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viewpoint

Our 2020 moment

| Friday, August 21, 2020

Dear students,

Our moment in the midst of this pandemic has arrived. It’s a moment that we never went looking for, but it’s our moment, nonetheless. Faced with a surge in COVID-positive cases during the early weeks of the fall semester, we are once again facing the possibility of returning home for remote instruction. How will you respond?

Sometimes the best teacher in life is failure. I wish we as humans would heed warnings and learn from others without the pain brought on by failure, but that is rarely the case. We tell ourselves things like “I’m the exception” or “These rules don’t apply to me.” This is a rationalization that may ease our conscience, but it doesn’t alter the reality of the challenges we face.

As Notre Dame students, you might find this rationalization particularly tempting. Family, friends and mentors have been rather proud of your accomplishments to date. You’ve been made to feel special, unique, gifted and a rare find. In fact, that’s likely how the University of Notre Dame recruited you to join this community. This was the special place where your special talents could flourish.

While this is still true, let me offer a word of caution: Talent can be squandered if it is solely in service to oneself. The moment mentioned earlier, the one I defined as our moment, is the realization that true talent is fully expressed by using our collective abilities for the good of others. To spend time not thinking about what we can get, but what we can offer.

Right now, this community has no need for people trying to live college as if COVID isn’t happening. Instead, we need thoughtful men and women who creatively find new ways to foster community, support those who are anxious, love those who’ve made past mistakes and help get this semester back on track. This is our moment.

In Notre Dame,

Fr. Pete McCormick, C.S.C.  

Director of Campus Ministry

Aug. 19

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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