A sabbatical from seriousness

Author: Kerry Temple ’74

Kerry Temple

We can take things pretty seriously here at Notre Dame Magazine, and we take our role on behalf of the University very seriously. We grasp the importance of representing the institution as an intellectually vibrant, spiritually robust enterprise dedicated to the Catholic faith and invigorated by pioneering research and scholarship. Notre Dame’s mission and vision, its traditions and aspirations, are manifest on our pages.

As an extension of the University’s effort to bring its voice to the international conversation on serious issues, the magazine routinely engages such troublesome topics as war and peace, death and dying, cultural and societal trends, inequality and injustice, and some of the most divisive issues among Catholics today. And we try to do so with reason and heart, with sensitivity and balance, and with a sense that the Notre Dame family is all in this together.

Then one day this past fall, having wearied — at least temporarily — of the very earnest and well-intentioned seriousness, we thought: Enough already. Let’s loosen up and have some fun.

We decided to do “Notre Dame Magazine’s First Annual Style Issue,” knowing full well that technically you cannot do a “first annual” issue on anything. And knowing full well that none of us (except probably Liam Farrell ’04) exhibits much of a fashion sense, we threw caution to the wind and ventured undeterred into this bold world of fashion and style and, well, clothing (one thing we all have in common, we figure, however we might disagree on other stuff).

One word of caution, however: Even though we set out simply to have fun, we discovered en route that the subject is indeed fraught with meaning and does offer serious insights into contemporary American life. So beware of such, and know we tried to keep that weight to a minimum. And if you don’t like what we’ve done here, please forgive our playfulness and be patient. We will be serious again soon enough.

John Monczunski

One other thing you should know about this issue: It is the last for associate editor John Monczunski, who retired at the end of March. John came to work at Notre Dame about the time the magazine was started and joined the magazine staff full time in 1974, two years after the initial issue. So he has been a mainstay almost from the beginning — essential to planning and execution, helping to shape the editorial philosophy, guiding those of us who came after, bringing in first-rate writers and recently applying his talents and experience to our website.

First and foremost, John is a writer who has penned countless articles for the magazine on an impressive array of subjects, most notably some of the finest science writing found on our pages. And, perhaps more important, John is one of the truly good people I’ve known in my life, a person of conscience, grounded in a strong sense of the spiritual, in doing the right thing, in living a life according to Gospel values. His daughters Julia ’02 and Laura ’07 are Notre Dame graduates, and John’s departure leaves a tear in the fabric of the magazine’s family.

Kerry Temple is editor of Notre Dame Magazine. Email him at ktemple@nd.edu.