Declan.

I did not know Declan Sullivan.

On Wednesday, Declan was killed on campus in an accident involving a hydraulic lift. He was filming football practice for his job as a student manager, and high winds caused the scissor lift he was filming from to topple over.

He was 20 years old. He was a junior majoring in FTT (film, television, and theater) and marketing. He lived in Fisher Hall.

Tonight, Father John Jenkins, University President, presided over a Mass in Declan’s memory in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Mass began at 10 pm. I was in a lecture and movie screening for class until 9:45 pm, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the Basilica in time to get a seat. I also wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go to the Mass. I didn’t know Declan, so a part of me thought, “Why should I take a seat from somebody who knew him, loved him, cared about him? Who am I to do that?” But another part of me desperately wanted to go to the Mass to show my support for Declan’s family during this horrible, difficult time. That part of me wanted to show the Sullivans that Notre Dame is a place where everybody matters, a place where the spirit of the community links everybody together. I was already running late and I knew that my baseball-cap-and-Ugg-boots attire wouldn’t fly at the Basilica, so I decided to go over to LaFortune Student Center, where I had heard there would be auxiliary seating and a live feed from the Mass.

As I walked across God Quad in the dark, I watched people walking towards the Basilica, two by two. The doors were wide open, emanating a warm golden glow. I was able to hear the prelude for Declan’s Mass all the way at the flagpole on South Quad, and the sound of the organ became clearer as I crossed through the pine trees and made my way to LaFortune.

Up the winding staircase, I burst in to LaFortune and brushed past the representatives from the Student Activities Office who tried to usher me upstairs to the ballroom. “We have some seats left up there,” a girl with a nametag whispered. By the time I heard her, I had already set down my backpack near my usual spot in the main lounge. LaFortune was different. Normally, the building serves as a study/food/coffee/socialization/meeting space, and it’s one of the busiest places on campus. But tonight, it was quiet. Dimmer, somehow.

All of the comfy armchairs were occupied, so after lingering against a wall, cornered by a trashcan, for a few minutes, I plopped down on the floor like a kindergartener. Mass was beginning. The broadcast was coming through on the two large televisions in the main lounge. (It was available online as well.) During the opening song, the SAO folks brought out a number of chairs from another room, and I snapped up a seat just as Fr. Jenkins was greeting the Sullivan family.

Then, the oddest thing began to happen. Everyone in the room began to respond to the TV, just like Mass.

Peace be with you.
“And also with you.”

I don’t know if it was reflex, a genuine desire to participate in the Mass, or some combination of both. All of a sudden, I found myself in the midst of the celebration of the Eucharist in the same room where I drink coffee, read the paper, watch ESPN, and play Sporcle.

Notre Dame is very good at a lot of things, and one of those things is church. Notre Dame knows how to put on a great Mass, and the higher-ups pulled out all the stops for Declan. The Folk Choir provided beautiful music for the service. I was particularly impressed with the selection of the readings. The first reading was Romans 8:31-39 (“If God is for us, who can be against us?”). The gospel reading was John 14:1-14 (“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”).

Father Tom Doyle, Vice President for Student Affairs, gave the homily. He spoke eloquently and simply about storytelling—about Declan’s love of telling stories through film and about the feeling that we have been “written out of the book of life” that accompanies loss and grief. Doyle said, “Most days, we live in this place that is like Eden before the fall.” Normally, bad things don’t happen here. Students joke about the “Notre Dame bubble” for a reason. When terrible things hit Notre Dame, it seems that much worse.

As I watched the Mass on TV from my chair in the LaFortune, I noticed that the camera kept panning out to the people sitting in the pews at the Basilica. The Sullivan family sat in the front row. Gwynn, Declan’s sister, wore a Notre Dame football jersey and Mac, Declan’s 15-year-old brother, wore a Notre Dame sweatshirt. Across the aisle, the men of Fisher Hall sat in the other front section, all with their trademark neon green retro sunglasses pushed back into messy brown waves and perched on blonde crewcuts. Fishermen wear these distinguishing sunglasses around campus all the time, so seemed appropriate that they wore their shades to Mass in memory of their hallmate. The Notre Dame football team sat behind the contingent from Fisher Hall.

