Thursday, May 3, 2012

Be Not Afraid {Sending Zachary to Notre Dame}

 Tim and me with our oldest son, Zachary (17) on the occasion of our 21st wedding anniversary; snapped after daily Mass by our groomsman, Mike, on leave from his job in Afghanistan.

It has been interesting to filter through all the responses (comments online and in person, text messages, phone calls) to our recent announcement that Zachary will be accepting an academic scholarship and attending the University of Notre Dame in the fall.  For those who bleed blue and gold~Notre Dame alums like Zac's Grandpa Pete~the reactions have been predictably ecstatic.  For many who know Zachary's academic gifts and love of learning, Notre Dame seems a perfect fit.  But from others comes a steady undercurrent of concern for Zachary's spiritual well being, considering the ways Notre Dame (and many other Catholic universities) have grievously failed to maintain and uphold an authentically Catholic campus from the top down.  However, we are not afraid to send our son to Notre Dame.  We are at peace with his decision, more so than when we allowed him to transition from our home school to begin attending classes at the local community college for running start/associate in arts degree at age 16.

Notre Dame is a Catholic university, as a visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart's page or to the campus ministry site reveals: daily Mass; Masses offered in the dorms; devotions; retreats; daily confession schedule; Sunday evening Vespers.  In any Catholic university, parish, or family each person can either choose to fully and actively participate or not, and we trust that Zachary will continue to place a high priority on living out his faith within the one+holy+catholic+apostolic Church.  Will he encounter Catholics who are unable or unwilling to fully give themselves over to ALL that our Church holds, teaches and professes to be true?  Yes.  Will he be exposed to the errors of moral relativism? Yes.   Will this be a new experience for him?  No.

We place our trust in God's divine providence, and in our son, whom we have raised to the best of our ability, and who continually astounds us with his intellect and his virtue.  We will joyfully help him make his way to South Bend, Indiana, in 108 days for the beginning of his new life at the University of Notre Dame.  In all fairness, I should mention that we also have a secret weapon, a personal security guard and a delightful advocate into whose loving care we continually place Zachary, our children, Godchildren, foster children, confirmation sponsees, and ourselves: Our Blessed Mother Mary, after whom the University of Notre Dame is named.
No·tre Dame [noh-truh deym, dahm, noh-ter] (noun) the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.  Origin: French: our lady
Holy Mary, Mother of God, 
Pray for us!

My dear Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ please note~
I am not advocating praying to the dead!
  • Jesus promised eternal LIFE to all who follow Him.
  • Certainly Mary followed her Divine Son.
  • Mary LIVES with Jesus in heaven.
  • From the cross, Jesus offered Mary to us, saying, "Behold your mother."
  • We ask Mary to pray FOR us to her Son; she's an advocate within the communion of saints.
  • We do not pray TO Mary, we pray THROUGH Mary (this is an optional, though very popular Catholic devotion).


Kim Walker said...

Wow! Awesome news! God bless you Zach in your new adventures!!

Unknown said...

1) Thank you, Bridget for answering the big questions many of us have, at sending such a precious son to ND. Zachary's presence and prayers for, and at Notre Dame will do more for others than for him to be in a "comfortable" spiritual place.
A crucible is a great place for growth and development, don't you think?
2) Lovely perception about praying through Mary, ALIVE, not dead. Beatiful.

Claire said...

I found your blog when I hopped over from Conversion Diary's page. I enjoyed reading your posts, and I especially enjoyed your photos and descriptions of the family trip to Italy. I have bookmarked your blog and I will be back. Thank you for writing this blog. God Bless you!