NOTRE DAME –– At its general chapter meeting in Rome this past summer, the Congregation of Holy Cross approved the merger of its two existing U.S. provinces of priests and brothers. The newly-adopted legislation authorizes the superior general to effect the merger in order to enhance the congregation’s ministries of “parish, mission, education.” At a joint meeting of the Eastern Province and Indiana Province Councils on Dec. 4-5, it was agreed that the merger of the Eastern Province into the Indiana Province should be effected by the superior general on July 1, 2011, the feast of the Sacred Heart.
The Indiana Province will proceed with the appropriate civil instruments to change its name to the United States Province of Priests and Brothers.
The ministries of the new province will include four colleges and universities: University of Notre Dame (founded 1842), University of Portland (Portland, Ore., 1901), King’s College (Wilkes-Barre, Pa, 1946), and Stonehill College (Easton, Mass., 1948). These and all other ministries will be integrated, including 17 parishes from Vermont to Oregon; André House, a ministry to the homeless and poor in Phoenix; the Downtown Chapel in Portland; Ave Maria Press in Notre Dame; and Holy Cross Family Ministries in North Easton, Mass. Holy Cross Family Ministries was founded by Servant of God Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton, and encompasses Family Theater Productions, Family Rosary and Father Peyton Family Institute. The United States Province will also be present in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The congregation’s United States Province will comprise over 410 priests and brothers plus 80 seminarians currently in formation for a life of service in Holy Cross. The administrative offices of the province will be located in South Bend.
Holy Cross presence in America began in 1841, when the French-founded order sent Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin, who later founded the University of Notre Dame. Holy Cross founder Blessed Holy Cross Father Basil Moreau was beatified in 2007, and the order celebrated the canonization of its first saint, St. André Bessette, on Oct. 17.
This reorganization has been under discussion by both provinces for some time, with a vision “to enhance the effectiveness of the Holy Cross mission in the United States,” stated Holy Cross Father David T. Tyson, provincial superior for the Indiana Province.
Holy Cross Father Thomas P. Looney, provincial superior of the Eastern Province, stated, “In merging we celebrate and manifest God’s gift of our brotherhood in Christ for the service of God’s people.”