The formation programs of the United States Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross are led by religious committed to helping men mature and develop in all areas of their discernment and formation. They bring to their work a diverse wealth of life and ministerial experiences in Holy Cross that they draw upon to form our men into priests and brothers with hope to bring to the Church and the world.
Scroll down to meet the staff members at Moreau Seminary, the Holy Cross Novitiate, and the Old College Undergraduate Seminary.
Fr. John Herman, C.S.C.
Superior and Rector, Moreau Seminary
Fr. John Herman, C.S.C., is rector and religious superior at Moreau Seminary, the Congregation of Holy Cross' major religious seminary. He was born in Ohio and raised in Trenton, Michigan. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at the University of Detroit prior to entering formation in Holy Cross. He professed Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross on August 27, 1994 and was ordained to the priesthood on April 22,1995. Prior to serving at Moreau Seminary, Fr. John served the Congregation as the rector of O'Neill Hall and a campus minister at Notre Dame, as the Pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, Arizona and then as Pastor of Nuestra Madre Santísima de la Luz Parish, in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, México.
Fr. Jeffrey Cooper, C.S.C.
Postulant Director, Moreau Seminary
Fr. Jeff Cooper, C.S.C., was born and raised in Ohio. After completing his B.A. and M.Div. at Notre Dame, he professed perpetual vows in Holy Cross in 1993 and was ordained a priest in 1994. Over the years Fr. Cooper has served primarily in the western states of California, Colorado, and Oregon engaging in parish, formation, and academic ministries. After finishing his term as assistant Novice Master in Cascade, Colo., he completed a Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., in 2011. Most recently he was teaching theology at the University of Portland (Oregon). Fr. Cooper is also a certified Spiritual Director.
Rev. Thomas Bertone, C.S.C.
Formation Staff, Moreau Seminary
Fr. Thomas C Bertone, C.S.C., is assistant religious superior at Moreau Seminary. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and his family later moved to Lindenhurst, NY. He entered the formation program of the then Eastern Province of Priests and Brothers at Stonehill College in North Easton, MA in the Fall of 1972, where he earned a B.S. in Biology. He professed Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross on September 12, 1980 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1981. He returned to school in 1995 after working in Holy Cross Brothers’ high schools in the D.C. area, attending Catholic University. He received his Masters in Social Work in 1997. His experience as a social worker included geriatric social work, medical social work, and mental health counseling. Prior to serving at Moreau Seminary, Fr. Tom served the Congregation as the Director of Health Care and Aging for both the former Eastern Province and for the newly created US Province of Priests and Brothers. He has also received training as a spiritual director.
Br. Chester Freel, C.S.C.
Formation Staff, Moreau Seminary
Brother Chester Freel, CSC is from Mishawaka, Ind., where he was educated by the Brothers of Holy Cross at South Bend’s St. Joseph High School. He joined the Congregation of Holy Cross, professing first vows in 1969, and Perpetual Vows in 1977. Brother Chet earned a B.S. degree in Mathematics from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas and a Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. His initial ministry was at Holy Cross Services (Clinton, MI) beginning in 1971 and he served there in various capacities: teacher, dorm counselor, group therapist, supervisor, and for 25 years as the Regional Director. In 2007, Brother Chet accepted assignment as Vocations Director for the Midwest Province until his election as the Provincial Superior of the province in 2009. Having just completed a sabbatical year of study at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Br. Chet joined the formation staff at Moreau Seminary, accompanying young men preparing themselves for life in Holy Cross as priests and brothers.
Rev. Peter Rocca, C.S.C.
Formation Staff, Moreau Seminary
Father Peter Rocca, C.S.C., a native of Chicago, was ordained a priest in 1974. During his deacon year and first three years of priesthood, he served as Parochial Vicar at St. Ignatius, Martyr Parish in Austin, Tex. From 1977-1980 he attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned two Masters’ degrees, one in Liturgical Studies, the other in Liturgical Music. Since 1980, Fr. Rocca has served as Director of Liturgy at Moreau Seminary, and assisted on the Formation Staff there. In addition, he served as Associate Rector of Sacred Heart Church at Notre Dame from 1980 to 1984, after which he was appointed Assistant Vice President for Student Services at the University from 1984-1997. In 1997 he became Rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, a position he currently holds. Since 1984, Fr. Rocca has also served as the general editor of the Ordo for the Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist, published for every diocese in the United States by Paulist Press. He also serves as a Consultant for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, and annually prepares the liturgical calendar for the United States.
Rev. Nate Wills, C.S.C.
Formation Staff, Moreau Seminary
Fr. Nate Wills, C.S.C., a native of St. Paul, MN, entered formation in Holy Cross in 1995. He completed his B.A. and M.Div. at Notre Dame and earned his M.Ed. through the Alliance for Catholic Education as he taught at Notre Dame High School in Niles, IL. Fr. Nate was ordained in the spring of 2006 and served as the associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in South Bend, IN. After that, he entered graduate studies in education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed his Ph.D. in 2015, studying and writing his dissertation on blended learning and technology policy in K-12 Catholic schools. He joined the faculty of Notre Dame’s Remick Leadership Program in the fall of 2015, instructing aspiring Catholic school principals. Fr. Nate works with Catholic schools and dioceses throughout the nation and recently received a $1.8M grant to implement "blended learning” at five schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Fr. Nate lives in Keough Hall on Notre Dame’s campus.
Fr. Kenneth Molinaro, C.S.C.
Father Kenneth Molinaro, C.S.C., is Superior and Novice Master of the Holy Cross Novitiate in Cascade, Colo. Fr. Ken was born in Chicago, Ill. and grew up in South Bend, Ind. After making his Novitiate in Bennington, Vt., he returned to Notre Dame and earned a degree in sociology in 1971. He went on to earn Certificate Endorsement as a Reading Specialist from the National College of Education in 1973 and a graduate degree in theology from Notre Dame in 1976 before his ordination to the priesthood on September 4, 1976. Fr. Ken then served as principal of Sacred Heart School in Winnetka, Ill., Christ the King School in South Bend, Ind., and Notre Dame High School in Niles, Ill. Prior to becoming Novice Master, Fr. Ken served as Assistant Provincial and Vicar for the Indiana/USA Province and Secretary of the Provincial Council.
Fr. Donald Dilg, C.S.C.
Assistant Novice Master
Father Donald Dilg, C.S.C., who currently serves as Assistant Novice Master at the Holy Cross Novitiate in Colorado, has been associated with the Congregation of Holy Cross most of his life. He was baptized at Holy Trinity Parish in Chicago, and graduated from Notre Dame High School in Niles, Ill., when both of these institutions were staffed by Holy Cross religious. Fr. Don graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1969 with a degree in Speech and Drama, and received his Master of Theology degree from the University in 1973. Since his ordination in 1975, Fr. Don has ministered in six different parishes, as Parochial Vicar or as Pastor. He also worked for four years in Campus Ministry at St. Francis High School in Mountain View Calif., staffed by the Holy Cross Brothers. Fr. Don began his current assignment in 2010.
Brother James Blaszak, C.S.C.
Procurator, Holy Cross Novitiate
In 2011, Brother James Blaszak, C.S.C., was named Procurator of the Holy Cross Novitiate in Cascade, Colo., where he cares for the kitchen, supervises and teaches novices how to cook, assists with maintenance projects, and procures goods and supplies for the house. Br. James entered the St. Joseph Novitiate in Rolling Prairie, Ind., in 1963 and professed his first vows in 1964. As a newly professed religious, he was assigned to the staff at St. Joseph Novitiate where he trained as a cook. After professing Final Vows in 1971, he served in various apostolates as a cook, housekeeper, sacristan and Prefect. His longest assignment was at Le Mans Academy in Rolling Prairie, Ind., where he also worked on the farm for over 15 years. In 1996 Br. James was assigned as Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart Parish in LaPorte, Ind., where he had previously volunteered for 32 years. Br. James’ favorite job and one of his most valued contributions at the Novitiate in Colorado is being a “big brother” to the novices. He listens to them, offers suggestions occasionally, and looks out for their needs.
Fr. Brian Ching, C.S.C.
Director, Old College Undergraduate Seminary
Fr. Brian Ching, C.S.C., currently serves as the Director of Old College Undergraduate Seminary. He is a native of New York City, and graduated from Holy Cross High School, Flushing, NY, where he first encountered the Congregation of Holy Cross. Fr. Brian entered Old College during his sophomore year. He earned a bachelor’s ('07) and Master of Divinity ('12) Degree from the University of Notre Dame. Following his ordination to the priesthood in 2013, Fr. Brian served for two years as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Catholic Church, South Bend, Indiana.
Mr. Joe Pedersen, C.S.C.
Assistant Director, Old College Undergraduate Seminary
Mr. Joe Pedersen, C.S.C., is a seminarian in his fourth year of temporary vows with Holy Cross. He is also working to complete his fourth year of studies in the Master of Divinity program at Notre Dame. Before joining Holy Cross, Joe earned his B.A. in philosophy and theology from Notre Dame in 2009 and his M.A. in theology through Notre Dame’s Echo program in 2011. Joe professed his first vows in 2015. He is originally from Waterloo, Iowa.
Br. Donald Stabrowski, C.S.C.
Procurator, Old College Undergraduate Seminary
Br. Donald Stabrowski, C.S.C., is orginally from Mishawaka, Ind. He completed his undergraduate studies at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, and he took his Final Vows with the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1963. He completed two master's degrees at Indiana University; one in American history, and one in education. He then went on to complete an additional master's degree and also a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame. From 1969 through 1974, Br. Donald served several Holy Cross high schools across the country as principal, assistant principal, teacher and department head. Br. Stabrowski then returned to the area to teach at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Ind., as a professor of American government and history. In 1996, he was appointed the University of Portland’s academic vice president, and in 2002 he was named provost. After serving as acting president of the University of Portland in the summer and fall of 2003, Br. Donald returned to Notre Dame to serve as an assistant provincial to the Congregation of Holy Cross.