Sept. 2, 2005

The University of Notre Dame will collect funds for relief of the victims of Hurricane Katrina at its first home football game Sept. 17, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president, announced today.

Notre Dame Stadium, with a capacity of 80,795, is sold out for the 2.30 p.m. (EST) game against Michigan State University.

“My hope is that the collective generosity of 80,000 fans will raise as much as possible in support of relief for this disaster, the full magnitude of which is still being determined with each passing hour,” Father Jenkins said.

The “Katrina Stadium Collection” will be taken between quarters or at halftime during the contest which, as with all home games at Notre Dame, will be televised nationally by NBC.

Father Jenkins will lead the crowd in prayer and a moment of silence during pre-game ceremonies.

The University also is taking up a collection for hurricane relief during all Masses this weekend in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and in the University’s 27 residence halls.

Funds received in both collections will be distributed as follows: 50 percent to Catholic Charities USA, 25 percent to Congregation of Holy Cross ministries in Louisiana, and 25 percent to Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) staff in affected areas.

The Holy Cross ministries include Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Sacred Heart Parish and the Holy Cross School, all in the greater New Orleans area. ACE, a program founded at Notre Dame 10 years ago, trains teachers to serve Catholic schools in areas of poverty throughout the U.S. There are an estimated 25 ACE teachers in hard-hit areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Father Jenkins said Notre Dame continues to examine other options for aiding those most affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“Of course we are monitoring the well-being of our students who have families in the area, and we will be attentive to their needs, both emotionally and financially,” Father Jenkins said.

Notre Dame has 60 students from the areas where the storm hit.

“In addition, we are mobilizing all of the pertinent units on our campus to determine how we can best assist the academic and scholarly needs of students and faculty from colleges and universities that have been affected,” Father Jenkins said.

Notre Dame’s service learning enterprise, the Center for Social Concerns, also is organizing a number of activities to support the relief effort.

Further details on the “Katrina Stadium Collection,” including how those unable to attend the game might give, will be announced in the near future.