June 2002

Congregation of Holy Cross 

Southern Province


Volume 13, No. 6
All these stories are true!!  Some of them actually happened.

In Holy Cross, we emphasize community and collaboration.  Many years ago, it was common that a local community would live together and work on a common apostolate.  For instance, a group of religious would live together in community, and as a community they would undertake a common work, such as staffing a high school.

In one sense religious life has become more complicated for us.  We are fewer in number.  Religious often undertake a variety of apostolates.  We face the possibility of working alone as one of the few or even the only religious in a given apostolate.  Some people have commented on the "parochialization of religious life."  This takes place when religious "fill slots" in schools, parishes, or diocese.  Unfortunately then, we risk diminishing or even losing our vision.  We might no longer collaborate as a community.  We might not be able to live the charisms of Holy Cross and bring them to a local church or a given area.

But a situation that can bring some dangers can also bring some opportunities.  By working together and collaborating on a number of projects we can have a greater impact.  Instead of a larger number of religious in a single institution or apostolate, we can have fewer religious who are in leadership positions in different institutions.   They can bring the vision and charisms of Holy Cross and "weave" their efforts together in a larger arena.

No doubt that this is happening in different places in Holy Cross.  For instance, the Holy Cross religious cannot staff St. George's College in Santiago, Chile they way they used to.  St. George's remains the premier school in all Chile, but we do not have enough to religious to staff it.  At the same time, we took on another parish and another school in Andacollo.  

But it is not simply fewer religious doing more things--that would be a good thing in itself.  It is also religious--priests, brothers, and sisters--working together in different apostolates.  St. George's College reaches many students who will be in positions of leadership in politics and the other professions.  By learning about Holy Cross and our vision of option for the poor, the students not only learn the Church's social teaching, but they have experiences and do apostolic work in a variety of Holy Cross parishes, the school at Andacollo, and the orphanages Holy Cross has (Hogar San Josť and Hogar Santa Cruz).). 

We will be fewer in numbers.  But by different religious developing their talents, working in Holy Cross apostolates, and being willing to share and collaborate in their works TOGETHER, we can have major impact on an area.

There are probably many areas where this is true.  The Indiana Province recently accepted a parish near the University of Portland.  The dream is not simply to have a parish close by, but for the men and their institutions to collaborate.  A university and a parish are very different.  But it is because of those differences that they have talents and opportunities to offer one another and to the people whom they serve.

This is probably the case more often in areas that see themselves with fewer resources and thus more of a "mission."  One area I would like to brag about is Austin, Texas.