Notre Dame clubs honor Fr. Hesburgh
Rachel O'Grady | Thursday, March 19, 2015
Over the past several weeks, Notre Dame clubs throughout the United States hosted memorial services honoring the late University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh.
“We are blessed to have the largest base of alumni in the country, and since not all of them could make it back to campus for the funeral and tribute, we thought it important to do something in the city,” Lauren McCallick, club manager of the Notre Dame Club of Chicago and 2011 graduate, said.
The Chicago club held a memorial service March 11 at Old Saint Patrick’s Church, where 2002 Master of Arts graduate Fr. Thomas Hurley is a pastor.
“Mass really was a celebration of Fr. Ted’s life,” McCallick said. “There were a few tears during the ceremony, particularly when the musicians played ‘An Irish Blessing’ and then the Alma Mater after Communion, but it really was more of a celebration of Fr. Ted.”
Over 80 alumni were in attendance, many volunteering to read or present gifts.
Fr. Gene Smith gave a homily sharing a letter he received from Hesburgh about being a priest, McCallick said.
“I wasn’t close to Fr. Ted, but I did have the honor of getting to meet him my senior year,” she said. “A few of us in the Center for Social Concerns’ Discernment Seminar got to meet him during our Spring Semester. He blessed all of us in his office and took pictures with us in front of his magnificent view of campus.”
From 200 t0 250 alumni attended a memorial service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Notre Dame Club of Washington, D.C. vice president and 2004 graduate Brian Adams said.
“(The) mood was sad yet celebratory,” he said.
The Notre Dame Club of Long Island did not host an event but cancelled its usual meeting the night of the funeral and wake, allowing members to pay their respects and watch the live stream, club treasurer and 2001 graduate John Pennacchio said.
“Here on Long Island, we were saddened by the news, but we feel the e-mail communications by the university were timely, respectful, and poignant,” Pennacchio said.
The club still hopes to recognize Hesburgh on a smaller scale at its upcoming Universal Notre Dame Celebration, where it will observe a moment of silence to honor him.