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Nine Receive 2012 Spirit of Holy Cross Awards

Published: September 14, 2012

Author: Stephanie Sibal

Statue of Mary at Moreau Seminary

On the eve of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Sorrows (Saturday, Sept. 15), the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers, has named nine recipients for the 2012 Spirit of Holy Cross Award. In conjunction with the feast of the special patroness of the Congregation, the award is given annually to lay collaborators who faithfully serve the Province in the United States and abroad. The Spirit of Holy Cross Award acknowledges the critical importance lay collaborators play in living out the vision and mission of Holy Cross founder Blessed Basil Moreau to make God known, loved, and served through education, parish and mission settings.

Fr. Moreau said, “We do not imagine that those who commit themselves in other ways to the following of Jesus are thereby hindered in their service of neighbor. On the contrary, we find in them willing and complementary partners in shared mission. We want our vows, faithfully lived, to be witness and call to them as their commitments, faithfully lived, are witness and call to us.” (Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 5:44)

“Even in the early days of the Congregation, Fr. Moreau recognized the important role of lay collaborators in working with us to spread God’s Word and serve the poor,” said Rev. Thomas O’Hara, C.S.C., Provincial Superior of the U.S. Province. “Today, as our work reaches those most in need in the United States, Chile, East Africa, Peru and Mexico, lay collaborators continue to work side by side with us in education, parish and mission settings.”

When Blessed Basil Moreau formed the Congregation, he exhorted his Religious to conform themselves to Christ by trusting in Divine Providence. He encouraged them to find hope in the Cross of self-emptying love, to stand by others as the Mother of Sorrows stood by her son Jesus Christ. Holy Cross lay collaborators are called to the same devotion.

The nine 2012 recipients are:

  • Barb Carlson - Retired Office Manager/Assistant to the Director, U.S. Province Office of Vocations, Notre Dame, Ind.; Parishioner, St. Joseph Parish, South Bend, Ind.
  • Larry Cunningham - Theology Professor, University of Notre Dame (Ind.)
  • Maureen Briare - Staff, University of Portland (Ore.) and Volunteer, Holy Cross Court
  • Elaine Zavada - Retired assistant to the President, King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
  • Jessica Balandrán -  Parishioner and Technology and Grants Administrator, St. Ignatius Martyr Parish, Austin, Texas
  • Jim and Terry Orcutt  - Staff, Holy Cross Retreat House, Easton, Mass.; founders, My Brother’s Keeper
  • Froilán Enrique Gallegos Bernal - Staff and Parishioner, El Señor de la Esperanza, Lima, Peru
  • Ramona Reyna Rangel - Executive Secretary/Parish Bookeeper, Parroquia Nuestra Madre Santísima de La Luz, Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Honorees will be recognized in their local communities by the Holy Cross ministry for which they work or serve during the month of January as part of the celebrations of Blessed Moreau’s life (Father Moreau died on January 20, 1873 in Le Mans, France). At that time, they will receive a proclamation of gratitude signed by the Provincial Superior on behalf of the entire U.S. Province.

Honorees Biographical Information:

