Six to be Ordained Holy Cross Priests
Published: March 27, 2015
Author: Angela Knight
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With abundant joy and thanksgiving, the United States Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross announces the Ordination of six new priests on Saturday, April 11, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., Bishop of Peoria in Illinois, will confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Rev. Mr. Matthew Fase, C.S.C., Rev. Mr. David Halm, C.S.C., Rev. Mr. Timothy Mouton, C.S.C., Rev. Mr. Stephen Chase Pepper, C.S.C., Rev. Mr. Daniel Ponisciak, C.S.C., and Rev. Mr. Christopher Rehagen, C.S.C.
On Sept. 13, 2014, Deacons Fase, Halm, Mouton, Pepper, Ponisciak, and Rehagen professed perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and committed themselves to the common life and apostolic work of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
In recognition of their upcoming Ordination, Rev. Thomas J. O’Hara, C.S.C., Provincial Superior for the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province, calls to mind a few words Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of Holy Cross, once wrote. “Jesus himself told us that His way of life can be reduced to three things: renouncing ourselves, taking up the Cross, and walking in His footsteps,” quoted Fr. O’Hara. “Moreau bid us as Holy Cross priests to ‘work for holiness and eternal life by walking that route that Jesus took.’ These six men will do so courageously on their Ordination day, and not for the singular benefit of their union with God, but for the care and keeping of all who come to them seeking His salvation. We are eager to witness this transformational moment in their lives and will be blessed to have these six new Holy Cross priests in our midst."
Rev. Mr. Matthew Fase, C.S.C., is the second youngest of five children of Steve and Patty Fase of Rockford, Mich., and the first man from his home parish, Our Lady of Consolation, to be ordained a priest. He entered formation with the Congregation in 2006 and professed First Vows on July 30, 2011.
Prior to his Ordination as a transitional deacon, Matthew served in religious education at Christ the King Parish (2007-2008), Sunday hospitality at American College in Louvain, Belgium (2008), and tutor at the South Bend Juvenile Correctional Facility (2009). He also served as an RCIA team member at Christ the King Parish (2009-2010), hospital chaplain at Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in his Novitiate year (2010-2011), and served at Our Lady of the Road Drop-in Center in South Bend (2011-2012) as well as marriage preparation at St. Pius X Parish, Granger, Ind. (2012-2013) and as a grief counselor in Campus Ministry at the University of Notre Dame (2013-2014). Matthew earned his M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame in 2014.
As he prepares for Ordination day, Matthew continues to humble himself before the Lord. “The image of Christ on the Cross [the Sacred Heart of Jesus] has always, and continues to be, a strong image for me in my prayer,” said Matthew. “This sacrificial act of love is the greatest gift we have received, and it is one we are called to embrace in our own life … Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.”
Matthew served his diaconate year at Holy Redeemer Parish, Portland, Ore.
Fr. Matthew’s first Mass as a priest will be 9:00 a.m. April 12, 2015, at Moreau Seminary Chapel. Other Masses include:
- Our Lady of Consolation, Rockford, Mich. – 11:00 a.m. April 19, 2015 with Rev. Anthony Russo, C.S.C.
- Holy Redeemer Parish, Portland, Ore. – 10:00 a.m. April 26, 2015 with Rev. John Dougherty, C.S.C.
Rev. Mr. David Halm, C.S.C., an Ohio native, is the only son of four children of Deborah Kuns and John Halm of Clyde, Ohio. Presently serving his diaconate at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Goodyear, Ariz., David is excited beyond words to be ordained a Holy Cross priest. “People at the parish comment that I seem to be champing at the bit. They’re right,” said David. “I love baptizing and preaching … I think the Holy Father’s emphasis on the New Evangelization is having a huge impact and hundreds of families are joining (or coming back to) the parish every year. It just makes me anxious to get into the game.”
Prior to his diaconate year, David also served as a fifth-grade CCD teacher at Sacred Heart Church in Lakeville, Ind. (2000-2001), participated in the Notre Dame study abroad program in Rome (2001-2002), assisted with freshmen retreats for Campus Ministry (2002-2003), ministered to the sick at St. Joseph Parish, South Bend (2003-2004), tutored in math at Notre Dame High School, Niles, Ill. (summer 2004), and served in the Namaste Alzheimer’s Center in Colorado Springs during his Novitiate year (2004-2005). He also served at St. Gregory the Great Parish in Phoenix (2005) and as counselor at Stone Soup Center, South Bend (2005-2006). Before returning to formation and professing vows again on July 30, 2011, David left formation in 2006 and worked in Columbus, Ohio, at Huntington Bancshares, where he was a member of St. Andrew Parish in Upper Arlington, and a 3rd Degree Knight of Columbus. Upon return, David served in St. Mark's Parish in Niles, Mich. (2011 - RCIA); marriage preparation at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Granger, Ind. (2011-2012); grief ministry for Notre Dame Campus Ministry (2012-2013); and assistant rector and rector of Fisher Hall at the University (2013-2014).
David earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame in 2004 and received his M.Div. in 2013. He entered formation with Holy Cross in Old College in 2000. He made his First Profession of Vows on July 30, 2005.
Fr. David will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 10:00 a.m. April 12, 2015, at St. Mark Catholic Church in Niles, Mich. with Rev. Thomas King, C.S.C. Other Masses include:
- Fisher Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. – 10:00 p.m. April 12, 2015 with Very Rev. Richard Warner, C.S.C. & Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C.
- St. Andrew Catholic Church, Columbus, Ohio – 4:30 p.m. April 18, 2015 with Msgr. Stephan Moloney
- St. Mary Catholic Church, Clyde, Ohio – 9:00 a.m. April 19, 2015
Rev. Mr. Timothy Mouton, C.S.C., a Texas native, is the fourth of six children of Martin and Paula Mouton, and the third generation of his family to become a Holy Cross priest (following in the footsteps of his uncles, Rev. Jeffrey Allison, C.S.C., and Rev. Daniel Panchot, C.S.C.).
“I grew up knowing them as priests who lived joy-filled lives and I wanted to be like them,” said Tim. “When I felt God calling me, my first turn was to them and they helped me to enter Holy Cross and embrace our community and the good work that we are able to do together.”
Tim spent his diaconate year as a campus minister at Stonehill College in North Easton, Mass., where he also lived in residence in a freshmen dorm, Holy Cross Center, or more affectionately known as “the Sem.”
Prior to his diaconate year, Tim served in Bible study at Holy Cross Parish, South Bend (2009-2010), as hospital chaplain at Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs (2010-2011), as youth mentor at Rise Up Academy in South Bend (2011-2012); then marriage preparation at St. Joseph Parish, South Bend (2012-2013) and as student teacher at St. Joseph High School, South Bend (also 2012-2013).
Tim earned a bachelor’s degree in 2010 from the University of Notre Dame and received his M.Div. in 2014. He entered formation with Holy Cross in Old College in 2006. He made his First Profession of Vows on July 30, 2011.
Tim has nothing but high hopes and spirits when it comes to his Ordination as a priest. “I hope to grow in holiness and in my relationship with God. I hope to always be open and willing to go where the community needs me to go and trust that God will allow me to do His work well in whatever capacity needed.”
Fr. Tim will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 8:00 a.m. April 12, 2015, at Saint Joseph Parish in South Bend, Ind. with Concelebrants Revs. Jeffrey Allison, Daniel Panchot, C.S.C., and Rev. Kevin Russeau, C.SC. Other Masses include:
- Fr. Tim’s home parish, Saint Justin Martyr, Houston, Texas – 8:00 a.m. May 24, 2015 with Rev. Paul Chovanec
- Chapel of Mary, Stonehill College, North Easton, Mass. – 7:00 p.m. April 19, 2015 with Revs. Tony Szakaly (Pastor), John Denning, Jim Lies, Steve Wilbricht, Willy Raymond, and others
Rev. Mr. Stephen Chase Pepper, C.S.C., is the oldest of two sons of Barry K. and Lorrie S. Pepper of Huntsville, Ala. Chase served his diaconate year at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Prior to professing his Final Vows, Chase served in adult faith formation Bible study at Christ the King Parish, South Bend, Ind. (2009-2010), at St. Joseph Parish, South Bend, the following summer (2010), as well as parish ministry at Sacred Heart Church (2010-2011) and as a chaplain at Penrose-St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs (2011-2012). He also served at the Catholic Worker drop-in center as a first-year professed seminarian (2012-2013) and at Our Lady of the Light Parish, Monterrey, Mexico the summer of his first year (2013). His second and third years as a professed seminarian, he served as a marriage prep minister at the University of Notre Dame (2013-2014).
In 2007, Chase earned a bachelor’s degree and graduated summa cum laude from Seton Hall University with departmental commendations in political science and Catholic studies. He received his M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame in 2014. He entered formation with Holy Cross as a Postulant in 2009. He made his First Profession of Vows on July 30, 2011.
Ordination day can’t arrive soon enough for Chase. “I'm ready for it!” Chase exuberantly exclaims. “To be a priest has been the single greatest desire of my adult life, and I feel amazed when I stop to think that I am now at the end of a discernment that began more than twelve years ago. A lot of life happens in twelve years! What continues to attract me to the priesthood, though, is the example of a priest that I met not in real life, but in a book ‐ Bishop Bienvenu from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. I think that every seminarian and every person considering a vocation to the priesthood should read the first fifty or so pages of that book, which describe the bishop's character. Like him, I want to be the sort of priest who is a friend of God, who loves the poor, who lives joyfully in simplicity, who can hold onto the good in other people.”
