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McCafferty family members organize first Father Mike Run

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Notre Dame students, faculty and administrators will lace up their running shoes Saturday to honor the memory and contributions of Father Michael Dillon McCafferty in the first-ever Father Mike Run. The run will be held in conjunction with the Fr. Mike Show on Friday, a sketch comedy and talent show produced by Notre Dame Law School students.McCafferty was serving on the law school faculty when he died at the age of 40 in 1987 of lymphatic cancer. He was a ‘triple Domer’ having received a bachelor’s degree in government and international studies in 1969, a juris doctor in 1973 and a master’s degree in theology in 1974 from the University. He was ordained a priest in 1974, and he was appointed assistant dean of the law school in 1979 after joining the law school faculty in 1978. He was also responsible for the Sunday evening Law School Liturgies, and he was even a finalist to succeed University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh as University President before his death.The run is a three-mile race that snakes through campus, beginning and ending at Notre Dame Stadium. Registration for the event can be done online by e-mailing bveith@nd.edu or by showing up at the stadium at 9 a.m. Saturday morning.The Father Mike Run was started by members of his own family, off-campus junior Brian Veith, Welsh Family sophomore Tricia Cronin and Farley freshman Courtney Dorger. Veith is McCafferty’s nephew while Cronin and Dorger are his nieces. Six other of McCafferty’s 22 nieces and nephews are Notre Dame graduates.Veith said many of their family members will participate. “We felt we should get something together to celebrate all of [McCafferty’s] gifts,” Veith said. Veith said he hoped at least 200 people will show up.”We realize that it might start small,” Veith said. “Hopefully, we get the snowball rolling and maybe it will just get bigger.”Veith, Dorger, and Cronin also expressed that they intend for the run to become a yearly event. “It is nice to have a potential tradition to remember him,” Veith said.Because most current students are not familiar with McCafferty, Dorger viewed the event as a way to introduce him to a new generation of students.”I think it’s nice that someone like that is still going to be recognized,” she said.Veith, Dorger, and Cronin were all very young when their uncle died and they see the run as a way to become closer to him”We never actually got to know him personally,” Cronin said.Univesity administrators, including University President Father John Jenkins, Senior Executive Assistant and counselor to the President father Jim McDonald and Law School Dean Patricia O’Hara, all lent their support in organizing the event, Veith said.