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Keough freshman remembered in dorm mass

Claire Heininger | Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Dan Kish, the 19-year old Notre Dame freshman who died early Saturday morning from heart surgery complications, was living on “borrowed time.”But he made the most of a life that he knew could be short, Keough rector Father Peter Jarret said during a memorial Mass held for Kish in the dorm’s chapel Tuesday night.”Coming to Notre Dame was probably a risk” for Kish, who received a heart transplant when he was a sophomore at Penn High School in Mishawaka and knew he would soon need another, Jarret said. But in Kish’s mind, it was a risk worth taking.”Living in a cocoon probably would have been easier, but Dan didn’t want to do that,” Jarret said. Instead, he came to the University and formed close relationships that left lasting impressions on his roommates, section mates and other friends, Jarret said.”Dan may have had a failing physical heart, but he had a big and … faithful heart,” Jarret said. And though Kish’s death left a void in the hearts of many of those who knew him, Jarret said, “heaven makes that whole.”A small but emotional crowd attended the Mass, co-celebrated by Jarret and Father Mark Poorman, vice president for Student Affairs. Some students shed tears, others held hands and many lingered afterward for a trip to the Grotto to light candles in Kish’s memory.Because members of Kish’s family held their own vigil Tuesday night and did not attend the Mass, Jarret expressed “deep gratitude” on their behalf. Kish has two brothers – Jeff, who is a senior at Notre Dame, and Tim, a 2004 graduate – and a sister, Alissa. “It was impossible not to come away from [Dan Kish’s wake] without a clear sense of their profound gratitude and sense of peace for what Dan experienced in his short time here,” Jarret said. “[They recognized] that a … successful, full life … is that he loved and that people loved him back. They are at peace and they believe Dan is at peace.”