St. Andre and Hospitality

Author: Fr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C.

Most religious houses have a reputation for hospitality to guests, visitors, friends and family members. Christian hospitality has very deep roots in the faith of our Jewish ancestors and friends, and in the Old Testament hospitality was considered a sacred duty. Jesus uses parables about hospitality (offered willingly or not) to help us understand the unconditional love and mercy of his heavenly Father.

St André visiting the sick 1921

In Holy Cross, our first Saint, Brother Andre, gives us a shining example of Christian hospitality, offered especially to those most neglected among us, the poor and infirm.  He was a porter at the door of a school for many years, greeting and directing, offering practical advice and loving counsel. Later, as God began to reveal the gift of healing which was at work through Brother Andre’s prayers and hands, he moved his ministry to be more accessible to the sick and suffering people who sought him out.
In Holy Cross we look to Brother Andre as an example of how to welcome those we serve in ministry, but it also informs the way we take care of each other. Fr. Jim and I travel quite a bit in our ministry in the Vocations Office. We most often are visiting our confreres in Holy Cross at the parishes, schools and other apostolates where they serve. Without exception I have experienced the warm welcome and familiar celebration of greeting brothers in Holy Cross whether I had just seen them recently in South Bend or if it had been years.  In general I think this flows simply out of the fraternal love we have for our confreres, but sometimes I am sure that our busy brothers have to make sacrifices of their time and energy to try and host well.  Guests are a disruption to business-as-usual, and to serve a guest is to serve Christ in them, just as to serve a student or a parishioner is.

Fr Haag, CSC welcomes a new student

There is also the Christian hospitality I have experienced when we travel to other places where brothers and sisters in Christ gather in His Name, when visiting various parishes or even when I get to go home to the parish I was raised in.  The pastor of my home parish always makes me feel right at home, and it is such a privilege to get to lead the community that raised me in prayer as a visiting priest.  Sometimes when I visit a parish or a conference and celebrate Mass, I wonder if I will ever see some of those people I gave the Eucharist to again. I think many times the answer is no, that momentary interaction when I held up the Body of Christ to them and they said “Amen,” might be the ONLY time I ever speak to that person in my life. But I hope that someday we will get to meet again in Heaven, and what a beautiful memory we will be able to share, that for even just a few seconds, we were united in Christ at that Eucharist, and it was a foretaste of the Eternal Banquet.

Fr Waugh, CSC offers mass at his home parish in Kansas

St. Andre knew very well that the hospitality he shared with others, whether at the door of a school, or in a bus station, or at a lovely chapel, is an extension of the Love that was first shared with him.  God’s hospitality welcomes us in, spares no expense, lavishes every extravagance of grace upon us.  He welcomes us in as honored guests and sits us around his table, even though we mostly come in grubby from the road. It is an honor and duty to share that loving welcome with others; if you are discerning your vocation and have been thinking of coming to visit us, we would look forward to welcoming you for a retreat or Come and See.

Fr Jarrod Waugh, CSC

Fr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C. is the Associate Director in the Office of Vocations at Moreau Seminary on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Fr. Jarrod made his Final Vows August 25, 2012 and was ordained a priest, April 6, 2013.


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