Fr. Chase will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 11:45 a.m. April 12, 2015, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart with Rev. Tom Looney, C.S.C. Other Masses include:
- Christ the King Chapel, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. – 8:00 p.m. April 19, 2015 with Rev. Tom Looney, C.S.C.
- Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Huntsville, Ala. – 9:00 a.m. June 7, 2015 with Fr. Michael MacMahon and Fr. Vincent Bresowar
Rev. Mr. Daniel Ponisciak, C.S.C., is the middle of three boys of Dorothy and Michael Ponisciak of Fox Chase Manor, Pa. Daniel served his diaconate year at St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, Texas, and as Ordination day approaches, he recalls a truth about religious life a Holy Cross priest once shared with him: “A Holy Cross religious once told me that we take care of all our men in religious life, but especially our youngest and our oldest. I have seen the truth in these comments,” said Daniel. “We take care of each other and pray for each other,” said Daniel.
Prior to professing his Final Vows, Daniel served in the adult Bible study program at Christ the King Parish, South Bend, Ind. (2009-2010); as chaplain at Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo. (2010-2011); homeless ministry at St. André Bessette Catholic Church, Portland, Ore.; homeless ministry at HOPE Ministries, South Bend, the first of temporary vows; marriage prep at Christ the King Parish his second year; homeless ministry at André House in Phoenix late summer of his second year. Daniel also coordinated preparation of the Sacrament of Confirmation at Notre Dame in his final year as a seminarian.
Daniel earned a bachelor’s degree in 2002 from the University of Richmond, an M.Ed. from the College of William & Mary in 2005, and his M.Div. in 2014 from the University of Notre Dame. He entered formation with Holy Cross as a Postulant in 2009. He made his First Profession of Vows on July 30, 2011.
As a priest, Daniel expects great joy in being with people celebrating the Sacraments, but he also expects some challenge, mainly being with people in their suffering and walking with them as they approach death. His understanding and appreciation of the phrase "Men with Hope to Bring" delivers comfort and strength, however. “Identifying hope in the midst of great suffering and being able to offer that to people going through these difficult times is something I will take with me into ministry,” said Daniel. “Hope through the Cross […] is an instrument of our salvation – an instrument that provides hope for all who believe that suffering and death are conquered through it.”
Fr. Daniel will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 10:00 a.m. April 12, 2015, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind. Other Masses include:
- St. Jerome Catholic Church, Newport News, Va. – 9:00 a.m. May 3, 2015
- St. Hilary of Poitiers Catholic Church, Rydal, Pa. – 10:00 a.m. May 10, 2015
Rev. Mr. Christopher Rehagen, C.S.C., is a native of Jefferson City, Mo., a twin, and the oldest of four sons of Mark and Susan Rehagen. Growing up in a tight-knit family, one of the hardest parts about discerning the priesthood for Chris was the idea of giving up a family of his own – but he quickly found another family in Holy Cross. “I really enjoy spending time with my brothers in Holy Cross … we helped each other see how God was working in each of our lives and that is so important in discernment.”
Chris spent his diaconate year at Christ the King Parish, South Bend, Ind. Prior to this deacon assignment, he served as a team member for the Notre Dame Confirmation Program (2009-2010); chaplain at Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs, where he assisted with liturgies; and RCIA at Our Lady of Woods Parish, Woodland Park, Colo. He also assisted at St. John Vianney Parish, Goodyear, Ariz., during his Novitiate year (2010-2011); Stone Soup Community in South Bend, Ind. (2011-2012); St. André Bessette Catholic Church (summer 2012); and RCIA team member at Christ the King Parish (2012-2013). Chris also served as assistant director of the Old College Undergraduate Seminary at Notre Dame (2013-2014).
Chris earned a bachelor’s degree in 2009 from the University of Notre Dame and received his M.Div. in 2014. He entered formation with Holy Cross through the Postulant Program in 2009. He made his First Profession of Vows on July 30, 2011.
“I am very, very excited as Ordination approaches,” said Chris. “… to give my final yes … to be able to celebrate the Sacraments. I know there will be many challenges ahead, but I trust that God will provide the strength to meet them.”
Fr. Chris will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 12:15 p.m. April 12, 2015, at Christ the King Catholic Church, South Bend, Ind., with Rev. Neil Wack, C.S.C. He also plans a Mass at his home parish, St. Peter Catholic Church, Jefferson City, Mo. on a date yet to be determined.
What will the future look like for these six young men as they are ordained as Holy Cross priests? No one is for certain, but Deacon Chris shares a sentiment that seems to speak for all his confreres: “I look forward to the unknown. Who knows what the Congregation of Holy Cross will look like in 50 years, but I look forward to finding out.”
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 includesAndré House (Phoenix), which serves the homeless and working poor, and Saint André 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 Perú, as well as the region of México. 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 www.holycrossusa.org.
To learn more about discerning a call to religious life, please visit www.holycrossvocations.org.