Faith, Vintage Television

Channel 16, Father Hesburgh, and the Prayer for Peace

Kids today don’t know how good they have it, with Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network delivering animation to their living rooms 24x7x365. During my 1970s-80s childhood, we got cartoons on Saturday mornings and for an hour after school, and that was it. My brother and I liked animation so much that we’d rise early on Saturday morning to not miss a single show.

We started on Channel 16 because they aired the Japanese anime Battle of the Planets right after sign on. Channel 16, WNDU-TV, was our local NBC station. We had no idea how unusual it was that it was owned by the University of Notre Dame. All we knew was that during sign-on they played a recording of University President Father Theodore Hesburgh reading of the Prayer for Peace of St. Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

I heard that recording so often that even today I can recite most of this prayer from memory. I haven’t heard that recording in 30 years until someone recently uploaded a 1985 sign-off that included it. Here it is!

I wasn’t raised in the faith. What I saw of Christians as a kid tended to repel me. (Here’s a story about how.) But hearing Father Hesburgh read this gentle prayer on those Saturday mornings gave me hope that perhaps somewhere people lived their faith in these ways. That’d be a faith worth following. When I sought God, I looked for him in people this quiet and humble.

To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe!

Standard

16 thoughts on “Channel 16, Father Hesburgh, and the Prayer for Peace

  1. The idea of a TV station signing on in the morning and signing off at night seems so quaint now.

    Fr. Hesburgh has been getting a lot of attention lately. For those who don’t know, he led Notre Dame (the university, not the French cathedral) for decades. There was a movie done about his life recently that was kind of a puff piece and a book out early this year with a more honest look at his complex legacy.

    Like

  2. Matt says:

    I remember this sign-off well, since I stayed up late quite a bit back then. A contest spot by the late, great Dick Addis. Also, the late Kris Robbins (Michael Bales) had left South Bend in the early ’80s, but WNDU still was using his voiceover for this sign-off.

    Like

  3. DougD says:

    Ah, Battle of the Planets. I did watch it, but my younger brother was more into it than I, although we used to make Lego models of the various vehicles.

    I always wondered, since Zoltar was always BARELY defeated in each episode why didn’t he wait a while, build TWO giant robots and he would totally clean up? I guess the Luminous One wouldn’t let him do that.

    Like

  4. Dan Cluley says:

    I see that Battle of the Planets picture and remember being really into the show at one point, but I can’t tell you one thing about it otherwise.

    I’m sure the local stations here were still signing off at night when I was a kid, but I don’t think I was ever up early or late enough to notice.

    Like

  5. Robyn Weber says:

    I shared this with my ex husband who spent his high school years working for WSBT, both out at the transmitter and at the station in town. His Dad, my former father in law, retired from WSBT after a long career. Dave loved this, and said it brought back a lot of great memories. 💜

    Like

  6. It’s a beautiful prayer, and should sum up what Catholicism means. I went to a Franciscan college, Siena College, and heard this prayer many, many times. The Franciscans I knew mostly seemed to live that humble and service based life. Although I don’ t go to church any longer, this prayer always gives me a good feeling. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

Share your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.