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Mass mourns former student

Teresa Fralish | Monday, November 24, 2003

About 100 students, family members and friends gathered Sunday in the O’Neill Hall Chapel for a memorial Mass in honor of former Notre Dame student Brian Berg, who was found dead Nov. 1.

“We gather here today to mourn the loss of Brian Berg, someone who was close to us, who was a part of our family. It is also a day to remember him and all the joy he brought into our lives,” said Father Jay Steele, rector of Morissey Hall.

Berg, who spent the Fall 2002 semester studying in the London Program before police said he committed suicide over three weeks ago in Bloomington, Ind., withdrew from the University last spring and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.

In his homily, Steele talked about the time he first met Berg during the summer he spent working in Morissey Hall. At that time, both Steele and Annie Moranski, Berg’s former girlfriend, were involved in the Notre Dame Vocational Initiative program, a part of Campus Ministry at Notre Dame.

“He was very diligent in his work,” said Steele, who did not know Berg very well at the time. “One afternoon there was a knock at the door.”

After seeing Moranski serve as an NDVI counselor, Berg became interested in the program as well and approached Steele about being involved.

“He could see her transforming before his eyes. … He wanted that for himself,” Steele said.

At the end of the Mass, Moranski reflected back on how she came to know Berg.

“When I met Brian on the third day of freshman orientation, I never knew the effect he would have on my life,” she said. “Brian made the ordinary extraordinary. [He] had a way of filling my heart with joy and happiness.”

Funeral services for Berg were held Nov. 5 at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in his hometown of Wheaton, Ill.