University holds memorial for former student

By Grace Simcox
Staff Writer

Franciscan University hosted a Memorial Mass for graduate Nate Kuhlman ‘22 in Christ the King Chapel on Saturday, April 6 at 11 a.m.  

Just a few days after his wedding to Marianna Garcia ’23, Nate passed away due to a tragic waterskiing accident on their honeymoon.  

Amidst such unfortunate events, Marianna modeled the unwavering faith of our Fathers, requesting that everyone pray the Lazarus prayer for the gift of new life.  

“Martha and Mary asked Jesus ‘Why Lord? Why weren’t you here?’ Despite the anguish, Marianna did not doubt God’s presence and power in the situation. She prayed radically. This is heroic faith—asking for a Resurrection,” explained Rev. Shawn Robertson, TOR, in his homily.  

“Just as Jesus wept for Lazarus, He weeps and rejoices with us,” continued Robertson. 

As many around the world united in prayer for the gift of life, Marianna announced her pregnancy. A couple of months later, she was overjoyed to discover that she is having a boy and has named him Raphael which means “God heals”.  

“Raphael has already fulfilled his mission, and he is not even born yet,” said Robertson. 

Roberson shared that Kuhlman was part of the Disciples of the Word household and that Garcia was a member of Daughters of Zion. Many within those two households showed up to the Mass in great numbers, as well as family and friends and even students with no connection to Nate and Marianna besides the family that Franciscan University has offered them.  

“We have gathered to honor a man. Nathaniel revealed to us that life is not fulfilled in a number of years but in the moments in which he gave of himself fully. He was a husband, son, friend, and a father though he didn’t know it. His life is still touching lives,” said Robertson. 

Between many tissues being passed around and the quiet sniffling throughout, it can be assumed that there was not a dry eye amongst those in the pews.  

“Nathaniel’s life was destined for consummation, not termination. Consummation both in marriage and eternity with the angels of light. God’s fingerprints are all over the situation,” added Robertson. 

After the Mass, many gathered in the J.C. Williams Center for a reception in which they could greet Garcia and Nate’s parents, Gordon and Heather Kuhlman.