July 24, 2012 // Local

Visit to Holy Cross Village moves and inspires bishop

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades gives a homily during Mass celebrated at Our Lady of Holy Cross Chapel at Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame. Residents appreciate the opportunity to attend daily Mass and many were excited to have Bishop Rhoades pay a visit on July 12.

NOTRE DAME — “You are an important part of the Church!”

Residents of Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame embraced Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, and vice-versa, throughout his recent visit to the Catholic retirement community. Nestled among three college campuses near South Bend, it’s the strong sense of community and faith that also sets Holy Cross Village apart.

Thanking the Holy Cross Brothers for their years of service and missionary vision, Bishop Rhoades said he was “moved and inspired” by the stories of their ministry to the Church.

Holy Cross Village president and CEO John Mauch worked with the Holy Cross Brothers years ago when they first began to develop the campus into a full service continuing care community. He says returning to campus a decade later and having the opportunity to join with the brothers in their ministry has been very fulfilling.

“The brothers have created a unique living experience for seniors,” said Mauch, “and being in the position of leadership, in partnership with the brothers has been exciting and humbling. Our community is energized by Holy Cross spirituality through daily Mass and prayer and reflection opportunities that provides a distinctly different choice of life for those who reside at Holy Cross Village.”

The opportunity to be engaged with programs at Holy Cross College, the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College is unique to the village. Residents participate in lectures, entertainment and mentoring programs at each of the adjacent campuses. In addition, the students from the colleges are involved in internships and are invited to attend the lecture resident lecture series.

Holy Cross Village consists of independent living, licensed assisted living and skilled nursing. Villas and apartment-style living are available, with more traditional nursing care facilities in the Philip Quinn Memory Care wing. Upon entering the common room, Bishop Rhoades was met with the music of Louis Armstrong while a young couple demonstrated dance moves of the day. About 15 residents clapped and kept time to the beat.

“Music brings back memories, doesn’t it?” wondered Bishop Rhoades aloud. “Prayers are like that, too.”

While Holy Cross Village offers its residents many opportunities, including state-of-the-art exercise rooms, access to college lectures and events, and a variety of on-site dining options, many people most appreciate the opportunity to simply practice their faith.

“I’m grateful to be here,” smiled Jacquelyn Curran as she greeted Bishop Rhoades inside her residence. “It’s wonderful to have Mass here every day!”

“I see you every Sunday on TV,” added Mary Ann Jones, a member of St. Anthony Parish in South Bend before coming to Holy Cross Village two years ago. “I like that televised Mass!”

Bishop Rhoades wasn’t the only hero mentioned. Henrietta Jurgonski, a resident and member of nearby Corpus Christi Parish, was happy to meet the bishop and update him on the state of affairs there. “We have Father Daryl (Rybicki), you know. He’s such a wonderful, nice priest!”

Some area priests have also had parents living at Holy Cross Village. Bishop Rhoades says he would love to see continued support from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and was glad to hear how students from nearby Saint Joseph High School and Saint Joseph Grade School partner with Holy Cross Village, helping out with crafts and other acts of service. The couple involved in the dance demonstration, Bob and Tess Cassady, is newly married and regularly visits with their older friends. Staff members like Rosemary Washington treat the residents like family.

“The Holy Cross Brothers had the vision to build this place,” said Bishop Rhoades, “not only for their retired brothers and those in need of medical care, but also to extend this to the laity. … I don’t know of too many places like this in the United States. It’s the full expression of the life of the Church.”

As he made his way through the hallways, a line of residents using wheelchairs, walkers and canes made their way to the chapel nearly an hour before Mass was to begin. Bishop Rhoades stopped to chat with each person, and even met legendary Today’s Catholic newsman, Elmer Danch. When asked if he still has a subscription to the paper, 98-year-old Danch quipped, “Of course! We have to build up that circulation! I’ve had a subscription since I was a boy.”

Holy Cross Brother Camillus Kirsch, another legend roaming the halls at Holy Cross Village, was a contemporary of the first Holy Cross saint, Brother André Bessette. Brother Camillus was also a classmate of former University of Notre Dame president Father Theodore Hesburgh. As he shook Bishop Rhoades’ hand, Brother Camillus said he was pleased with the young man in front of him.

“I noticed the first thing you did after you were installed as bishop here was to meet with (current University of Notre Dame president) Father Jenkins … that’s very important!” Brother Camillus said.

Other residents shared their stories with Bishop Rhoades. A nurse introduced Hal Berger, a man sitting quietly in his wheel chair who spent 43 years as a G-man with the FBI, working for a time with J. Edgar Hoover. Norma Magnseun has lived at Holy Cross Village for four years and takes great pride in the Orioles who frequent her bird feeders just outside her window. She even feeds the squirrels so they won’t bother her birds. Mary Graham spent 15 years visiting Notre Dame with Elder Hostel, taking classes in connection with Holy Cross College. Now she enjoys her time living nearby the college students again.

“I’d have cleaned my house if I’d known the bishop was coming,” she joked. “They told us the bishop was coming, and they told us he’s young, good looking and very friendly!”

As he wrapped up his homily, Bishop Rhoades emphasized the important role we all play, no matter our stage in life. He reminded everyone we have our dignity from God, created in His very image and likeness. He stressed the importance not only of drawing upon life experiences and the wisdom gained, but living well in the present.

Acknowledging the challenges of physical ailments, struggles and loneliness, Bishop Rhoades said there is tremendous grace in offering our suffering for the Church and our families.

“I think about my work as bishop; I’m very busy. I’m on the go all the time, visiting parishes and schools, going to meetings and having appointments. That’s part of the life of a bishop. And I pray, of course … that’s the most important part of my day. But I wish I had more time to pray. And that’s where I need you, to pray for me…to pray for the Church in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and throughout the world. Because of your prayers, you help the Church with her mission. I think of all the good that’s going on in our parishes that wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the prayers of others.

“Try to make that time each day to be with the Lord in prayer, with love and joy. Even with suffering, we can always still have inner peace and inner joy from our relationships with Christ and our relationship with Mary, who is always at our side with maternal love and her prayers of intercession for us.”

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