Catholic Charismatic Leader Mike Scanlan Dies at 85

Fr. Mike Scanlan
Fr. Mike Scanlan (Courtesy/Franciscan University of Steubenville)

Fr. Mike Scanlan, a major leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal, died Saturday. He was 85.

"He had this gut intuition, supernatural in its origin," theologian and Franciscan professor Scott Hahn said. "He fathered more than 12 tribes like Jacob—students, faculty, being accessible for spiritual direction and confession, and laying hands on anyone who desired it. ... He was a man of prayer, and this was a spillover."

Scanlan presided over Franciscan University of Steubenville from 1974-2000. 

"During his tenure as president from 1974-2000, his ideas, guided by the Holy Spirit, turned things around at the struggling College of Steubenville and led to its prominence as Franciscan University of Steubenville," the university's current president, Fr. Sean O. Sheridan, said.

Catholic News Service called Scanlan the architect of Steubenville's revival. 

George Weigel, the distinguished senior fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, called Father Scanlan "a dynamo of evangelical energy who knew that the renewal of Catholic higher education was a critical component of the new evangelization."

"His personal witness, exuberant manner of life, and ability to communicate the Gospel in a joyful way made major contributions, not only to Franciscan University, but to the entire Catholic Church in the United States—indeed, to the World Church," Weigel continued in the university's release. 

In 2000, Scanlan was named the university's first chancellor. In 2011, he was named president-emeritus. 

"The Lord has given me countless blessings through my years of service at Franciscan University," Scanlan said upon his retirement, according to the university release. "It has been a remarkable privilege and deep joy to work with so many committed Christian faculty, staff, administrators and donors in the vitally important ministry of Catholic higher education."

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