Griffin dies at 74
Special to the Observer
Father Robert Griffin died Thursday at Holy Cross House. He was 74.
An alumni of the Class of 1949, Griffin returned to Notre Dame as assistant rector of Keenan Hall in 1967 and became rector in 1969. He was appointed to the post of University chaplain in 1974, where he served until health problems forced his retirement.
During his Notre Dame career, Griffin earned fame for presiding at the children and parent's "Urchin Mass" on campus. He was also the host of a Saturday morning children's radio program on WSND-FM called "The Children's Hour."
Griffin was also well-known among the student body. Elected Senior Class Fellow in 1973, Griffin was the first to receive the honor in the Notre Dame community, as the title had previously been reserved for nationally prominent people.
Griffin also founded a late-night, free café in the basement of LaFortune. Darby's, a 1970s sanctuary for insomniac, troubled, lonely or curious students, which was open nightly until 4 a.m.
"It's very simple," Griffin said to an alumni group. "There are just tables and chairs, and they can get coffee and donuts, or something to eat. They come by to talk, they come by to study, they come by to play the piano. For them it is a place where they can come to. For me it is a locus of ministry."
Griffin also assisted in St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village in New York during vacations and breaks counseling drug addicts, panhandlers, runaways and prostitutes.
Griffin also published two collections of essays, "In the Kingdom of the Lonely God" and "I Never Said I Didn't Love You." He was also the author of a weekly newspaper column, "Everyday Spirituality" in Our Sunday Visitor.
Visitation was held Sunday at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, followed by a memorial Mass. A wake and vigil service took place Monday at the Chapel of Mary at Stonehill College, North Eastern, Mass., where he was once a faculty member.
A Mass of resurrection will be offered today at the Chapel of Mary at 10 a.m.
All News Stories for Tuesday, October 26, 1999