Irish Eyes: Fr. Peter Rocca, C.S.C.

Author: George West


Fr. Peter Rocca, C.S.C., is the Rector for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame and an Associate Director for Liturgy within the Office of Campus Ministry. Since 1980, Fr. Rocca has also served as the Director of Liturgy and Music at Moreau Seminary.

“Coming to Notre Dame for a football game is a lot more than just a football game. I would guess people that go to a lot of other schools, like Northwestern, (or) Ohio State, (or) Michigan State, or Michigan, a lot of those people go just for the game, they tailgate and watch football. That’s pretty much where the focus is. Normally what you often hear people say when they’re coming to Notre Dame is that it’s a football weekend. A lot of people get here on Friday, and you sense the difference on campus. With all of the traditions that are a part of Notre Dame, it would be hard to find any other place that would be comparable to this. Football here is much bigger than just a football game. Well I won’t say that this couldn’t happen at other places, but certainly it’s something very special to Notre Dame. People want to go to the football game and tailgating is very important but for a lot of people, not everybody, but for a lot of people it entails going to things like hearing the band play on the steps of bond hall, it entails going to the grotto and praying, it entails visiting the basilica; not to mention there are all of these images of Jesus and Mary all around campus. It contributes to the uniqueness of this place. Notre Dame is a very special place.”

Post-game Basilica Mass: 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game

“We have over 100,000 people who visit the basilica over the course of the year. So a lot of these visitors are here on football weekends. The mass in the Basilica, they’re hanging from the rafters! They are on the floor, they’re on the steps, they’re in the aisle; I mean every inch is taken up for these post game masses. Plus the masses on Sunday are jammed, so jammed that we’ve added an additional mass at 8 am on Sunday. Now that mass isn’t jammed but it’s still a full house. We are one of the only football stadiums in the country that announce the mass schedule. It’s wonderful.”

Post-game Stephan Center Mass: 45 minutes after the conclusion of the game

“We started a choir to sing at the Stephan Center Mass. They’re our celebration choir under the direction of Karen Schneider-Kirner and she has done a great job. Rather than make plans with their friends and family after the games they make a commitment to be here at the masses which is pretty admirable. So these are some of the things that make a Notre Dame football weekend unique.”

Post-game Mass in the Residence Halls: 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game

These include:

  • Alumni
  • Dillon
  • Keough
  • Morrissey
  • Ryan
  • Siegfried
  • Sorin Halls

The only exception is on Oct. 19, when Mass will take place at 4 p.m. to accommodate the night game vs. USC.

Sunday Mass

Sunday Masses on home football game weekends will take place in the Basilica at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

Additional Mass Times

Mass is also offered in the Crypt on football Saturdays at 6:45 a.m. and 10 a.m.

“Weekends when we win collections are much larger. Well people are in a giving mood there spirits are warmed up and they are excited, so they give a twenty instead of a ten or a five instead of a single.”

Be sure to check the Spiritual tab for more information.

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