University President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., speaks during a reception celebrating his 96th birthday in the U.S. Capitol
It was all for him, a celebration of 96 years of a life well-lived, 70 of them as a Catholic priest from Notre Dame, Indiana.
The personal invitation from U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. The applause as he entered the wood-paneled Rayburn Room on the House side of the U.S. Capitol. The intimate invocation from Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. The surprise appearance of Vice President Joe Biden. The personal anecdotes, heartfelt adulation and hugs shared by a lineup of senators and members of Congress.
Then there was the double-wide chocolate cake, big enough to feed a few hundred Notre Dame alumni and other Capitol Hill well-wishers and cheerfully inscribed, “Happy Birthday, Father Hesburgh.”