During the Eucharistic Prayer, LaFortune was filled with the mutterings of hundreds of students.

Lift up your hearts.
“We lift them up to the Lord.”

When it came time for the Our Father, the Folk Choir sang the beautiful Notre Dame Our Father. LaFortune joined hands and joined in. Then, everyone got out of their seats for the sign of peace. Hugs and handshakes all around.

The SAO employees notified us that the Eucharist was being distributed outside the Basilica and that we could leave and come back. After a moment of hesitation, about 75% of the room stood up, grabbed coats, and quietly filed out of the room. I was near the door, so I made it out quickly. Down the stairs, across the quad, towards the music and light. There were hundreds of people already standing outside the Basilica—overflow. Outside, there were musicians performing acoustic versions of the songs playing inside. As I huddled around the front of the Basilica, I turned around. A massive block of students stretched all the way from the foot of the Basilica to the stairs of LaFortune, and people continued to stream out of the building from the ballroom on the second floor.

We stood patiently, quietly in the cold. Occasionally, a priest would emerge from the big Basilica doors. People gathered around eagerly as the priest distributed Communion. Nobody jostled, nobody complained. We just waited. Slowly, more priests came out. After I received Communion, I walked back to LaFortune. I counted six priests standing outside, each man completely surrounded by students waiting for the Eucharist.

I made it back to LaFortune just in time for the final blessing.
The Mass is ended, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
“Thanks be to God.”

And then, as always, we sang the alma mater, arms around each other, swaying.

Notre Dame, Our Mother
Tender, strong and true
Proudly in the heavens
Gleams thy gold and blue.
Glory’s mantle cloaks thee
Golden is thy fame.
And our hearts forever
Praise thee, Notre Dame.
And our hearts forever
Love thee, Notre Dame.

The fervent prayers of the Notre Dame community are with Declan Sullivan and his family.

A night like this should never have to happen again.

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109 Comments

Filed under Notre Dame

109 responses to “Declan.

  1. Meg

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this for those of us who wish we could be there.
    -Meg Rowan ’00

    • Anne Watson

      Amy,

      Thank you so much for writing this. Times like this, although so tragic, reminds me why Notre Dame is such a special and beautiful place.

      Anne Watson ’99

    • Anne Jones

      Thank you so much for sharing your Beautiful Story. I can not imagine what Declan’s Family is going through. We as a being a part of the ND Family by living in the South Bend, Lakeville area our whole lives. We are Saddened and So Sorry this had to happen and extend our Love to The Sullivan Family. Our Love Also to the ND Football Team and Coach Kelly know our thoughts and prayers are and will be with you especially today on this very hard day. Wear the GOLD and BLUE PROUD today knowing Declan is watching from above and being just as proud to of been a part of the ND FAMILY. With a Heavy Heart and Much Love Our Jones Family will remember you in Our Prayers. Anne and David Jones

    • John Walsh '68

      A beautiful and very moving piece of writing, in commemoration of a courageous young man. I felt as though I were standing in the crowded line stretching from the Basilica to the front doors of LaFortune, offering love and prayers to the Sullivan family and trying to shoulder some portion of their grief and their horrible loss. The Notre Dame community will always stand with them.

    • Penny Wolf

      Amy,

      Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve sent a link of your post to members of the Notre Dame Club of Houston. My prayers are with the Sullivan family, students, professors and others that knew Declan. Your words were very moving and much appreciated.

      Thanks!

  2. Tom O'Connor

    Beautifully writing about a reverent tribute to one of our own, on a campus we now love even more.

    May Declan’s family know that he and they are in the thoughts and prayers of Notre Dame…all of us.

    Of the Class of 63, son of a 1927 grad,I will be there with family including my little grandaughter who will be running around in her ND cheerleader uniform…but we will all be thinking of Declan, his sister and brother, his parents, and all the Sullivans. family

  3. Dan Jukic

    Amy, a heartfelt thank you for this incredible insight into a horrible tragedy. Yet the beautiful outpouring of support you gave us a window into provides a little silver-lining into this terrible time for the Sullivan family.

