Rev. Alfred F. D’Alonzo, C.S.C., has been a Holy Cross Priest for 60 years. From his early days as Prefect of Discipline at Father Baker Victory High School in New York to working with student athletes at the University of Notre Dame, Fr. Al’s life and ministry have given daily testimony to Holy Cross’ mission as “educators in the faith.”
As a counselor in the Office of Academic Services for Student Athletes, Fr. Al worked with various Notre Dame athletic teams, including fencing, softball, lacrosse, hockey, baseball and football. In addition to helping students with study skills and academic planning, Fr. Al monitored their academic progress and assisted them in making the most out of their Notre Dame experience.
Although he does not talk about it much, Fr. Al’s work with student athletes was not his only connection to the famed Fighting Irish athletic program. Back in 1944, a young Alfred D’Alonzo, then an All-State New Jersey football player, accepted a scholarship to play football at Notre Dame.
To leave high school a half year before graduation in order to enter college was rare indeed! But Hugh Devore, a good coach and even greater person, wanted Al for spring football at Notre Dame. Fr. Al enrolled at Notre Dame, completing his high school English and civics requirements in South Bend and his Notre Dame life began! Fr. Al made the varsity squad his sophomore year. Against Dartmouth, he recovered a fumble that led to a winning touchdown.
But when a big Army team (WW II) rolled into town, Fr. Al “sat on the bench,” as the Cadets “gave us a licking,” he said. Fr. Al also entered the Navy Training Program on campus and trained in amphibious landings, but after the 1946 football season, the war was over and Fr. Al decided to turn down his commission and instead entered the Holy Cross Novitiate at North Dartmouth, Mass.
After the novitiate year, Fr. Al made his profession and pronounced his religious vows before Rev. Richard Sullivan, C.S.C., Novice Master. Al then returned to the University of Notre Dame to complete his undergraduate studies. The professed seminarians lived at Moreau Seminary, “The Old Venerable One.” He graduated in 1949 with a B.A. in philosophy.
On June 12, 1953, Fr. Al, along with Revs. Frank Hurley, Joseph Lorusso and Peter Royal, were ordained in Fall River, Mass., by Bishop Connolly.
Fr. Al’s first assignment was at Father Baker Victory High School, Lackawanna, N.Y. He was a teacher of math, mechanic drawing, history and religion and Prefect of Discipline. At Notre Dame High School in Bridgeport, Conn., his next assignment was at a co-institutional high school. Fr. Al served as Assistant Principal.
In 1960, Fr. Al completed his master’s degree in Educational Administration/Sociology. He later began his course work for his Ph.D. at Fordham University (1963-1965) while on assignment as a school counselor at Mt. Carmel School, Bronx, N.Y.
In 1965, Fr. Al was appointed Head Master and Religious Superior of a new high school for the fishermen of Gloucester, Mass. During the next six years, Fr. Al became immersed in all religious, academic and community responsibilities.
Starting in 1971, Fr. Al was selected to become Dean of Student Affairs at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. In June 1972, Hurricane Agnes hit the Valley and wreaked havoc at King’s and the city of Wilkes-Barre. Fr. Al, along with many faculty and friends, combined efforts to re-open King’s College for the opening day in September.
Along with his other duties, Fr. Al completed his doctoral dissertation in 1978 and was awarded the Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Psychology from the University of Ottawa.
In the fall of 1981, Fr. Al returned to Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame and for the next eight years, was a staff member. As a part of the formation team, he worked with the young seminarians from Old College and was assigned in 1986-1989 as a member of the professed formation team.
Fr. Al began his service to Campus Ministry at Notre Dame in 1982. Assigned initially to assist at the Married Student’s Village, he was appointed in 1986 to serve as Director of the Campus Bible Study. Fr. Al also served on the parochial team helping in local parishes as an auxiliary priest, particularly at St. Peter’s Parish in La Porte, Ind.
Assistant Rector in two resident halls — Pangborn from 1989-1992 and Carroll from 1992- 1994 — and ending as Counselor in Residence at Carroll Hall, Fr. Al then moved back to Moreau Seminary. In 2008, Fr. Al moved to Holy Cross House, where he currently resides.
In the spring of 1995, Fr. Al was awarded the Distinguished American Award. The National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame bestow this award to former players who have carried the lessons learned on the football field into a life of service to the community.
Fr. Al has had one remarkable journey and continues to serve the Lord. As Fr. Al would say, “Praise the Lord!”
Rev. Alfred F. D’Alonzo, C.S.C.