Madonna to host first annual Mission and Heritage Week Oct. 1-10

By Mimi Whetstone

Madonna University is honored to announce its first annual “Mission and Heritage Week,” taking place on campus Oct. 1-10.

“A similar celebration regarding mission and heritage will take place across North America at all Felician-sponsored ministries,” said Madonna University President Sister Rose Marie Kujawa. “That include colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, high schools, child care centers, homes or schools for the disabled and other supportive ministries.”

Although this is the first time that all of the Felician Sisters-sponsored institutions will be celebrating, each year it will take place during the first week of October, and will include such feasts as that of St. Francis of Assisi, Oct. 4, and of Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska, foundress of the Felician Sisters, Oct. 10.

“What an array of events,” said  Sister Julie Weckwerth, vice president of Mission Integration for Felician Services, Inc.  “Prayer, acts of charity, the works of justice, life issues, the blessings of God’s creatures—I wish I could be there. What a splendid week of celebration of how God has blessed us.”

The week’s events will begin Friday, Oct. 1, with the Blessing of the Animals at 6 p.m. in the St. Frances Gazebo and conclude the weekend on Sunday, Oct. 3, with the Alumni Day Mass at noon in the University Chapel. Following the service, National Life Chain, a nation-wide 90-minute prayer for pro-life, will take place from 2-3:30 pm.

The events will continue on St. Frances’ Day—Monday, Oct. 4—when the Prayer of St. Frances will be recited nation-wide at 10:04 am, followed by Mass at 11:30 in the University Chapel. These events will kick off a week-long food, shoe and towel drive to benefit Canticle CafÈ in Detroit, a hospitality ministry of Saint Aloysius Parish.

“Of course, we welcome any and all donations,” said Sister Anita Marie Taddonio, director in the Office of Campus Ministry, “but we are particularly looking for donations of men’s shoes. Doctors are forced to treat several cases of frost bite in our area throughout the winter, so shoes are a very important donation to make.”

Throughout the day, a DVD of Brother Al Mascia, OFM, performing his original inspirational songs for the homeless can be seen between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. in the Franciscan Center Gathering Area.

Festivities will progress Wednesday, Oct. 6 with a tour of the BVM Central Convent (formerly the Motherhouse) at 1 p.m.. and a Prayer before Blessed Sacrament in the University Chapel 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7.

“There’s a really good balance within the events this year,” Sr. Taddonio said. “I think everyone who attends an event will have a wonderful, spiritual experience.”

Finishing Thursday’s events will be a presentation and used book donation drop-off for Invisible Children, an organization which helps war-affected children in east Africa, using the power of the media to inspire young people to get involved.

“I really want to try and attend the Invisible Children event,” said Pastoral Studies major Becky Juntunen. “I grew up in the church and I’ve always been interested in outreach and multi-cultural missions.”

The week will conclude with a Community Gathering for Faculty and Staff in the Franciscan Center Friday, Oct. 8, and the Feast Day of Blessed Mary Angela on Sunday, Oct. 10. The final celebration will begin with Mass at 9 a.m., immediately followed by the Presentation of the BVM Chapel and finish with a cider and donuts reception in DeSales Hall, below the University Chapel.

“Campus Ministry will be distributing a brochure and otherwise, making announcements about the various events which will comprise Mission and Heritage Week,” Sr. Kujawa said. “We hope this is a time of enrichment for our entire University community.”