    You reduced me to tears this morning, with the beauty of your description of the community Mass but also with grief for the Sullivan family and in gratitude for my own sons, for all of you young people we all care for so much.

    I simply cannot imagine their pain. But I CAN imagine how much better what you described would make ME feel if it was me in their place.

    Thanks for giving us all a chance to live their grief — and try to provide you all some comfort from afar.

    Be good. Be safe.

    Jukic

  4. Tim Chlon

    Amy,

    Thank you so much for your beautiful description of the power of the Notre Dame Spirit in the wake of this terrible tragedy. It truly is an unbelievable force that unites our university, especially in times like this. You brought me to tears at my desk at work this morning. May Declan rest in peace, and may his spirit live on through all whose lives he touched, including mine.

    In Notre Dame,
    Tim, Class of 2007

  5. The Falkenberg Family

    There are no words, of course, for anyone to express this loss, whether family or friends (we are all the extended family) and those of us who were unable to be present at this beautiful occasion to welcome Declan to his Eternal World very much appreciate this beautiful description of a moving ‘event’, the CELEBRATION of a life that should be an example to us all. Most of all, it must remind us that none of us “know” when our time may come, unexpected, and give us all the Grace necessary to accept what God has in store for each of us.

  6. Matt '94

    Very well written. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  7. Anne Goyer

    Thank you, Amy for so beautifully sharing the celebration of Declan’s life and for reminding us what makes Notre Dame so special.

  8. Mike

    gorgeous writing. almost too good. It’s strange how we almost long to feel the pain of this tradgedy in order to maybe somehow lighten the load for Declan’s family. Your writing here made me feel the moment. it is a beautful testimony. God bless the family and all of those hurting.

  9. DanGo

    I’m not anyone who knew Declan, or even a member of the Notre Dame community. I’m a student at another university that’s seen more than its fair share of tragedy over the last four years.

    Your post was absolutely beautiful. I’m not a religious person in any way shape for form, but I said a little prayer for him after reading your post this morning. I hope that you, Declan’s family, and everyone in the Notre Dame community are able to find some peace in this incredibly tragic time.

  10. JMurphCA

    From one of Declan’s cousins- Thank you very much

  11. Bob Muniz

    As an alumni I was deeply saddened by these events. But my lifelong love for school of our Lady was once reinforced and invoked by your moving words. I am far the campus geographically, but your comments helped me be there spiritually and emotionally. Thank you for so eleoquently putting into words what so many of us feel today. You have written a wonderful and heartfelt tribute, both to the young man and to our university. God bless him, God bless you and God please the entire Notre Dame family

  12. pen1thoughts2

    Beautiful post – brought me to tears too. I’m a ND mom with a 20 yr old at the school. There but for the grace of God…. Prayers for the Sullivan family

  13. Mark

    Amy,

    You make Our Lady proud.

  14. Thoughts and prayers go out to Declan and his family. One thing is very clear-beyond the fact that Declan is much loved- Notre Dame is indeed a MOST special “Family” and University. I do not nor did not attend ND nor am I a fan. However, I could not make it through the author’s excellent account of the beautiful mass and memorial service to Declan without tears flowing. Exceptional and this, I think, in fitting tribute to a son of Nd, is Notre Dame at its best. God bless you all- Mgo Azul

  15. Laura

    Thank you for posting, that was a very touching portrait of the ND community.

    Laura
    SMC ’86

  16. Andrew Sama

    This is a beautiful post.

    I hope you know that this is making its way through the ND community. I’ve already been forwarded this post twice. Your words are touching many people.

    God bless you and the Sullivan and ND families.

    • robert s burns '59

      i did not know declan either but notre dame is a family as you have eloquently demonstrated. it has been part of my family for most of my life;therefore i share in the loss of one its members.

