January 21, 2019 STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—At the campus-wide Mass to open the spring 2019 semester on January 14, Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, announced a renewed commitment of Franciscan University as a “faithful, orthodox Catholic university” during his homily. He also invited all those present at Mass—students, staff, administrators, and faculty—who wanted to reaffirm their commitment to the University’s orthodox, Catholic mission, to join him as he renewed the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity he made when he assumed the office of president in 2013. Both actions came in the wake concerns raised in recent months about the Catholic mission of the University. In his homily, Father Sheridan said, “Critics of Franciscan University have accused us of compromising our Catholic mission and witness. Is anyone here perfect? No. Do people here make mistakes? Yes. But, our particular Franciscan charism is rooted in ongoing conversion. And we resolve to continue to do better every day.”Father Sheridan also announced the development of an ongoing initiative, since named the Committee on Fidelity and Mission Integration, “to advance higher education within our entire faithful, orthodox Catholic university.”“It is important to remember that Catholic identity should thoroughly pervade our teaching, research, and all other activities pursuant to which the University advances its mission,” Father Sheridan said. “And it is the responsibility of everyone to advance the University’s Catholic identity. It is the responsibility of us all to strive for unity within the University we all love.”While the Committee on Fidelity and Mission Integration is in the planning stages, Father Sheridan said he hopes “to draw on the rich tradition already established here at Franciscan University, but also to join with other faithful, orthodox Catholics involved in higher education so that we might learn from each other and challenge each other in these days when courageous Catholics need to stand up for Truth. The Holy Spirit empowered Mary and the Apostles to proclaim the Gospel. We Spirit-filled disciples must also boldly proclaim the Truth of the Gospel—the teaching of the Church.”Following his homily, Father Sheridan returned to the altar to renew his Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity and invited the entire congregation to join him. Although Father Sheridan and all those required to do so by Canon Law had previously taken the oath and made the profession—including Franciscan’s theology faculty, administrators, trustees, and those in pastoral ministry—hundreds of people ranging in age from college freshmen to employees near retirement joined him. Together, they recited the words projected on large screens, beginning with the Nicene Creed and followed by a series of pledges, among them “to firmly accept and hold each and every thing definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.” Placing his hand on the Book of the Gospels, Father Sheridan concluded with the words, “So help me God, and God’s Holy Gospels on which I place my hand.” He then entrusted the University to the Blessed Mother, leading the congregation in singing the Salve Regina. The ceremony was conducted with the permission of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton. The complete prayers for the profession and oath, including the history of its implementation at Franciscan University can be found on the Franciscan University website. Video of Father Sheridan’s homily and the Oath of Fidelity can be viewed above.