* Every Monday night this fall semester, a few larger worship service at Winebrenner Theological Seminary, a smaller group of University of Findlay students had met at the campus Christian Ministries House to study the Bible’s Book of John. More specifically, they’re interested in Jesus’ various nicknames and aliases included in that part of the scripture, such as “True Vine” and “Bread of Life.”
But “Immerse,” as the group has coined itself, is merely one of many Christian-based clubs at UF which, according to the numbers, are experiencing an uptick in interest and membership, according to Matthew Ginter, associate director of Campus Ministry, which helps connect and create volunteer opportunities for Christ-centered student worship, ministry, service and study. Resulting are plenty of opportunities for involvement, including chances to assume leadership roles.
“I’d say things have incrementally grown over the past few years. It’s pretty wide-reaching,” said Ginter regarding the variety of Christian groups and their membership. When he arrived on campus in fall 2010, he said there were no more than three groups like Immerse that were active. “Over the past three years it’s gone from 12 to 18 groups” that involve approximately 150 students total, he estimated.
The increasing interest in Christian worship and learning on campus has historical precedent. The University of Findlay was founded in 1882 by Christian leaders. Initially named Findlay College by the Churches of Christ, General Counsel (which was then Churches of God in North America), the college’s walls began rising the next year. Following a few setbacks, Old Main, built with brick and lumber made and grown within the region, finally opened in 1886. The founders, drawing upon their service-oriented persuasions that were based on their religious convictions, established the institution as a teaching school.
* Bishop Daniel E. Thomas will open the Holy Door of Mercy at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral at the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday, December 13, when all Holy Doors in the Diocese of Toledo will be opened.
The Rite of the Opening of the Holy Door of Mercy at Rosary Cathedral (2535 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo) will begin with a procession from the Monsignor Bernard Smith Auditorium to the Cathedral, entering through the side entrance nearest Collingwood. The media TV/photo location will be the Islington Road side entrance of the Cathedral nearest Collingwood.
Bishop Thomas has designated three other Holy Doors of Mercy in the Diocese of Toledo along with Rosary Cathedral. They are the Basilica & National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue and Divine Mercy Parish in Paulding.
A holy door or porta sancta was first used in the 15th century as a ritualistic expression of conversion. Pilgrims and penitents pass through a Holy Door as a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace. This ritual is associated with prayer, pilgrimage, sacrifice, confession and indulgences.
* Pope Francis on Tuesday marked the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church by opening the Holy Door in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.
Traditionally, every 25 or 50 years the Holy Father proclaims a holy year, which features special celebrations and pilgrimages, emphatic calls for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments, especially confession. Extraordinary holy years, like the Year of Mercy, are less frequent, but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth.
The biblical theme chosen for the Jubilee Year of Mercy is “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” from the Gospel of Luke.