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Like most Notre Dame students, senior Sam Bellafiore had an idea of what his future career would be when he was still in high school. But at the time, Bellafiore wasn’t thinking about becoming an accountant or a lawyer — he was thinking about becoming a priest.Bellafiore, who will enter Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, this September, said he has been drawn to religious life for quite a while, even though there were many times he said he wished he wasn’t.“I started thinking about [becoming a priest] late in high school, and you don’t particularly like the idea of not getting married, or not owning very many things or having to spend every day helping other people,” Bellafiore said. “[Religious life is], on the face of it, not particularly attractive. And I kept finding that, on the surface level, even though it wasn’t attractive, there was something very deep inside of me that still kept wanting to do this.”That part of him that wanted to become a priest grew throughout his time at Notre Dame, Bellafiore said.“Really from the first day I was here — I met someone in my section as a freshman the first week of class, and we talked about discernment,” he said. “People are just in general more open to the idea of someone becoming a priest or religious [at Notre Dame] than you’d find in a lot of other places. So the fact that people were open with it and thought it was an okay thing to do – it makes it a lot easier to think about.”Men that join a seminary can choose either to join an order — like the Congregation of Holy Cross — or a diocese. Bellafiore said he considered joining an order, but ultimately decided to join a diocese so he could serve the city where he grew up.“I was really drawn to serving the people in the place that I’m from, the place that raised me and formed me and helped me become who I am,” Bellafiore said. “And I want to go back and help people there.”Bellafiore said serving the people of his community is something he’s looking forward to most as he prepares to enter religious life. What will be even more important to him than that, though, will be the Mass, he said.“If I became a priest, the most important thing in my life — and if I don’t become a priest, the most important thing in my life — would be Mass, when God actually continues to take flesh in the world and be with us,” Bellafiore said. “That would be the most important thing. There’s nothing more important than that. But I’m also looking forward to, in seminary and if I become a priest, just spending time with people, ministering to them, learning from them and bringing whatever I can share to them.”Senior Christina Serena, who will join the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in August, said she is most looking forward to giving her life “entirely to God” after graduation. Courtesy of Christina Serena Senior Christina Serena (left) will join the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in August. To her left are Sister Joseph Andrew, foundress and vocations director of the order, and two postulants.“Rather than waiting for that time to test out my vocation, I’ll actually get to live it and see it with clearer eyes than I’ve been able to so far,” Serena said.When she first arrived at Notre Dame, Serena said she didn’t want to be a religious sister. But like Bellafiore, her love for religious life grew during her time as an undergraduate.“Through my Foundations of Theology course and through my prayer and getting to know God better in that way, it became clear to me that God was calling me to consider [religious life],” Serena said. “The more I prayed about it, the more I learned about the Dominicans, the more it attracted me. And there just became a point where I fell in love with religious life, and during prayer one morning said, ‘Yes, this is what I want to do.’ And that’s what I’ve wanted to do since.”By the time she was a sophomore, Serena had decided she wanted to join the Dominicans.“I don’t think I would have been able to discern my vocation without an image of religious life,” Serena said. “And the first sisters I ever encountered were from my community, in Spain at World Youth Day. And after [God] introduced them to me it was most natural for me to begin, first of all, discerning with them. And later, meeting other religious orders, I realized that God introduced me first to the order that was right for me. It’s a matter of the heart, so I can’t say exactly why I’m called to them.”Serena said there are many reasons she loves the order.“I love the Dominicans’ commitment to study,” Serena said. “I love that they’re the order of preachers, because I think that’s so important, especially with all the people in our culture today who don’t recognize Christ. They’re also very monastic. I love all the traditional ways of praying, and they wear the traditional Dominican habit. But they’re also very young and joyful; their average age is 30 and the average age of those who enter is 21.“So I’m already over the average. One of the pre-postulants was asking me how I felt about being old,” she said with a laugh.To those discerning their vocation, Bellafiore said the most important thing he has learned throughout the process is not to be afraid.“Fear is not something that comes from God,” Bellafiore said. “He always speaks through peace. There’s also no reason to be afraid because He’s totally good and totally in love with you and wants nothing but what’s good for you.”Serena agreed.“I think oftentimes when people are trying to figure out God’s will, they think of it as something that God knows and He won’t necessarily tell them unless they do everything perfectly, or they really think about it and obsess about it,” she said. “But the vocation is something that God has already implanted in you through baptism, and He actually desires for us to know our vocations more than we do ourselves. So as long as you’re staying close to God through the sacraments and through prayer, He will reveal your vocation to you at the right time.”Tags: Commencement, discernment, dominican sisters of mary, priesthood, Seniors
Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) is investigating a report of sexual assault committed Saturday, according to an email sent to students Thursday night.The assault reportedly occurred in a West Quad men’s residence hall, the email stated. This is the third sexual assault report NDSP has sent to students this school year.The email quoted “du Lac: A Guide to Student Life,” Notre Dame’s official policy book, and warned students of the risks of sexual assault as well as the standards of consent.“Sexual assault can happen to anyone,” the email said. “Anyone initiating any kind of sexual contact with another person must seek consent and not engage in sexual contact unless consent is given.“On college campuses, perpetrators are more likely to assault an acquaintance than a stranger. Being aware of your own safety and watching out for your friends are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of sexual assault.“The perpetrator, not the survivor, is responsible for any instance of sexual assault. Nothing a survivor does or does not do is an excuse for sexual assault.”Tags: Clery Act, NDSP, sexual assaut
Victoria “Tori” Murden McClure, president of Spalding University, will speak at the 169th Saint Mary’s Commencement ceremony, which will take place May 14 on Le Mans Green, according to a College press release. The 350 graduating students represent 31 states and four countries, and three students will be valedictorians, the release said.McClure is the author of “A Pearl in the Storm,” which documents her adventure across the Atlantic, according to the book’s website. She is best known for being both the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as to ski to the geographic South Pole, the website said. A self-proclaimed explorer, McClure is chair of the board of the National Outdoor Leadership School, according to the website.Prior to her presidency at Spalding, McClure was a chaplain of Boston City Hospital, a policy assistant to the Mayor of Louisville, Ky. and the director of a shelter for homeless women, the press release said. According to the release, she will be receiving an honorary doctorate of humanities for her commitment to public service.Along with McClure, Sister Joan Marie Steadman and Portia Prebys will be receiving honorary degrees from the College, the release said.Steadman will be recognized for her leadership abilities and her mission-focused efforts to preserve the legacies of both the College and the congregation, the press release said. She is the executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and a board member of Loyola University Health System in Chicago, according to the release. She also served on the College’s Board of Regents, now known as the Board of Trustees, from 1982 to 2006, and maintained her position during her presidency of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the release said.Prebys will receive an honorary doctorate of humanities, according to the press release. She serves as the director of Saint Mary’s study abroad program in Rome and will be recognized for her life’s dedication to the cultural exchange between Italy and the United States, the release stated. A ’66 graduate of the College, Prebys received a Fulbright Fellowship to study Renaissance history in Italy, where she currently resides, the press release said.Tags: Commencement, Saint Mary’s Commencement, Spalding College
The Notre Dame Folk Choir will perform their annual Concert for the Missions in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Friday at 8 p.m. The concert benefits Yancana Huasy — an organization that assists families who have children with disabilities — through Holy Cross Missions, senior and Folk Choir social commissioner Greg Demet said. “The Concert for the Missions is our annual event to raise proceeds for the Holy Cross Missions organization, and this will be our 24th year hosting the concert,” he said. As the group’s only performance concert of the year, the Concert for the Mission places special emphasis on the organizations it benefits, senior and Folk Choir president Liam Maher said. Located in Canto Grande, Peru — which contains a large impoverished population — Yancana Huasy supports families with disabled children because it is usually economically challenging to provide for their children here, Demet said. “Our goal is to support these families financially, spiritually and socially,” he said. “We strive to give hope to families who have lost all hope by relieving them of significant economic burdens.”Folk Choir director J.J. Wright said Yancana Huasy provides the Canto Grande community with services they need in order to live fuller lives.“A child born with a disability is viewed as a curse in this community, which usually leaves the mothers to care for their children alone,” he said. Canto Grande was built in landfill, and as a result contains a significantly poor population, Wright said. “The Holy Cross brothers founded a parish here to build up the community,” he said. “The funds we raise through our concert are given to the Yancana Huasy organization, who chooses how to best use them.”This year has especially focused on integrating Peruvian culture into the concert, Wright said. “This year is exciting, because we have a particular focus on their work in Peru,” he said. “ … We’re striving to encounter Canto Grande’s cultural situation by learning music that is authentically Peruvian and South American in an effort to understand the people culturally.”The concert will be set up in a Mass setting, Maher said, in order to increase the spirituality of the event.