This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to attend a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, IN with 2 of my nieces and a nephew. Although the game’s final outcome was not what we were hoping for, the whole experience at Notre Dame is special and one-of-a-kind. As we were walking around the campus, it was impossible to miss the Catholicity. From the crucifixes to the Blessed Mother on the dome, from the many religious statues to the lawn signs announcing times for masses and confessions, their Catholic Identity message was anything but subtle.
Another amazing part of the weekend was the University of Notre Dame’s Marching Band. Their half time show was dedicated to the military. They played the march for each branch of the military, formed the name of that branch on the field, and asked any active or retired member to stand during their anthem. The total respect and admiration that the University and all the fans in the stadium showed to the military was heart warming, inspirational, and powerful.
Another incredible part to this experience was that at least 3 times during the game – actually during the TV time outs on the field – the public address announcer let the crowd know that Saturday night mass would take place 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game. These masses were in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, and in a number of the dorm chapels. Thousands of people streamed towards these places of worship after the game. My family and I were lucky enough to squeeze into the Basilica with at least 1000 other fans and were part of a wonderful experience of worship and praise.
Notre Dame was not supposed to lose the game against Duke, and although that is what the score board showed when time ran out, the total experience was a winner. The Catholic message is loud and clear on that campus. The warm and friendly students, ushers, workers, coaches (we met Muffet McGraw, head women’s basketball coach), and fans made the weekend nothing less than perfect, despite the final score! Notre Dame wins every time because they keep the main things the main things. Go Irish! Go Warriors!