Office of the Chancellor
Stories of Father Mike
You can still share your own favorite Father Mike story.
We will publish many of the stories here, and use some of them in an upcoming special edition of Franciscan Way Magazine.
Attending Renewal at Franciscan University in 1998 was for me so very special. Among my many experiences I met Fr Michael Scanlon. His aura was holy, humble,and self giving. When he spoke, you could not help but listen and the message was simple and clear. There was a yearning inside me to become part of this family and a pride at being Catholic. Fr Mike responds, not only to students, but to all who call on him from whatever part of the world. People will miss him, wherever he leaves, but the impact he has made will remain with each one whose life he has touched, directly or indirectly. May God continue to bless him and keep him in His love for the rest of his life. Love you Father Mike. We really love you.
In the jubilee year during a time of desolation, Father Mike exhorted me to pray for "the jubilee gift of hope". Two weeks later, at the age of 47, I had a positive pregnancy test. Our Christine Marie Hope was born nine months later. I am convinced that it throughFather Mike's prayers that God blessed us with our jubilee baby who has brought us such joy and hope. Thank you, Lord, for all the other unspeakable blessings we have received through Father Mike. Couraggio and bravo, Fr. Mike!
Fr. Mike's played a huge role in my experience at Franciscan. As spiritual adviser for our household, Madonna of the Streets, we were privileged to see him at commitments and also for storytime during which he would tell us about his many experiences of meeting the now Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa, or when he was mayor of Steubenville for a day. He is an inspiration for me in his work in the pro-life movement and his outstanding love all around. Every time I see him he radiates the love of a spiritual father. Thank you Fr. Mike! We are so blessed, and we love you!
Dr. Patricia Harris
I just remember jumping out of my car as I was leaving a 1984 FIRE rally in New Orleans, LA and kissing Fr. Scanlon's cheek to say thanks before I headed back to Southeast TX! I knew that going home to Orange, TX with a spiritual recharge of my batteries was what I would need for the next 8 years. For that day I came to experience the release of the Holy Spirit with Ralph Martin, Fr. Bertolucci, Sister Anne Shields and Fr. Scanlon and ask them for a healing and some energy--after a prayer over a picture of Jacob, my son who was 6 months old, I received both that day. My son was diagnosed 17th in the world with Hirschsprung's Disease then and although it took 20 more surgeries in 8 more years, he came off artificial nutrition with what doctor's call a miraculous healing to survive and live. In 2006, he graduated from Lamar University with a Bachelor's degree and is a vital member of society. I have shared his success story at many pro-life events. Prayers from those, like Fr. Mike, who believe are powerful...my love and thanks always, Dr. Patricia Harris, Clinical Instructor of Counseling, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX
John & Joan Peters
Dear Fr. Michael: We have mixed emotions on hearing about your retirement as Chancellor of Franciscan University. The university community, as well as the thousands of FUS program participants, will miss you dearly. You can be justly proud of the progress you enabled during your many years as President, and, more recently, as Chancellor. It is manifestly true that your actions are conformed to Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit. We pray you will enjoy a peaceful, reflective, healthy retirement, blessed by the recognition of a life lived well.
As you know, your life has touched and ennobled so many others. We (John & Joan, who shares your birthdate) first met you at the summer workshops decades ago; we had been recommended by Mike and Madeline Rose, who were involved in our Pre Cana program and chaired the parish Charismatic prayer group. Our growth in Faith and enthusiasm led us to join the 1995 FIRE in Rome pilgrimage. What an experience! We were supported and challenged to a deeper Faith and ever more dedication to pursuing the works of the Church.
Our life-changing spiritual experiences on this, our first pilgrimage, set the stage for a decade of overseas pilgrimages with FUS Journeys. Of all our experiences, we want to share two, one life-changing spiritual, the other, a laugh!
