With his cocker spaniel, Darby O’Gill, Robert F. Griffin, C.S.C. (1925–1999) was a beloved member of the Notre Dame community. As university chaplain for 30 years, Fr. Griffin counseled, advised, and listened to students, the wounded, the afflicted, and the lonely. He was also known widely for his weekly article in Our Sunday Visitor magazine titled “Everyday Spirituality,” and for his column in the Notre Dame student newspaper, The Observer, titled “Letters to a Lonely God.” His essays appeared in three collections: I Never Said I Didn’t Love You (1977), The Continuing Conversation (1985), and In the Kingdom of the Lonely God (2003).
This new volume, The Pocket-Size God, contains essays Griffin wrote for Notre Dame Magazine between 1972 and 1994. The pieces take up his vocation at Notre Dame, his pastoral work at parishes in New York City, the problems endured by his family and friends, his attempt to parent children not his own, and the church’s effort to evolve after the reforms of Vatican II and the upheavals in American life in the late twentieth century. He also discusses larger social issues that he struggled with, including sexuality, declining attendance at Mass, poverty, and intolerance.
Kerry Temple writes about Father Griffin in Notre Dame Magazine.