While I discerned entering Old College, I found it difficult to explain what was so inspiring about the men in the program, and I could never find just the right words. But I remember from the time of my first visit to Old College that every Old Collegian always wore his cross. I could tell that these crosses meant something to them.
Shortly after returning from Deer Porte early in my freshman year, the first-years were told to be in formal dress in the Log Chapel for Night Prayer, and we all knew that we would be receiving our crosses. I remember being filled with jitters, excitement, and joy.
Walking into the Log Chapel filled to capacity with seminarians, many in the Holy Cross habit, was a surreal experience. There in the presence of Jesus Christ and my brother seminarians, the five of us received our crosses.
Shortly thereafter we all made a procession to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, and lit candles seeking Our Heavenly Mother’s intercession in discerning our vocation. We now had a visible symbol of our commitment to the community, and the community’s commitment to us.
This cross continues to be a public symbol of our commitment to formation and discernment in the Congregation of Holy Cross. Every morning when I get up and get ready to go down to Morning Prayer I choose to put on this cross again, I choose to commit myself to being a witness for everyone I meet, and to bring them hope in the Cross of Our Lord.
Blessed Basil Moreau, our Holy Founder, wanted his religious to be recognizably Holy Cross, that others might be attracted to our way of life. As seminarians for his family of Holy Cross, we also wear our crosses as an invitation – an invitation to enter into the life we have found and are discerning with joy, surrounded by the strength of community in prayer, in labor, and in leisure.
Finally, as seminarians for the Congregation we live and work in community, and this cross is a tangible symbol for everyone we meet that there is an indivisible brotherhood of Holy Cross of which we are a part. Every day when I see these crosses on my fellow Old Collegians I know that I am not alone in my discerning my vocation or in my life as a seminarian.
This simple wooden cross reminds me of my identity as a Holy Cross seminarian, it acts as a public invitation to a joy-filled life, and it reminds me that I am never alone in my journey through the seminary.
Mr. Joe Krivos is in his second year at Old College Undergraduate Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame. He and his fellow Old Collegians write a post each month for the Spes Unica Blog, sharing on their life and formation in Old College. He is studying Philosophy, Theology, and Italian at the University of Notre Dame. Read more about life in Old College, and meet the current Old Collegians who are in formation for priesthood and religious life in Holy Cross.