STEUBENVILLE, OH— Father Sean Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, today announced the creation of a new administrative department to further strengthen the University’s evangelistic and pastoral care programs.
“I am pleased to announce the new Pastoral Care and Evangelization Department,” Father Sheridan said. “The department will be led by Father Nathan Malavolti, TOR, who will serve as our first vice president of Pastoral Care and Evangelization.”
This new leadership position unites the Office of Chapel Ministry, the Priestly Discernment Program, the Office of Evangelization, and the Christian Outreach Office under one administrative department, Father Sheridan said, noting that recent growth at Franciscan University made the restructuring both necessary and desirable.
“We have seen continued growth in our pastoral care of students and in our internal and external evangelization programs. Bringing together these programs—which impact thousands of lives both on campus and off—will strengthen our ability to bring Christ and to be Christ to our students and to our culture,” Father Sheridan said. He added that students, staff, faculty, and friars also confirmed the importance and growing need for this administrative change.
Father Malavolti, who came to Franciscan University in summer 2013 as vice president of Community Relations, said he will draw inspiration for his new role from the words and actions of Pope Francis, especially his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, “The Joy of the Gospel.”
“Pope Francis is showing us that ongoing conversion is about bringing Christ to the people we live with and seek to serve. My role is to help Father Sheridan kindle the flames of evangelization in all of us and create a team that will provide the best pastoral care possible for our students and inspirational programming for the tens of thousands we reach through our summer conferences, as well as other forms of spiritual support for every member of our University family.”
Effective June 1, 2014, Father Malavolti will direct the work of the following ministries and programs:
The Office of Chapel Ministry, which coordinates 20 weekday Masses attended by over 700 students daily, as well as eucharistic adoration in the Portiuncula Chapel, confession four times a week, and many prayer services and para-liturgies;
The Priestly Discernment Program, which helps young men attending Franciscan University discern and prepare for the priesthood. In the past seven years alone, more than 76 program graduates have entered seminary or a religious order;
The Office of Evangelization, which organizes the monthly Festival of Praise, SonLife, Praise and Worship, Born of the Spirit Retreats, and many other spiritual outreaches to students;
The Christian Outreach Office, which reaches 45,000 youth, young adults, and adults annually through evangelistic conferences held in Steubenville and across the country.
Father Malavolti completed his PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1986. While working as a research chemist, he discerned a call to the priesthood and the Third Order Regular Franciscans in 2000. He was ordained in 2005 and served as a chemistry professor and chaplain at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, before coming to Franciscan University.
The Community Relations Office will continue to serve the greater Ohio Valley under the leadership of Michael Hernon, vice president of Advancement.