My introduction to Blessed Basile Moreau and the Congregation of Holy Cross constitutes a baptism by fire. At 22 years old, having completed my undergraduate studies, I wanted to get to work while discerning where God was leading my life. I received a call from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, Connecticut in the middle of August. My interview, conducted as teachers were returning from summer, established a sense of urgency and immediacy to the situation. After a brief interview, I drove home less certain of fulfilling my hope of acquiring a theology teaching position and figuring out my life.
Then my phone rang.
The principal, Mrs. Margaret Leger, called. “When can you start?” she asked.
“When do classes start?” I asked.
“I’ll be there.”
My first few years with Holy Cross are a blur. Through my introduction to Christian Education, my fellow teachers, and the Brothers of the Congregation that I met in those first few years, I learned that education is the “art of accompaniment.” At the very beginning of Christian Education, Blessed Basile Moreau describes pedagogy as “the art of helping young people to completeness.”
In my youth, I had such confidence that all of life’s hard questions had answers, but words failed me when I came face to face with Michelle, my student, at the funeral home for her father’s wake. Words failed as students sought to fail my class in rebellion against their various circumstances: family dynamics, financial hardships, and their own failing self-esteem. Words failed, but the Mission was alive. Teachers and administrators were present. Meetings were held, circumstances were identified, and the instruction: “Just be there.”
In the 14 years since that phone call, many things have changed: The world. Young people. Classroom style. Courses. Me. Everything changes but, the Congregation firmly believes that the means of forming and informing the human heart of dignity and purpose is timeless. Accompaniment is a timeless art. For Blessed Basile Moreau, walking with young people means adjusting our stride, maybe becoming uncomfortable, in order that they might walk and eventually run.
This brings us to the heart of Blessed Basile Moreau’s spirituality: God’s Providence, namely God’s eternal presence. Consider scriptural moments when God is present to God’s people: with Moses in the Burning Bush, with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, with David on the Ark of the Covenant as it proceeds to Jerusalem, as a small child born in Bethlehem. In every case, God’s plans begin by being present and assuring us that he will remain with us.
Confident in God’s presence and hopeful of God’s providential care for our families, our ministries, and the world, let us pray:
who journeyed the road to Emmaus with your followers,
allow our hearts to burn with recognition
of your presence in our families and ministries.
Enlarge our hearts to those we meet along the way.
Give us humble hearts
to match the pace of those entrusted to our care.
Blessed Basile Moreau, Pray for us.
Mr. Kyle Piatak is the Director of Campus Ministry and teaches theology at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, Connecticut. The school is sponsored by the Moreau Province. Kyle wrote this reflection in celebration of the Feast Day of Blessed Basile Moreau, Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross.