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Francis Chikwado Onwuchulum, who grew up in Onitsha, Nigeria, enjoys his breakfast on one side of an Acton University table. He is now a seminarian at the Sedes Sapientiae International Seminary and currently studies theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. This is Francis’ first Acton University, In describing the importance of Acton University, Francis says that a priest has two vocational callings. The first call leads him to priesthood, the second to his specific mission once he becomes a priest. After his ordination, Francis plans to teach at a university in Nigeria. He praises the quality of lectures, integration of ideas and diversity of thought at Acton University.

On the other side of the table sits Mark Lauer. Hailing from Detroit, Mark did not have to travel quite as far as Francis. Less than a month previously, Mark retired after 34 years in sales and marketing at General Motors. Unlike Francis, Mark has been involved with the Acton Institute for over 20 years.

He has lost count of the number of times he has attended Acton University but returns each year because he recognizes the constant need to fight against the notions that the free market is inherently immoral. Mark understands Acton’s mission at a deeply personal level. “You can’t use a religious argument with an atheist,” he notes. “And you can’t use an economic argument with a religious.”

This table is a micro Acton University: the young seminarian and the retired businessman sharing why the Acton Institute is indispensable to both of their missions.