Two Ordained Holy Cross Priests

NOTRE DAME, Ind. Rev. Matthew Hovde, C.S.C., and Rev. Dennis Strach II, C.S.C., were ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, April 2, 2016, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, D.D., Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Click here to view a photo gallery of Ordination 2016.

Click here to watch Ordination 2016 on YouTube.

Rev. Matthew Hovde, C.S.C., is the youngest of three children of Robert and Cynthia Hovde of Miami, Fla. He entered formation with the Congregation in 2007 and professed First Vows on July 28, 2012.

Prior to his Ordination as a transitional deacon, Matthew served at Holy Cross House (Music Ministry) from 2007-2008; in Christ the King Parish (Catechist) from 2008-2009; in Campus Ministry (Notre Dame) from 2009-2010; at St. Joseph Catholic Church (RCIA) from 2010-2011; in hospital chaplaincy from 2011-2012; at the Center for Social Concerns (Notre Dame) from 2012-2013; at St. Pius X Parish from 2013-2014; and in Old College (as Assistant Director) from 2014-2015. Matthew earned his M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame in 2015.

As he prepared for Ordination day, Matthew reflected on the charism of Holy Cross and how his understanding of it changed, as well as his hopes for life in Holy Cross.

“I see being an ‘educator in the faith’ as central to Holy Cross. Throughout my time in formation, seeing Holy Cross in university work, parish life, serving the homeless, and many other apostolic works have all formed how I understand our community. They all seem to revolve around this notion of being educators in the faith.

Wherever we serve, and in whatever capacity we work, we are at heart evangelists. We are here to spread the message of Christ. But our work is not primarily one of instructing people on the information of the Gospel; instead, we try to bring it to life within them. We form the entire person into faithful disciples of Jesus, and educate the mind and heart of those we serve so that they can grow in holiness.

I hope to continue to grow in my love of Jesus Christ. Uniting myself to His Cross and being a herald of His Resurrection is the joy of my life. I hope that I can continue to live out the beautiful mystery of our vows with joy and zeal. I hope that I continue to minister alongside my brothers faithfully. I hope that one day when my ministry on this earth has ended, there are more Holy Cross Religious than when I entered, spreading the Gospel and building up God’s people in holiness.”

Matthew served his diaconate year as Assistant Rector at Sorin College, the oldest dorm on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, and in the University’s Campus Ministry.

Fr. Matthew’s first Mass as a priest was on April 3, 2016, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. His second Mass was celebrated in Sorin College, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., on April 3, 2016. A Mass at his home parish, St. John Neumann, Miami, Fla., will be celebrated on a date yet to be determined.

Rev. Dennis Strach II, C.S.C., is the only son of Dennis and Carla Strach of Rochester Hills, Mich. Fr. Dennis served his diaconate at St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church in Austin, Texas, and sums up his Ordination to the priesthood this way:

“I prepared for that moment for the past six years in a very intentional way, and really prepared for it in small ways throughout my entire life. There have been so many people along the way (my parents, friends, teachers at my Catholic grade school and high school, professors in college, parishioners back at home) who have inspired me and challenged me to do God’s will and to use my gifts to serve others. I’m happy to have found a vocation that makes use all of my talents, that provides me with a deep sense of joy and fulfillment, and a vocation that continually calls me to be better than I am that is, to live as God has created me.

It is an incredible experience to offer up to God the gifts, prayers, and concerns of my brothers and sisters, and to act in the person of Christ, mediating God’s love and mercy to those I encounter through this Sacrament. It’s an awesome responsibility and an indescribable grace.”

Prior to his diaconate year, Dennis served as small group leader, Confirmation Preparation Program (2010-11) at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN; at St. Adalbert Catholic Church & School (Postulant summer placement July-August 2011) as Acolyte at Spanish language Sacraments, playing music for Mass and Benediction, planning the parish anniversary celebration, and teaching music to fourth grade students; at Penrose-St. Francis Hospitals, Colorado Springs, CO as chaplain of the Namaste Alzheimer’s Care Center and Minister of Music at Sacred Heart Tri-Community Parish (his Novitiate year, 2011-2012); at St. Ignatius Martyr Church, Austin, TX (winter placement, January-February 2012); as a student teacher at La Casa de Amistad (2012-13) upon his First Profession; then as teacher at Colegio Fe y Alegria N25, in Lima, Peru (middle school and high school English; lectures in religion and history classes; after school tutoring). During spring break, 2013, Dennis was on the pastoral team at Parroquia Nuestra Madre Santisima de la Luz, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. As a Second Year Professed (2013-14), he was a student teacher at Marian High School in Mishawaka, Ind. That same year, he preached at the Academy of Preachers National Conference, Indianapolis, IN, where he had his homily published. Summer 2014, Dennis studied at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, Israel, before serving in marriage prep at the University of Notre Dame, Office of Campus Ministry (2014-2015). He then served as a pilgrimage leader with students to France during fall break (2014) with the University of Notre Dame, where he accompanied undergraduates to Le Mans (the Holy Cross Shrine and the tomb of the founder of Holy Cross, Bl. Basil Moreau).

Dennis earned a bachelor’s degree in music with a minor in Spanish from Oakland University, Rochester, Mich. in 2010 and received his M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame in 2015. He entered formation with Holy Cross as a Postulant in 2010. He made his First Profession of Vows on July 28, 2012.

Fr. Dennis celebrated his first Mass as a priest on April 3, 2016, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind. Fr. Dennis will also celebrate Mass, followed by a reception at his home parish, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Lake Orion, Mich., at 4:30 p.m. on June 11, 2016.

More about Holy Cross
The Congregation of Holy Cross was founded in 1837 by Rev. Basil Moreau, C.S.C., and has served the Catholic Church for more than 175 years. Today there are approximately 1,200 Holy Cross religious working to educate both the hearts and minds of believers of Jesus Christ in 16 countries and on five continents.

The United States Province of Priests and Brothers is a community made up of approximately 500 priests, brothers, and seminarians and is headquartered in Notre Dame, Ind. The United States Province fulfills Blessed Moreau’s vision in its education, parish and mission settings around the world.

The priests and brothers are educators in the faith at the Province’s four colleges and universities: the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, Ind., 1842), University of Portland (Portland, Ore., 1901), King’s College (Wilkes-Barre, Pa, 1946.), and Stonehill College (Easton, Mass., 1948).

There are 13 parishes in the United States, from Vermont to Texas to Oregon to Florida, as well as 10 abroad.

The Province’s ministries/apostolates includesAndre House (Phoenix), which serves the homeless and working poor, and Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church (Portland, Ore.), a parish which also provides a soup kitchen and other services to the marginalized. Ave Maria Press in Notre Dame, Ind., is one of the oldest Catholic publishing houses. Holy Cross Family Ministries in North Easton, Mass., encompassing Family Theater Productions, Family Rosary and Father Peyton Family Institute, promotes the power of the Rosary and the spiritual well-being of the family. Holy Cross Retreat House, also in North Easton, is a retreat facility run by Holy Cross religious and lay staff.

The Province’s international mission work reaches into Districts of Chile, East Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania), and Peru, as well as the region of Mexico. Globally, the U.S. Province’s Holy Cross Mission Center supports the international mission work of the worldwide efforts of the Congregation of Holy Cross, spanning 16 countries on five continents. But it also directly supports those international locations for which the U.S. Province has direct jurisdiction, and those countries with which the U.S. Province has a special relationship.

To learn more about Holy Cross, visit

To learn more about discerning a call to religious life, please visit

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