This summer, beginning on May 22, 2019, the Congregation of Holy Cross’s Midwest Province has sponsored an international, cross-cultural experience for Holy Cross brothers. Entitled “Learning, Growing, Understanding: An International Experience of the People of Holy Cross,” the program has been based at the campus of Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana, in the United States.
Of the eight brothers who have participated, seven are from the St. Joseph Province of Bangladesh: Br. Sumon Andrew Costa, C.S.C., Br. Roktim Chiran, C.S.C., Br. Ringku Hubert Costa, C.S.C., Br. Prottoy Vincent Rozario, C.S.C., Br. Prince Rudolph Macfield, C.S.C., Br. Chandan Manuel Gomes, C.S.C., Br. Bhubon Benjamin Costa, C.S.C. One is from the Vicariate of Brothers in India: Br. Kulandai Samy Vedhamuthu, C.S.C.
Unfortunately, 10 brothers from the District of West Africa were prevented from participating in the program because of visa difficulties.
According to Br. Kenneth Haders, C.S.C., Superior of the Midwest Province, the genesis of this program were conversations at the 2018 Midwest Provincial Chapter about the internationality of Holy Cross. Those conversations turned to discussing the benefits of providing young brothers with an experience of the life and ministry of Holy Cross outside of their home jurisdictions.
“This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Br. Haders, “and I am happy that we are able to do it.”
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With the exception of the airfares, the Midwest Province has underwritten the cost of the entire program.
The brothers have lived with the St. Joseph House Community at Pulte Hall, where they have shared in cooking, house chores, and leading prayer. Most of their days have consisted of a three-credit course in Catholic Social Teaching taught by Dr. Dianne Barlas of Holy Cross College and scheduled presentations by various brothers on Holy Cross spirituality, history, and ministry.
Trips to various Holy Cross ministries and communities have also been part of the program, including Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio. In addition, Br. Mark Knightly, C.S.C., directed them on a weekend retreat.
During their program, the brothers also enjoyed an informal visit by Fr. Robert Epping, C.S.C., Superior General of the Congregation, while he was in South Bend in June. Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., Vicar General and First General Assistant, also presented a full day workshop on the “Spirituality of Blessed Basile Moreau” and spent five days with the brothers in community.
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In celebration of the Feast of Pentecost, the novices of the Sisters of the Holy Cross joined the brothers for prayer and supper. The evening later turned into an international celebration of music and dance from the various countries represented in the diverse group.
The program has been directed by Br. Christopher Torrijas, C.S.C., Director of the St. Joseph Program at Holy Cross College. As the program winds to a close on June 28, he reflected on how the experience has been a source of inspiration and learning for all those involved, not just the brothers who came from overseas to participate.
“As much as our Asian brothers have benefited from this international experience, I have to say we in the Midwest Province have also reaped the rewards of the presence of our confreres,” said Br. Torrijas. “Their love of Holy Cross and zeal for their apostolates is inspiring and a hopeful sign for the entire Congregation.”