A Beautiful Scene

Way of the Cross in the wood

We were standing out in the rain, in the dark, as I held a huge golf umbrella over Carlos and he framed up his shot. Matt Fase, C.S.C., was standing beneath the nearly life-sized Crucifix on a hill near Moreau Seminary.  The Beloved Disciple and the Blessed Mother were on either side of us, and the rain drops running slowly down Jesus’ side almost looked like drops of Blood in the yellow light from the spotlights and set lights. How did I become a part of this strange and beautiful scene?

There is a Calvary scene tucked just off the running path around St. Joseph Lake. It’s almost hidden by trees except during the winter, and many people would say that this spot is high in the running—with the Basilica and the Grotto—as the best place to pray on Notre Dame’s campus. We were out there on a rainy Friday evening, on the vigil of Final Vows, to finish up shooting for a video that we hope will capture part of the experience of this pivotal weekend in the lives of six Holy Cross men, and an important occasion for the whole U.S. Province of Holy Cross.

Filmmakers Carlos de la Vega and Rudolpho Zalez joined us all the way from Southern California to help us with this project, and I had the duty and privilege of hosting them, showing them around, smiling at Basilica ushers with my collar and Cross and Anchors on as we scooted chairs around in the Basilica, and then finally, by holding a huge golf umbrella over Carlos to try and keep the rain off the camera and lens. Rudy set the lights just…so…and then asked Matt to enter the frame.

We were there because it is one of Matt’s favorite places to pray on campus—though probably not typically in the rain—but we wanted to catch him, and later some of his other classmates, during a moment of prayer before their big day. The next day we would all gather, together with hundreds of the friends, family members, Holy Cross religious, former dorm residents, and current parishioners of these six brothers of mine who were about to say “forever” to God and to Holy Cross.

Fr. Jim and I are often telling men who are discerning religious life, in our many phone conversations, that once you think that you really might be called to this vocation, or even when you think you might be called to start thinking about this possibility, one of the best ways to get some good information, some further food for prayer and mulling-over, is to come for a visit. On a visit to the seminary you are able to meet the seminarians, the formation staff, pray, and eat, and go to a class. But only rarely do those men get to visit on one of these weekends, on a Final Vows weekend.

We hope that you will watch this video and get some sense, at least a tiny bit, of the joy our community experiences when our younger brothers become our brothers for life.  Enjoy, and remember that most of the really good shots are from under an umbrella.

Cross at Sunset

Adapted from a Prayer for the Harvest:

Provident Father,

 You give in abundance both rain, the dew of heaven, and food, which comes from the richness of the soil. We give thanks to Your loving power for the fruits of the earth which are being gathered in.

We beg You, in Your mercy, to bless the harvest which we receive from Your generosity, and to protect those whose work provides for our needs.

May we praise Your mercy forever, and make use of these good things that pass so as to keep forever those which are eternal. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


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