Notre Dame Football: A Poem--and Picture--for Manti Te'o

By Tom O'Toole

In his recent press conference, Manti Te’o summed up the recent whirlwind of events surrounding the deaths of his grandmother, and girlfriend, Lennay Kekua: “I can’t describe how I was feeling. I felt a sense of peace knowing that so many people cared about Manti, instead of No. 5. …That was possibly the greatest experience that I’ve had so far here at Notre Dame.”

Along that line, an anonymous well-wisher sent me the following poem (found on Geoff Heggadon’s site, Works By Faith Ministries) along with Te’o’s photo by Christianne Harder.

Manti Te’o by Christianne Harder, 9-15-12

“The poem made me think of Te’o going home last week to Hawaii to mourn his loved ones, and the light in the picture fit in with the guiding star in the poem,” the reader said. “Could you make sure he gets them?”

I replied that although Te’o did respond to the one post I wrote after the dual deaths and said it was “beautiful,” I explained that the posts and tweets written to and about him have multiplied a hundredfold, so there was no guarantee. Still, I could try.

by Carmen H. Uy

Lord, as I sail on an angry sea
Let me turn the steering wheel carefully
Trying to reach a shore afar
Lord as my guide send me a star

Master abate the turbulent waves
Extend your loving hand that saves
Let me avoid rocks that may spell doom
Protect my boat from sharks that loom

Jesus guide me with your beacon
Lead me to the coming of the dawn
Help me safely reach my port
To my destination, let me not run short

As inspired by the song “Mother Of Christ” in my subconscious

On a similar note, Kekua asked Te’o for white roses before her death, which in Catholic tradition (see St. Louis de Montfort’s book, The Secret of the Rosary) are offered up for priests. Is there a priest who inspired the both of them, or was she thinking that Te’o, now that she was in heaven, would not marry and become a priest himself? The latter seems farfetched (as Manti is a Mormon) but the chasteness or purity of their love together, also symbolized by white, is not.

Related: Manti Te’o to Play Saturday Despite Loss of Two Loved Ones

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