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A Lenten reminder: Father Ted

| Thursday, March 5, 2015

Walking through Father Ted’s wake on Tuesday evening with Howard Hall, I took note of all the deep purple Lenten decorations around the Basilica. Colors that remind a person of royalty, deep emotions and the majesty of Christ and the humility we must feel in His presence. Those colors meant something more as I slowly crept toward the altar, surrounded by hundreds waiting to pay their respects and acknowledge the spirit of a man who changed lives as well as this university. Waves of emotion came over me, praying, asking God to bless Notre Dame as we move forward, a family grieving and grappling with the reality of an immense loss.

But then God spoke to me, through the deep purples and throngs of people. For a moment, I remembered the purpose of the Lenten season. The time before Easter is to be of sacrifice and remembrance of Christ’s suffering for our salvation. And in this moment of contemplation, God showed me that it was only right that Father Ted should pass away at this time of year. Father Ted made this university what it is today, and without him, we give up, we sacrifice, something we depended on immensely as a university and as a Catholic community. Remember, we do not always sacrifice something that negatively affects us during Lent. With Lenten sacrifice, there is another purpose: growth.

Lent allows new direction, self-reflection and a building of self-reliance in one’s relationship with both Christ and the Church. This year, as the University goes through the curriculum review, we have asked of ourselves who are we as a Catholic research university and where do we see ourselves going? Who do we want to be in light of the legacy of Father Ted, but also as a university without him? Father Ted, at the beginning of his career here, had to ask himself those same questions as he transformed Notre Dame. In his physical absence, we must ask ourselves the same question. So as we move forward, let us remember Father Ted, his sacrifice and our self-reflection and growth. Perhaps this is our Lenten reminder from God that there is no coincidence. May Father Ted Rest in Peace.

Elise Murray
Howard Hall

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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