The Catholicity of Ave Maria University was on center stage yesterday, as President Christopher Ice promised faithfulness to the Catholic Church, and all of her teachings. Our university family gathered outside the Prince Building to participate in Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank Dewane, of the Diocese of Venice. In the context of the Mass, President Ice made a Profession of Faith and took the Oath of Fidelity.
What does that mean, and why did he do it? The Code of Canon Law 833 states, “the rector of an ecclesiastical or Catholic university” is “obliged personally to make a profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See”. In making this profession and taking this oath, President Ice is declaring his full allegiance to the Catholic Church as the leader of Ave Maria University. In an age where it’s common for institutions to run away from their Catholic faith by picking and choosing what they want to believe, President Ice is promising, at the helm of AMU to never to go against the Church and to be forever faithful to her.
After communion, President Ice, with “firm faith” declared belief and profession of all “contained in the Symbol of the faith”. He recited the Creed, followed by a statement of assent to the Word of God, all definitively taught by the Catholic Church, and “religious submission of will and intellect” to the Pope or the College of Bishops, in their exercise of authentic Magisterium.
In taking the Oath of Fidelity, he declared: “in assuming the office of President of Ave Maria University, [I] promise that in my words and in my actions, I shall always preserve communion with the Catholic Church.” The rest of the Oath fleshed out the particulars of this promise, from being faithful to his duties to avoiding teachings contrary to the Church.
Afterwards, President Ice signed the two documents he had read from, and briefly spoke to those present. He remarked how many people in this world do not have God in their lives, evidenced by how many are completely paralyzed by fear right now. Speaking on the sanctity coming from suffering, he once again made known his desire to lead the Ave Maria University community to sainthood: “I desire for all of you to be saints.”
President Ice talked about the stark contrast of AMU versus many other places in the country; so many churches are still closed, and yet we find ourselves pressed to schedule another daily mass because of the demand. Joyfully, he announced 85% of Ave Maria University’s Class of 2020 reported to still be practicing their Catholic faith at the end of four years. He challenged the Class of 2024 to continue the trend of faithfulness by going even higher to 100%.
With great excitement, and devotion to Our Lady, President Ice concluded, saying, “The Church and the world needs Ave Maria University, and they need each of you.”
To read the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity in their entirety, visit https://bit.ly/31ppWw0
by: Anne-Marie Schlueter, ’20