Sixteen Young Brothers and Priests Meet in Rome to Discuss the Brothers’ Vocation

Young Holy Cross brothers and priests meet at the Generalate in Rome

From Monday, April 20, to Thursday, April 23, the General Administration hosted a special meeting in Rome, Italy, of 16 young Holy Cross brothers and priests from around the world. The meeting’s purpose was to discuss the vocation of the Holy Cross brother in light of the Blessed Basile Moreau’s vision to unite religious brothers and religious priests in a single congregation.

The eight religious brothers in attendance were: Br. Gnana Sekaran S.A., C.S.C., of the Vicariate of Holy Cross Brothers in India; Br. Santhosh P.J., C.S.C., of the Vicariate of Holy Cross Brothers in India; Br. Ignatius Proshanta Costa, C.S.C. of the St. Joseph Province in Bangladesh; Br. Vincent Soroj Gomes, C.S.C., of the St. Joseph Province in Bangladesh; Br. Christopher Torrijas, C.S.C., of the Midwest Province in the United States; Br. Patrick Tumwine, C.S.C., of the District of East Africa; Br. Ronnie Silva, C.S.C., of the District of Brazil; and Fr. Nicholas Arthur, C.S.C., of the District of West Africa in Ghana.

The small group of Holy Cross priests

The eight religious priests who attended were: Fr. Jomon Kalladanthiyil, C.S.C., of the Province of North East India; Fr. Binoy John, C.S.C. of the Province of North East India; Fr. Ronson D’Souza, C.S.C., of the Province of South India; Fr. Telesphore T.V., C.S.C., of the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu in India; Fr. Thaddeus Hembron, C.S.C., of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province in Bangladesh; Fr. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., of the United States Province; Fr. Matthew Kuczora, C.S.C., of the United States Province; and Fr. Christopher Letikirich, C.S.C., of the District of East Africa.

Fr. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C., theSuperior General, opened the meeting on the morning of Monday, April 20. In his introductory remarks, Fr. Warner underscored the Congregation of Holy Cross’s founding charism as a religious congregation “composed of two distinct societies of religious, one of religious priests and one of religious brothers, bound together in one indivisible brotherhood” (1:6). He stated that this vision gives Holy Cross a unique character and mission in the Catholic Church.

Read more about the Holy Cross charism

Fr. Warner said that the mission of the Congregation has reached a critical juncture, given the decline of the number of religious brothers not only in Holy Cross, but also in the wider Church. He expressed his hope that young brothers and priests at the meeting would be able to help chart a path forward for the Congregation, and especially for the Holy Cross brothers, by studying the founder’s vision, reflecting on their own experiences, and reading the signs of the times.

There was a clear consensus among the young brothers and priests on the essential presence and role for religious brothers in the Congregation. “I like how Father Warner expressed it: ‘without religious brothers, there is no Holy Cross,'” said Br. Gomes from Bangladesh. “This was the dream of Father Moreau, that we would be a unique community of brothers and priests in one indivisible brotherhood. I am hopeful for the future and our ability to fulfill that dream.”

The small group of Holy Cross brothers

The 16 young brothers and priests pointed out that this meeting itself is an example of how bringing together members of the Congregation from around the world starts forging friendships that lead to a true breaking down of barriers and a real crossing of borders.

Explore the 16 countries where Holy Cross serves

“It was really wonderful to meet people from around the globe,” said Br. Gomes. “It means a lot for Holy Cross to have this international exchange. We learn much from each other.”

Fr Thaddeus Hembron, Br Ignatius Proshanta Costa, Br Patrick Tumwine, and Br Ronnie Silva

“This time I have seen more bonding between the brothers and priests,” said Br. Patrick Tumwine, C.S.C., from the District of East Africa, who attended the first Holy Cross Forum in 2012-2013, which brought together young brothers and priests from across the Congregation. “There have been very encouraging conversations among us that have strengthened me in my vocation. It has been a powerful experience. We have been able to discard the previous boundaries that at times separate us as priests and brothers, and we have been able to interact as one. It is a great hope.”

Another common refrain among those in attendance was their coming to a deeper appreciation of not only what is shared in common across the various regions of the Congregation, but also the unique challenges and opportunities facing each particular region.

“This has been a great experience,” said Fr. Binoy John, C.S.C., from the Province of North East Indi. “I have had the chance to meet many great people as we cross borders together and come to understand one another. It has enlightened my heart and mind and has prepared me for greater ministry in Holy Cross in the future.”

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