Today at Spes Unica we continue rolling out our new line-up of contributors for this coming year with another feature we are extremely excited about. From the very beginning of the life of our Congregation, an essential part of the Holy Cross family has been our lay collaborators. They not only join us in what we do, but they also help make us who we are. It is impossible to imagine our lives, our mission, or our vocations without them, and so to help those discerning with our community, we want to include their voices on our blog as well.
Every first Friday of the month, two of our amazing collaborators in mission will alternate in sharing their experiences of working and ministering with Holy Cross. Next month, we will hear from Mr. John Soisson, the Special Assistant to the President at the University of Portland. Today, providentially given yesterday was his parish's Feast Day, we hear from Mr. Rob Curtis, the Pastoral Minister at St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, AZ. Today, Rob introduces himself by sharing how God led him to Holy Cross and what has led him to fall in love with the Congregation.
As a cradle Catholic, I was aware of the Congregation of Holy Cross from an early age. My first knowledge of Holy Cross came (obviously) through Notre Dame football. As a huge Fighting Irish fan, I knew, almost instinctively, they were the priests who served Notre Dame. My next encounter with Holy Cross came my junior year of high school when one of my friends graduated and entered the Old College Undergraduate Seminary at Notre Dame.
When I left for college the following year, I chose a school that would seem to be an odd choice for any cradle Catholic as I enrolled at Southern Utah University in Cedar City. In an interesting twist, however, it was in Cedar City that I had my next encounter with Holy Cross through Sr. Yvonne Hatt, C.S.C. Little did I know at the time, but significant moments in my Catholic upbringing (being a fan of Notre Dame because it was THE Catholic university, watching a friend go through his vocational discernment, and living out my faith away from home for this first time) were accompanied by encounters with Holy Cross.
After serving for two years with Fr. Ed, I completed my Master's in Education and began looking for teaching jobs in the Catholic schools. As offers began coming, one school stood out, St. John Vianney in Goodyear, in no small part because it was served by Holy Cross priests … which brings me to the present.
I am beginning my fifth year here at St. John Vianney, second year on the parish side, and seventh year overall working with Holy Cross priests. As a teacher and lay ecclesial minister, I have had the pleasure of working with and knowing several Holy Cross priests and seminarians. I look forward this year to sharing my own experiences with Holy Cross and how much they have shaped my spirituality and approach to ministry; to express how Ave Crux Spes Unica guides me now.