March 13, 2015

Be Our Guest / John D. Short

Father Hesburgh leaves legacy of devoted priesthood, friendship to many

On Wednesday, March 4, I joined thousands of University of Notre Dame alumni, friends and religious leaders, including our own Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, on the Notre Dame campus to remember Holy Cross Father Ted Hesburgh, who died on Feb. 26 at 97.

Our family held a special friendship with Father Ted since the 1970s. He reminded us often of the Gospel message of faith, hope and love.

As worldly as his life was in service to God, country and Notre Dame, at the end of the day his priesthood and devoted friendship define his legacy.

He traveled often to Indianapolis. Bill McGowan, Class of 1957, or I would always meet him at his Notre Dame plane on the runway to drive him to appointments and dinners. Those will always be our favorite memories—driving around Indianapolis sharing stories with Father Ted.

I’ll never forget a drive to Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, as he told me that he’d just flown in from Boston, having just been elected chairman of the Harvard Board of Overseers. He was incredulous they would want a Catholic priest.

My final visit to see him was in the fall of 2014. As we gazed at the Golden Dome from the window in his library office, we reminisced about our families and friends and offered a prayer. He also gave me his blessing.

Father Ted is such a rare treasure for our Church, my own family and our beloved Notre Dame. God bless him.

We have to work harder to serve others, just as he did over his 97 years on this Earth.
 

(John D. Short is a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis and a 1974 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.)

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