On Friday, September 23rd, I celebrated the Inaugural Mass on the day of the inauguration of Holy Cross Brother John R. Paige as the fourth president of Holy Cross College, Notre Dame. It was a beautiful liturgy attended by Brothers, Priests, and Sisters of Holy Cross; trustees, faculty, administration, staff, and students of Holy Cross College; friends and benefactors of the College; representatives of other colleges and universities and of the community; and family and friends of Brother John.
I have gotten to know Brother John the past several months since his arrival at Holy Cross College last January. It is a joy to welcome him to our diocese and to support him in his leadership of this wonderful liberal arts Catholic college, located near Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame. Brother John has a highly accomplished career in Catholic education. Most recently, he served in Rome as Vicar General of the Congregation of Holy Cross. I am impressed not only by his excellent educational credentials, but by his strong commitment to the Catholic identity and mission of Holy Cross College.
During the Inaugural Mass, Brother John led the whole theology faculty of Holy Cross College in making the Profession of Faith, a clear visible and public affirmation of adherence to the Catholic faith. Further, as required by the Church, Brother John took the Oath of Fidelity on assuming the office of President of Holy Cross College, an office he exercises in the name of the Church. He promised to always preserve communion with the Catholic Church in his words and actions.
When the members of the theology faculty of Holy Cross College came forward to make the profession of faith, each carried with him or her an icon of a Doctor of the Church whom each personally chose as “favorite” theologians and to invoke their intercession. I list here the Doctors of the Church who inspire the theology faculty of Holy Cross College and the commitment associated with each:
Through the intercession of Saint Anselm, we will commit ourselves to search for truth and apply that truth to the service of humanity.
Through the intercession of Saint Jerome, we will help our students to see in Scripture that God speaks through human beings to proclaim a message of salvation.
Through the interecession of Saint Thomas Aquinas, we will foster rigorous theological investigation in the pursuit of truth according to the teachings of the Church, for the glory of God.
Through the intercession of Saint Catherine of Siena, we will encourage our students not only to know God, but to worship God through prayer and the Sacraments.
Through the intercession of Saint Therese, we will guide our students to find God in the ordinary moments of daily life.
Through the intercession of Saint Gregory the Great, we will attempt to teach the faith, make it credible to human reason, and embody it in our lives.
As I heard Brother John invoke the intercession of these saints and as I witnessed his and the theology faculty’s profession of faith, I thanked God for their witness and for their strong commitment to the Catholic mission of Holy Cross College. I have seen that commitment evident also in the rest of the faculty, staff, and administration of Holy Cross College. It is an institution that is proud of its identity and clear in its mission. I encourage our high school students and their parents who are searching for a strong liberal arts Catholic college to consider Holy Cross, right here in our own diocese. I am grateful for the strong and close collaboration between Holy Cross College and our diocese.
Founded in 1966 by the Brothers of Holy Cross, Holy Cross College began as a two-year junior college. Many people know of Holy Cross College because of the movie Rudy, about the aspiring Notre Dame football player who attended Holy Cross prior to his acceptance at Notre Dame. Holy Cross College has since become a four-year college, having added academic programs, more dormitories, and additional athletic teams. It is still a small college (about 500 students), which has many advantages, including the strong family-like atmosphere and individual attention afforded by its size. Holy Cross students are also able to participate in many activities at the nearby campuses of Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame.
The Inaugural Mass of Brother John Paige was appropriately the Votive Mass of Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the Brothers of Holy Cross. We all know about the great devotion of Holy Cross Brother (now Saint) Andre Bessette to Saint Joseph. That devotion is strong among the Holy Cross Brothers. After Communion, I spoke about Saint Joseph as a great model and intercessor for Brother John and for Holy Cross College.
Like his spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph was a man of great faith and trust in God. After hearing God’s message through an angel in a dream, Saint Joseph arose and did as the Lord commanded him. Though we have no spoken words of Saint Joseph recorded in the Scriptures, his very silence is eloquent. He acted in faith. He did as the Lord asked him. He took Mary as his wife. He lived his great vocation as faithful and loving husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. He watched over and protected the Holy Family. His obedience of faith is a model for the whole Church. He is, in fact, the patron saint of the universal Church.
Saint Joseph shared the same attitude of faith and obedience that Mary expressed in her words at the Annunciation: I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word. Joseph said those words too, perhaps not out loud, but certainly in his heart: I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word. I encouraged Brother John, as he begins his service as president of Holy Cross College, to meditate on those words often and to turn to Saint Joseph for his intercession. Saint Andre, the first saint of the Congregation of Holy Cross, has taught us all to do so.
May God bless Brother John in his ministry of leadership at Holy Cross College! May the Lord bless the whole Holy Cross College community through Brother John’s example of faith, his dedication to the Catholic mission, and his skills as an educator! How blessed we are to have Holy Cross College in our diocese! Congratulations, Brother John, on your inauguration!
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.