Dear Notre Dame Class of 2027, 

While you set into your daily rhythm and your inboxes begin to populate with emails from professors and rectors, I hope this paper copy of the Irish Rover’s freshman edition finds you well. 

If you were anything like me, the first few weeks at Notre Dame have been some of the most exciting weeks of your life. Even if it has not turned out to be as you had hoped, I trust that over time Notre Dame will soon begin to feel like home. While activities night may have already passed, I invite you to consider becoming a part of our community at the Irish Rover.

As an independent student publication, the Rover has the unique opportunity to carry the explicit mission of upholding the Catholic identity of Notre Dame. Founded in 2003, the Rover is run entirely by students who share a love for the university and recognize that Notre Dame is great because of its Catholic identity, not in spite of it. As you will read in our pages, we hold that Notre Dame remains distinct and superior to other top universities because of its commitment to the Catholic Church’s holistic vision of what it means to flourish.

Each and every one of our editors and writers have greatly benefited from the spiritual, intellectual, and moral formation that this university provides. Whether it be through the unique experience of Notre Dame residential life, or the nearly unlimited access to the sacraments on campus, we firmly believe that this university has the ability to prepare students to become not just citizens of the world, but more importantly, citizens of heaven. 

Out of love for the university and its community we at the Irish Rover feel called to highlight both the ways in which the university stays true to its mission and the ways in which it has sacrificed its Catholicity to the pressures of an increasingly secular and globalized world. With our editorial voice and commitment to investigative journalism, the Rover aims to articulate the Catholic Church’s conception of a university not only to hold the university accountable, but more importantly to provide formation and a community for students who desire to graduate from Notre Dame as holier people.

Your first few days on campus were likely filled with references to Blessed Basil Moreau, Fr. Edward Sorin, or perhaps even St. André Bessette. One central Notre Dame figure that likely went unmentioned throughout orientations is Orestes Brownson. Brownson, a 19th century Catholic theologian and political theorist lies buried in the center aisle of the Crypt of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. While he never stepped foot on campus, Notre Dame commemorates his passion for Catholic education and his embodiment of the spirit of Notre Dame by permitting Brownson to be just one of two people buried in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This year, the Rover wishes to embody the passion and clarity of Brownson’s vision of Catholic education:

“Catholic education’s goal is to aid the Church in the fulfillment of her mission, which is the continuous evolution and actualization of the idea, or the life of the Word made flesh, in the life of humanity, or completion in mankind of the incarnation completed in the individual man assumed by the Word”

To advocate for this vision of Catholic formation, the Rover reports on administrative decisions, faith-formation, cultural trends, the arts on campus, and much more. While at times critical, our work accordingly serves to underline the authentically Catholic formation that does occur on campus all around us. 

This “Freshman Edition” collects archived articles from several years of the Irish Rover’s history that demonstrate our rigorous engagement with the core questions of what it means to be a student at Our Lady’s university. Through club recommendations and staff profiles you will also learn about other opportunities for Catholic formation on campus.

If you are interested in learning more about the Rover, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at I hope you continue to look out for the Rover on your walks to class or into the dining hall over the next four years. Congratulations on completing your first two weeks at Notre Dame! 


Nicholas Schmitz

Editor-in-Chief, The Irish Rover