Serving in a Time of Pandemic – Part II

Our mission is the Lord’s and so is the strength for it. We turn to Him in prayer that He will clasp us more firmly to Himself and use our hands and wits to do the work that only He can do. Then our work itself becomes a prayer: a service that speaks to the Lord who works through us. (Constitution 2:20)

Everyday at André House begins with the staff there gathered for Mass in the smaller dining room. It is a recognition of exactly what our constitutions state: that the mission is the Lord’s, and that He is the one who gives the strength for it, and of the necessity to pull away as a community for rest, prayer and worship. All of the visiting CSC priests had the opportunity to preside and preach while we were there.

I found this time of Mass and prayer everyday with the core staff to be particularly moving. They are a community that prays very well together, I think because they are so committed to the ministry that they were doing, but I think that the setting had an even greater impact on me. First, we gathered in one of the dining rooms – which pre-pandemic was set aside for families and those who needed special attention. Our time together in the morning connected our ministry with the Eucharist, which our constitutions call the “greatest of all table fellowships” (3:27) We were literally praying at those tables! Secondly, the backdrop of the morning Mass (see the photo below). At first, I thought … maybe we can move those trash bags … And then I found out that they were filled with donations and supplies. Typically they would be stored someplace else, but with the shortage of volunteers, that organization was one of the tasks that had been dropped. When I thought about it, though, it was the perfect altar piece for our Eucharist; it was the contribution of so many, and the tools that would be used to serve our guests. How perfect!

Fr. Brogan Ryan, C.S.C., was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, the sixth of eleven children with a twin brother. He is in his second year as Rector of Keough Hall. After graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in Accounting, he taught middle school Religion and Math in Montgomery, Alabama with the Alliance for Catholic Education. Following a quick detour into the world of public accounting, Fr. Brogan returned to South Bend to enter Moreau Seminary and formation with the Congregation of Holy Cross. He finished up his theology studies at Notre Dame in 2018 while serving as an Assistant Rector at Keough Hall. Fr. Brogan was ordained a priest in April 2019. He currently helps lead Notre Dame’s RCIA process, working with folks who are interested in becoming Catholic.

The U.S. Province sent a small cadre of young religious to provide support. Upon return, the religious headed back to their homes for a 14-day quarantine, and agroup of eight young men in formation followed in their footsteps to assist and again return to quarantine. We appreciate the service of these men and the formation staff for organizing this service opportunity for the men of Holy Cross.

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