Fr. Hesburgh Declared Honorary Navy Chaplain

Father Hesburgh named Naval Chaplain

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, was declared an honorary Navy Chaplain by Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd, Chief of Navy Chaplains, in a ceremony April 17, 2013.

When Fr. Hesburgh was ordained in 1943, he had wanted to serve as a Navy Chaplain during World War II. But instead, he went onto to continue his formation education by earning a doctorate in sacred theology from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1945. This became his first of many degrees and later became the longest serving Notre Dame President.

The efforts to fulfill 95-year-old Fr. Hesburgh’s dream of becoming a Navy chaplain began with Rev. Bill Dorwart, C.S.C., a Chaplain at Naval District Washington.

Fr. Hesburgh played an instrumental role in mentoring and leading Dorwart to naval chaplaincy. Fr. Dorwart brought Fr. Hesburgh’s dream to Rear Adm. Tidd’s attention and suggested the possibility of making Hesburgh an honorary Navy Chaplain.

Father Hesburgh named Navy Chaplain

Rear Adm.Tidd could think of no one who better exemplified the Navy Chaplain Corps’ motto “vocati ad servitium.”

“The Latin words on the Chaplain Corps seal are translated as ‘called to serve,'” he said, “and in my mind, there is no one more deserving to be named an honorary Navy Chaplain than someone who has answered the call to serve our nation, the call to serve the world and the call to serve God.”

Fr. Hesburgh said both he and the University would continue to cherish a connection with the U.S. Navy. “I can’t tell you how much I am touched to be honored by my Navy brothers. … The Navy is welcome at Notre Dame,” said Fr. Hesburgh. “Notre Dame is better because we’ve had the Navy here as long as we’ve had ROTC.

Read the entire story about Fr. Hesburgh’s honor on the U.S. Navy website.

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