The International Shrine of Blessed Basile Moreau, housed at Notre-Dame de Sainte Croix Church in Le Mans, France, celebrated with great prayer and solemnity the 150th Anniversary of the Congregation of Holy Cross’s founder’s entry into eternal life. The celebrations were organized and overseen by Fr. Paul-Elie Cadet, C.S.C., Shrine Rector and Pastor, and Fr. Joseph Gonsalvez, C.S.C., Assistant Rector and Pastor.
To prepare for the anniversary on January 20, the shrine and church began a novena on January 11. During the novena, Eucharistic Adoration took place in the church’s Christ the King Chapel every day following Mass.
There were other special moments of prayer during the novena, including praying the Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows at Blessed Moreau’s tomb and celebrating the Stations of the Cross. There was also a time of Adoration for children on 19 January in the afternoon.
That same evening, January 19, at 8:30 p.m. local time, with the help of a group of young professionals from the Diocese of Le Mans, the shrine inaugurated the Congregation’s 40 hours of Eucharistic Adoration worldwide to mark the anniversary. It was fitting that Notre-Dame de Sainte Croix Church opened this time of prayer for the Congregation as Blessed Moreau envisioned the Church as the symbol of union of his religious family.
Read about the ways Holy Cross is Celebrating our founder's 150th Anniversary
On the Feast Day itself, January 20, the celebrations began with the opening of the Jubilee Door to mark the anniversary year. The Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows was prayed at Blessed Moreau’s tomb. The Mass was held in the Christ the King Chapel, with Fr. Paul Valetin, C.S.C., Superior of the Mother Province, presiding and preaching.
The big celebration for the shrine and church was held on Sunday, January 22, when Fr. Grégoire Cador, Administrator of the Diocese of Le Mans, came to preside and preach. The Mass was held in the main church, which was packed with the faithful for the occasion.
In addition to many members of the Mother Province, Br. Prodip Placid Gomes, C.S.C., Second General Assistant, and Br. Nee Wayoe, C.S.C., Fourth General Assistant, represented the General Administration as well as the wider Congregation. There was also a large contingent of Marianite Sisters present, including Sr. Ann Lacour, M.S.C., Congregational Leader, and several members of her General Council.
Following Holy Communion, Br. Wayoe offered a reflection on the life of Blessed Moreau, his legacy, and the significance of the anniversary of his entry into eternal life. Then there was a procession with lighted candles to the tomb of Blessed Moreau for some prayers and the final blessing.
After the Mass, refreshments were served in the parish center, and then there was a lunch for around 150 invited guests at the Maison Saint-Julien.
The International Shrine of Blessed Moreau and Notre-Dame de Sainte Croix Church will continue to host events throughout the following year to mark the 150th Anniversary of Blessed Moreau’s entry into eternal life. These events are part of wider celebrations and events throughout the Congregation as decreed by the 2022 General Chapter to honor Blessed Moreau and promote knowledge of and devotion to him.