We participated in the 2001 Footsteps of St. James in Spain pilgrimage. Of course, Barcelona, Montserrat, and Compestela were notable; still, an incident in the Cathedral will be forever in our memory. During one of your talks, you said that God had given you a gift of healing, and how you became aware of this gift. You related an incident where you had prayed over a deaf man, who, a year later, you heard witnessing to a congregation about a miraculous cure by an unknown priest who put his fingers in his deaf ears and prayed over him- you! While we were in the Cathedral waiting for the dramatic incensing of the congregation, Joan was prompted to ask you to pray over both of us. The previous night she dreamed I had died; triggered, no doubt my being scheduled to undergo testing for recently diagnosed arrhythmia. For her part, she had undergone multiple x-ray and MRIs for hip pain; the surgeon’s recommendation was for immediate hip replacement surgery. When she approached you with her request for healing prayer, you said “there’s no time like the present” and, behind one of the enormous columns, touched heart and hips, and prayed for healing. Fast forward a few weeks: Joan returned to her doctors, who discovered the hip was normal; just the expected age-related wear, and no surgery was indicated. Her hip is still pain-free today! For my part, upon my return to my cardiologist, he arranged for admission to St. Francis (!) Heart Center, where my blockage was corrected with a stent by their “best” interventionist. After some more testing, a pacemaker was installed, and my usual hectic activities returned to normal. Amazingly, these interventions flowed quickly and routinely, without the usual long waits in ERs and corridors; God’s hand was evident to me! Thank you, Fr. Mike, for your healing touch!
Let us share a funny story. Among the high points of our pilgrimage experiences was The Footsteps of St. Paul- Greece and Turkey, in 2002. Walking through the ruins of a past civilization that has shaped our world today, is an awesome experience. One such incident was in Corinth. After visiting the Temple of Apollo, we walked through Lechaion, among the ruined buildings and statues. We saw a headless statue, and several of us thought it a cute idea to pose behind the statue with our heads substituting for the missing one, taking photographs to amuse the “folks back home”. Several of us took a turn, and so did you. As luck would have it, a museum guard suddenly appeared, and berated you, and us for desecrating their antiquity. We shuffled off in embarrassment! After we came home, we sent you a photo of you with the headless statue, which we saw later in your office. We still laugh about the incident!
Please know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers; you and Fr. Groeschel have deeply influenced our lives and we are grateful for that. Have a fulfilling, healthy retirement.
Fr. Mike, we first met you in 1994 on a Marion pilgrimage to Fatima, Garabandal, and Lourdes. You might recall that the remote village of Garabandal had no facilities, had no restaurants – there were the local villagers, the church and the hill of the pines. So you simply and humbly asked everyone to share what food they brought. We had to eat while standing up and doing so in the rain! And there you were right in the middle of us all – we were the sheep, and you were our shepherd. We were touched by your humility. Later on while in Lourdes, my husband and I became inspired to some day take each of our five children on their own pilgrimage.
One year later in 1995, I took one of my daughters to a Fire Rally held in Rome and Assisi. She was quite taken with all of you Franciscans especially in Assisi. Your step became lighter, you showed an inner excitement – it was as though you had come home. When you celebrated Mass, the first words of your homily were “I love Francis” and that explained your inner joy. My daughter loves nature and she has created many gardens around her home and finds great solace within them.
In 1996, my youngest daughter and I joined you on the pilgrimage to Eastern Europe. Neither of us will ever forget how you prepared us for the journey to the Auschwitz concentration camp. You encouraged us to walk in silence, and to revere and pray for the millions of souls who lost their lives there. Today, the power of that experience continues to live within our hearts – the Holocaust really did happen and we will not forget.
My husband and youngest son ventured with you on St. Paul’s final journey from Malta to Rome in 1999. My son was very much taken with Padre Pio and felt the presence of a calling being implanted within. Upon his return home, after much prayer, he did become a lay Franciscan. Today as a high school teacher, he continues follow St. Francis’ teachings for the benefit of his students.
And lastly, the journey of all journeys - The Holy Land. My husband and our oldest son traveled there in 1996. You were not on this particular pilgrimage, but the trip was still Franciscan University sponsored. This son had always said he wanted to “walk where He walked”. As he followed Jesus’ footsteps in Jerusalem, he became overwhelmed with a sense of Christ’s peace. Today he continues to draw upon it when life’s challenges become difficult and overwhelming.
In 1998, my oldest daughter and I went with you on this pilgrimage. One particular special moment occurred – we were gathered in the Upper Room where we prayed and were anointed by you. My daughter, being a very shy, unassuming young woman, was personally touched by the Holy Spirit for the first time and literally ran to tell you of her experience. Every year since this trip, we share Holy Week on a deeper level than ever before, and she plans to take her children on their own pilgrimage.
Fr. Mike, you have planted numerous seeds in our family and all have germinated and sprouted to life. Your gifts are many, and you have shared them so generously. We thank you, we bless you, and we wish you much peace in your retirement.
I first Fr Mike in 1984 when I was a student for just that one year. We quickly hit it off because he has great affection for New England because of his time at Williams and Harvard.In 1994 I returned to earn my Degree. Fr Mike encouraged me to pursue a career in public service. I thank God for his life and his mission each day. His leadership has profoundly affected anyone who had the privilege to go to the best Catholic School in the World!
Thank God for FR. Mike!!!!!!
City of the Lord Covenant Community
Many years ago, when Fr. Mike first became President, he requested that City of the Lord send someone from our Community to be on the Board of the University, who understood what Fr. Mike was trying to build, a true Catholic - Franciscan university. We did as Fr. Mike requested and that man had the experience of a lifetime. The University could not afford airfare for us at first, but none of us cared, flying from Michigan, and Minnesota, and Arizona, to participate. The University you see now, with new buildings and programs, was just a glimmer of faith in Fr. Mike's prayer life. We have since sent many of our children to the University to receive a great, and Catholic, education. There is no such thing as retiring in the Lord, just a change of venue, so the Mother House will be the recipient of a new warrior.
Patti (Kiefer) Domalakes
In 1985 I was privleged to study at Franciscan, then commonly known as "Steubenville", for a semester. One exceptionnaly snowy winter day, a group of us from Tommy Moore went cross-country skiing along the hills where now stand new dorms and the new monastery. In short order we came upon Fr. Mike Scanlan, who was also cross-country skiing. He decided to join us. During a much-needed break (we were being led by a fellow student, a Calgary, Canada cross-country ski instructor), I turned to Fr. Mike and said, "I understand you are a graduate of Harvard Law School," to which he replied,"Ah yes. But that pales in comparison to knowing the Lord Jesus Christ." In one, short, pithy sentence, Fr. Mike deflected any praise of himself, demonstrated his love for the Lord, and reminded me that the light of Christ in one's life far outshines the most prestigious and wordly of achievements. His statement comes back to me throughout the successes and failures of my life and I am strengthened by the knowledge that it is our commitment to the Lord that ultimately is the only important thing.
In my freshman year I agonized over my decision to choose another major since nursing wasn't working. My parents were for something "practical" like Education and I was thinking of something more creative like writing.
One day on my walk down the hill to the cafeteria whom should I meet but none other than Fr. Mike alone. Through the course of our conversation the topic of choosing a major arose. He gave me sage advice about the practicality of writing to compliment any profession. Timing is everything; those were just the right words of wisdom I needed.
Twenty-three years later, I still love teaching and the steady pay check sure helps to pay the mortgage!
God Bless you Fr. Mike, your tireless efforts at Steubenville made a difference to youth all over the world.
The John and Barb Harburg Family
Dear Fr. Scanlan,
Thank you for your leadership at Franciscan University for my 3 children that have attended there. The school, with your influence has made a large impact on the lives of my sons. My oldest Nathan Harburg will be ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 2011 for the Diocese of Saginaw Michigan. He graduated from Franciscan in 2003. Franciscan made a big impact on his vocation decision.May God bless you on your retirement!
Keith and Suzanne
After one miscarriage and countless failed months of trying to conceive, we approached Fr. Mike for his prayer and blessing. Shortly within the weeks after Fr. Mike prayed over my wife - she was able to conceive. Fr. Mike's presence will truly be missed. Definitely a Saint - happy retirement Fr. Mike, hopefully you can now relax and let others pamper you.
Andrew M Wisniewski
Dear Father Mike,
When I was a young boy in high school near Loretto Pa. my parents used to attend your prayer meetings that attracted bus loads of people from all over. It was not long after the Vatican 2 changes, and a new life of our church had been breathed into us. Although I went to Catholic High school our teachers recomended that we not go because they had no understanding of what was happening. It was only when I began bringing loads of kids to conferences that I found what I was missing back then.
Your confrer Father Ken Bichko TOR was the most profound influence in my life He had a voice that shook to the heavens. Then I met You.
