A Fellow Reflection

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Oh the Grotto… I can’t believe it’s been a year since I said my final goodbye at the candlelight ceremony.

In light of the events occurring on campus, fellow Dillonite Dan Tostado has written about tonight’s ceremony and how Fr. Jenkins was received by a majority of the student body.

And our hearts forever…
There’s a buzz in my room. This is true. Everyday, I hear through my closed window, the buzz of a plane flying overhead. This plane is flying low, and toting a huge banner of a graphic image of an aborted baby. I am aware, perhaps hyperactively, of the amount of social divide that this decision has been to invite Obama to speak at Notre Dame.

A re-cap for all those unaware (those who know can skip this paragraph.) On campus, there’s been the biggest amount of protesting and counter-protesting, discerning the subject of whether President Obama can or should come to speak at the ND commencement ceremony. On the corner of Notre Dame Ave, there’s the sign-holders protesting to the cars. There’s hundreds of passionate letters written to the ND newspaper. There’s alumni who denounce the school and have severed ties with Notre Dame because of this. There’s a crazy pro-life protester named Randall Terry who puts on a bloody Obama mask and chases children, who has given us such quotes as “This place will be a circus” and “Hate is good”. There’s been pressure on our University President, Father John Jenkins, to step down for inviting Obama to speak.

So, as I sang for the Senior week last visit to the Grotto, I got to see the reaction of the senior class towards our University President Jenkins. Every year the senior class gets to award some important figure with the “Fellows Award”, and this year they awarded it to Father Jenkins. When he got up to speak to the class, they applauded. The class of 2009 applauded Father Jenkins for a solid 60 seconds. That was one of the most significant things I’ve witnessed on campus. Here, crammed in the Basilica, are all the holy-rollers who attend Mass and are most likely to be anti-Jenkins and anti-Obama. Yet, they validate Jenkins in such a deeply meaningful way.

This night, though I am not a senior, was so powerful to witness. I can see why people love Notre Dame, why they bend over backwards as alumni to stick up for and support Notre Dame. Notre Dame is truly something greater than just a top 20 university, or any old Catholic university. What I saw tonight was integrity of the senior class to support both their Presidents, in a chaotic time of recession, unnecessary panic that gripped ND when (now) two students contracted swine flu, in a new era that ushers in a bright young President who happens to be black. The world is on fire right now, and the ND class of 2009 chose to stand up for what they believe.

The night ended in the grotto, with what’s probably become my favorite song, the Notre Dame alma mater.

And our hearts forever
Love thee Notre Dame

So now we know how the graduating seniors feel at least. Thanks for writing a wonderful reflection. And congrats and good luck this weekend!
smallheap.jpg image by jmooser
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