and lounges, common rooms for households, game rooms and a large TV lounge.

The renovation of the hotel site saved the university more than 50 percent of the cost of building a new residence hall. Fort Steuben Maintenance of Steubenville served as the general contractor for the project, and all subcontractors were from the greater Steubenville/Weirton area.