“We approach the concert as a prayer-like experience,” he said. “We take time to reflect in between songs, hold the Mass completely in Spanish and have included some hymns and choral pieces that will make the music speak for itself. We want the concert’s music to make a connection between those who are listening and the Holy Cross Missions, rather than draw the connection physically.”The Folk Choir has also invited Juan Pastor, a Peruvian musician, to help lead the performance, Wright said.“Learning by performance is especially important in Peruvian culture, and Pastor has taught us the important aspects of the music found in between the lines,” he said. “ … Having someone provide us the gift of showing what music actually sounds like has been very enlightening.”Maher said Pastor brought his expertise to help the Folk Choir learn to represent the Canto Grande people.“He helped us approach the music from a culturally sensitive standpoint,” Maher said. “He’s connected a lot of the dots that we were unable to, simply because this has been such a new experience for us.”Tags: Concert for the Missions, Folk Choir, Holy Cross Missions, Notre Dame folk choir, Peru, Sacred Music
Maeve Filbin | The Observer Students gathered in Riedinger House on Tuesday evening to hear some of the ghost stories of Saint Mary’s.In the parlor of Riedinger House, students sat on couches and clustered together on the floor, leaning forward attentively to listen to the Resident Assistants sharing stories of ghostly encounters in the Saint Mary’s residence halls. Tuesday night, the Class Gift Campaign of the Office of Annual Giving hosted the annual reading of “Quiet Hours,” a 2002 collection of ghost stories and other paranormal activity reported on campus.Students sipped hot cider and ate donuts as they listened as Residence Life staff read from the collection written by three Saint Mary’s alumnae – Shelly Houser, Veronica Kessenich and Kristen Matha – and recalled their own experiences with slamming doors, shaking beds, disembodied knocks against the window and apparitions wearing red.At one point, the parlor lights flickered, briefly casting the listeners into darkness.“That’s enough,” senior and Resident Assistant (RA) Anastasia Hite said, as if chastising a ghostly presence pulling pranks in Riedinger House.Hite, who had several spooky stories to share, said she is no longer fazed by the strange occurrences that have plagued her time as a RA at Saint Mary’s.“It’s a constant thing,” Hite said. “If anyone wants to go ghost-hunting, they should just follow me around.”Recently, Hite said she has experienced some paranormal activity in her friends’ Le Mans Hall dorm room.“I hate Le Mans,” Hite said. “[My friends] have lived in Le Mans for the past three years. They lived in one of these rooms across the hall from the creepy stairwell. At one point, I am in their room and I’m like ‘I have to go to the bathroom.’ So I walk down the hall to go to the bathroom, and the doors in this bathroom are kind of squeaky but they all were propped open. So I walked by and shut all three of them, and they all squeak right. So I go to the bathroom in the last stall, and when I walk out, all the doors are open and there was no squeak.”Hite said while living in Holy Cross, she has often woken up to find her bed shaking, as if someone is standing at its foot and rattling the posts – a phenomenon she said other residents have reported having experienced. In other instances, Hite said she has heard knuckles rapping against bathroom windows and doors, only to find no one on the other side.Another time, Hite said she and senior Mia Washington shared a strange experience in the elevator of Cushwa-Leighton library.“We get in the elevator and we’re in the basement,” Hite said. “The doors start to close and they get about like two inches from being closed, and they just like slam open, slam shut and then the lights flicker in the elevator.”Though Washington was startled, Hite said she wasn’t moved by the encounter in the elevator.“Just another day,” she said.Senior and RA Liv Sencion said she experienced a ghost with an interesting hobby: redecorating her dorm room.“My first year, I lived in a single in on the second floor in the south side of Regina,” Sencion said. “There was a single next to me – another girl – and the girl and I were supposed to room together but didn’t, and it worked out because we weren’t that good of friends. I would go home some weekends. One weekend I go home and I didn’t tell her because she’s not my mom. I come back and she is all upset with me and she says ‘Why did you have to move all your furniture at like three o’clock in the morning? You kept me up. And why did you have to do it both nights?’ And I was like, ‘I wasn’t even here.’”The furniture in Regina is heavy, Sencion said, and makes a lot of noise when moved across the floor. Though the neighbor reported similar instances of disturbances on weekend nights, Sencion said she never returned to find her room disturbed.Tags: ghost stories, Paranormal Activity, Quiet Hours, residence halls, Residence Life, Riedinger House
View Comments By the way, the stage version of Peter Pan doesn’t have an actor playing Tinker Bell. The magical character is represented by a little flash of light and tinkling music. Also, to choke on one’s tongue, it would have to be in one’s mouth. Raunchy pop star Miley Cyrus is busy kissing Katy Perry, simulating masturbation on stage, and (of course!) endlessly sticking out her tongue as she treks the country with her Bangerz tour. Still, the 21-year-old former child star took some time out on February 24 to shut down tabloid rumors that she’ll play Tinker Bell in the planned NBC live broadcast of Peter Pan. Peter Pan Live! is set to air on NBC on December 4. ”I would rather choke on my own tongue,“ Cyrus tweeted alongside a pic of a recent Star magazine item purporting that she is excited to don fairy wings on live TV because it’s her “dream role.”
Denis O’Hare is no circus act, but he’ll soon be collecting them on American Horror Story: Freak Show! According to Vulture, the AHS favorite and Tony winner will return to the FX series’ fourth season as a rival “collector of freaks” to Jessica Lange’s character, a German ex-pat who manages a freak show in 1950 Florida. As previously reported, Broadway vets Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Frances Conroy and Sarah Paulson, along with Evan Peters, will reunite for the new season after appearing in the Coven storyline. The crew will play members of the twisted act who will do anything to keep the freak show running. Hey, Ryan Murphy: any chance Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner can join that lineup? View Comments “I’m going to be working at cross-purposes with [Lange’s character],” O’Hare revealed, adding, “We’ll have lots of scenes with each other, but we’ll be battling.” O’Hare received a Tony Award for his performance in Take Me Out, as well as a nomination for Assassins. His additional Broadway credits include Elling, Inherit the Wind, Sweet Charity and Cabaret.
Hereafter Musical Hereafter Musical, a new show by Frankie Keane and Vinnie Favale, begins performances off-Broadway on September 13. Directed by Terry Berliner, the tuner’s opening night is set for October 25 at the Snapple Theater Center. View Comments Related Shows Hereafter Musical follows three women who have come together at the home of world renowned psychic Jason Richards, desperate to make contact with their loved ones who have passed. Unbeknownst to them, the spirits materialize during the reading, and they, like the living, also have a great deal of difficulty moving on. Keane will also appear in the cast alongside Deborah Tranelli, Pierce Cravens, Jill Shackner, Paul Blankenship, Eileen Faxas, Carolyn Mignini, Courtney Capek, Tanisha Gary, Kissy Simmons, Margaret Kelly and Alan Kalter.
The 2014-15 Tony Awards Administration Committee met for the third time this season to determine the eligibility of Honeymoon in Vegas and Constellations. The committee will meet one more time this spring to determine the eligibility of this season’s remaining shows. The committee previously met in January and in November 2014. Nominations will be announced on April 28. The ceremony will be broadcast live on CBS from Radio City Music Hall on June 7. The committee made the following determinations: Tony Danza will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical category for his performance in Honeymoon in Vegas. Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Play categories for their respective performances in Constellations. All other eligibility determinations were consistent with the show’s opening night credits, meaning both Rob McClure and Brynn O’Malley will be eligible for the Leading categories for the Jason Robert Brown tuner. View Comments
Billy Porter & More Belt for the Holidays‘Tis the season for holiday benefits! Tony-winning Kinky Boots star Billy Porter, Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner/Christmas enthusiast Stephanie J. Block and more will headline Sparkle: An All-Star Holliday Concert. The fourth annual event, hosted by Scott Nevins, will take place on December 6 at the Cutting Room and benefit the Actors Fund. Additional stage faves set to spread holiday cheer include Charl Brown, An American in Paris’ Max von Essen, Wicked’s Robin de Jesus, Charl Brown, perennial vlogger Lesli Margherita, Matt Doyle and more.Stage & Screen Stars Set for Mike Nichols MemorialA group of stage and screen greats will take part in a memorial service for Mike Nichols. According to Showbiz411, Monty Python duo Eric Idle and John Cleese, who collaborated with Nichols on Spamalot, will perform. Barry Diller, Bryan Lourd, Lorne Michaels and Elaine May will host (May was recently tapped to direct a PBS documentary focusing on the late EGOT-winning director). The private gathering will take place on November 8, about a week shy of the anniversary of his death at the age of 83.Watch Idina Menzel Rise like the Break of DawnJust when we’d stopped watching Idina Menzel and Taylor Swift’s Frozen duet from Halloween on repeat, then our favorite Broadway supernova goes and posts this video. Check out below a sneak peek of what went down (or should that be up?) behind the scenes right before Menzel made her entrance as Elsa. We just can’t let this performance go. Well, at any rate until Frozen Fever, the short film inspired by the movie, bows on the Disney Channel on November 29. Idina Menzel View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Settle for Santino FontanaSantino Fontana is currently appearing in The CW’s musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and on a recent episode he got to put his hoofing skills to good use. Check out below as the Tony nominee performs a dream sequence number, “Settle For Me,” along with the show’s headliner Rachel Bloom. The former Prince Charming is just as adorable as ever—we’re crossing all fingers and toes he’ll be settling back on the Great White Way soon! Star Files