As I reflect on your ministry and life I am in awe of just how much our lord has blessed you and your ministry. What a profound influence on so many people you have been and in turn it has changed the face of the church.
Welcome back home dear Father and I hope to be able to see and pray with you more often now.
I met Fr. Mike in 1995 at the Catholic Conference for men. At that conference I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and have never been the same since. I now work in a Catholic Hospital serving all of God's people. And I remember well Fr. Mikes montra, "Faithfullness not Successfullness. How very blessed I am to have met Fr. Mike.
Ellen M. Barber
I remember visiting Steubie for the first time in the 1980s, loving the atmosphere, dreaming of teaching there someday, seeing a new perspective on the world, the Church and my family life. Our daughter Maggie "miraculously" attended there, ended up marrying Art, another graduate from Stuebie and the stories are too many to tell of the great times we had at Steubie at the Defend the Faith Conferences and Summer Youth Conferences but most of all, I will always treasure the way Fr. Scanlon just roamed the campus shaking hands, giving hugs and sharing his gentle spirit with all. I want to be like him and Jesus when I grow up! The Steubie gifts helped us all fall deeper in love with Jesus. Thank you Fr. Mike for your generous service and fine example. I am now a Youth Director myself, of thirteen years, a Certified Pastoral Minister and Chaplain and I really owe it all to your vision at Steubie.
Most people don't know that Father Mike paid for my first year in college in 1974, which was his first year as President, of what was then known as the College of Steubenville. Picture this: An angry, crying, 18 year old girl, near the steps of Egan Hall, pacing around, arms folded, glaring at Father Mike. He saw me on campus, knew that my father had been taken from my life, and told me I was going to attend college there. I told him I wasn't and that he couldn't make me. He sat on the steps, in the steaming hot August sun, listening, nodding and saying.....nevertheless...... Well.....his kindness won me over and because of Father Mike I entered college on what was then the Franciscan Scholorship for Needy Students, graduated with honors and received the Presidents All Sports Trophy in 1978, taught remedial reading and math for 4 years at both St. Agnes and Blessed Sacrament schools in Mingo Junction and Wintersville, Ohio.
I moved to Oregon in 1982 and taught High School Special Needs Students and coached girl's basketball for 8 years,I became a vice principal at the middle school level for the remainder of my 32 years in education. I also wrote and produced a CD of original songs about the life, death, and resurection of Jesus. What is to become of it is yet to be discovered.
Father Mike literally turned me into a loving person. As if this wasn't enough, when I was 47, Father Mike phoned me, in Oregon, out of the blue, and I recommitted to Jesus through a year of his spiritual direction. He literally saved my financial, emotional and spiritual life and to this day, I live to the best of my talents, with the most love I can give to all I encounter, because he loved me. Father Mike has laid down his life for me and so many others. Is there any greater gift?
Rev. Mr. Simeon Panagatos
Several years ago I took 2 of my brother deacons for their first trip ever to the campus for the Priest, Deacon and Seminarian Conference. It seemed that everywhere we went we came across Fr. Mike. They were so impressed with his warm and approachable manner, not expecting that on any other campus from a Chancellor. One of them, who had a son in another school, wished that he had found out about Steubenville earlier. Although the conference was top rate, as usual, our encounters with Fr. Mike were the highlight of the entire experience.
Dear Fr. Scanlon,
Thank you for following the promptings of the Holy Spirit and instituting the High School Summer Youth Conferences. We have been attending conferences for the past 13 years and hundreds of teens (and adults) from our parish have grown in their love for Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit at these conferences.
Two summers ago you happened to pray over one of my teens after the Eucharistic Adoration procession. Her father had passed away suddenly a year earlier & she was having trouble dealing with that loss. She told me later that a profound sense of peace enveloped her while you prayed over her. Since that evening she has been able to go forward in her life, heavily involved in the Right to Life movement and in encouraging her friends to embrace their Catholicism.
We pray that your retirement from Franciscan is filled with many graces.
Apart from my attending conferences at Franciscan for years and seeing Christ walking with Fr. Mike I was privileged to go on a Cruise/Pilgrimage a few years ago. The final day came and we were awaiting our turn to go ashore for the last time. I offered to move Father's bag for him as it was in a rather precarious position, he smiled a most unusual smile and accepted my offer.
