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.
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.
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 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.
“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.”
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.”