After two weeks and over 300 miles traveled, The Notre Dame Trail finally reached its conclusion, as thousands of people joined in for the last three miles of the journey.
With the band playing and the huge crowds, it may have looked and sounded like a football weekend, but for the thousands who came out, it was for a different reason to cheer cheer for old Notre Dame.
“To be able to walk through the land of where all the Holy Cross family is, to see Holy Cross, St. Mary's, and Notre Dame, everyone coming together - it was a really beautiful feeling,” South Bend resident & ND alum Melissa Fruscione said. “You could really sense the Notre Dame family.”
Amongst the masses were the 32 pilgrims that have been there from the very beginning.
“There was certainly nothing like walking between the lakes, visiting Fr. Sorin's grave - having walked 320 miles and seeing the Dome at the end, it was pretty emotional,” Former ND swimmer Haley Scott DeMaria said.
“I'm not going to lie I'm tired and I'm sore, but I'm invigorated by what's going on here today,” Christine Golic said. “It's been a special day for Notre Dame, and I'm so happy to be a part of it.”
“We were only going to walk three miles, and that was nothing compared to anything we did over the past two weeks,” Rev. David Eliaona, C.S.C., said.
While this was about Notre Dame, it incorporated the whole community.
“You can see by the number of people that came out to be a part of this march, just thousands of people who feel so deeply about their relationship to Notre Dame,” South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg said. “I want to make sure they feel they have a relationship with South Bend too. No matter where they're from, if you've got that connection to the university, then you've got a connection to our city as well.”
As the university celebrates its past, it also looks to the future.
“We have so much more in terms of plan and people, than Fr. Sorin had,” University president Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “I hope we just continue that vision of being a place of faith, being a place of learning, of discovery, being a place that's a force for good, that serves the wider community. We will do that in different ways than Fr. Sorin did that in 1842, but I hope with the same spirit and the same purpose.”