It is certainly a joyous time to be in formation for the Congregation of Holy Cross! The Octave of Easter has been filled with so many festive celebrations, and there has been so much time for meaningful and reflective prayer. We have celebrated the Resurrection of Christ, Easter Week, two priestly Ordinations, and the new priests' first masses on Divine Mercy Sunday. Throughout this busy week, I have been able to grow closer to the community and closer to God. Whether we were sharing a meal at the Moreau Seminary refectory, socializing at a soiree, or gathering around the table of the Lord for the Eucharist, everything our community has done has been based upon the joy that comes with the Easter season.
Witnessing the ordinations of Fr. Matt Hovde, C.S.C. and Fr. Dennis Strach C.S.C. was a very moving experience for me. I have known Fr. Matt and Fr. Dennis each for about two years now. I met them early on during my freshman year even though I was not in the seminary at that time. Both of these men have shown me what is like to live a life with so much joy and hope for the Congregation of Holy Cross. Seeing these men answer God's has helped me to reflect on my own vocation. Who am I now, and who is God calling me to be? What does a true man living for Christ look like? These men have set such a great example.
Fr. Matt was the Associate Rector of Old College as I was applying to enter the seminary. Fr. Matt was in Old College himself when he was an undergrad. In fact, I currently live in the same room that he did nearly a decade ago. Fr. Dennis was living at Moreau Seminary when I was visiting Old College. Even though I was just a freshman undergrad at Notre Dame, Fr. Dennis invited me to talk with him about my family and my vocation. I could tell that he genuinely cared about me. Fr. Matt and Fr. Dennis were both good friends of my brother, Fr. Christopher Rehagen, C.S.C., while they were in formation together; so, it was so great to see their care and concern for me as well. Their love of God and the community was inspirational for me as I was applying to enter formation for the Congregation of Holy Cross. I hope and pray that one day I might be as faithful and as great of a role model as these men were for me.
As Bishop Kevin Rhodes and the well over one hundred priests concelebrating the mass laid their hands on the Ordanandi, I was deeply moved. I witnessed the ultimate form of brotherhood and community as each of the Holy Cross priests prayed over and blessed Fr. Matt and Fr. Dennis. I cannot even imagine the experience that these two men went through. Although I had been at my brother's ordination last year, attending the ordinations as a part of the community was a completely different experience. The entire experience from the ordinations to the first masses of Fr. Matt and Fr. Dennis was an amazing time. Throughout the weekend, many members of the community and the friends and families of the newly ordained priests were moved to tears of joy.
This entire weekend was filled with so much joy. I am only a sophomore at Old College, so I can imagine that my joyous experience pales in comparison to the experiences of those men who have spent so much more time in formation with the Ordinandi. This past week has been an amazing time spent in prayer with community. Despite the cold weather and snow fall during the ordinations, the Congregation of Holy Cross was kept warm through the joy from the Easter Season and the faith of the newly ordained. I cannot wait for the next time!
Mr. Matthew Rehagen is a sophomore at Old College, the undergraduate seminary for the Congregation of Holy Cross. He and his fellow seminarians often share their news and views on the Spes Unica blog. Matthew is originally from Jefferson City, Missouri.