  17. Amy, your written word is most eloquent taking us through timing and emotions of the evening. You are a top-notch writer and I sincerely hope this is your major. You of all people deserve to have that career, because of unique writing style that is yours alone capturing the moment.
    I know Declan as a family relation, with my husband’s mother being a Sullivan. Declan was her brother’s grandchild. He was a wonderful person.
    It is gratifying to know ND cares for his family and the love, concern, and outpouring of faith that has come forth. It means a tremendous amount.
    I’d like to share a poem one Sullivan husband, Jim Gaskin, shared with the family. It too, helps take this passage another step at a time.
    God Bless to all. –Beth Edwards –Poem below
    It’s from Ireland and is entitled
    “Remembered Joy”.

    Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
    I follow the plan God laid for me.
    I saw His face, I heard His call,
    I took His hand and left it all.
    I could not stay another day,
    To love, to laugh, to work or play.
    Tasks left undone must stay that way.
    And if my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembered joy.
    A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
    Ah yes, these things I too shall miss.
    My life’s been full, I’ve savored much,
    Good times, good friends, a loved one’s touch.
    Perhaps my time seemed all too brief…
    Don’t shorten yours with undue grief.
    Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,
    Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.

    • Bill Delaney

      Beth

      My condolences to Declan’s family and friends. As a very old ND grad (’52) with a Sullivan grandmother in my lineage I want to thank both you and Amy for renewing my hope that Our Lady’s university may once more return to the pinnacle of Catholic higher education where she belongs. It may well be that this tragic event will be the turning point ND so sorely needed.

  18. jim

    GOD BLESS Declan & his family & friends!
    This tragedy is a reminder of how short life
    can be. It is time for “everyone” to come together
    in this world before it is too late.
    Peace!

  19. mike '10

    Thank you for writing this.

  20. Katy

    Thank you so much for posting this. It is a wonderful reminder of the ND community. I will be praying for Declan and his family.

    ~Katy, ’03

  21. Tim -- ND '75

    Beautiful post. Our prayers are with Declan and the Sullivan Family, Fisher Hall residents and Alumni and the entire Notre Dame Family, wherever they may be.

  22. Craig

    Great entry. Thanks for taking the time to write this & share with us.

  23. DJ

    From time to time, one hears or reads critics claiming that Notre Dame isn’t what it “used to be,” is no longer a Catholic University, or other such nonsense. I am convinced they have no idea what they talk about, as they don’t know how the current students, faculty, etc. live, work, play together, living the Gospel on a daily basis.

    In your, and our, collective mourning, we demonstrate it again. Take heart in the knowledge that, as Jesus said, those who mourn shall be comforted.

  24. Brad

    Thank you for bringing us the miles that we could not travel. The sense of community at Notre Dame is amazing. The reality of family goes well beyond the “bubble”. The certainty brought by faith goes beyond that.

  25. Michelle '07

    Thanks so much for sharing this moving and vivid description of the mass and the Notre Dame community during this tragic, senseless loss. My prayers go out to the Sullivan family, as well as Declan’s friends at ND and at home.

    Your post certainly is spreading through the community – I too received this from a friend who posted it to his facebook status.

  26. Joe Maier '59

    What a beautiful tribute to one of our Notre Dame family members. Although I didn’t know Declan, I grieve with his family, friends and the entire Notre Dame community. Your discription of the Mass and reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion outside the Basilica was so inspirational that I felt as though I was right there with all of our Notre Dame Family. May Our Lord now receive Declan into his loving arms…and comfort the Sullivan family on their loss.

  27. Amy –
    This is superbly written. Thank you!
    May Declan rest in peace, and may Our Lady of Sorrows comfort his family with the good news of the Resurrection.
    Fr. Stephen, csc ’99, ’06

  28. Brandy

    My son is a ND alumni and he knew Declan. He also took film classes and Declan worked with him on a video shoot for the digital visualization theatre. My son and our family are truly sorry for this tragedy. Our payers are with Declan, his family and friends.

  29. Jeff Majerek '92

    Saw this posted on Irish Sports Daily….. proud to be associated with the great kids at ND… goosebumps and tears on reading it.

  30. jordan

    thanks for expressing the best part of our community so well, and so poignantly, at such a terrible time.

    jordan zappala
    ’04

  31. jordan

    thanks for expressing the best part of our community so well, and so poignantly, at such a difficult time.

    jordan
    ’04

  32. lisa

    Thank you. My son is a freshman at ND. You reaffirmed why I wanted my son to go to ND in the first place. Your vivid description painted a picture of what I would have expected from the ND community in this devastating time. God Bless the Sullivan family.

