Mass celebrated in gratitude to Building Services workers
Mike Dugan | Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Tuesday evening, Fr. Pete McCormick celebrated Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The Mass was held in celebration and gratitude for those who work in Building Services at Notre Dame and was co-sponsored by the Senior Class Council, Campus Ministry and the student government department of faith and service.
Senior Emily McAuliffe, co-chair of the Senior Class Council faith and service committee, said that the Senior Class Council was moved to put on the event after reading a letter to the editor lamenting the death of 57-year-old Michael Amadek, a Notre Dame custodian who died in the driver’s seat of his car in the library parking lot on Thursday, Sept. 20, after reporting that he felt unwell.
“After the death of Michael, we felt that we should recognize this part of the community who is usually not given the full recognition that they deserve,” McAuliffe said. “We thought a Mass would be a good way to show our gratitude and thank those members of Building Services and also remember Michael.”
Senior Bridget Moroney, the other co-chair of the Senior Class Council faith and service committee, credited the letter to the editor with bringing to light issues pertaining to the inclusion of Building Services within the Notre Dame community.
“[The letter to the editor in] The Observer … made a really good point about [being] much more cognizant of who we’re considering a part of the Notre Dame family,” Moroney said. “We [the Senior Class Council] want to make it known to everyone at Notre Dame that people that work in Building Services are absolutely a part of the family and that they need to be celebrated just as much as any student is.”
Moroney also credited sophomore Aaron Benavides, student government director of faith and service, with generating the idea.
“Aaron had been talking with Campus Ministry about wanting to do something. … We talked with him after one our executive chairs sent us The Observer article, and then it came together with Campus Ministry, student government and Senior Class Council,” Moroney said.
McCormick, who serves as director of Campus Ministry and presided over the mass, began his three-minute homily by reflecting on the day’s readings from scripture. He stated that all individuals should be treated with dignity, and urged those in attendance to consider how they were acting in their daily lives.
“We should be far more concerned with is how it is that we are living in this present moment — in this time and place,” McCormick said. “The Gospels are clear — do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s a simple rule for us; treat others with the dignity that they have been given unto them by God. Keep the simple things the focus and allow that to transform you.”
McCormick continued to praise the work that custodial workers do and draw attention to the lack of recognition given to them for their day-to-day work.
“We recognize … today, a moment where we celebrate our custodial workers on campus — people who by-and-large serve faithfully and do so in a way that does not draw attention to themselves,” McCormick said. “The only time we really pay attention is when things are out of place and, let’s be perfectly honest, how often is that, in fact, the case? We look around the beauty of this Basilica; we don’t see the hard-working men and women who come in here to tend to this space and this place on a daily basis. We just assume it to be this way.”
McCormick challenged those attending the Mass to reflect upon the way that different classes of workers are regarded, and to act upon the notion that all men and women share a common human dignity.
“It goes back to this understanding: what would our world look like if we treated each and every person with the dignity that they deserve — if we didn’t get caught up in the uniform and title that they had, but instead recognized that which is common amongst us all? And that is the inherent dignity God has given us,” McCormick said. “Because, while I cannot fully stand here and confess to understand the vastness of what God has in store, I can guarantee to us that each person will be adorned with the ring of affection that our loving God has for them. So, why not begin to look upon this world, and act upon that very reality?”