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Friday, March 6, 2015

Una força fascinant

El català és una llengua romanç parlat per a prop de 10 milions de persones a tot el món. D’acord a l’Informe sobre la situació de la llengua català publicat per l’Institut d’Estudis Catalans, la majoria dels parlants viu a Catalunya i una població de 24.000 resideix a l’Alguer. Els Països Catalans, que descriuen regions amb vincles històrics i culturals a català, comprenen Catalunya, País Valencià, les Illes Balears i la Franja (Regne d’Espanya), la Catalunya Nord (República Francesa), el Principat d’Andorra (Estat sobirà), i una petita porció de Sardenya a Itàlia. Amb només 4,4 milions de parlants inicials (aquells que ho parlen com a llengua materna), el català té un atractiu considerable en comparació als altres llengües minoritàries. És una llengua regional oficial d’Espanya i una llengua cooficial en Catalunya, les Illes Balears, el País Valencià, i la ciutat italiana de l’Alguer. Andorra és l’únic estat que reconeix català com una llengua oficial. La regió francès de Llenguadoc-Rosselló ho considera com una llengua regional i el Consell General dels Pirineus-Orientals va proclamar català com una de les llengües del departament, juntament amb el francès i l’occità. El Consell de la Unió Europea permet als individus de parlar amb l’òrgan de govern en català. No conec cap altre idioma com el català que té la mateixa lingüística situaciò en relació amb la regulació política i la influència cultural. Encara que les Filipines i l’Itàlia, tenen una gran diversitat lingüística, cap altre idioma pot competir amb la seva llengua nacional (i.e., el filipí i l’italià). El català continua ser una força fascinant en el camp de la filologia romàntica.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Welcome to the Notre Dame Family

Fall semester will always be my favorite time of year at Notre Dame. While the golden foliage of the many trees on different quads and the annual advent of everything pumpkin spice are certainly nice, there’s just something remarkable about the general atmosphere, as if a vibrant electricity flows through campus. The month of August hearkens a return for many upperclassmen but also a sincere welcome for even more eager freshmen. Hectic move-ins, a bevy of excited roommate introductions, and a few teary-eyed parents thrown in characterize the start of every new academic year. Granted I’m a senior, but I still enjoy observing every minute of such hallmark moments since they bring me back to my first year under the Golden Dome. That’s the secret of fall semester: being able to see campus again for the first time, feeling for a few fleeting seconds how it felt to know that you were finally home.

And then Finals Week happens and nostalgia moves aside for some much needed exam preparation...

Although I spent the majority of last semester’s Finals Week in a somewhat caffeinated and sleep-deprived state, my workload felt a little bit lighter upon hearing good news: my cousin was accepted to Notre Dame as an early action applicant! Thus began my honeymoon period of gushing over his acceptance letter and congratulating him on his accomplishment. I was evidently more excited than he was, and why wouldn’t I be? It’s not as though I was looking for another good excuse to visit campus as a sentimental alumnus or even that I would try to live vicariously through his future ND life… I pretty much was planning to do those things anyways.

The real reason I am proud of my cousin and indeed of all of the young men and women who form the incoming Class of 2019 is that I appreciate the opportunity to share the meaningful gift of ND with a new generation. I have to confess that I did end up going back to California over Christmas Break, laden with ND merchandise and Fighting Irish propaganda, in order to celebrate my cousin’s acceptance. I, however, was apparently not alone in my enthusiasm over admissions decisions since my Facebook newsfeed was flooded with friends posting about younger siblings getting into ND as well. Many statuses rightly featured some variation of the quintessential phrase “Welcome to the Notre Dame Family.”

“Notre Dame Family” is a common phrase on campus, encompassing everyone from fans who purchase The Shirt on game days to alumni who graduated decades ago. “Family” is as much an ideal as it is a promise, inspiring the hospitality that animates the campus community. And so for all those incoming freshmen who have an older sibling or relative currently in attendance, try to remember why we’re so excited to welcome you to this campus, to this place that some of us have gratefully called home for the past four years.

Yes, we definitely applaud each of you, but in all honesty, we’re just happy to be able to see ND from your perspective, to witness the magic all over again in one more fall semester. So, when August rolls around this year and the family vans start driving into Notre Dame Avenue, you can count on me to accompany my cousin, to take in the nostalgia of campus one more time.

