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Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus of Notre Dame dies at age 97


The University of Notre Dame shared the following this morning:
“Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and one of the nation’s most influential figures in higher education, the Catholic Church, and national and international affairs, died at 11:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 26) at Holy Cross House adjacent to the University. He was 97.

‘We mourn today a great man and faithful priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame and touched the lives of many,’ said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. ‘With his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.

‘In his historic service to the nation, the Church and the world, he was a steadfast champion for human rights, the cause of peace and care for the poor.

‘Perhaps his greatest influence, though, was on the lives of generations of Notre Dame students, whom he taught, counseled and befriended.

‘Although saddened by his loss, I cherish the memory of a mentor, friend and brother in Holy Cross and am consoled that he is now at peace with the God he served so well.’"
(full story)


We, at Holy Cross Family Ministries, mourn his passing. Our priests and brothers of the Congregration of Holy Cross were privileged to serve with him. Many of us on staff had the opportunity to meet and work with him in theFrHesburghandStudents production of our documentary on Father Ted, “God, Country, Notre Dame: The Story of Father Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.”

Through this production, we not only learned about his amazing achievements and his impact on the world, but we also learned he was a faith-filled man of God who always had time for conversation with students, visitors, whomever stopped by his office or ran into him on campus.

We feel blessed to have been given the privilege to tell his story to those around the country and around the world. For clips of his amazing life documented in our video production:
be inspired .

We join his fellow members of Holy Cross, all those affiliated with the University of Notre Dame, and many around the world as we pray in gratitude for the life of Father Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.

May he rest in peace.

About the documentary:
‘God, Country, Notre Dame: The Story of Father Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C.’

Modern builder of Notre Dame, public servant, priest profiled
As Yankee Stadium is "The House that Ruth Built" so the modern Notre Dame is the university that Holy Cross Father Ted Hesburgh built during his 35-year presidency, the longest tenure so far. In addition to being an innovative leader in higher education who turned Notre Dame into the premier Catholic university in the world, he also rendered historic service to the United States through his presidential appointments, including crafting legislation granting civil and equal rights for all citizens and voting rights for 18 year olds. When asked how he wants to be remembered, the octogenarian is quick to answer, “Priest.”

His extraordinary life is examined in Family Theater Productions’ one-hour documentary, “God, Country, Notre Dame: The Story of Father Ted Hesburgh, CSC,” which premiered on The Hallmark Channel as a special presentation of Faith and Values Media.

FrHesburghBobNewhartFrPeytonThe Telly-Award-winning documentary and the available DVD were produced by Family Theater Productions, whose legendary founder Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, produced hundreds of radio and TV programs and coined the slogan, “The Family That Prays Together, Stays Together.”
Shot in true high definition with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, this program features interviews with Father Hesburgh and with all of the living former U.S. Presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, as well as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
The narrators are TV personality Regis Philbin, Notre Dame's outstanding alumnus; and actors Sean Astin (Sam in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and star of “Rudy” about a Notre Dame football walk-on) and Clarence Gilyard (co-star of "Walker Texas Ranger" and "Matlock").

The documentary looks at Father Hesburgh's life through three lenses:

  • Public servant: A courageous public servant serving on 16 presidential commissions and chairing the landmark Civil Rights Commission that crafted the legislation that went to Congress as the 1964 Omnibus Civil Rights Bill and the 1965 Voting Rights Act; in 1964 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson, and on July 13, 2000, President Clinton presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal.
  • Leader in higher education: A bold and innovative leader in American higher education who turned Notre Dame into the premier Catholic University in the world; he holds the Guinness Book of Records for the most honorary degrees received, 150.
  • Priest: A simple priest, who is proud of celebrating Mass every day of his 62-year priesthood with exception of “maybe three times,” he said, due to situations he couldn’t control. Also, he has served four Popes, three as permanent Vatican City representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna from 1956 to 1970.

Family Theater Productions, which has produced more than 900 radio and TV programs since 1947, produced this documentary with the full cooperation of Father Hesburgh and the late Holy Cross Father Ned Joyce, the University’s executive vice president during Father Hesburgh’s presidency, as well as Holy Cross Father Monk Malloy. This film contains the only on-camera footage of Father Hesburgh with his successor, Father Malloy and the University’s newly elected president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, C.S.C.

Family Theater Productions is a member of Holy Cross Family Ministries, Easton, Mass., and is sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross.