NOTRE DAME — The retired priests and brothers of the Holy Cross Congregation living at Notre Dame welcomed Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades to celebrate Mass, enjoy lunch and engage in discussion with their community on Feb. 26.
“Daily Mass is so important in our lives as priests and religious brothers,” Bishop Rhoades stressed in his homily. “It is the food of our souls: the food of God’s Word and the food of the Holy Eucharist. Here we come to know Jesus more deeply and are united to Him. We receive in this great sacrament of His love the strength and the power to live as His faithful disciples and as brothers in Christ here at Holy Cross House.”
In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenged His followers to see that those who live by His teachings and minister in His name participate in the mission of the Church, even if they are outside the explicit circle of His chosen apostles.
Bishop Rhoades stressed that ecumenical dialogue continues to be a priority and a goal within the Catholic community, as well as within his own ministry. He said that “the Catholic Church recognizes that there are elements of sanctification and truth found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church, both in other Christian communities and in non-Christian religions. The Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as given by God and as a preparation for the Gospel.”
He said that establishing a positive relationship with the Jewish communities of the diocese has been a joy and a sign of hope for continued dialogue and understanding in the future.
Bishop Rhoades also thanked the priests and brothers present at Mass, as well as those watching from their rooms, for the great work they had accomplished throughout their lives to build up the Church by engaging with other cultures and faiths to spread the truth of Christ with a spirit of love and service.
Bishop Rhoades remained after Mass to have lunch with the men of Holy Cross House, who were very grateful for his presence and spoke highly of his leadership.
Holy Cross Father Don McNeill indicated he thought Bishop Rhoades was “the whole package — intelligent, articulate, personable and sensitive to the needs of others, especially in the midst of difficult challenges.”
Holy Cross Brother Frank Gorch, a 38-year veteran of the Notre Dame Fire Department, indicated it was “wonderful that Bishop Rhoades came to spend time with the Holy Cross community.”
Holy Cross Father Larry LeVasseur also kindly remarked that he thought “it was a great gesture on behalf of the bishop to recognize the men upstairs who were unable to make it to Mass.”
Bishop Rhoades announced that he was “grateful for the help of the Congregation of Holy Cross throughout the diocese, many of whom serve at parishes in the South Bend area.”
The bishop also graciously thanked the community for their significant help and leadership in their Hispanic ministry, which was especially dear to his heart because of his experiences as a pastoral shepherd of primarily Hispanic communities.
He also remained after the meal to answer questions from the priests and brothers on a variety of topics.
Bishop Rhoades spoke highly of his hope for the future, indicating significant gains of priestly vocations in the diocese and a renewed pastoral focus throughout various diocesan departments. The men of Holy Cross House utilized the opportunity to have significant conversations with their bishop concerning hopes and goals for the Church in both this diocese and the global community.
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