Notre Dame community honors Daniel Kim in memorial Mass
Notre Dame students and staff and members of the Congregation of Holy Cross filled the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Monday night for a memorial Mass celebrating the life of Daniel Kim, a sophomore in the Mendoza College of Business who died last week.
University President Fr. John Jenkins presided over the Mass. University Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding and student body president Lauren Vidal presented readings from the books of Lamentations and Romans, respectively.
In his homily, Director of Campus Ministry Fr. Pete McCormick, Kim’s former rector in Keough Hall, described Kim’s loyalty to his friends, his love of fencing and his endearing self-confidence.
“I had the good fortune of being Daniel’s rector his freshman year in Keough Hall, and I will save you the suspense: He was not perfect, but then again, none of us are, and I certainly am not,” McCormick said. “So that makes us one and the same.
“During our time together, I observed incredible characteristics of this young man. Daniel cared about his friends and was immensely loyal to them, and I know because his friends are sitting right here in the front row.
“In addition to his loyalty, in addition to his friendship, he had this incredible capacity to listen. His humility was uncanny. He would listen; he would hear out what I had to say, and we had good and meaningful conversations.
“One of the defining characteristics of Daniel was his strong sense of self-confidence. In one of my multiple conversations with him, we would sometimes talk about sports, and some of you may know this, or you may not, but he was quite a fencer.
“Daniel would say to me, ‘Hey, have you ever heard of so-and-so?’ And I would say, ‘No, I don’t know much about fencing, so I’m sorry.’ And he would say, ‘Well, that’s not really important,’ and then he’d go on to list [the fencer’s] characteristics and abilities and whatnot, and then he’d say, ‘I can beat him.’
“And I believed him. He said it with a certain look in his eye that said, ‘I’m not lying to you, Mr. Priest.’”
McCormick asked those in attendance to do two things: to commend Kim’s soul to God and to offer praise and thanksgiving for the gift of life.
“The second thing we need to do well is to praise the Lord, to call to mind that life is not guaranteed and even in the most mundane moments, it is still a precious gift,” he said.
“You know, seeing our own mortality, we are embarking on a different level, oftentimes brings about and visits the deeper questions of life,” McCormick said. “How do I live out my own values? Are my actions consistent with what I hope for myself? How will I use my time that I have been given to answer these questions?
“Lean into these questions. Do not back away from these questions. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know the answer or if you don’t like what you see.”
All dorm masses were cancelled Monday night so that students, hall staff and rectors would be able to attend the memorial; several dorms led walkovers to the Basilica.