  33. Joe

    Thank you for this reminder of how lucky we truly are to be part of the Notre Dame family. Tears of sorrow, joy, and pride all at the same time.

    Joe

    ’09

  34. Jerry '79

    All I can do is echo what others – well said. May our Notre Dame family continue our prayers for this young man and his family.

  35. Tim

    A beautiful and poignant picture of the Notre Dame family. The extent of this tragedy will continue in the alumni and fans for some time, but this says it very clearly.

    All peace and love to the Sullivans.

  36. Kristen

    What you wrote is a touching example of how the Notre Dame community is truly a family, Amy. Thank you. My prayers go out to everyone who was touched by Declan’s life. May he now be at peace.

  37. Monica

    Bless you for sharing your heartfelt words to all of us who were not there in person.

    Peace and love to Declan and his family.

  38. C ('99)

    I don’t think I can find the words to adequately describe the feelings your post brought forth…but thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your experience with us all. My heart bursts of pride and sorrow at the same time…

    Peace to the Sullivan family and all who have been touched by this tragedy.

    …and our hearts forever, love thee Notre Dame.

  39. This is a beautifully written piece. Thank you for capturing such a powerful and emotional moment so eloquently.

    Matt – ’08

  40. Tina King '90

    Thank you for bringing all of the Notre Dame family to campus in such a beautiful and touching way. My heart goes out to him, his dear family and to all who counted him as a friend. May God hold Declan in the palm of His hand.

  41. Patrick '07

    Amy,

    What a wonderful, beautifully written tribute. Thank you. It helps those of us no longer on campus to connect with the outpouring of love and support that Notre Dame extends amidst this tragedy. Reading this makes me proud to be an alum and all the more committed to praying for Declan’s family and family and for the repose of his soul.

    Patrick

  42. Thank you for so thoughtfully and beautifully including the entire ND family in last night’s celebration of Declan’s life. Although we all couldn’t be there in person, I can assure you we were there in spirit. Your words are a great gift.

    Maureen ’02

  43. John F. Manion. '56

    The Notre Dame Family has lost a young son; we
    all grief as one.

  44. Awesome job, Amy! Thank you for painting such a moving picture for those of us like me (simply the mom of a Notre Dame student) who couldn’t be there to wrap our arms around those who are grieving. God bless the whole ND family!

  45. John H

    Amy,

    Your post itself is a prayer, to which we can only say “Amen”.

    Uncle John ’69

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  47. Thank you for your account of this wonderful tribute. It reminds me a bit of the student body reaction to 9/11. God bless the Sullivans and God bless Notre Dame.

    – Nick S, Class of ’03

  48. Joe G

    Amy,

    This was an amazing summary of the tribute, and also how we have all felt for the last few days. Thanks for sharing this with all of this and reemphasizing what an amazing community this is.

    Joe BA ’05, JD ’11

  49. Tom

    You are a gifted writer. Thank you for taking me someplace I could not have been without your help.

  50. Mike Regan, '73

    Re-affirming the spirit that is Notre Dame, you bring us all into the moment. God Bless Declan, his family in their loss., and you for this piece……… “And our hearts forever, Love thee Notre Dame.”

  51. Carolyn '07

    You express why I, and so many others, have found a second home and a second family at Notre Dame. Thank you for this. God bless the Sullivan family.

  52. Tom

    This was beautifully written, touching and introspective. This is a tough time for the ND family, but the best we can hope for is that this will bring us all closer and we all learn some valuable life lessons.

    It’s also heartwarming to know that the broadcast and streaming of Mass was well received and perhaps helped in a small way with the community and healing that is the nature of the Notre Dame spirit.

    peace

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  54. God Bless Dylan and his beautiful Notre Dame family! We love and support you and will never forget your wonderful son and brother!

    To the writer of this wonderful recount of last evening’s Mass. You made us all feel like we were back on campus with you and the entire Notre Dame family. Thank you!

