You may or may not be aware, but Moreau Seminary – the primary formation house for the Congregation of Holy Cross United States Province of Priests and Brothers – is located just off campus at the University of Notre Dame. I have the privilege of being able to look out of my office window and gaze on the Basilica and Golden Dome that form the heart of Our Lady’s University. Not only do I have a stellar view from my office, but I also get to go home every day to my residence on campus – Fisher Hall. There is a long tradition of Holy Cross priests and brothers living in the residence halls with the students at our colleges and universities, serving not only as rectors and hall staff, but also as in-residence spiritual guides for our students. It is truly an engaging and diverse ministry that allows us to really be a part of the lives of the students.
Fisher Hall is where I get to hang my hat. It is not the most elegant of buildings on campus, but it has a great spirit. The catalyst for this spirit is the rector, Rick Mazzei or simply Mazz. Mazz was a high school teacher and coach in Boston before returning to his alma mater to serve as the rector of Fisher Hall. He is a great man and runs a great hall. But the most impressive thing to me about Mazz is his faith. He is a man of profound and simple faith. He never misses a Hall Mass, and he hosts numerous prayer events in the hall – as one of his Priests-in-Residence, I am often put to shame by the prayerful initiatives he takes!
Mazz typically serves at Mass as one of the Eucharistic Ministers and he and I have developed a beautiful synergy. During the daily Mass, Mazz will come up after the Lamb of God, pass by the statue of Saint Joseph (to whom he has a special devotion) and touch his foot, he will then approach the altar and assume the responsibilities of a Eucharistic Minister. After Communion, he brings me the Chalice and the water so that I can purify the vessels at the altar and then waits to take the water and the purified vessels back to the credence table. It all seems very simple and unimportant, but there is a humble beauty to it all. He is able to move with such reverence and ease, like a friend who has dined at this table many times before.
He is a man who daily follows his call to holiness with humility and joy. As I pray alongside him, striving to do the same in my own life, I am reminded of how a faith fully lived informs and supports the faith of others. It is a simple liturgical synergy that is indicative of how this holy man, who is under no vows and has received no Holy Orders, follows Christ with courage and compassion. There are many folks like Rick Mazzei who live their faith in such a way that invites each of us to go deeper into exploring our own relationship with God, and so now the question falls to you – will you follow their example of faith? Will you continue to grow in holiness? Will you answer God’s call to you?