They Remained Faithful
As we enter into the month of November, this month in which we traditionally remember those who have gone before us, I find myself thinking about the Holy Cross priests and brothers who have walked this road of religious life before me.
There are some great figures who stand out in Holy Cross history. There was Fr. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. who left France as a missionary when he was 28 years old to start a school on the frontier of Northern Indiana. Through his determination and the hard work of many, that little school, the University of Notre Dame, has educated many men and women in the faith through the years. There was also Br. Ephrem O’Dwyer, C.S.C. whose vision and entrepreneurial spirit inspired a rapid growth of Holy Cross high schools across the United States in the twentieth century. As well there was Servant of God Vincent McCauley who as a young priest went off to serve as a missionary to Bangladesh. Then after being sent home to recover from a serious illness, he returned to missionary work leading Holy Cross’ initial missionary endeavors into East Africa. Later he became a bishop in East Africa and helped to develop the Church there.
As well there are the many Holy Cross priests and brothers who may never make a big splash in a history book yet through their fidelity and dedication to the work of Holy Cross made a profound impact in the lives of many. I think of Fr. Joe Fey, C.S.C., my childhood pastor, who formed the ideal in my mind for the gentle and welcoming pastor. There was also Br. Paul Loos, C.S.C. the enthusiastic and welcoming presence in the rectory, the school and parish church. As well as the witness of Fr. Ron Tripi, C.S.C. who showed the powerful effect that one can have through dedicated attention to the sick and the homebound.
The wonderful thing to recognize about all of these men is that they had no idea where their life would lead them as they first set off to the seminary or even when they took their final vows in Holy Cross. They only knew that there was this sense of call that was drawing them forward. There was no way of knowing where it would lead or how many people they would influence. Yet they trusted that the Lord was at work in all of it, and they were willing to place their lives in His hands.
This is the amazing reality when it comes to placing our trust in the Lord and following as he is leads us. He has the tendency to lead us to places that we would not imagine for ourselves, to opportunities that we would not dream of, to moments of grace that can leave one speechless. There were times in the lives of all of the men named above in which they struggled to see clearly, in which they faced personal hardships, in which they may have wondered what the next step would be. Yet they remained faithful, they continued to trust in the Lord and put themselves out there for the Lord to lead. In this they gave glory to God and bore witness to the wonderful ways that God’s grace can shape a life and impact the world.
May our brothers in Holy Cross who have gone before us rest in the peace and joy of the Lord. May their example continue to inspire many more generations of men to place their lives in the hands of the Lord and follow wherever He may lead. May their prayers give us the strength to follow their example to remain faithful and to trust in the Lord.
Prayer (An excerpt from the Dies Irae):
Remember, faithful Jesus,
because I am the cause of your journey:
do not lose me on that day.
You have sat down as one wearied, seeking me,
You have redeemed me, having suffered the Cross:
so much labor…let it not be lost.
*Note: This text was adapted from : Franciscan-archive.org
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