The Murdy Family Organ Has Finally Arrived

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

It’s here. It took ten years of planning, nail-biting and hopeful angst at Notre Dame; three-and-a-half years of designing, pipe casting and precision carpentry at the Paul Fritts workshop in Tacoma, Washington; and a cross-country journey of some 2,100 miles spanning three time zones and the Continental Divide. Now, at last, the Murdy Family Organ has reached its permanent home inside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

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Bare Ruined Choir

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Andrew McShane rounded the corner in front of the altar of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and sized up the cacophony in the choir loft: Drills wheezing. Socket wrenches clicking. Wisecracks flying. Workmen calling down from vanishing tiers of organ pipes that still rose three and four stories above the church floor.

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Out of the Office: The Relationship Business

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

The Carrot Barn is a busy produce market and country store that’s about as pleasant a place to eat lunch as any you might imagine. It’s hard to imagine it as either a disaster recovery center or — in the blue skies and breezy heat of summer — the backdrop of a heartwarming Christmas tale but, four years ago, that’s what it became.

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What I’m Reading: Farewell, Fred Voodoo, Amy Wilentz

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

I’m wary of parachute journalism, the practice of dropping a writer into a story without prior expertise. Columbia Journalism Review assures me parachuting is okay, as long as my own ruck is “packed with research.” So I picked up Farewell, Fred Voodoo, journalist Amy Wilentz’s 2013 “letter from Haiti,” which I took to be my best bet for getting to know this extraordinary country a little better in 310 pages or less.

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Magnum Opus

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Paul Fritts & Company Organ Builders is one of a handful of shops in the United States capable of making mechanical action pipe organs as good as anything Bach ever played. With 70 stops and 5,164 pipes, rising to the height of a four-story building, the organ the company installs next year in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart will be the largest and grandest instrument it has produced since 1979, when the 28-year-old Fritts took over his father’s small business.

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Imagining the Murdy Organ

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

So, what will it all look like, this impressive instrument and its fortified perch, once they’re built and installed in the south end of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart? We don’t know.

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Could you find this coin?

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Each spring, the Morrissey Medallion Hunt dispatches campus scavengers to find a wee wooden wafer tucked away in some hidden-in-plain-sight corner of the University. Could you have found it this year?

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Hall traditions great and small

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

It takes a lot to cultivate a lasting residence hall tradition at Notre Dame. Thirty-nine years of uproarious double-entendres and equal-opportunity irreverence will build the hype for next year’s Revue. Nine years of contempt for frostbite and respiratory infections — all to collect money in those red cups for South Bend’s Center for the Homeless — will snowball into the next Day of Man.

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Out of the Office: A Father Ted Story

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Let me come right out and say it: I don’t have a great story of my own to share about Father Hesburgh. I’ve since had a few ennobling encounters with him, for which I’ll be forever grateful. And it’s impossible to spend any amount of time around Notre Dame people and not get to know Father Ted. It seems like everyone has a story to tell.

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Out of the office: Marching for Life

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Whenever I think of the March for Life, I think of my oldest son. I think of him as a miniature boy about 17 months old, walking along the double-yellow line that runs down Washington D.C.’s Constitution Avenue, wearing a giant woolen hat and snow boots that nearly covered his knees. Sometimes out of habit he would rocket his mittened hand upward to find his pregnant mother’s gloved one.

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Out of the office: Ireland’s penitential moment

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Barely a day goes by when I don’t think about the undergraduate semester I spent in Ireland 21 years ago. I’ve never found the opportunity to return, but two recent events on the Notre Dame campus renewed my acquaintance with the island and my hope that transformative Christian faith may not be a thing of the Irish past.

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17 Daily Worries

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Composed one morning while getting everyone out the door, aware that, no matter what, we will still be late to school/work/practice/whatever.

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What I’m Reading: Quiet, Susan Cain

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Two Americas. It’s become customary to think of ourselves as a divided people, at least since John Edwards’ stump speech in the 2004 race for the Democratic presidential nomination when he lumped us into haves and have-nots. But thanks to author Susan Cain, I’m beginning to think our great divide isn’t economic.

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