The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic academic community of higher learning, animated from its origins by the Congregation of Holy Cross. As such, it is committed to scholarship and service that benefits the Church and society. As University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., '76, '78 M.A. has said, Notre Dame seeks to be “a powerful force to heal, unify, and enlighten our world."
There are myriad ways in which this Catholic identity is carried out at the University in every division and department, from the Theology Department to the Athletic Department. There are also many ways that Notre Dame devotes resources toward its calling in a structured and institutionalized way. What follows is a sampling of how Notre Dame carries out its mission as a Catholic institution that serves the Church and the world.
Notre Dame’s Theology Department combines teaching, service, research, and scholarly publication, all focused on the mystery of God’s relationship with humanity; the department offers five graduate degrees, including the Master of Divinity program that trains future lay and ordained ministers.
The Office of Campus Ministry serves students of all faith backgrounds and coordinates liturgy and faith formation for Catholic undergraduate and graduate students.
The Center for Social Concerns is the place where service and learning meet for Notre Dame students and faculty; the CSC helps students find post-graduate service placements and coordinates community engagement with about 50 local organizations.
A host of programs within the Institute for Church Life carry out its mission to bring teaching, research, and service to bear on the life of the Catholic Church: STEP offers online theology courses, ECHO trains catechetical leaders for parishes, Vision brings high school students to campus for vocational retreats, and the Center for Liturgy promotes liturgical renewal.
Consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church on such issues as abortion, research involving embryos, euthanasia, the death penalty, and other related life issues, the University of Notre Dame recognizes and upholds the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) focuses on forming teachers and leaders for Catholic schools, as well as sharing expertise and addressing special concerns in Catholic education.
The Center for the Study of Religion and Society at Notre Dame is dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of religion in society through scholarly research, training and publications.
The Center for Ethics and Culture is the leading center for scholarly reflection on the Catholic intellectual tradition at the University; it promotes Catholic thought through conferences and special projects.
The Cushwa Center is recognized as the leading center for historical study of Roman Catholicism in the United States.
The Kellogg Institute organizes relationships with developing countries to promote human development and solidarity; it is also a center for wider Catholic scholarship on global challenges.
The Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture works directly with Latino and Catholic leaders and offers teaching and scholarship on the faith experience of Catholic Latinos.
The Joan B. Kroc Institute is a leading center for the study of the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace.
The pursuit of sustainability is directly related to the Catholic Mission of the University. As Pope Benedict XVI observed in Caritas in Veritate, “The environment is God’s gift to everyone and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”
Housed within the Notre Dame Law School, the Center for Civil and Human Rights educates lawyers to tackle human rights issues around the world.