Community Engagement Updates: July 2, 2024

Here’s what we’ve been up to over the last month:

  1. We are pleased to partner with the Office of Apostolic Mission & Charism for the first-ever Holy Cross Missions Student Essay Contest. All student travelers to Holy Cross missions are invited to submit an essay by August 15 for a chance to win $500 for themselves and to direct $1,000 to the Holy Cross ministry that they visited. Read the contest guidelines here
  2. Thank you to our 2023-24 Twinning Partners in the U.S. for raising more than $51,000 to be distributed to various Holy Cross ministries around the world. On average, each U.S.-based Twinning partner raised $5,680 for communities in need. Thank you to all those who contributed! Another 10 Holy Cross ministries around the world are awaiting a U.S. Twinning partner. This is a great opportunity to encounter another Holy Cross community and help meet their financial needs.  Learn more about how your organization can Twin with Holy Cross ministries in Bangladesh, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Tanzania, or Uganda here.
  3. Assistant Director for Community Engagement Michael Jezewak met with Stonehill College’s Director of International Programs to discuss an international Holy Cross immersion experience as part of a course that is being developed for the coming academic years.
  4. Office Coordinator Bridget Williams and Michael are filling the U.S. Province’s Mission Appeal dates for this calendar year. Holy Cross priests based in the U.S. are invited to explore our remaining Mission Appeal opportunities by emailing us at
  5. Holy Cross seminarians Arpon C., C.S.C., and Joakim B., C.S.C., recently stopped by to meet the Holy Cross Mission Center staff. They arrived in early June from Bangladesh to continue their formation at the University of Notre Dame. International formation experiences like Arpon’s and Joakim’s will strengthen the Congregation’s international bonds and help the Congregation meet the needs of the Church in the 21st century. Please join us and the Moreau Seminary Community in welcoming Joakim and Arpon to the U.S.!
  6. We at the Holy Cross Mission Center (HCMC)  were grateful to our colleagues in the Office of Mission Advancement and Office of Vocations for joining us over nine days in praying the Novena for the Canonization of Blessed Basil Moreau, the Congregation of Holy Cross’s founder. You, too, are invited to pray the Novena privately or with a group on your own time. If you are wondering, “What exactly is a novena?” here is a brief introduction: Stemming from the Latin word novem (“nine”), a novena is a traditional Catholic form of prayer spanning nine days, which corresponds to the nine days between the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Novenas are typically prayed to obtain a grace from God–in this case, for Bl. Moreau’s canonization.
  7. HCMC Director Fr. Tom Eckert, C.S.C., spent more than a week at the U.S. Province Chapter in mid-June. Province Chapters take place every three years and are composed of elected and ex officio representatives from the U.S. Province’s finally professed members. While gathered together, these men listen and respond to the call of the Holy Spirit and set the Province’s priorities for the following three years. Among other important decisions that came out of this year’s Chapter was the re-election of Fr. Bill Lies, C.S.C., as U.S. Provincial, which you can read about here.
  8. Michael met with the Program Director for immersion experiences at Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns to explore more immersion opportunities at Holy Cross ministries. This year we are grateful to have 15 Notre Dame students spending 8 weeks at international ministries we support. These include student representatives from Bengal Bouts and Baraka Bouts, which last year raised over $300,000 for Holy Cross ministries in Uganda and Bangladesh. Michael also received an update from Stonehill’s Campus Minister for Student Immersions about their recent H.O.P.E. Trip to Canto Grande, Peru. The two spoke about the impact of the experience on her students and ways that they can collaborate for their immersion trip to Chile in 2025. Over 80 students from Holy Cross high schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S. visited an international ministry already this year, immersing themselves in a Holy Cross community and deepening their awareness of global challenges related to health, poverty, and education. Faculty and staff interested in providing such opportunities through your organization are invited to set up an exploratory call with Assistant Director for Community Engagement Michael Jezewak by emailing him at
  9. Over the course of a week, the HCMC and Moreau Formation Team held virtual check-in meetings with the six 2024 Ganguly Exchange participants who are  halfway through their eight-week ministry experiences at Holy Cross ministries around the world. Read more about the Ganguly Exchange here
  10. Michael met with the University of Portland’s Director of Residence Life to coordinate efforts to formally (re)introduce Twinning partnerships for each UP residence hall this academic year. This past year, three residence halls raised more than $2,500 to be distributed to Yancana Huasy in Peru, San Roque Parish in Chile, and Br. André Hospital in Kenya. Well done, UP!
  11. Michael also met with a Holy Cross high school in Le Mans, France, where the Congregation of Holy Cross was founded, about the possibility of Twinning with a ministry supported by our office. It is a great gift to see so many Holy Cross ministries around the world eager to encounter and support each other!
  12. At the 43rd Annual Holy Cross History Conference organized by the Holy Cross History Association, Michael heard presentations from Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters about the brothers’ support for the Notre Dame Fire Department, a priest who worked with the press at the Second Vatican Council, a Canadian sister who gave a lifetime of service to families in Bangladesh, and a brother who ministered in Algiers during the mid-1800s. Thank you to Br. Philip Smith, C.S.C., and Holy Cross College for welcoming the HCMC to this great gathering of Holy Cross religious and lay collaborators. Perhaps next year’s conference will feature a paper on the institutional history of the Holy Cross Mission Center… stay tuned!
  13. Approximately 15 Holy Cross priests and brothers living at Holy Cross House joined us for a presentation on ministries in Bangladesh on Juneteenth (June 19th). Michael shared photos and stories from his January visit to Bangladesh and heard stories from many men’s years spent in international ministry. Thank you to Fr. Mark Thesing, C.S.C., Administrator of Holy Cross House, and Katrina Mangold, the Life Enrichment Coordinator for the community, for inviting the HCMC to present.
  14. Thanks to connections made by Fr. Tom McDermott, C.S.C., Michael met with a representative from the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame. We hope that future partnerships with the Eck Institute and others in the Keough School for Global Affairs might bear fruit for those served by Holy Cross religious around the world.
  15. Fr. Tom also conducted a Site Visit to Kenya to visit Holy Cross ministries there. As a special treat, he also met up with the HCMC’s partners from St. Monica Catholic Church. Thank you to the Province of East Africa for such a hospitable welcome for Fr. Tom and the St. Monica’s group.
  16. Michael met with the Program Coordinator for Holy Cross College’s Cross & Anchor Summer and Saints & Scholars Program, two summer events for high school students. We are grateful for the invitation to share more about Holy Cross’s international ministries with attendees in July. 
  17. Planning for Baraka Bouts 2024 has begun. Though dates are not yet finalized for what has become the largest women’s boxing tournament in the world, it looks as if they will likely occur in November. Michael met with Baraka Bouts Captain Anna Prest to explore ways to improve our support for their club efforts. We look forward to the season!

Published: July 2, 2024

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