The Ave Maria University 2022-2023 Academic Year opened with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Aug. 22, 2022.
The Mass included faculty, who processed in before the opening hymn dressed in their doctoral robes and seated up front while the students sat behind. Concelebrating were priests who serve the spiritual needs of the students on campus and in Ave Maria Parish.
Bishop Dewane welcomed new and returning students for the start of a new Academic Year and noted that they have each been provided with a great opportunity to be at Ave Maria University and said he was praying that they find success in their studies. The Bishop encouraged the students to be open to hear the call of the Lord in their lives and to live that answer each day.
The Mass fell on the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Gospel reading was from Luke 1:39-56, relating the time Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and the response of St. John the Baptist who was in the womb.
Bishop Dewane remarked that the title of Queen for the Blessed Virgin implies a struggle, a challenge and even battle, and how the students must be conscious of that in recognizing Mary and her role in Salvation history. Bishop Dewane noted that when regal titles, such as king and queen, are used in Scripture, there is an implied battle.
“We need to search for announcement of the Angel Gabriel in our own life; those things that come from the Lord and bring about change,” Bishop Dewane said. “It might not be the Angel Gabriel, but it might be as when Jesus is on the shore and calls to the Disciples, ‘Come follow Me!’ (Matt. 19:21) As students at Ave Maria University, I want you to listen closely this year, how many times Christ says ‘Come follow Me!’”
The Bishop said we must all be attentive to our response to the call of the Lord, with the knowledge God has an eye out for those who strive to serve Him and do His will. There are clues along the way, but we will only find them if we are ready to respond and have not only our ears open, but our minds, hearts and souls open to that call of “Come follow Me!”
“Pray to hear that call,” Bishop Dewane continued. “Look to the Lord to find what good He gives you in your life and let that guide you to become a faithful spouse, or perhaps to the priesthood or a religious vocation … all of this will be found as you acquire more knowledge of who Jesus Christ is in your life.”
The Bishop said the students attend Ave Maria University with a quest for truth, justice, integrity and they should not settle for less, but he reminded them that during this search for those things in the world around them, they must also look within themselves.
“It is you who has to project those very things you search for in your life,” Bishop Dewane said. “It is no surprise that God brought you here to have an encounter with the Lord… Accept the guidance of the Lord. Go with Him on the journey and be richer for it along the way… Hear that call of ‘Come follow Me!’ and live a true answer to Christ here at Ave Maria University.”
Following closing prayer, the Bishop presided over a commissioning ceremony for four new theology professors, during which each took a Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity, vowing to remain faithful to the Teachings of the Church before Bishop Dewane and the entire school community.
After the Mass the Bishop greeted the students who thanked him for his presence and inspiring homily.