Trautman’s last mass at Gannon as bishop
Gannon University students, faculty and staff were given the opportunity to attend Mass last week for the last time on campus with the Most Rev. Donald Trautman, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Erie.
Trautman submitted his resignation as bishop of Erie in June 2011, and a new bishop – the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico – was named on July 31. Persico will be installed as bishop of Erie on Oct. 1.
Not only is the bishop dear to the university because of his ongoing support of it as a Catholic institution, but he is also president of the university’s board of trustees. Because of his importance to the university, the administration saw it fit that the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit – the first official Thursday Mass of the school year – also serve as the bishop’s last Gannon Mass.
Trautman celebrated the Mass Thursday in the Yehl Ballroom, with a substantial congregation in attendance – almost every seat was filled.
Amanda Green, a senior accounting major, said she got really excited when she found out the bishop was going to be celebrating the Mass.
“A lot more people were there because it was the bishop’s last Mass,” she said, “and they were more dressed up than usual. The people that go to Mass really appreciate the bishop and what he does for Gannon.”
In addition to the usual elements of the Mass, two brief speeches were made in Trautman’s honor.
First, Linda Wagner, the vice president of finance and administration, spoke on behalf of Keith Taylor, Ph.D. and president of Gannon. She thanked Trautman for his 22 years of service to Erie and the university, and his “constant commitment to provide the best education at an affordable price.”
Wagner said Trautman will be appreciated and will not be forgotten.
Mark Jasowak, a junior philosophy major, spoke next on behalf of the Gannon students. He praised Trautman’s “extraordinary passion” for his priestly duties, and acknowledged that the vast majority of Gannon students have known no other bishop of Erie.
“On behalf of the student body,” Jasowak said in conclusion, “we love you.”
Green said Jasowak’s comments were perfect for the occasion. “He’s so reverent because he’s a seminarian,” she said. “He has reverence for the bishop.”
Green said it’s mostly the people at Gannon who are Catholic and attend Mass regularly who will notice Trautman’s absence, especially at the baccalaureate Mass in May.
In response to the remarks, Trautman joked that it almost sounded like a eulogy.
On a more serious note, he encouraged the members of the Gannon community to be grateful to God for their gifts and talents, and to take the opportunities they are given through the university.
“With the Lord you can conquer any obstacle,” Trautman said, “without him you can do nothing.”
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