Rev. Donald F. Guertin, C.S.C.

Rev. Donald F. Guertin, C.S.C.
October 27, 1928-December 20, 2020

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. Donald Francis Guertin, C.S.C., 92, died Sunday, December 20, 2020 at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind.

Watch Fr. Guertin’s Funeral Mass here via YouTube.

He was born on October 27, 1928, in Detroit, Mich., to Donald and Alice (Tank) Guertin. He graduated from St. Francis Xavier High School in suburban Ecorse, Mich., in 1946 and studied for two years at Chaffey College in Alta Loma, Cali., before a four-year stint in flight training and as a U.S. Navy pilot. He came to the University of Notre Dame as a regular student in 1952, entered Old College a year later, then went to Sacred Heart Novitiate, Jordan, Minn., where he was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross on August 15, 1954. He made his First Profession of Vows on August 16, 1955 and his Final Profession on August 16, 1958. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1957, then studied Theology for four years at Holy Cross College, Washington, D.C. Fr. Guertin was ordained a Holy Cross priest in Sacred Heart Church, Notre Dame, Ind., on June 7, 1961.

From 1962 to 1966, Fr. Guertin was parochial vicar at Little Flower Parish, South Bend, Ind. For the first year of this assignment, he also prefected in a student residence hall at the University of Notre Dame. From 1966 to 1967, he served as parochial vicar at Christ the King Parish, South Bend, Ind. The following year, he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, also in South Bend, where he served until 1974. Fr. Guertin then studied for two years at Loyola University, Chicago, Ill., where he received a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. In 1976, he was appointed to the Family and Children’s Center, South Bend, Ind., where he would be a counselor for the next 15 years. From 1992 to 1993, he traveled to Dublin, Ireland, on sabbatical, then studied at Berkeley, Cali. Fr. Guertin served in the Coachella Valley area for the next four years, assisting at Our Lady of Soledad Parish, as well as the Valley Missionary Program with Fr. Joe Pawlicki, C.S.C. In 1997, Fr. Guertin returned to South Bend, Ind., to serve as parochial vicar of Little Flower Parish. He was made pastor there in 1999. In 2001, he spent a year at St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, Ariz., as parochial vicar, followed by a year at Holy Cross Center, Berkeley, Cali. In 2003, he returned to South Bend, Ind., where he was parochial vicar at Holy Cross Parish until 2006. In 2006, he moved to Fatima House, Notre Dame, Ind., where he continued many “extra parish” activities, as he called them. He was a spiritual director of Cursillos, was involved in the Diocesan Board of Education, and participated in the Engaged Encounter Program in South Bend, Ind. He also helped found the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County (Indiana) and the county’s Clergy Association. He was a coordinator of “Lectures for Living,” a prestigious lecture series of the Family and Children’s Center in Mishawaka, Ind. Fr. Guertin also responded to various ministry requests over the years, including Masses at the prison in Michigan City, Ind., at St. Paul’s Retirement Community in South Bend, and Holy Cross Care and Rehab, also in South Bend. Additionally, Fr. Guertin worked part-time with the Spiritual Care Department at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Mishawaka, Ind., as a priest visitor. Fr. Guertin moved to Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2015.

Beyond Fr. Guertin’s accomplishments and commitment to his profession, he had many other facets to his life. He was passionate about maintaining his health and physical fitness. For many years, his daily regimen included a 1-2 mile run, along with a course of weight lifting and calisthenics. His weight never deviated, remaining unchanged from when he was a young man in the Navy. He specialized in cooking healthy nutritious meals, done especially well in the crockpot. Just two years ago, on his 90thbirthday, he demonstrated his push-ups and pull-ups with great form and still integrated a daily exercise regimen at the Holy Cross House gym. He played tennis regularly well into his 80’s. Furthermore, he enjoyed skiing and participated in an annual ski trip with his buddies for many years. He relaxed by reading and cheering on Notre Dame sports teams.

He is revered for his dedication to family and friends. His annual trips, letter writing, and regular phone calls fostered these diverse relationships. He is therefore remembered fondly as a devoted uncle to Bruce Guertin, Brian Guertin, Sharon Guertin (Tony) Rettino, Ed (Lisa) Paule, Suzanne Paule, Lisa (Dominic Adorno) Guertin and Jeffrey Guertin. He is also survived by seven great-nieces and nephews; and several cousins. Preceding him in death are his parents, Donald and Alice Guertin; his brothers Lester Guertin and Richard Guertin; and his sister Norma Paule.

The Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, December 28, 2020, at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind., with everyone wearing masks and safely distanced. You may also join us via livestream. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at

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