I made my way to the holy land last weekend. The trip to Notre Dame included a pep rally, prayer, a tailgate party, hailstorm and a football game against Navy.
My friend Steve calls the journey “The Trip to the Holy land.” And I might agree after all we did, felt and saw. It was truly and inspirational venture with three of the best guys in the world.
We started out Friday with a trip to the Notre Dame campus where we saw the famous mosaic of Jesus. Touchdown Jesus as Steve calls it. From the photo you can see why.
Notre Dame Dome
Regarding the dome, Rev. J. W. Cavanaugh in 1925 had this to say, “Whoever looks at the beautiful campus now and considers how different the whole thing would appear without the dome will not hesitate to entertain any other suggestion. The truth is that the dome upon the Administration Building assembles all the other buildings on the campus around it and contributes to each a dignity which, otherwise, it would not possess.”
The Gipper Steps
In 1920, returning late to campus and having been locked out of his dorm, George Gipp, Notre Dame’s legendary gridiron All-American, allegedly slept on the front steps of Washington Hall, contracting the pneumonia that would take his life on December 14, 1920. On his death bed, he made this famous plea to Coach Knute Rockne: “Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock. But I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.”
Concert On the Steps
We were at the “Concert On the Steps’ as the band marched to the Stadium, parading in front of 20,000 Irish fans. In the Stadium tunnel, they say you can hear the echoes of Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Holtz, and the Four Horsemen.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
We visited the Sacred Heart Church. The history of the Basilica dates to the last quarter of the 17th century when the French were attempting to establish both a colonial and a Catholic presence in the St. Joseph River Valley in northern Indiana.
Immediately behind the basilica sits the famous, yet intimate Grotto – a Marian place of prayer and reflection. It is a replica of the grotto at Lourdes, France where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. I lit a candle in remembrance of my Mom and Dad who passed in 1985 and 1993. Dad raised us as Catholics. I miss them both. This trip was a nice reminder of them.
We were very close to the stadium. Surrounded by throngs of Notre Dame football fans, tailgating has taken on a life of its own on game day. We sure had a great time with people we just met. Notre Dame fans were allot of fun.
The Hail Story
Like a scene from God’s playbook, the bible, a hail storm appeared from nowhere and was gone just as quickly. It was an amazing storm but the tailgaters didn’t seem to mind. Everyone just huddled under tents and continued God’s work of making new friends and building old friendships.