Rev. Thomas J. Eckert, C.S.C., was welcomed as the director of the Holy Cross Mission Center (HCMC) at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.
A native Hoosier from Huntington, Ind., Fr. Tom is the youngest of 14 children, and a proud “Triple Domer” – a three-time graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Fr. Tom earned his Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Economics (’95), a Master of Divinity (’02), and a Master of Spanish Language and Literatures (’08). Fluent in Spanish, he studied for a year in Mexico City as an undergraduate, and worked in Holy Cross schools in Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile during his seminary formation.
Fr. Tom was ordained a priest in 2003 for the Congregation of Holy Cross at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, and began his priestly ministry that year at the University of Notre Dame, where he held positions in Student Affairs, Campus Ministry, the Office of Vocations and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. From 2011-2020, Fr. Tom was pastor of St. John Vianney Catholic Church and School, in Goodyear, Ariz. During his tenure at St. John Vianney, Fr. Tom shepherded tremendous growth of the parish to over 5,000 families, and doubled the school enrollment to nearly 500 students. He championed completion of a construction project to provide ten additional classrooms and a gymnasium to accommodate the continued growth. In the Diocese of Phoenix, Fr. Tom served on the Diocesan Stewardship Council, the 50th Anniversary Celebration Advisory Committee, and served as Vice-Chair of Catholic Education Arizona, a Student Tuition Organization that provides scholarships to many families of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Phoenix. When he was not actively educating the minds and hearts of his parishioners and students, he could often be found baking pies to benefit the parish and school. It seems he found the “sweet spot” in his priestly ministry.
“As a seminarian, I lived and served for almost two years in Peru and Chile and now look forward to coming to know the many and varied ministries of Holy Cross throughout the world and to guiding the Mission Center in supporting these important works,” said Fr. Eckert. “I am very grateful to have the opportunity to serve as the new director of the Mission Center, and I look forward to sharing this joy with you!”
Fr. Eckert, by way of introduction, is a truly joyful person. “My joy is increased through my experience of family; experience of the Holy Cross family; and experience of those I have served in ministry in Holy Cross,” said Fr. Eckert. “I am blessed with many joyful examples and models to follow. My parents are 90 and 91 years old, and recently celebrated their 70thwedding anniversary. Joy! They have 14 children, 49 grandchildren and 79 great-grandchildren at last count. Joy! I am surrounded by fellow priests and brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross with the shared mission to educate the minds and the hearts of the faithful. Joy! I have encountered, been called to serve, and have walked with countless men and women of faith who have helped me to understand the role of suffering and sacrifice in preparing them for the joy that comes from the transformative work of God in their lives. This is indeed joyful. Our Founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, held very firmly the belief that unless we embrace the suffering that comes before us we cannot truly know the joy of the Resurrection.”
From Fr. Tom Eckert, C.S.C., and the Holy Cross Mission Center, you will hear about milestones for our men in formation around the world, updates on projects at our schools and parishes, work accomplished in the medical centers and clinics, and ministries that nourish the body, mind and spirit.
Thank you for your prayers and for your support of the work of the Congregation of Holy Cross throughout the world, and for your collaboration with the Holy Cross Mission Center.