Grotto, a place of silence
Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, September 16, 2009
One of my earliest memories at Notre Dame is a trip I took to the Grotto with my RA and fellow freshmen after my dorm’s first Mass. My RA told us that he had gone just about every Sunday since arriving at Notre .Dame, and explained that the Grotto was the one place he felt he could peacefully and silently pray and reflect. I have since returned to the Grotto nearly every Sunday night, and have come to call the area my favorite spot on campus.
When asked why, I simply say that it is where I feel close to God and that I have never found a quieter or more holy place at the University. I am writing to respectfully request that our campus community continues to honor the silent reverence of the Grotto.
Dating back to last spring, a group of students has begun to gather at night at the Grotto to pray the Rosary aloud, and I direct this letter to this group. While I wholeheartedly support your devotion to the Blessed Mother, I hope that you can understand that your increased devotion has come at the cost of the frustration of many others who visit the Grotto expecting silence. In my own recent trips, I have often found myself unable to focus, and I no longer find the serenity I once expected. As a friend, classmate, and fellow Domer, I ask that you please relocate your nightly devotion out of respect for the campus community.
If you wish to continue praying aloud at the Grotto, the Rosary is said daily at 6:45 p.m. Otherwise, please seek out a campus Chapel and help maintain the quiet prayer life of the Grotto. As the Campus Ministry and Liturgy Commissioner for Knott Hall, I would be glad to help arrange for you to use our Chapel. Most importantly, I hope you know that I fully support a healthy prayer life, and I greatly respect your intentions. All I ask is that you help others to maintain their prayer traditions as well.