Notre Dame students and staff gather at Grotto for Father Hesburgh

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -  Students and staff of Notre Dame gathered at the campus grotto to remember Father Theodore Hesburgh. 

It was a somber way to start a Friday on the Notre Dame campus. Students and staff braved frigid temperatures to get on their knees in prayer, starting around 2:30 a.m. 

They lit candles and quietly reflected on the late former president of the university. 

There was even a loving memorial made to Father Hesburgh, with the nickname Ted spelled out in lit candles. 

Some students were prepared to head to bed but decided to step out and honor the late leader.

"We got to meet him once last year, a couple of us from our dorm," said Stephen Ueland, a Junior at Notre Dame.  

"He seemed like a really good guy. Had a lot of stories and stuff from his life. It was sad to hear."

Julie Buck has worked at Notre Dame for 40 years and knew Fr. Hesburgh. 

"Bless his heart," said Buck. "I'm sure he is in heaven with God so he'll be in a safe place."

Fr. Hesburgh is dead at the age of 97. 

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