University of Notre Dame

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The logo of the University of Notre Dame
The Word of Life mural on the side of the Theodore Hesburgh Library depicting the resurrected Jesus. Designed by Millard Sheets, it is popularly called "Touchdown Jesus."

The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a private Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, Indiana.


  • Here, faith and football are intertwined. Thus the 132-foot-tall mosaic of Christ on the south wall of the Hesburgh Library is known as Touchdown Jesus, and a statue that depicts an Old Testament patriarch... is better known as First Down Moses... That confluence of God and gridiron even inspires humor. In the heated era of the 'Catholics vs. Convicts' rivalry with Miami, an annoyed Hurricanes chaplain declared that God doesn't care who wins a football game. "I don't think God cares who wins, either," agreed then Fighting Irish coach Lou Holtz. "But His mother does."
  • My life has been full of rich and wonderful experiences. And standing near the top of the list is my long and honored association with the University of Notre Dame and its legendary hero Knute Rockne. So, I want you know the INF treaty and George Bush's election were important, but having the Fighting Irish win the national championship is in a class by itself.
  • From its founding, Notre Dame University has made an outstanding contribution to the Church in your country through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue. Conscious of the critical importance of this apostolate for the new evangelization, I express my gratitude for the commitment which Notre Dame University has shown over the years to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States. The vision which guided Father Edward Sorin and the first religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross in establishing the University of Notre Dame du Lac remains, in the changed circumstances of the twenty-first century, central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society. In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. This commitment to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life. Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!

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