Today Fr. Drew Gawrych, C.S.C., the Associate Director of the Office of Vocations, filed this report from Madrid, Spain, where he and Fr. Jim Gallagher, C.S.C., the Director of the Office of Vocations, are doing vocation work for Holy Cross at the Love and Life Centre. To keep tabs on what is going on at WYD and the Love and Life Centre, which is sponsored in large part by Holy Cross Family Ministries, visit the HCFM WYD Internet Site. There are also more pictures on the Holy Cross Vocations Facebook Fanpage.
Greetings from Madrid! This afternoon in Madrid -- which is to say while most of you were still sleeping in the United States -- all of us associated with Holy Cross at World Youth Day, including a number of our students and parishioners, came together for prayer and fellowship. The theme of the gathering, which we organized and hosted along with Holy Cross Family Ministries, was "One Holy Cross, One Family, One World".
We wanted to take advantage of the golden opportunity of WYD to gather as the international family we in Holy Cross truly are. And that was exactly what we experienced, as over 100 people attended the gathering, including people from the University of Portland (USA), St. John Vianney Parish (USA), the University of Notre Dame (USA), St. George's College (Chile), Colegio de Nuestra Senora de Andacollo (Chile), La Luz Parish (Mexico), the Vicariate of France (France), and Holy Cross Family Ministries, including Family Theater Productions (United States, Uganda, Peru, France).
The gathering began with each group introducing themselves and their apostolates through a song or skit, some of which were quite entertaining and creative -- definitely Youtube worthy! It served as a great way to break the ice -- and the language barrier.
Then we split into small groups, with we Holy Cross religious joining the students and parishioners, to answer three questions: What defines your school or church as "Holy Cross"? How have you been made to feel part of the Holy Cross family? What are your hopes and dreams for the future of the Church and the World?
We had groups going in English, Spanish, and French, and the conversations were very moving to see how much we all share in common despite our different backgrounds, homes, and experiences. We then closed the gathering by praying the Hail Mary together in English, Spanish, and French.
After the formal end to the gathering, many people hung around and continued to converse and get to know each other more. (I am certain there will be a few new friends on Facebook for those who attended.)
I know in my own case -- even though we were not blessed with Facebook at the time -- that I am still in contact to this day with some of the students I met at a similar gathering of Holy Cross at WYD in Rome in 2000. (I was just a student at the time, entering my junior year at Notre Dame.) Those connections really brought to life for me the international nature not just of our family in Holy Cross, but also our family in the Catholic Church. And yet, it was the family of Holy Cross that drove that point home most powerfully and intimately for me.
It is just another example how as a religious Congregation literally spanning the globe, we help our parishioners and students have a concrete experience of what it means to be a part of the Universal Church. What a great gift not just to them, but to us as well!
To learn more about what Holy Cross Family Ministries is doing at WYD, check out this article.