On May 22-30, twenty administrators from the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, made a pilgrimage to France to explore the roots and heritage of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The highlight of the pilgrimage was a visit to the Church of Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix in Le Mans, which is where the International Shrine of Basile Moreau is located.
The Holy Cross Heritage Pilgrimage was the brainchild of Fr. Peter McCormick, C.S.C., Director of Campus Ministry at Notre Dame. He was looking for a way to give employees and administrators at the university a deeper immersion into the Congregation’s charism, history, and spirituality. In Fr. McCormick’s mind, there was no better place to do this than where the Congregation had its beginnings in France under the inspiration of Blessed Basile Moreau.
“The Holy Cross Heritage Pilgrimage was a wonderful opportunity to experience the passion and zeal of Fr. Moreau and bring that spirit more fully to Notre Dame,” said Fr. McCormick.
In planning the pilgrimage, Fr. McCormick worked closely with Fr. John DeRiso, C.S.C., the Rector of the International Shrine of Basile Moreau. As part of their visit to the shrine, the Notre Dame group celebrated Mass in Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix and prayed at the grave of Blessed Moreau. In typical Holy Cross hospitality, there was also a reception for the group.
“I’m so grateful to Fr. John DeRiso for his willingness to lead us on the pilgrimage. His knowledge of Fr. Moreau and passion for Holy Cross was noted by the 20 Student Affairs administrators who attended,” said Fr. McCormick.
Hosting groups like the Student Affairs administrators from Notre Dame so that they can learn more about the Congregation’s history and charism and thus contribute more fully to its international mission was one of the key reasons behind the establishment of the International Shrine of Basile Moreau in 2014.
Over the past few months, in addition to the group of Notre Dame administrators, the Shrine has also hosted several other groups, including from St. George’s College in Santiago, Chile; the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir and Glee Club; and the Alliance for Catholic Education. There have also been many individuals and families from around the world who, familiar with the work of Holy Cross, have come to Le Mans to visit and pray at the tomb of Blessed Moreau.
"The Shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau in Le Mans offers pilgrims a unique encounter with Christ through the life story and spirituality of Father Moreau, who is a man of deep faith and devotion, a man of prayer and of action, a man of holiness, a friend of God,” said Fr. DeRiso. “Walking in his footsteps in and around Le Mans invites the pilgrim to discover the paths that providence opened up before him -- paths that led him to do great things in the service of the Kingdom. Pilgrims to the Shrine return home inspired by his witness, confident in his prayerful intercession, and encouraged to similarly respond to the inspirations of grace in the service of the Gospel."