Fr. James Clement Cruze, C.S.C.
Realizing My Desires
I grew up as a young boy in very Catholic environment, close to the Holy Cross Parish in the village of Dharenda, Savar, Dhaka. St. Joseph Church was established by the Congregation, and on January 11, 2013, we celebrated 100 years as a parish.
I am the eighth among nine brothers and sisters. Growing up near St. Joseph Church, I came to know many Holy Cross religious during my childhood. As a child, I used to go to Church every morning and served as a altar boy from second grade. I first expressed my desire to become a Holy Cross priest when I was in fourth grade.
In 1981, Rev. Bergeman, C.S.C., who was my pastor recommended me, and I joined Holy Cross and went to the minor seminary. That January 4 was one of my happiest days in my life as I began to fulfill one of my desires. I was so grateful to God and to my pastor.
I enjoyed my formation period and my studies. The people entrusted with our formation made distinct impressions on me, beginning with my Novice Masters, Rev. Gilbert Lague, C.S.C., and Rev. George Laprade, C.S.C. I entered the Novitiate in January 1990 and made my First Profession on January 24, 1991.
Following Novitiate, I continued to journey with my community members and discern my vocation as I studied philosophy and then theology at Holy Spirit Major Seminary. On April 11, 1997, I professed Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross and then on April 24, 1998, I was ordained a priest. On that day, I was so happy as I realized God’s love in my life. There had been challenges along the way, but I entrusted them to God. I entered formation as a young boy, and by the grace of God I ended as a Holy Cross priest.
After three and half years in a missionary parish among tribal people with Rev. Frank Quinlivan, C.S.C., I was sent to Egypt for Islamic Studies. I went on the recommendation of Bangladesh Catholic Bishops Conference so as to prepare to teach at Holy Spirit Major Seminary. One year in Egypt and two years in Rome proved as fascinating as the studies – both in language and in Islam – and opened entire new worlds to my mind and heart.
Through these experiences, especially living at the Holy Cross Generalate in Rome, I came to know more about the Holy Cross spirit and sense of mission. I also came to know how international our community is and how we have brotherly care and concern for each other, even across borders.
I returned to Bangladesh in December 2004 to teach at the Major Seminary and began serving as Assistant Director for the Holy Cross Scholasticate in January 2005. The Bishops Conference also appointed me as secretary for the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue. In 2006, my Provincial Superior appointed me as a Director of the Holy Cross Scholasticate.
In 2012, the Chapter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province elected me as Provincial. While in this office, I have continued to work as secretary of the inter-faith commission, as well as teach at the seminary.
Being Provincial Superior has been a tremendous challenge and honor. I try to live a life of prayer and community. I thank God and community members who helped me this far. I listen to community members and help them to grow in the spirit of Holy Cross. I am happy to see how God works through us, stimulating good spirit and missionary zeal among the members of our community. Holy Cross personnel strive to educate the minds and heart of God’s people, whether they are in schools, parishes, or other ministries.
I thank God for my vocation in Holy Cross, for my time in Holy Cross and for His Grace in forming me to be the best I can be, in service to Him and for His people.
Fr. James Clement Cruze, C.S.C., is the Superior of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province (Dhaka, Bangladesh).