    Yours in Notre Dame,
    Brennan

  55. jennifer brackney

    you have allowed us to participate in the Liturgy in Spirit. your testimony is moving – beyond words. i am also brought to tears. our Catholic community stands together, prays together, grieves together. may Our Lady surround the Sullivan family and the greater Notre Dame family during this time of healing.

  56. Jason

    What a moving post! My family’s thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  57. Ken Hess

    I did not go to ND, but several of my family members did. They always spoke of a community. They say that tragedy or adversidy shows your true charactor. I believe that true leaders emerged from all levels of the organization They are strong and caring out there, and out of this tragedy, it will strengthen the student and faculty bond

  58. Kevin Reilly

    Thank you for sharing such a stirring, first person account.
    Amy, you painted a splendid landscape to complement a live web feed absent of commentary and viewed, by most, in quiet solitude.
    It’s unfortunate, young lady, that you never met Declan Sullivan.
    My Irish hunch is you two would have become fast friends.

  59. John Adams '67

    Amy: Thank you for your wonderful words and in sharing this moment. Notre Dame is special, because of people like you and our dearly departed Declan. John Adams, ’67

  60. Bob '80

    Such vivid and moving words Amy — thank you for making some sense of this tragedy. We know that God has a perfect plan, no matter how impossible that may seem. You gave us a glimpse of His plan, with your touching description of the mass for Declan and the outpouring of love and respect from the Notre Dame family.

    Our deepest prayers and condolences go out to the Sullivan family.

  61. LauraK

    Amy:
    I was incredibly touched by your description of the mass for Declan. Notre Dame is a magical place and often hard to describe in detail, however, your writing made us all feel like we were there. With your mom’s permission (we were colleagues at Burnett), I’ve shared your blog with my friends from ND/SMC so they could relive through your words what makes this place so unique.

    Your eloquence, along with the way the ND family celebrated Declan’s life, was truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing it with us and I do hope you continue to write. You have a remarkable gift.

    Laura
    SMC ’90

  62. Joe M '99

    Hard to get through your post… b/c of how well written it was, Amy. Thank you.

    We shouldn’t have to see another like this on your blog, b/c… you’re right… a night like this should never happen again. Thinking about young Declan right now, so I thought I’d struggle to read this once more.

    First time in a long time that I wish I was at the Grotto. Make sure you guys have it bright for him.

    Hopefully, we can at least be as dedicated to remembering a kid most of us never knew as he was to his passion, this football team and this university.

  63. Rob

    Thanks for your account. You vividly reminded me of Notre Dame at its best.

    Reading your post, I was reminded of 9/11/01 when my classmates and I sat on South Quad for a Mass of at least 8,000 strong, in many ways like last night–a celebration of life, a remembrance of tragedy, a statement of solidarity. Notre Dame is at its best when it is at prayer.

    You brought many of us home with your account. I hope you will consider writing, in some form, as a career. You have the gift.

    God Bless Declan. What an outstanding young man.

  64. Joe Flaherty

    Amy, Your description of the outpouring of love to the Declan Sullivan family from the ND family was beautiful. to Declan and the Sullivan family

    “May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of his hand.” Irish prayer

  65. Well written daughter of Notre Dame. Thank you for relating the community spirit that night.

  66. Nate '98 & Amy '00

    Beautiful. Thank you for capturing the feeling so well for those of us who are far away. I hope Declan can look down and see how much he is loved and missed, both by his family, his “family” at ND, and his extended “family” across the world (writing this from Japan).

  67. Frank McCauley

    Thoughts and prayers for the Sullivan family from a subway fan of 80..Amy`s post terrific, felt like I was there with her

  68. Aunt Linda

    Thank you for capturing your experience during Declan’s memorial mass. As a family member, I am comforted to know that Declan and Wyn, his sister, are a part of the ND community of faith. Your empathy for our family is so appreciated.

  69. Guy

    I’d like add my sincere thanks for your writing. I live far away from campus and haven’t been back in almost 15 years, and in some ways have felt my connection to my school slipping away with time.

    But your beautiful account reminded me of the truly unbreakable connection we all have with each other wherever we are, and however long its been since we stepped foot on campus; the reason my family sacrificed and invested so much of their life in Notre Dame; and what it means to be part of a community that can celebrate together and, in this case, grieve together.