  • Barb Carlson has been a part of Holy Cross since she was born. A lifetime member of St Joseph Parish in South Bend, Ind., she attends daily Mass regularly and serves as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. In fact, five generations of her family have attended St. Joseph Parish - from her grandparents to her own grandchildren. She has also received the bulk of her education from Holy Cross institutions in South Bend, including St. Joseph Grade School, St. Joseph High School and St. Mary’s College. Barb spent 20 years as a kindergarten teacher at Christ the King School, another Holy Cross Parish in South Bend. She took a sabbatical in 1997 in East Africa, where she worked alongside several Holy Cross priests, brothers and seminarians. She recently retired after 12 years in the Holy Cross Office of Vocations, where she served as administrative assistant and office supervisor. “Wherever she has been, Barb has helped to enhance and increase the good work of Holy Cross,” said Rev. Jim Gallagher, Director of Vocations. “As a collaborator in education, parish and mission, Barb has connected with many levels of our life and work. In her fidelity to her vocation as a wife, mother, teacher and assistant, she has been a powerful witness and encouragement to us to remain faithful to our vocation.” Barb and her husband Bill have been married for 45 years and have four children and 12 grandchildren.
  • Larry Cunningham first encountered the Congregation of Holy Cross when he came to the University of Notre Dame in 1988 as a professor of Theology. He has served as the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology (Emeritus) for 12 years. Larry also served as a Moreau Lecturer at King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and received the Christus Magister Medal from the University of Portland (Ore.) - both are also Holy Cross institutions. Larry is a founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society and a two-time winner of its writing awards. He also is a three-time winner of Catholic Press Association writing awards and has authored “Religion Book Notes” for Commonweal Magazine for 25 years. He has authored numerous books, articles and encyclopedia entries and has two honorary doctorates from Bellarmine University and Saint Anselm’s College. Larry said that he has tried to live his life as a theology professor in harmony with the Holy Cross motto of educating both the mind and the heart. He sees his profession as a vocation. “It is in that spirit that I have tried to be a companion to the C.S.C. community in the classroom and service and worship. I number many C.S.C. Religious as friends and am inordinately proud of seeing vowed Religious and priests whom I first knew as young men in the classroom,” he said. Rev. James King, C.S.C., who nominated Larry for the Spirit of Holy Cross Award, noted his excellent teaching, writing and leadership in Notre Dame’s theology department, his mentorship of seminarians, service in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and friendship to many Holy Cross priests and brothers as reasons why Larry should be recognized. Larry and his wife Cecilia have been married for 40 years. They have two daughters who both graduated from Notre Dame.
  • Maureen Briare’s relationship with Holy Cross goes back 20 years. She earned both her undergraduate (B.S. in Nursing) and graduate degrees (Master’s in music) at the University of Portland, a U.S. Province educational apostolate in Oregon. For the past 12 years, Maureen has served as associate director for music in Campus Ministry providing music at Mass on Community Night. Her musical talents have led her to release a number of music CDs and she is also a published composer with the Oregon Catholic Press (of which she is a board member), the World Library and GIA Music. Maureen’s compositions draw on the words of Holy Cross Founder Blessed Basil Moreau and through her music, has exposed others to his steadfast faith and commitment. Maureen is an educator who understands the need to educate the mind and the heart and clearly appreciates that gifts and knowledge are meant to be given back in service to others, according to Rev. Jeffrey Allison, C.S.C. “She draws the best out of her students to provide a wonderful musical experience for the University community,” Fr. Allison said. “She also shows genuine concern for her students and their needs without lowering standards.” Maureen is known for her cheerful disposition and great generosity amidst multiple commitments. She shares that cheer with others and brings hope and joy to those who encounter her. Maureen has been married to her husband, Tim, for 19 years. They have six children.
  • There have been nine presidents of King's College and Elaine Zavada has been assistant to six of the nine. She has served King's College for 55 years - 54 of them as executive assistant to its Holy Cross presidents. Elaine is incredibly dedicated to the mission of King's and implicitly to the Holy Cross presence at the College. She holds the institutional memory of King's in her mind and, more importantly, in her heart. Elaine is someone who listens with the wisdom of a person who cares deeply for the institution and for the Holy Cross community and she represented the ideals and values of the Congregation to the faculty, Board of Directors, alumni and everyone she came into contact with during her tenure. Presidents have relied deeply on Elaine’s counsel and her insights. She has been a dedicated and loyal friend to many members of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Elaine retired from King’s on June 1. Her and her husband, Robert, have been married since 1971.
