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The Fahey Telescope

The Fahey Telescope

Posted by admin on February 20, 2014


In 2011, Fr. Jim Fahey resurrected the mirror from an old telescope and machined a new truss tube frame and mount, creating a stylish and portable telescope for the Michiana Astronomical Society Inc. The telescope mirror is 12.25 inches in diameter with a focal ratio of F 6.5.

The scope will be displayed twice on Saturday, March 1, 2014, on the campus of Notre Dame. First, it will be set up at Forum 7 during the day at Jordan Hall of Science. Then it will be moved to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center for use before and after the 7 PM performance of Sun Rings by Kronos Quartet.

The next scheduled use of the Fahey Telescope by the club will be at the Michiana Star Party on May 30-June 1, 2014, at Dr. T.K. Lawless Park in Vandalia, MI.


It used to be called "Big Red," a monstrous telescope that was too heavy to move and use, shown at left during a Michiana Star Party with Jerry Karacsony. "Big Red" had originally been been built by Robin Pierce of Valparaiso. The astronomy club chose to reconfigure the unit so no one would get hurt moving the thing. The original mirror was salvaged and Fr. Fahey did the rest in creating the lighter truss tube.

In a video recapping the 2012 Year of Astronomy in Michiana, Fr. Jim Fahey (d., 2013) is shown (also, above right) in one of the early images with his hand-crafted scope in the foreground during the MAS 2011 winter solstice party. Later in the video, at 3:47, are a couple more pictures of his handiwork taken at the 2012 Michiana Star Party.


Father Jim had a talent for machining metal parts and had built the truss-tube scope with dobsonian mount using the mirror from the club's old Big Red scope. He voluntarily gave his time to redesign, machine, and assemble the scope, after which he returned the reincarnated scope to the club for members to use.

In between his assignments to other distant locations, Father Jim had been an active MAS member for many years. MAS Treasurer Dan Smith was sharing some club stories from the past and he noted that members from the club visited YMCA Camp Eberhart to clean the telescope mirror there. Per Dan, Father Jim put in some long hours working on the telescope and the dome of the Yarger Observatory.


Fahey Telescope Poster (11x17)


Download 11x17 poster (PDF).


Excerpt from the full obituary for Rev. James C. Fahey:


July 22, 1929 - Nov. 30, 2012 NOTRE DAME - Rev. James C. Fahey, C.S.C., 83, died Friday evening (Nov. 30, 2012) at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. He was born on July 22, 1929, in Cleveland, to James C. Sr. and Elizabeth J. (Hendrickson) Fahey. Fr. Fahey attended elementary school in Barberton, Ohio, and graduated from St. Vincent High School, Akron, Ohio, in 1947. In the fall of that year he enrolled at the University of Notre Dame as a freshman and also entered the Seminary for the Congregation of Holy Cross. On August 15, 1948, Fr. Fahey entered the Novitiate in South Bend, Ind. Fr. Fahey graduated from the University in 1952 with an A.B. degree in Philosophy and was ordained to the priesthood at Notre Dame on June 6, 1956. After his Ordination, Fr. Fahey taught at Notre Dame High School in Niles, IL, and later taught at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. Fr. Fahey served as Assistant Pastor at St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church in Austin from 1959 to 1962. He then moved back to South Bend, Ind., serving as the Assistant Pastor at Christ the King Parish and Chaplain of Columba Hall for the Midwest Province of Brothers while continuing his graduate studies at Notre Dame. In 1964 he earned an M.A. in Sociology, after which Fr. Fahey was assigned to Trujillo, Peru, where he also became involved in the Christian Family Movement. Fr. Fahey returned to the United States after two years to teach at Notre Dame High School; and then in 1967, he joined the Congregation's Southern Province. He worked in Campus Ministry at Northwestern University in Natchitoches, LA, while also serving as Pastor at Holy Cross Church. He was asked by the Provincial Superior of the Southern Province to found a parish in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas. In 1976 he founded and became the Pastor of St. James the Apostle Parish in Spring, Texas, a position he held for five years. From 1981 to 1985, Fr. Fahey studied liturgical architecture at the University of Notre Dame. From 1985 to 1990, he served as Chaplain and Assistant Pastor of St. Francis Hall in Mishawaka, IN, and St. Hedwig's Parish in South Bend, respectively. In 1990 Fr. Fahey returned to Texas to serve as Pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Burnet for two years. He then went to Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in New Orleans as the Assistant Pastor from 1992 to 1993. He moved back to South Bend in 1994 to again serve as Assistant Pastor at St. Hedwig's Parish until 1996. Fr. Fahey also worked at St. Adalbert Parish for seven years. From 2003 to 2009 he served in parish ministry in Texas and Louisiana. In 2009, Fr. Fahey returned to South Bend to live at Our Lady of Fatima House and later moved to Holy Cross House in 2012, where he died.


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