(As seen on the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Admissions Blog, 10 January 2015)

Photo Credit: Know1one1

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Men of the Manor Welcome a New Hall Fellow


Hailing from County Kilkenny in Ireland, Andrew Morrissey would set sail for the New World after his twelfth birthday, inspired by the tales of his cousin Br. Bernard, a Holy Cross Brother serving at a blossoming institution in northern Indiana. His own priestly vocation would bear fruit at Notre Dame, where he excelled in his studies with humble determination. A true gentleman and scholar, Rev. Andrew Morrissey, C.S.C., would be called by none other than Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., and Rev. Thomas E. Walsh, C.S.C., to lead his beloved Alma Mater as University President, a position in which he reinforced the college’s commitment to providing students with strong academics. "Our very existence depends on giving Catholic boys a good preparatory foundation!"

On Nov. 16, the men of Morrissey Manor, whose namesake “was thoroughly imbued with the progressive spirit of the institution and of its venerable and honored founder” as reported in Anderson & Cooley’s history of South Bend, celebrated the induction of a new Hall Fellow with a breakfast in South Dining Hall’s Oak Room. Considered to be honorary Manorites, selected faculty members are chosen “because of their distiguished teaching, scholarship, or service to the Notre Dame community and Morrissey Manor.” Dr. Martijn Cremers, a professor of Finance at the Mendoza College of Business, received the honor of 2014-2015 Hall Fellowship in recognition of his passion for faith and family.

“Many of our Hall Fellows have been prominent people on campus, and I think Manorites appreciate having a unique connection to an individual outside the hall, while still having an active role in the University,” Seamus Quilty, current Hall President of the Manor, said. “Many of our Hall Fellows have also offered unique perspectives based on their background, which I think also contributes to forming well-rounded student experiences at Notre Dame.”

Rev. Ronald M. Vierling, M.F.C., Rector of Morrissey, introduced Dr. Cremers at the breakfast, and explained the hallowed history of hall fellows, who at one point in time were unmarried professors living in the residence halls as a way to encourage the intellectual life of the dormitory.

“The concept of the hall fellow plays the part of what we may call a ‘living logos:’ someone who by their life of scholarship and character, points to the values that we cherish,” Fr. Vierling said. “In Morrissey we summarize those values as ones of faith, brotherhood, scholarship, and service.”

The Manor’s fourfold approach to the Notre Dame experience informs hall community activities with a spirit of purpose and zeal. Morrissey men strive to balance school work with volunteer experiences, reflecting the fraternal charity embodied in the University’s particular pedagogical philosophy: education of both the mind and the heart.

“In a word, the goal of residential living at ND, one inspired by the Gospel, is to cultivate excellence of character, which is the moral worth of a man.”

Rustling his papers at the podium, Dr. Cremers addressed the gathering of students, offering a humorous anecdote about his unshaven appearance to begin his talk. During the summer, his sons had been reading the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and so asked him to look more like a hobbit. “My wife and my conscience said, ‘Martijn, you promised,’ and so that’s the story of my beard.”

Dr. Cremers reflected on the relation of character to business. He emphasized the importance of vocation, values, and virtues and used different parables to illustrate how to lead truly successful lives.

“I try to challenge what we mean by business,” Dr. Cremers said. “The language we use is reducing business to another marketplace.”

According to Morrissey’s newest Hall Fellow, the contemporary understanding of commerce is often lacking a human dimension, which recognizes the significance of moral growth and good relationships. Fulfilling genuine needs in lieu of merely generating profits should be the responsibility of workers.

“Freedom without responsibility is license,” Dr. Cremers observed. “Freedom with responsibility is true freedom.”

Although his research interests primarily focus on empirical issues in investments and corporate governance, Dr. Cremers maintains a healthy curiosity about theology. He says that he is always eager to receive recommendations for any interesting courses since he usually sits in on a class during the fall semester.

Despite my lack of a business background as a French and Philosophy double major, I still found Dr. Cremer’s arguments relevant to my own life as a ND student since they reminded me of the holistic objective of our current studies: the development of responsible citizenship and intellectual zeal. The Hall Fellows tradition at Morrissey is an excellent academic bridge between faculty and students.

“Much more importantly, [the Hall Fellows tradition] affirms and furthers the principles the dorm espouses by elevating a professor whose exemplary witness to a well-rounded, faith-centered and authentically truth-oriented lifestyle — especially in the context of their field of expertise — presents a model for students, to be emulated during and beyond their time at Notre Dame,” Scott Varian, a senior Architecture and French double major, said.