Turns out that the bag was full of books and was heavier than anyone could have expected. Father merely said that it was his 'reading' to which I answered that it was pretty heavy reading. Knowing him, it probably was. I cannot read a book without seeing his smile nor can I pass Franciscan's book store without adding to my library. He touched my very soul with his smile and his joyful submission to the will of God. God bless him a hundred fold!
My favorite memory of Fr. Mike is one that he has no idea about because it was a secret. After daily Mass in CTK some friends of mine (Megan Krivoniak and Sarah Blasdell) used to try and find loose hairs on the back of Fr. Mike's habit. It was always a cherished moment if one was found because of the idea that one day...that will be a first class relic. This may seem creepy to most people but I thought and still do think it was hilarious! Sorry ladies for finally selling you out but it seemed like the right time to tell.
I attended a Catholic Charismatic conference in St. Louis a number of years ago and Fr. Scanlan talked about spiritual warfare. I have experienced the need for healing over the years and I remembered his words and inspiration.
That was a very moving and faith-filled experience and I am always on guard to watch when I might need to do spiritual warfare for myself or others.
Thank you, Fr. Scanlan and God bless you always!
What I will always remember about Father Mike is his love for the Eucharist. When he celebrated Mass at Franciscan, he would take a few minutes for silence after communion, and encourage us to adore the Lord with "Eucharistic amazement." His whole face would light up as he spoke of the Real Presence of Jesus!
Dear Fr. Mike,
I am one of the thousands of people whose lives you have touched, but I am sure you don't know me by sight. :) I converted to our beautiful faith in 1995 in large part by the wisdom and sharing of Dr. Scott Hahn. I wanted to learn more about my new faith, so followed the trail Dr. Hahn left.. to the Steubenville for a summer conference that year.
Oh, what a blessing! Driving in from Ohio, I did not know what to expect. As our car climbed the steep driveway up to the top of the hill, and your campus, we were greeting by smiling students and I began a weekend that was a turning point for me and cemented my brand new faith.
I came to know you that weekend, not only by your talks and smiling face but the imprint you had left on the University. Ever since I have donated to your university and your students have faithfully recorded my prayer requests. I hope my sons can attend one day.. or maybe I can get my masters!
Blessings to you on your retirement, and know that your life of loving service is so appreciated, by your friends, but also by the thousands you have never met in person.
We love you! God bless you!
You have been so instrumental to me in so many ways--You inspire me in a pursuit to know and love God's heart, to lay down everything to go to the ends of the earth to share the Gospel, to have fun while pursuing all of the above--and most of all to do it all with love.
You have been and I know will continue to be a great father to me and encouragement, especially as I asked for your wisdom before leaving for Africa last fall. Your encouragement toward me has spurred me on when times have been difficult on the mission field.
Your season of living the call God has given you to inspire others to follow Jesus with all their hearts is not ended Fr. Mike; God is just shifting you to a different location. I know you will continue inspiring those you encounter on a daily basis in Lorretto or wherever the Lord takes you!
I hope to visit you when I am home on break and am sending lots of love and prayers to you from Sudan during this time of transition.
All those years we enjoyed being at home in Wintersville, actually where my husband grew up, it was hard to leave in 1986, and move to Birmingham, AL. Though we are Eastern Catholic, the university was a big part of our faith walk. Yet, even here, we would run into Fr. Michael at EWTN live shows it seemed whenever we were homesick for Steubenville.
Then this past fall to attend the ICCRS Leadership Training, and at the end to have him individually bless and pray over each one of present. He sent us out once again.
God continued blessings upon you, and may He grant you many years of peace, health, and happiness!
Come, Holy Spirit! Let the fire fall!
This was the rallying cry in Harrisburg, PA, at the turn of the millennium, where I found myself with husband and friends at a Fire Rally led by Fr. Michael Scanlan. FIRE—an acronym for faith, intercession (prayer), repentance, and evangelism—was my first Steubenville-type experience, and I was swept up in the excitement of the talks and song. But as I listened as Fr. Mike incanted, “The Body of Christ is broken,” I wondered what I was doing there. With 38,000 Christian denominations splintered around the world, unity was the rallying theme, and no one but my friends knew that I wasn’t Catholic. Yet as I lined up with the others to receive a laying-on-of-hands from Fr. Mike, something in my Protestant-turned-New-Age heart awoke, and I knew that Jesus wept. I knew then and there that I was being commanded to pray for unity.
