With the end of the spring semester comes papers, final exams, and excitement for the coming summer months, but, for us in Holy Cross, the end of the spring semester brings one of the most joyous and inspiring weekends of the entire year—Ordination Weekend! It’s one of the busiest times of the year for us, but it is also, in my opinion, the most powerful time of the year as it serves as a sort of re-energizer to help us finish the year with strength and success. I have been to several priestly ordinations throughout my life, but this year’s was most definitely the most powerful and inspiring. Having spent a year in the Old College formation program, I have had the distinct privilege of getting to know the six newest Holy Cross priests quite well! Each of them has had a significant impact on my formation, and I am filled with the deepest gratitude for their guidance, example, and commitment. Serving as a Bishop’s assistant for the Liturgy of Ordination allowed me to have an absolutely incredible view of the entire Rite. As I looked at the faces of Frs. Matt, Tim, Chase, Dan, Dave, and Chris, I saw huge and infectious smiles all around—a look of pure joy, happiness, and peace.
One of the greatest parts of the Old College program is the opportunity to live with a temporarily professed seminarian that is in his final stage of formation before ordination. As a member of our formation staff, he becomes both a mentor and an excellent example of what it means to be a religious in the Congregation of Holy Cross. Last year, Fr. Christopher Rehagen, CSC became an older brother who inspired us on a daily basis. He participated fully in our community life, got to know each of us well, and guided us in our discernment. Honestly, I struggle to find words to describe what watching him go from ‘Chris’ to ‘Deacon Chris’ in the fall and from ‘Deacon Chris’ to ‘Father Chris’ just a few days ago felt like. Seeing my older brother in Holy Cross who I have come to know and love was one of the most profound experiences of my life!
Frs. Dan, Chris, Dave, Matt, Tim, and Chase each have such incredible faith and trust in the Lord, and I look to each of them as great models of faith, hope, service, and love in the Church today. Their love for God, zeal for ministry, and commitment to constantly seeking to better the Kingdom of God is deeply inspiring, and it energizes me as I move into my third year of formation in Old College. This love, zeal, and commitment was especially noticeable as I watched them celebrate their first Masses. They are a great gift to the Church and to Holy Cross, and I have such profound hope in the love, joy, zeal, and care that they will bring to those whom they will serve as Holy Cross priests. The joy that I felt for my brothers as they became priests of Jesus Christ in Holy Cross was overwhelming, and I am so happy for them as they begin their priestly ministry.
I could truly feel the presence of Christ at each of the events that took place over the course of this year’s Ordination weekend. This presence, most especially, was made manifest in the commitment, faith, hope, zeal, and love that my six brothers in Holy Cross exemplified as they became priests of Jesus Christ. I love Holy Cross, and that love was greatly strengthened through the priestly ordination of my six brothers in Holy Cross as they gave their lives completely over to Christ for ordained service in his Church. I have found a home in Holy Cross—a community that I am both proud and honored to be a part of. These six men that were ordained to the priesthood have all had such a meaningful impact on my continued formation and discernment in Holy Cross, and I cannot thank them enough for their awesome example of what it truly means to be a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. As I continue my seminary formation in Holy Cross, I cannot help but feel incredibly blessed for having gotten to know Chris, Tim, Chase, Matt, Dave, and Dan well over the past two years, and I thank God for their brotherhood, incredible witness of faith, and trust in Divine Providence.
Owen Williams is a sophomore at Old College, the undergraduate seminary on the Campus of the University of Notre Dame. As a Holy Cross Seminarian, Owen routinely serves at Basilica Masses, and for other special Holy Cross events. He is from Avon, Ohio.