by Fr. Joe Landi, Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics  

About Fr. Landi Out of the World and Into the Kingdom--His journey to priesthood by Rissa Singson.

 

Dear Diary..." Outlined against a blue grey October sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction, and death.  These are only aliases.  Their real names are Stuhedrher, Miller, Crowly and Layden."

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These words, written by Grantland Rice in the New York Herald-Tribune, on October 19, 1924, began the football legend known as the spirit of "the fighting Irish" of the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.

Most of us attending the National Charismatic Renewal Convention at Notre Dame's Joyce Center probably associate the legendary spirit of Notre Dame to football. However, it became evident after a few days of dealing with the "locals" that spirit and spirituality are its true hallmarks. In 1887 when their first football team hit the field, Notre Dame had been educating Catholics for forty-five years.

The spirit of Notre Dame will remain elusive to those who converge on their spectacular football stadium or the Joyce Center unless they understand the University's religious character. For 155 years, it has been fostered and safeguarded by the Congregation of Holy Cross. Nowhere is that more evident than in the hospitality of the lay, religious, and priests at Notre Dame's Basilica of the Sacred Heart--designated a "Minor Basilica" on January 17, 1992 by Pope John Paul II. There I had the pleasure of concelebrating with Father Bill Wack, C.S.C., Associate Director of Vocations for the Congregation of Holy Cross, Indiana Province. He is a native of the Hoosier State (Indiana), young, personable, and an excellent homilist. He epitomized for me the hospitality of the university that reflects from its spiritual dimension symbolized by the Basilica.

Construction of the Basilica, built in the form of a Latin cross, began on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1868. The first mass was celebrated on August 15, 1875. In 1968 it was renovated according to the guideline of the Vatican II Council on the Sacred Liturgy, closed for two years, opening in 1990 after almost five years of restoration. It is 275 feet long and 114 feet wide with a chancel and seven apsidal chapels. The interior ceiling is 60 feet high. The murals on the walls and ceilings and the Stations of the Cross are the work of Luigi Gregori, an artist-in-residence at the Vatican under Pope Pius IX. He came to Notre Dame in 1874 and spent 17 years completing his work.

The Main altar came from a firm in Paris whose director promised an altar "flowing with gold." They delivered a stunning French flamboyant Gothic style altar corresponding to the style imitated in the stained glass windows. The 42 large windows were designed by the Carmelite nuns at Le Mans, France and contain 114 life size pictures and 106 smaller ones surrounding a scene in the life of the saint that each depict.

The spirit of hospitality is also evident in South Bend—for 114 years the home of Studebaker (settlers wagons to high performance automobiles) until the plant closed in 1966. Nestled on the banks of the St. Joseph River, South Bend is revitalizing its downtown with new small businesses after most everything migrated to the malls. Even with 16,000 office workers downtown, there are no department or chain stores—not even a Starbucks. Mark McDonnell, Proprietor of the trendy and packed LaSalle Grill (www.lasallegrill.com), hopes that the opening of a new office complex, the Regional Museum of Art, the College Football Ball of Fame, and the renovation to accommodate traveling Broadway Shows at the Morris Civic Auditorium—formerly the Palace Theatre—will bring locals and tourists to the downtown area. Perhaps one day they will equal the festive thousands that crowed into downtown hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars at the October 4, 1940 premiere of "Knute Rocke, All American". In the film Pat O’Brien played Notre Dame’s legendary football coach and Ronald Reagan played football great, Geo, "the Gipper" Gipp. The movie opened at the Palace and three other large downtown theaters simultaneously. There are no movie theaters downtown now, but plenty of hospitality.

People who are hospitable are storing up treasure in heaven. In Hebrews (13:2-3) we are reminded to welcome strangers, "because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it." In the Book of Genesis (18:1-15), Abraham's remarkable hospitality at Mamre foreshadows the annunciation of the true Son of the Promise. In Romans (12:9-13), Saint Paul reminds us of the importance of hospitality. "Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another… exercise hospitality."

Fr. Joe Landi is a Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilia Parish, San Francisco, the Archbishop's Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal, the Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics, and Board Chair of Sierra Point Credit Union, South San Francisco, serving the community, parochial and government schools in San Mateo County, and the Charismatic Renewal.

By clicking on the following blue type, you can contact Fr. Landi by e-mail at sfccr@slip.net, read other articles in the August 1999 issue of The San Francisco Charismatics or return to the Main Menu of this web site.

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