Rev. Maurice E. Amen, C.S.C.

Oct. 19, 1934-May 10, 2016

NOTRE DAME, Ind. Rev. Maurice Eugene Amen, C.S.C., 81, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

Watch Fr. Amen’s Funeral Mass

Fr. Amenwas born on Oct. 19, 1934, to Everett E. and Ida Marie (Walker) Amen in Scottsbluff, Neb. Fr. Amen attended Roosevelt, Lincoln and Longfellow elementary schools in Scottsbluff and graduated from Scottsbluff High School in May 1952. He was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross on Aug. 15, 1953. Fr. Amen professed his First Vows on Aug. 16, 1954. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in June 1957 and a master’s degree in English in August 1963, also from Notre Dame. Fr. Amen made his Final Profession of Vows on Aug. 16, 1957. He studied theology at Holy Cross College, Washington, D.C., from 1957 to 1961, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1961, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colo. He studied Canon Law at the Gregorian University in Rome from 1962 to 1964. Fr. Amen also earned a bachelor of science and a licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in 1965 and 1967, respectively.

Fr. Amen’s first assignment was a Pastoral Apprenticeship at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., from 1961-1962, when he also served as Assistant Rector and Chaplain of Lyons Hall. While Fr. Amen was at the Gregorian, he served as Chaplain of the Notre Dame International High School in Rome. He taught at Holy Cross College, Washington, D.C., from 1965 to 1968, where he also served as Registrar from 1968 to 1973. Fr. Amen taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1968 to 1976 and served as Rector at Keenan and Flanner halls. From 1971 to 1973, Fr. Amen served as Chairman of the Program on Non-Violence at Notre Dame, where he served as Superior of St. Joseph Hall from 1973 to 1976 as well. He was Director of the Program for Continuing Education in Deer Park, Md., in the summer of 1974; and a staff member for the Hope Seminary in Jerusalem in the summers of 1975 and 1976. From 1973 to 1977, Fr. Amen was a member of the Commission for Continuing Education for the Congregation of Holy Cross.

In 1976, Fr. Amen took a year sabbatical at Notre Dame and served as Assistant Rector of a residence hall. He studied at the Japanese Studies Center in Kamakura, Japan, from 1977 to 1979. From 1979 to 1982, he taught at the Elko Gakjen High School in Kamakura. From 1979 to 1998, he taught at the College of Comparative Culture at Sophia University in Tokyo. Fr. Amen lived at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, but then returned to Sophia University in April 1999. In June 2000, Fr. Amen became Chaplain at Columba Hall at Notre Dame. He served as an adjunct instructor at Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, from 2001 to 2002, when he was named an Associate Professor, a position in which he served through 2007. Fr. Amen moved to Holy Cross House in September 2007.

Preceding him in death are his parents, Everett and Marie; a brother, Gregg; and a sister, Connie Walter. Surviving is a sister, Ginny Spencer and nephew Shaun (Toni) Spencer.

Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday (May 15, 2016) at Moreau Seminary, where there will be a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at 3:30 p.m. Monday (May 16, 2016) at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame. 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

Funeral Homilyby Fr. Michael Belinsky, C.S.C.
May15, 2016

Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7

I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son.”

This passage from the Book of Revelation is one born of hope, of a hope that began in the crucible of suffering, of persecution, of martyrdom. Yet John writes with eloquence that the entire world, the created cosmos, even the realm of God in heaven will be refashioned and brought to an elevated and more impressive existence.

Through faith in the Crucified and Risen One, through the immense love of God who carved a covenant, first, in stone, with the chosen people and then, within the fleshy tablets of the hearts of Christian disciples, God sealed this pledge through wood of the Cross. In this saving mercy, all things are promised to be made new. For this, we sing our alleluias!

On this Pentecost Sunday, as we celebrate the 50th day of the Easter season, we look to Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, to God, the Father of Mercy, and to their Spirit of Love who continues to breathe new life and much love into the mystical body of the church, all of those who are baptized by water and the Spirit, buried with Christ and most certainly raised with him to a new way of life.