Over the next few years, this was my fervent prayer. Granted, I had no idea what “unity” might look like. Would it be one world, one religion? Inner Peace? The end of time? A mass conversion to Episcopalian? Sometimes scared, sometimes uplifted, and always unenlightened, I obediently carried the prayer in my heart.
By this time I had been attending mass with my husband and children for years for the sake of family unity. But I was the one who stayed seated in the pew while they went up for communion. Each summer, my husband took a group of young people to Steubenville for a weekend of renewal and joy at one of the youth conferences. I began accompanying them as the token Protestant. Seeing Father Mike again, and hearing him speak, was always one of the high points of the weekend for me, and reminded me of the Fire Rally and the original call to obedience driving my prayer life.
Then one Sunday—I think it was about four years after the rally—something happened. I was sitting in the pew in Precious Blood Church in Culpeper, VA with my husband as usual, listening as Father Leo said the prayers of consecration, when I began to feel strangely buoyant. My vision dimmed and I was overcome with joy and a sense of a bright, loving Presence. Then, I heard a voice. Well, it would be more accurate to say that my heart heard a voice and I felt it reverberate throughout my being: “It is time.” With the words came instant knowing, both of the words’ meaning and a larger Truth: that all that the Catholic Church teaches is Truth.
Mary, Mother of Our Lord, as our Mother too is True. The authority of the Pope and his bishops is True. The efficacy of the Sacraments? True. The priest in the person of Jesus Christ in the confessional? True.The priest acting in persona Christi in the re-presentation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? True. The Catholic Church got it right, on every single point of doctrine. I suddenly knew this with my whole heart, and I know it still.Christ’s Holy, Real Presence--Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity--in the Holy Eucharist? True, true, true, and true.
So, done and done, right? Well, not yet. At that point I didn’t even know what the Church taught. So now, knowing it was all true, I set out to discover exactly what that was. To convey how out-of-character this entire experience has been for me, I must tell you a little bit about myself. I was born questioning, seeking proof. My degrees are in math. That should tell you something! Remember math? Proofs, equations, numbers. A concrete science. Repeatable. Predictable. A way of modeling the world in equations that carried over into the rest of my life. Got a question? Research it. Chart it. Put it into columns: pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses. Then assign a weight to each and reduce the whole thing to a number, and bingo! You have the answer.
So, imagine this person, this nature, with no study and no research, being handed the gift of Faith—the Whole Catholic Thing—in one instant in time. “It is time,” I was told. So, what to do? What else? Sign up for RCIA, of course. Finally, at Easter Vigil in 2003, I was confirmed into the One Holy Roman Catholic Church. And soon thereafter, I found myself both working and studying theology at Catholic Distance University – and the story goes on.
Father Mike lit the spark, and my heart caught fire. Thank you, Father, and thanks be to God! May you be blessed in your retirement as you have blessed others. I, for one, will never forget you.
Genine Martinez Telepak
Fr. Michael is a loving spiritual father to me. He provided wise counsel, love of tennis, lessons on St. Francis, gave many examples of friendship in Christ. I loved listening to his stories of brotherhood about Fr. Sam Tiesi.
My favorite sermon from Fr. Michael came from Romans 12:2 "Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." He would tell us students consistently to be "seekers of the truth, the truth will set you free".
Steubenville will never be the same. I love you, Fr. Michael. You are a gift! Genine Martinez Telepak (1986)
Gene & Louise Scarberry
My wife and I have attended many stubenville events.
