On January 20, 2023, the Congregation of Holy Cross celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the entry of its founder, Blessed Basile Moreau, into eternal life. The celebrations had both a local and an international dimension to them. In addition to gathering in Holy Cross communities, schools, parishes, and other apostolates to mark the anniversary, the Congregation united across the world in 40 hours of Eucharistic Adoration to seek the Lord’s blessing.
“Father Moreau’s entry into eternal life is a reminder that our life and service in the Congregation is not just for the building upon the Kingdom of God here on earth,” wrote Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., Superior General, in a letter to the Congregation. “Through our fidelity and good work, we help prepare ourselves and others for the kingdom that has yet to come. At our baptism and religious profession, we promise to strive to live a life of holiness so that we can be saints in heaven, like Blessed Basile Moreau, and all who have gone before us in the faith.”
The 40 hours of Eucharistic Adoration began at Notre Dame de Sainte-Croix Church in Le Mans, France, on January 19, at 8:30 p.m. local time. Blessed Basile Moreau built this church, which is now also the home to an international shrine in his honor, in large part to be a symbol of the Congregation’s unity. Over 100 Holy Cross communities and apostolates across the world signed up for at least one hour of Adoration to mark the anniversary.
Adoration was one of the spiritual devotions closest to Blessed Moreau's heart. "Among the practices of piety in use in our Congregation," he wrote, "there is one which I cannot recommend strongly enough because its faithful practice is the richest sources of divine blessings for us and for our houses. I refer to the perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament."
Although each community and apostolate prayed for its local needs, the Congregation lifted up four particular intentions during the 40 hours of prayer: 1) the canonization of Blessed Basile Moreau, 2) vocations to the Holy Cross family, 3) discernment of the 2022 General Chapter’s call to a new mission territory, and 4) the ongoing conformity of the religious of Holy Cross to Jesus Christ as bearers of the hope of his Cross.
The 40 hours of Eucharistic Adoration and the various other local events to mark the 150th Anniversary of Blessed Basile Moreau’s entry into eternal life were only the beginning. The events to promote devotion to the Congregation’s founder and the charism he imparted to Holy Cross will continue as the 2022 General Chapter declared “a celebration to honor our founder, Blessed Basile Moreau, beginning on January 20, 2023, and ending on June 7, 2024, the Feast of the Sacred Heart” (Decree 20).
“As we begin this extended anniversary year dedicated to Father Moreau’s memory, let us try to emulate his dedication, virtue, and holiness,” wrote Br. Bednarczyk, C.S.C. “May his witness inspire all of us in Holy Cross to live our lives in conformity to Jesus Christ in preparation for the life that awaits us all in eternity.”