(As seen on the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Admissions Blog, 23 November 2014)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Campus Chapels: Dillon Hall and la Misa en español

Rubbing the sleep from his weary eyes, a young boy gazes outside the window of his dad’s red Chevrolet truck. The radio crackles to life and fills the car with the indistinct murmur of Mexican ballads. His legs are sore from sitting down for so long. Beginning its journey in Kerman, California, the small family has finally reached Jalisco, Mexico in time for the Christmas festivities. A verdant landscape of smooth, rounded hills lays ahead, blanketed by the ethereal glow of a moon gazing upon the suburbs of Tamazula de Gordiano. The boy smiles to himself, thinking of the warm meal awaiting them at his grandparent’s home. With the many hugs yet to be received from his abuelita in mind, he dozes off once again, drifting away into sweet dreams of presents and pozole as the truck resumes its course towards the little town.

A senior Political Science major, Juan Rangel relishes the memory of his family’s annual trips to Tamazula. He remembers how his grandparents would host the local rendition of las posadas, a novena celebration commemorating the Nativity of Christ with traditional carols and gifts. On Christmas day, family and friends would attend Mass at San José, the parish where Juan’s parents were married, he was baptized, and his brother received First Communion. The interior of the church would always be decorated with poinsettias adorning a large crèche. Juan chuckles as he recounts how the entire congregation served as a makeshift choir under the direction of “one lady with a microphone.” He continues to miss his grandparents on his dad’s side, who passed away, and desires to visit Tamazula again.

“I haven’t been able to return for three years,” Juan said. “Spanish Mass is a good thing to have once a week to connect me back to my roots.”

Fr Joe Corpora gives a homily during MassUnder the pastoral leadership of Rev. Joseph Corpora, C.S.C., the Latino community at Notre Dame enjoys the Spanish Mass offered every Sunday in Dillon Hall’s chapel at 1:30 pm. Students from a variety of cultural backgrounds also attend the liturgies, which employ a few English phrases here and there for the benefit of beginning Spanish students.

“My family always attended Mass in Spanish, and I learned all my prayers and songs in my native tongue,” Paulina Luna, a senior French and Pre-Health major, said. “When I discovered Spanish Mass at ND, I felt at home.”

Paulina sings in Coro Primavera, a student choir founded in 1991, which provides music for the Mass. Other students serve in different roles as lectors and ushers, handing out hymnals and Mass readings.

“Spanish Mass allows students to build community and to build their own spirituality by understanding the liturgy in their own language,” Juan said.

Last Sunday, Rev. Matthew Kuczora ‘05, C.S.C., delivered a powerful homily on the role of community in the Church. Fr. Kuczora is the Director of Postulants at Nuestra Madre Santísima de La Luz, a Holy Cross parish in Mexico, and was invited to say Mass in Spanish during his recent visit on the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the oldest church in the West and the seat of Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome.

“Any daughter or son is more precious than a building or chapel in the eyes of God,” Fr. Kuczora said. “Today, we celebrate the People of God.”

Reflecting on the idea of the faithful as the “piedras vivas” (“living stones”) of the Church, Fr. Kuczora reminded students to continually build each other up with fraternal charity. He presented a particular anecdote regarding a Mass he celebrated in one of the Holy Cross missions in Mexico, in which he was struck by the humble fellowship he shared with the local people.

“There were no enormous columns like at St. John Lateran, however, there was a lot of beauty amongst us,” Fr. Kuczora said. “I could feel the presence of God.”

During the liturgy, I could not help but ponder the refrain of the gathering hymn at the beginning of Mass:

Juntos como hermanos,
miembros de una Iglesia, 
vamos caminando 
al encuentro del Señor.

“Together as brothers,
members of one Church,
we are walking
to meet the Lord.”

The community of students who gather together for Spanish Mass is a great illustration of how faith is a bridge to solidarity. The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica does not merely honor a physical building in Rome but seeks to extol the common religious roots of the global Church, a spiritual architecture bound by fidelity and love. If you enjoy lively music and liturgies informed by Hispanic flavors, discover la Misa en español.

“Spanish Mass unifies not only the Latino community at ND, but it strengthens and enriches the University as a whole,” Paulina said.

(As seen on the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Admissions Blog, 16 November 2014)

Photo Credit: Michael Fernandes

Monday, March 2, 2015

An Action Plan for Lent

Before the advent of articles peppered with sports clichés, St. Paul drew a comparison between the Christian life and physical fitness when he encouraged the Corinthians to “run so as to win,” explaining that he “[does] not run aimlessly” but “[drives his] body and [trains] it, for fear that, after having preached to others, [he] myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9: 24-27). Informed by a similar commitment to academic and athletic excellence, Notre Dame offers students a host of opportunities to exercise the discipline of Lent through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.


Participate in the Knights of Columbus’ “Fast, Pray, Lift: 40 Days of Faith and Fitness” program and enjoy daily spiritual reflections and workout plans during Lent

Join the men of Morrissey Manor at their Lenten series, "Profiles in Faith," which features a reflection offered by a campus speaker followed by vespers, during Mondays at 7:30 pm in the Log Chapel


Save the environment with GreeND through its “Go Trayless for Lent” campaign and refrain from using dining hall trays as a means to reducing food waste

Check out the Wednesday Lunch Fasts and learn more about how Food Services donates the money from meals not consumed by students to the American Hunger Coalition


Donate to the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl initiative, a program organized on campus by the Center for Social Concerns and Campus Ministry. Bowls can be found in residence halls and your financial support will help fund international humanitarian efforts

Prepare a Friday dinner for the residents of the Catholic Worker House or Dismas House in South Bend and share the meal with members of the local community

Volunteer to teach English to immigrants with the Community Alliance to Serve Hispanics

(As seen on the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Admissions Blog, 25 February 2015)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Senior Plans: Life after ND

Inspired by the holistic philosophy of Blessed Basile Moreau, C.S.C., the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Notre Dame seeks to educate the hearts and minds of students. Members of the Class of 2015 represent a new generation of servant-leaders called to share the fruits of their undergraduate experiences beyond the Golden Dome. Besides attending grad school, many seniors are also pursuing one of two post-graduation pathways: entering the workforce or participating in service programs.

Daniel Sullivan, an International Economics major with a Spanish concentration, will be studying law at the University of Chicago, bringing him a step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a prosecutor. Although a member of the Humor Artists of Notre Dame, he understands that law school is no laughing matter and has spent the past four years testing the judicial waters via internships at different firms.

“During my sophomore year, the Career Center let me shadow a patent lawyer, who got his BA from Notre Dame, in Dallas at a big corporate firm,” Daniel said. “I thought the work was interesting and exciting, and he helped me think about how to balance a stressful career in law with personal concerns, like family.”

He explains that the University’s alumni network was instrumental in his career discernment. With a global web of 267 alumni clubs, Notre Dame fosters a supportive exchange between current and former students.

“The summer between junior and senior year I was interning in New York and tapped into the Notre Dame alumni network in order to reach out to some lawyers in the area,” Daniel said. “They were extremely receptive, and helped me understand the  professional environment in virtually all areas of legal work and helped me assess my career goals.”

Originally from Brussels, Belgium, Sydney Rebne, a Finance major, is excited to work for Goldman Sachs as an Investment Management Analyst in New York City. Sydney credits the Mendoza College of Business for developing his high school passion into a tangible career. “During my time at Notre Dame, I have had the opportunity to intern across different areas in the finance industry such as wealth management, corporate finance, and asset management.”

Mendoza has been consistently ranked No. 1 by Bloomberg Businessweek, an honor that is due in large part to the balance of theoretical and practical learning present in its curriculum.

“I felt as though my internship at Goldman Sachs gave me good insight into what full-time work would be like and out of all the areas in finance, I found this firm and group to be the best fit for me,” Sydney said. “Through my experiences working on projects with our business clubs, I was able to build a marketable skill-set that was appealing to employers.”

In today’s increasingly interactive world, no marketable skill-set would be complete without expertise in an international language. French and Pre-Health major, Paulina Luna, intends to combine her two fields of study by engaging in health care work within Francophone countries where medical assistance is not readily available.

“I do not want to work in these places as an outsider -- I want to truly be a part of the community I am serving, to appreciate the culture and the passions of the people in order to better serve and help them help themselves,” Paulina said. “Notre Dame has provided me with countless opportunities to better relate to others who share different cultures, whether it was through cultural events and clubs, travel, or service.”

After graduation, she plans to serve at Louverture Cleary School, an apostolate in Haiti founded by St. Joseph’s Parish (Providence, RI), and will be teaching middle school and high school students. “A gap year doing service in Haiti seemed like the perfect opportunity to not only prepare me for my future goals, but also to grow personally and in community.”

As an officer in Le Cercle Français, Paulina organizes various activities like French film events and crêpe nights to promote Francophone culture on campus. She has also received a travel grant from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies to conduct research in France.

“My adventures through Notre Dame have taught me to be open to new cultures and experiences, making me a more compassionate and understanding person to people of every culture,” Paulina said. “This ability to connect with others will be a great asset as I embark on a new adventure in Haiti!”

True to the Fighting Irish spirit, Geoff Burdell, a Philosophy and Theology major, will also be setting out for an adventure, one that will take him to the verdant landscape of the Emerald Isle.

