Convocation 10/11/2017: Father Edwin Leahy and Mike Donehey

Wow. That was a good convo. It wasn’t just good, it was probably one of the most inspirational convocations that I have ever witnessed. It was so good, that I actually don’t have anything negative to say about today’s speakers (and that never happens).

I will look at each of the speakers in turn starting with Mike Donehey, lead singer of Tenth Avenue North. Donehey led an amazing worship during convo, however it was his final song that I felt made his performance special. His last song perfectly set up and led into Leahy’s speech, which really prepared us for the 60 minutes clips and Leahy’s message.

Our main speaker of the day was Father Edwin Leahy,  a Catholic monk and the headmaster at Saint Benedict’s Prep school in Newark, NJ. Leahy reopened the prep school after it closed in response to white flight and the race riots that occurred in Newark (and most other major cities) in the 60’s. His school, which operates on a unique student-led approach, has been extremely successful in an area (inner-city education) that often has low success rates. In his message, Leahy listed some of the principles that he believes are responsible for this success. I will look at a couple of these points which I found especially interesting.

One point by Leahy that I found interesting were his comments on community. Leahy believes that one of the reasons that his school is successful is because it creates a community. In the last couple of decades, the level of community that we experience as a society had decreased (I can’t really talk. I live on east, where community goes to die). How many of us know our neighbors or our neighbor’s neighbors? Personally, I probably only know the names of 10 people out of the 60 or so in my entire dorm building. While the importance of community can be debated, it was interesting to hear Leahy talk about its relevance to educational success.
Another interesting point that Leahy made was his statements on the importance of mental health. Leahy argued that before people can effectively learn, their mental and emotional wounds must first be healed. Putting aside the importance of this statement to education, I thought it was interesting to hear this comment from a Christian leader. It is common within the church and the Christian community to claim that all mental health and emotional hurt issues are simply spiritual issues. I have been personally told by two Liberty professors that one can’t be both a Christian and be depressed. While spirituality/religion may be a panacea for mental health issues for some people, for many it is not. To blame serious mental health issues, such as depression, on a lack of faith ignores those who struggle with these issue while within the faith and the church. It was refreshing to hear a Christian leader talk about the importance of mental and emotional health.

Completely arbitrary convo score: 9 skinny-jeans out of 10.

Bible Verses Quoted: 1

Total Bible verses quoted all semesters: 43

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Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Liberty University leadership or administration in any way. The opinions expressed here are solely my own and should be not be taken as the opinion of the University, its staff, or the student body.

One thought on “Convocation 10/11/2017: Father Edwin Leahy and Mike Donehey

  1. Pingback: Convocation Fall 2017: A retrospective | Conversations about Convocation

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