    Thank you for your beautiful words, and may Declan rest in peace.

  70. Dan and Carol '94

    Dear Amy,

    Thank you for your beautiful reflection. During my sophomore year, the swim team suffered a bus accident, killing two swimmers and severely injuring a third. Your words brought back not only the memory of that tragedy, but the incredible outpouring of love, grief, and prayer from the ND community.

    This is what I have always loved about our University. My deepest sympathy to the Sullivan family. My prayers and love are with them in this terrible time.

    Dan

  71. Nancy K

    Wow. That’s Notre Dame. Tears streaming down my face right now. Declan, rest in peace. God blessed you when you got into Notre Dame.

  72. Molly '09

    Thanks for this, Amy. I hope you know how much it means to members of the ND community who weren’t able to be on campus in this time of tragedy. You’re really touching a lot of people – I was forwarded your post by two different friends and my mom. This was incredibly moving. Thank you.

  73. Josquin

    Amy-

    The Folk Choir sang the mass. It is enormously moving to know our music was heard across campus that night. Thank you for putting the experience in a new context for me.

  74. Hugs from the class of ’91

  75. Thank you for writing this. May Declan Sullivan rest in eternal peace.

  76. Colleen

    Amy, thank you for reminding me why “our hearts forever love thee Notre Dame.”

    Colleen ’91

  77. Duane

    Amy, Thank you for reminding all of us what a special place ND is. God bless Declan, his family and the whole of our community.

  78. Mike 09

    Every day I miss this place a little more. I’ve been feeling sick for Declan and his family for days now, and I really appreciate that you took the time to tell us about the mass and the atmosphere on campus.

  79. Lawrence J. Harrison

    A heartbreaking and spiritually uplifting event and posting. My Chemical Engineering class of 1955 endured the tragic death of one of our professors due to an explosion of a senior research project shortly before graduation. In that unbelievable situation, Notre Dame also showed why the University shapes our lives to be true followers of Christ.

  80. Laura

    Thank you for sharing with us what it is like to be part of the Notre Dame family during such a tragedy. This was a beautiful tribute to the support the student body has for Declan and the Sullian family.

    My prayers are with the Sulivan family and the greater Notre Dame family

    Laura ’05

  81. Celeste S

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I am a teacher at Carmel Catholic HS (where Declan and his siblings all attended). Our school is devastated by this tragedy. You have shown how loving, supportive, and caring that the ND community is. The Sullivan family must feel so blessed to have that kind of unconditional and unwavering support.

  82. Too sad. Notre Dame is a place that I’m connected to through my Grandpa. Notre Dame is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. If I was there, I would show my respect by going to that Mass. I feel very sorry for that family, and I’l keep them in my prayers.

  83. Chris

    Thank you for sharing this experience with us. RIP Declan.

  84. Ron Hyde

    Thank you so much. You made me cry again, but in a better way this time because you helped me share in the healing strength of community.

  85. Coolidge Family, Houston, Texas

    Reading this article and each following comments and tributes moved me to tears. My heart, prayers and love goes out to the Sullivan family. Such an outpouring emotion will help fill the never-ending void the Sullivan family is experiencing. This unfortunate and terrible accident puts life’s daily burdens in perspective. As a lucky father of a Notre Dame grad, I am honored to have walked in the shadow of Notre Dame and known it’s special people. As a result, the entire Notre Dame community expresses our love and prayers not only for Declan but for all in need of a hug and prayer!

    Please bind this outpouring in a book-form and to present to the Declan’s parents!

  86. Coolidge Family, Houston, Texas

    Reading this post and tributes … moved me to tears. My heart, prayers and love goes out to the Sullivan family. Such an outpouring of emotion will help fill the never-ending void the Sullivan family is experiencing. This unfortunate and terrible accident puts life’s daily burdens s in perspective. As a father of a Notre Dame grad, I am honored to have walked in the shadow of Notre Dame and known it’s special people. As a result, the entire Notre Dame community expresses our love and prayers not only for Declan but for all in need of a hug and prayer!

