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Father Ted Hesburgh stamp revealed

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - As of Friday morning, you can mail your letters with a familiar face. The University of Notre Dame and the United States Postal Service unveiled the Father Ted Hesburgh Forever stamp Friday afternoon to a crowd of thousands.

Just a few months ago, the city of South Bend revealed a statue memorializing a famous picture of Father Ted Hesburgh and Martin Luther King, Jr. standing hand-in-hand as they fought for civil rights.

Now, Father Hesburgh is receiving the new honor of having his face on a postage stamp—an honor his friends and family say is well-deserved.

“Father Hesburgh means a lot to our family. My brother was in a horrible accident when he was a student here out in Maryland and Father Hesburgh showed up to visit him, and my father was so touched, and father Hesburgh says, well that’s what families do, and we were so touched by that,” said Barbara Burke, a Notre Dame graduate.

That’s why sisters Barbara and Sister Rosalee Burke, who have four brothers with Domer degrees, made it a point when they were traveling from Omaha and Indy for game one, to show their faces at Friday’s ceremony unveiling the Father Hesburgh stamp.

“You’ll notice the words on the stamp. It reads Father Ted Hesburgh. …It’s the name he preferred. It’s the one given to him by the community he served. You’ll also notice the words forever and USA. That’s our way of saying Father Hesburgh represents the very best of America and will do so always,” said Postmaster General and CEO for the United States Postal Service, Megan Brennan.

“The ancient Latin word for ‘priest’ is pontifex—bridge builder. As a priest, Father Ted devoted his life to building bridges,” said current Notre Dame president, Reverand John Jenkins.

Another familiar face joined the crowd of 3,300 to share memories of the ‘bridge-builder’ she grew to love and admire as a 19-year-old Notre Dame graduate student.

“Father Ted transformed students’ lives, because he cared so much for them. When you’d walk across this campus and there was a light in the administration building at the top of the golden dome, people would say Father Ted’s working late tonight, that’s how the students thought about them,” said former Secretary of State and ND graduate, Condoleezza Rice.

“You talk about God, Country, Notre Dame. He was president for 35 years, and what you see today was his vision to reality,” said former Notre Dame basketball coach, Richard ‘Digger’ Phelps.

They say what more fitting way could there be to honor a man who put his own stamp on so many people’s lives?

“It is a great honor, and I want you to know that the family appreciates your presence,” said Father Hesburgh’s brother, Jim Hesburgh.

The Burke sisters appreciated Father Ted’s presence at their brother’s bedside.

“Father Hesburgh just had that approach with everybody was to be very concerned about them as individuals, as human beings, and so what he did back there, I was there when he showed up, was just wonderful, but that was the kind of thing that just came naturally to him,” said Sister Rosalee Burke.

The stamps are available for purchase at any US Postal Service store in the area as well as on Notre Dame’s campus.

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