“I am planning on spending the next two years after graduation working for the House of Brigid (or Teach Bhríde in Irish), which is a recently established organization aimed at reinvigorating the presence of the Catholic Church in Ireland by means of pastoral and musical resources,” Geoff said. “The main incentive of the program is to get young and energetic post-graduate Catholics, who are excited about their faith, to share some of that exuberance with the Irish people, and in turn, we will receive a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in a novel culture and be exposed to a new way of life.”

As the director of the House, Geoff will be living in an intentional community of three people and will help coordinate liturgical music, catechetical teaching for the parochial school, and event planning and community building in the parish. He will serve as the Campus Ministry resource for Notre Dame students studying abroad at University College Dublin.

The mission of the House of Brigid complements several of Geoff’s interests: singing in the Folk Choir, the culture of Ireland, and vocational discernment for ecclesial ministry. “I think that music has become one of the most beautiful forms of prayer and reverence in my personal spiritual life, so I was very excited to share those musical gifts with the Irish people, in the hopes of elevating their hearts to God through something as beautiful as sacred music.”

Geoff summarizes his time at Our Lady’s University as a transformative opportunity to have become “a better student, a better friend, and a better follower of Christ in [his] Catholic faith.” He is grateful for his education, which provided him a rich human formation.

“Whether it has been the friendly Campus Ministry environment that has allowed me to develop in my spiritual life in community, or the dorm life and responsibilities as an RA which has prepared me to live in communion with others from different backgrounds, I have found that my time at Notre Dame is exactly what makes me feel so well prepared for the coming years of service in Ireland,” Geoff said. “The manifold opportunities, both spiritual, academic, and otherwise, that Notre Dame has provided me are certainly the foundation for my applying to and hopefully thriving in a position with the House of Brigid next year.”

(As seen on the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Admissions Blog, 24 February 2015)

Photo Credit: Michael Fernandes

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Learning beyond the Classroom

Tucked within a little gated enclosure beneath the shadow of the Golden Dome, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies modestly takes its place in a corner of campus once known as “the French Quarter,” a nickname describing the original band of Holy Cross Sisters who called the brick building home. The Nanovic Institute is one of many centers at the University which encourage undergraduate research by making travel to Europe more accessible to students.

Founded in 1992, the Nanovic Institute was established through the support of Robert ‘54 and Elizabeth Nanovic and aims to facilitate student conversation and curiosity about Europe. In addition to providing financial aid for research projects, the Nanovic Institute organizes lectures, hosts foreign film screenings, and offers a Minor in European Studies.

I have been fortunate enough to have received three Nanovic grants to fund my research. As a sophomore, I was able to visit Le Mans, France, the birthplace of the Congregation of Holy Cross, in order to study the French School of Spirituality. I went on to visit the convent of Bl. Élisabeth of the Trinity in Dijon a year later for a project on Carmelite spirituality. My cross-cultural studies incorporated my skills and interests as a French major and enabled me to literally expand my learning beyond the classroom.

Charlie Skinner, a senior seminarian majoring in Political Science and Philosophy, recalls his own Nanovic experience in Florence, Italy. He made the trip as a way to learn more about the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, the patroness of the Holy Cross religious on campus. After crafting a research proposal in addition to a detailed budget and itinerary, Charlie applied to the Institute and earned a grant. “I was also required to follow Notre Dame's research protocol, which involved establishing a faculty advisor, learning the legal logistics of conducting interviews, and introducing me to the formal process of conducting research.”

Photo Credit: Emma Fleming
The initial application process is lengthy but rewarding. Interested students must seek the advice of a particular professor, take online courses regarding ethical research practices, and develop a focused plan of action. “This groundwork made for a very smooth and productive week [in Italy], and upon return, there were people who could help me compile and organize the results.”

In Italy, Charlie visited the Servite monastery of Monte Senario, where he was able to explore history through conversation. “It was great to be able to interview the priests at the monastery in person,” Charlie said. “Since I was there in person, I also had access to several theological and historical books and visited several sites that were relevant to my research.”

The Nanovic Institute doesn’t limit itself to funding pure research endeavors but also extends support to projects involving student discernment. My fellow New Media Intern, Emma, travelled to Wexford and Dublin, Ireland, thanks to the center’s generosity. Her goal was to experience life at the House of Brigid, which she is considering as a possible post-graduation year of service in music ministry.

If you’re interested in conducting undergraduate research in Europe, be sure to check out the Nanovic Institute!“The Nanovic truly provided me with the funding for this opportunity that I would otherwise not have had,” Emma said. “For myself, the week provided me with so much clarity in my discernment and without their funding, I would have been unaware of the powerfulness of the House.”

(As seen on the University of Notre Dame Undergraduate Admissions Blog, 23 February 2015)