What are you thankful for? A question asked of many of us over the last week as we celebrated Thanksgiving. In a world that has been torn apart by violence after the terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Paris and Mali, it can be difficult to consider those things that we can truly be thankful for. However, as I take a step back from my life here at St. Joseph parish and reflect upon what I am truly thankful for, I can not help but think of my Holy Cross family.
“Our calling is to serve the Lord Jesus in mission not as independent individuals but in a brotherhood. Our community life refreshes the faith that makes our work a ministry and not just an employment; it fortifies us by the example and encouragement of our confreres; and it protects us from being overwhelmed or discouraged by our work.” ~Constitution 4: Brotherhood
During my year as a Deacon in Austin, TX, the local Holy Cross religious gathered each Thursday for a community night that allowed us to grow in our brotherhood with each other. It also, though, gave me the opportunity to talk with men in our Holy Cross community who had walked before me in ministry to offer advice and counsel concerning my own growth as a Holy Cross Religious. As the Catholic Church moved into the Year for Consecrated Life, these men and I gathered for a every other month Faith Sharing series on how we were each living our Vows and how we could be of support to each other.
Upon returning the South Bend this summer, I was invited by a few other young religious in Holy Cross to meet monthly to share a meal together and to meet for Faith Sharing. This has been a fantastic experience, in breaking bread together and supporting each other in our various ministries. Each month we gather at Creevy House, a house that Holy Cross owns on Lake Michigan, to relax, enjoy each others’ company and talk about our lives as Holy Cross Religious. Lately, we also have been speaking directly on our experience of the living the vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. I am truly blessed to be a part of this great band of men and look forward to walking with them as we work in God’s vineyard!
Fr. Dan Ponisciak, C.S.C., took his Final Vows with the Congregation of Holy Cross in the fall of 2014, and was ordained a priest in the spring of 2015. He was assigned to St. Ignatius Catholic Parish in Austin, Texas during his transitional Diaconate. He was recently re-assigned to St. Joseph Parish in South Bend, Indiana. Fr. Dan is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.