  • Jessica Balandrán’s relationship with Holy Cross began 44 years ago at St. Edward’s University (a Holy Cross institution sponsored by the Moreau Province) in Austin, Texas. She graduated summa cum laude and has been a member of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin for 22 years. Jessica has been deeply influenced by the charism of the Holy Cross priests, brothers and sisters she encountered both at St. Ed’s at St. Ignatius. After working for the state of Texas for 17 years, four years ago she was convinced to join the staff at the parish to be in charge of communications, the parish webpage, grant administration and has recently joined the Stewardship Committee with hopes of helping to develop a ministry that would provide care and comfort to parish families who have lost a loved one. Jessica also is active in the greater Austin community working with Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Travis County elections and Relay for Life. She also serves in a leadership capacity with the Sisters of the Holy Cross Associates Community for the Central Texas area. “Jessica talks about Holy Cross in the same way that others talk about their immediate family,” said Rev. Bill Wack, C.S.C., who nominated her for the Spirit of Holy Cross Award.
  • Jim and Terry Orcutt began volunteering at the Holy Cross Retreat House in North Easton, Mass., in 1986. In 1999, they joined the leadership team that coordinates retreat programs and currently manage the retreat house with Rev. Joe Callahan, C.S.C., and Deacon Dan Sullivan. Jim serves as Director of Programming for the 30 retreats held annually at the facility; Terry is the Associate Director. In 1988, Jim and Terry began serving families in need from the basement of their home by delivering furniture to struggling families in Taunton and Brockton. Two years later, the couple incorporated their Catholic ministry under the name “My Brother’s Keeper.” That organization is housed in a 15,000-square-foot operations center on Holy Cross land adjacent to Stonehill College and Holy Cross Family Ministries in Easton and North Easton. More than 2,500 volunteers, including many Stonehill students and alumni, give of their time annually along with six full-time employees. My Brother’s Keeper completes 7,500 deliveries of food, furniture and Christmas gifts to needy individuals and families in the local area each year. The mission of the organization is “to bring the love and hope of Jesus Christ to those we serve.” Jim and Terry demonstrate, through their admirable efforts, the Holy Cross motto: that the Cross is indeed our only hope and our most powerful motivation as we serve those in our midst who are most in need. Jim and Terry have been married for 41 years and have three children and six grandchildren.
  • A distinguished educator for 30 years in many schools in the Metropolitan Lima area, Froilán Enrique Gallegos Bernal retired from teaching in 1993 to begin a long and active commitment to the mission of Holy Cross in Peru, principally through varied services to the El Señor de la Esperanza parish, the largest in the Diocese covering a population of 250,000. After his retirement from the schools, Froilán became the pastoral coordinator of San Francisco de Asís Chapel. Soon after beginning that responsibility, he enrolled in the Diocese’s San Martin de Porres Theological Institute, earning a certificate, an experience that motivated him even more in his commitment to pastoral work in the Church. In 2000, Froilán was named president of the Parish Council. Eight years later, due to the need to begin regular dialysis treatment, he left that position. Nonetheless, his indomitable missionary spirit and intense love of teaching motivated him to continue his pastoral commitment to the parish. As a result, he assumed the leadership of the parish’s School for Pastoral Leadership -- a three-year theological program, where he continues as director and teaches to this day. Froilán has received a number of awards for his pastoral and teaching work, including distinctions from his chapel community, the parish and the Diocese of Chosica, which awarded him its highest recognition -- the Gold Medallion of San Martin. Froilán Enrique Gallegos Bernal has dedicated his life to education and to building up the pastoral programs of the Church and has generously offered the best of his knowledge and experience to the mission of Holy Cross in Peru.    
  • Ramona Reyna Rangel has served the Holy Cross community in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, for the past 24 years. She was hired by Rev. Jack Keefe C.S.C., Pastor of Santo Tomas Moro Parish, as Parish Secretary in 1988. She worked with the Holy Cross community there until Rev. Peter Logsdon C.S.C., asked her to help organize the newly formed La Luz Parish in 1996, where she now serves as Executive Secretary and Parish Bookkeeper. Ramona’s service with the Holy Cross community in Mexico has been invaluable. Although she served on Cursillo retreat teams, as a Eucharist minister and in several other ways over the years, her primary service has been quietly and generously supporting the Holy Cross community in parish ministries and common life. According to Rev. John Herman, C.S.C., she has helped generations of Holy Cross Religious from the United States adapt to life and ministry in very active parishes in Mexico. Fr. Herman said Ramona has helped the Religious navigate sometimes challenging and confusing waters with parishioners, the diocese and various government entities. With her experience and her accounting knowledge, she has helped Holy Cross to be good stewards of limited resources, maximizing the impact of the ministries.