The International Shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau in Le Mans, France, celebrated the Feast of the Congregation of Holy Cross’s founder with the religious family of Holy Cross and with the local faithful.
The festive weekend began on Saturday afternoon, January 19. After the recitation of the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows at the Solitude of the Marianites of Holy Cross, Fr. Kevin Grove, C.S.C., Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, gave a lecture titled “Blessed Basil Moreau: A Spirituality for our Time.” Attending were Holy Cross religious, parishioners, and friends.
“Moreau continues to speak,” said Fr. Grove, “and to celebrate his feast in Le Mans gave evidence of the ongoing grace of our founder in France. The Moreau lecture provided the opportunity to consider Christ at the heart of Moreau's theological writings.”
Later that same evening, at the Shrine there was a prayer service followed by an all-night Eucharistic Adoration, which drew many men and women to prayer.
The culmination of the Feast Day celebration was on Sunday, where the Most Rev. Joël Mercier, Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, presided and preached at the Feast Day Mass. Also present at Mass was the Most Rev. Yves Le Saux, Bishop of the Diocese of Le Mans. The celebration continued later with a festive meal for community and parishioners at the nearby Maison San-Julian, the Diocesan Pastoral Center.
“Awareness of Father Moreau and of his important contribution to the life of the Church in France and across the globe as priest, founder, and apostolic missionary continues to grow among the faithful of Le Mans,” said Fr. John De Riso, C.S.C., Rector of the Shrine and Pastor of the Parish of Our Lady of Holy Cross. “An important sign of progress is the increasing interest among the faithful in the life of Father Moreau, including turning to him in prayer to ask for his intercession.”
Father De Riso went on to express gratitude to the many members of the parish who participated in the weekend festivities by hosting students from Holy Cross educational apostolates in Paris, decorating the church, organizing the servants of the altar and of the assembly, and accompanying the Feast Day Mass with joyful and prayerful music.
Father De Riso also thanked the members of the Congregation’s Vicariate of France and to the Marianites of Holy Cross for their enthusiastic collaboration in the organization of the weekend. He also singled out for praise Tiphaine Hamerel, Administrative Assistant of the Shrine, for her extraordinary efforts to ensure the success of the weekend, and to Bishops Mercier and Le Saux, for their support and presence at the Mass and the meal that followed.
The International Shrine of Basil Moreau was inaugurated on September 21, 2014, under the direction of then Superior General Fr. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C., in order to promote the life and spiritual legacy of the Congregation's founder. The shrine is located at the Congregation's Conventual Church, Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix, which was built by Blessed Moreau to be sign of the unity of his international religious family and now serves as his final resting place.
The Shrine’s mission includes facilitating pilgrimages from around the world to the heart of Holy Cross’s heritage and history. The Shrine also seeks to foster greater knowledge and devotion to Moreau in the local Church, especially through collaboration with the parish community of Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix.
As part of that mission, the Shrine plans to publish the texts of Fr. Grove’s conference and the homily preached by Bishop Mercier. The publication of these texts, as well as Shrine publicity and the feast day worship aid, are made possible thanks to the invaluable contribution of Graphic Designer Lesley Kirzeder.