Father Malloy marks 50 years as a Holy Cross priest

Author: Dennis Brown

President Emeritus Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C. celebrates Mass at St. Pius X church in Granger, IN. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.

In the summer of ’62, Edward “Monk” Malloy and a group of other University of Notre Dame students made a service trip to Mexico under the auspices of the University’s Council for the International Lay Apostolate. When the contingent made a trip to the center of the country and stopped at the Basilica of Cristo Rey, young Malloy found himself alone while others went exploring.

In the second book of his three-part autobiography, "Monk's Tale: Way Stations on the Journey," he wrote: “All was quiet and I soon found myself in a state of reverie. It was as though time stood still and all the cares of the moment had dissipated. I was at peace. How long I remained so disposed I cannot say. All I know is that I had a sudden and compelling sense that I was being called to become a priest.”

The call never diminished, and after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English in the spring of 1963, he entered the candidate program of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Notre Dame’s founding religious community. He was ordained in 1970.

Today, April 4, marks the 50th anniversary of his ordination.

“On behalf of the entire Notre Dame community, we express our profound gratitude to Monk for his visionary leadership and invaluable contributions as president, priest-in-residence, and member of the Department of Theology faculty,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “On a personal note, I am deeply grateful for Monk’s wise counsel, for his steadfast friendship, and for his example as a faithful Holy Cross priest over many years.”

While in seminary, Father Malloy earned two master’s degrees, in English and theology, and following his ordination he earned a doctorate in Christian ethics from Vanderbilt University, where there is now a chaired professorship in his name and he was a member of the board of trustees for several terms.

Father Malloy joined the theology faculty at Notre Dame in 1974 and has been at the University ever since. He was among a handful of Holy Cross priests selected as a potential successor to longtime President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., and spent five years as a vice president and associate provost.

In 1986, Father Malloy became the first Notre Dame president to be elected by the Board of Trustees, assuming office the following year.

In his tenure from 1987 to 2005, the University’s reputation, faculty and resources all grew rapidly. Faculty positions rose by more than 500, some 140 endowed chairs were added, the average SAT score of incoming students rose by 160 points, the endowment skyrocketed from $456 million to $3 billion and financial aid grew from $5 million to $136 million annually.

Father Malloy’s experiences at the integrated Archbishop John Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., as well as his father’s participation in the civil rights movement, led the Notre Dame president to put a premium on diversity. During his tenure, minority student enrollment rose from seven percent to 18 percent.

Like his predecessor, Father Malloy made — and continues to make — contributions to projects and causes away from campus, taking leadership roles with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Campus Compact and the Center on Addiction (formerly the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse). He was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the Points of Light Foundation and President’s Drug Advisory Council. He played a pivotal role in establishing the University of Notre Dame-Australia and continues to serve on the boards of Riley Children’s Hospital and the universities of Portland and St. Thomas.

In addition to his off-campus service, Father Malloy continues to teach a first-year seminar course and provide a pastoral presence in Sorin Hall, a men’s residence hall that he has called home for decades.

In a very different way, he made a significant contribution to his own family and to organ transplantation awareness nationwide by donating a kidney to a young man whose mother, in turn, donated her kidney to Father Malloy’s nephew. Since that procedure in 2008, he has been a spokesman for organ transplants, with the hope of making the “donation process seem less heroic and more ordinary.”

Depending on the state of the coronavirus pandemic, in May the U.S. Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross will celebrate Father Malloy’s half-century as a priest, as well as the 50th anniversary for Rev. Oliver Williams, C.S.C., associate professor of management in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and the ordinations of other members of the congregation marking 25, 50, 60, 65 and 70 years.