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Zags Begin Postseason on Birthday of Gonzaga Founder Fr. Joseph Cataldo, S.J.

Posted on March 17, 2016 in: Faith, Feature Stories, Spotlight
Today marks the 179th birthday of Gonzaga's founder, Fr. Joseph Cataldo, S.J. Photo courtesy of Gonzaga University Archives.

Today marks the 179th birthday of Gonzaga’s founder, Fr. Joseph Cataldo, S.J. Photo courtesy of Gonzaga University Archives.

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga men’s and women’s basketball teams may have a little added luck as they begin their postseason tournaments today, St. Patrick’s Day, and the 179th birthday of Gonzaga’s founder Father Joseph Cataldo, S.J.

The Gonzaga women host the University of California at Riverside Highlanders in a WNIT game that tips at 6 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The men, a No. 11 seed, will battle No. 6 seed Seton Hall in an NCAA first-round game at the Pepsi Center in Denver starting at 6:57 p.m. (PDT) on TruTV.

Gonzaga’s men are 2-1 in NCAA Tournament games on St. Patrick’s Day; the Zags lost to Ohio State in 2012, beat St. John’s in 2011, and beat Winthrop in 2005. Gonzaga’s teams had been called “the Fighting Irish” early on but became the Bulldogs after a 1921 football game when a reporter noted Gonzaga fought like bulldogs.

Fr. Cataldo was born on this day in 1837 in the town of Terrasini on the Italian island of Sicily. He was the first of a long line of overachieving Zags. Chronically frail in health and supposedly ill-suited to missionary work, Gonzaga’s founder was relentless in his efforts to establish a boys’ school on the frontier that evolved to become Gonzaga University. He is a figure that continues to amaze and inspire researchers. Fr. Cataldo became a dominant force in the region and was appointed General Superior of the Rocky Mountain Mission in 1877 before founding Gonzaga 10 years later.

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, died on this day in the year 493, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia, (some sources note he died in 460 or 461).


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