Update: Notre Dame football coach calls conversion to Catholic faith ‘a personal decision’

Marcus freeman University of Notre Dame Head Football Coach Marcus Freeman | Notre Dame Athletics

Marcus Freeman, head coach of the University of Notre Dame’s football team, told members of the press Sept. 15 that he had tried to keep his recent conversion to the Catholic faith under wraps.

The news that he had become a Catholic was made public after his home parish, St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, Indiana, published an announcement welcoming Freeman into the Church in its parish bulletin.

In a Zoom meeting with reporters, Freeman said that his decision to join the Catholic Church was a “family decision” and a “personal decision” and said that he was confirmed in September.

“I tried to keep it as private as I could,” Freeman said.

“Obviously, when you’re head coach at Notre Dame, nothing is private,” he added with a smile.

“Welcome to our newest Catholic, Marcus Freeman,” read the announcement in the church’s Sept. 11 parish bulletin.

Freeman was “received into the Catholic Church after preparing with Father Nate Wills, C.S.C., chaplain of the Notre Dame football team,” the bulletin announced. It was accompanied by a photo of the 36-year-old football coach and four priests, including Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., the university’s president.

“Marcus made a profession of faith, was confirmed, and received his First Holy Communion. Please pray for Marcus and his family as they celebrate and continue this journey in faith!” the announcement said. According to sources, Freeman entered the Church at the end of August, before the start of the football season.

Freeman’s wife, Joanna, is Catholic, as are their six children, Vinny, Siena, Gino, Nico, Capri, and Rocco. 

In an interview with the National Catholic Register published Aug. 31, Freeman, who was a Christian before his entrance into the Catholic Church, said that he was grateful to be at Notre Dame because of the school’s emphasis on faith.

“That’s important for me. I want our guys to wonder about what it means to embrace Jesus Christ,” Freeman told the Register.

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