    Please bind this outpouring in a book-form and to present to Declan’s parents!

  87. For those wishing to view Mass of Remembrance

  88. Elaine

    Thank you for sharing your experience and being so prayerful about it. This reminds me that while Notre Dame is a university, it is very much a family who can come together and support each other.

    May the Sullivan’s continue to receive the love, prayers, and support from their Notre Dame family.

  89. My appreciation goes to Amy for writing the beautiful reflection on Declan’s fatel accident and funeral. My thoughts and prayers go to the Sullivan family. I did not know Declan either. Amy’s reflection affirmed my own feelings about being a part of the ND family. My husband, Bernie, from the class of ’57 died 13 years ago at the age of 62. It was not only our family and friends in Miami that gave me and his five childen comfort and support. The ND family surrounded us with love and support not only during the time of his demise, but to this day I still receive news and messages from the class of ’57. A friend dedicated a campus bench to Bernie with the inscripture, “A farewell is necessary before we can meet again.” As a widow I was invited to the class of ’57’s 50 year reunion. Bernie’s memory remains alive. We recognize his new presence in our lives. We feel gratitude for the remembrances and know he is not forgotten. I wish for the students and the Sullivan family this same continuing bond with Declan. I will remember Declan for the honor shown him by his friends and domers as well as Amy for passing on his story. Blessings and Peace to the Sullivan and ND family.

  90. Laurie

    Thank you for sharing your story. This is a great reminder of the Notre Dame Family. God Bless Declan & his family & friends.

    Laurie ’07

  91. Kate

    I am currently a junior at Notre Dame and I just re-experienced the flood of emotions I felt while reading this beautifully written piece in our student newspaper yesterday. It is really surreal to have such a tragic event happen at Notre Dame, and my friends and I are still dealing with the loss of our classmate. I cannot even imagine what his family is going through… my thoughts are with them. I was one of the hundreds of people in LaFortune watching the Mass, and it was truly amazing to see my classmates come together and remember Declan. Notre Dame is a very special place to be, and Declan was one of those people who made it so special. He will be greatly missed. Peace and love to Declan, his family, and his friends. RIP

  92. Matt Barthel

    Amy,

    Thanks for giving those of us who have left ND a reminder of what binds us to the place.

    Matt

  93. Beautiful post, thank you for writing.

    Peace,
    Kyle Baker
    ACE 14

  94. Louise

    I thank God for the ND experience my son Matt (08) received. There is much comfort in a Mass during these difficult times. May God watch over the Sullivan family and may the Notre Dame bubble grow each day.

  95. My goodness, this was beautifully written! It’s such a sad topic for a post, but I think you captured the ND spirit wonderfully.

    Lynn, ’04

  96. Al D.

    Thanks for writing this Amy, a very unique angle that immediately made me feel as if I were right there. Jukic mentioned this in class and a bunch of us really appreciated it.

    See you soon,
    Al

  97. Wow! Nice article. I like it. 😉

  98. Proudly in the heavens Gleams thy Gold and Blue.

    Wonderfully written and reported and God Bless the ND/SMC community as we move forward from this terrible day.
    Let us grow and be better from this.

    Notre Dame Our Mother- Pray for Us

    Marty Roddy ’85

  99. P.J. '06

    I get a lot of very genuine questions from my non-Catholic friends about Catholicism, particularly about the meaning and symbolism of the mass and if I believe in it all. I also get a lot of weird looks from non-Domers when I talk about how much Notre Dame and my time there means to me. Maybe this will help explain both. Sometimes feeling like a part of something bigger than yourself can be, in and of itself, the most important thing…

    R.I.P Declan.

  100. Amy,
    Reading your beautiful post at such a difficult time brought back so many memories of a wonderful Notre Dame community that continues to support each other so well. Thank you for your comforting words; for those of us whom did not know Declan indeed need this comfort you’ve provided. We feel the pain of Declan’s loss deeply; and we sincerely mourn his passing. May he rest in peace. And may his family find peace in the love we all feel for them at this most difficult time. We send our continued prayers.

    Sarah (’86) and Ken (’84) Fisher

  101. Frank '97

    Thank you.

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