One member of this Body, the church, who lived this faith, is our brother whom we honor: Maurice Eugene Amen, of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Born in Nebraska, baptized most likely in a Methodist church as a baby, educated in Scottsbluff schools, yet somehow and for reasons that seemed to escape him, as a boy, membership in a church and the worship of God on Sunday struck Maury as ever so important.

Five years ago, as Maury celebrated his Golden Anniversary Ordination to the Priesthood, he recounted that he was, as a boy, a “thorough-going Baptist” until he was 13. Then, as his Mother converted to Catholicism and invited him to do the same, so he did.

As he remembered, with much gratitude and in vivid detail, of how he was baptized conditionally by Fr. Maloney, Maury also wrote, with undisguised humor, given in hindsight, of how he was required, as a 13-year old, to adjure his “heretical” Baptist beliefs as he received the Sacraments of Initiation and became a “fully fledged and fully pledged Roman Catholic on June 19, 1948.

A significant family in terms of his discernment of his priestly vocation was Donald and Victoria Lanspa from St. Agnes parish in his hometown. When the parish priest let them know of Maury’s budding interest in priesthood, the Lanspa’s provided Maury not only with printed literature about priesthood in Holy Cross, they drove him to ND, they paid his tuition, room, board, books and other expenses including much-needed dental work. Their sacrifices allowed him to explore the possibility of the Catholic priesthood and he neither forgot their gift to him nor failed to include them in his prayers.

And, at the completion of Maury’s seminary studies, because his family lived more than 1000 miles away from ND and did not have the finances to travel for his ordination, Maury was ordained on June 3, 1961, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver where his family could attend.

His 16 classmates ordained elsewhere that year: Ernie Bartell, Robert Pautista, Thomas Chambers, Santo Ciatto , Dennis Freemal, Don Guertin, Joseph Koma, William Muha, Thomas McNally,Robert Malone,Robert Simon, Joseph Simons, Robert Murphy, Joseph Peixotto, William Toohey and Joseph Walters.

Among the brotherhood of Holy Cross, he especially treasured his close friendships with Joe O’Donnell and David Verhalen. Now, I presume there are many more of us who were dear to him, but I single out these two men because Maury wrote about them with great tenderness.

His fond memories included: Land of Lakes. Deer Park. Bridge games. Opera. Music. Books. Ideas. Teaching. Writing if even on-line critiques of books and of operas and books about operas. Maury’s intellectual life and the creative expression of the best of the human spirit were important to him.

Ministry took him as a newly-ordained priest in 1961through 55 years of ministry to a parish in Cleveland Ohio, to a hospital in Anderson, Indiana, to the residence halls of Notre Dame to Rome to Washington, DC, to Notre Dame again, to Jerusalem to Kamakura, Japan, and back to Notre Dame to Columba Hall and Holy Cross College.

Drawn to the spiritual life seeking completion as a person who was created in God’s love, redeemed by the Son’s love and filled with the love of their Spirit – Maury marveled that he had lived on borrowed time, that he had outlived his heart’s abilities not once, but twice, with quadruple bypass surgery in 1986 and 1998.

Always embedded in his prayers of gratitude were his grandparents, parents, godparents, the Lanspa’s and dear friends. One close friend/student wrote that Maury taught him “to love unconditionally, to love fully, to love genuinely.”

And Maury often spoke of his great love for his brothers in Holy Cross, his students, his friends, and, in particular, his sister Ginny and his nephew, Shaun Spencer, as well as of his deceased siblings: Connie and Gregg.

May this great love, rooted in Christ, which both inspired Maury and that he embodied, continue to help us open our hearts with love to a world and a cosmos made by God’s Spirit ever-new and ever-blessed. For Maury, may it always be Easter and Pentecost and abundant new life in the Lord’s wonderful kingdom. Amen. Alleluia.

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