And every time we have been blessed by running into Father Mike! And evertime we have asked him for a coupels blessing. We feel that the fact we have made it to 44 years of marriage is in part due to those Mike blessing! VIA CON Dios Father Mike!
i had the deep honor to meet him last year at the high school cofrence on july 9.i am a core member with my local church fr mike was very nice even know i only talk to him for a short time it was one of the best talk even he made me see what being a catholic young adult in this world is very important thank you fr. mike for teaching the youth about being a good catholic may the holy spril bles you always fus is losing one of the best
I applied to Stuebenville while serving in the Army in Frankfurt Germany in 1974 and came as part of a the first large group of freshman that came to learn as part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I was an orignal member of the Mustard Seed Household in Marion Hall. Fr. Mike was always warm and welcoming to everyone. His sermons provided insight and encouragement and reminded us of the awesomeness of our great God. I will always remember how Fr Mike always knew my name, even when I returned for a 10 year anniverary, he greeted me with the same "Hi Al". Fr Mike followed through on his commitment to change the old Steubie U into a place dedicated to supporting Catholic Christian life. I will always remember his loving leadership. May the Holy Spirit continue to bless you Fr Mike in your retirement and Francisan Univeristy's commitment to training and developing young people in leraning about and following God's call in their lives.
Before graduation, I met with Fr. Mike for just 15 minutes. I didn't know what step to take after graduation. He listened and then encouraged me to do a year of missionary work that was on my heart. That meeting was exactly what I needed to embrace God's will. That missionary year was incredible! Graces still continue to flow from it and during that year I was also able to go to Jerusalem on pilgrimage...what a personal experience of God's love!
My boyfriend at the time, whom I met at Franciscan, waited patiently and not long after my year finished we were married and now have a handsome little guy named Thomas. He brings us such laughter and joy with his bright eyes and humor.
I am so thankful to Fr. Mike for helping me to fulfill God's will!
As an altar server, I was given a unique opportunity to serve Fr. Mike's 50th anniversary as a professed Franciscan. As I prepare for the priesthood, there has been no greater influence and model for me than Fr. Mike. Many others can attest to this. More than anything else, I remember a homily Fr. Mike gave on a vocation's awareness day. He simply said, "Go where the Spirit leads you and once you find true peace, stay." These are the kind of words that have a lasting effect on one's vocation. Last, I cannot ignore Fr. Mike's influence on Students for Life. He built a Culture of Life here that will have lasting effects. Having been involved in Franciscan's Students for Life for four years, I can easily see the fruits of his work in the time I have spent outside the clinics praying. The mere fact that we have a plenary indulgence that is connected with the Tomb of the Unborn and that for the 2011 Graduation Baccalaureate Mass and Undergraduate Commencement we have Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (a champion of the American Pro-Life movement) and Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Papal House Preacher, really solidifies Fr. Mike's influence on Franciscan and the World. We, the youth, have been forever changed by this servant of God.
Father Harold Imamshah
I consider it a great privilege and blessing to have studied at Franciscan while Fr. Mike was still President; He retired as President in the same year that I graduated and became the Chancellor in the same year.
I remember with great thrill that just when I joined the Procession of concelebrating Priests lining up for the Easter Vigil, Fr. Mike told me that mine was the first Graduation Certificate he had signed and one of his Franciscan brother friars joked with me and told me that I could break into Fr. Mike's Office that same night and steal my Certificate without having to graduate!
Praise God for this great and faithful servant(in our life time)
Brenda Piper Godwin
When I think of Fr. Mike, I instantly picture him sitting in our tv lounge on the 4th Floor of Tommy More in his running suit. I thought it was so great that he had come by, relaxed in his "cool clothes", to hang out with us kids and get to know us. Fr. Mike you are a Heaven sent gem! Thank you for being so down to earth and such a delight for all us! God Bless you!
Fr. Mike was like a spiritual grandfather to me. He helped me through so many ups and downs. I remember when my household sisters threw me a surprise party for my 21st birthday and invited Fr. Mike because they knew how close I was to him. As I walk in the house all of a sudden I see him and was pretty shocked. He walked over to me and handed me a birthday gift. "Fr. Mike, you didn't have to do this!" I told him. "It was nothing. I got some stuff together last minute," and boy did he! As I opened the gift I pulled out pickled-flavored pretzels, root-beer (in bottles), and a HUGE summer sausage! "I know your Portuguese so you must like meat," he said with his glowing smile. I laughed thinking of his sweet, meaningful intent. (There was also a really thoughtful card...) I can say this was the most unique gift I have ever gotten...
A few days later I believe it was Fr. Dave Pivonka I was telling the story to. As I got to the part about the summer sausage he cut me off and said "That's where that went! That was my lunch!" I can only imagine what happens in that friary!