My “introduction” to Holy Cross came in the form of a telephone call from Fr. Tom McNally, C.S.C., in 1972 offering me a position as an RA in Grace Hall at the University of Notre Dame. I was 30 years old at the time, and about to enter Notre Dame Law School. I had never lived in a college dormitory. I had never set foot on the Notre Dame campus. And yet I had signed up to begin anew as a student, living with college undergraduates 18 to 20 years old. I figured I could put up with almost anything for three years.
Overall, I ended up spending 25 years living in undergraduate residence halls at Notre Dame – 25 years for which I will always be grateful.
It was in Grace Hall working with Holy Cross religious that I first started considering the possibility of life as a Holy Cross priest. After graduating from law school and practicing law for a couple of years, I entered Moreau Seminary at the age of 35. But, the roots of my vocation can be traced back to my parents and family, the nuns who taught me in grade school and high school, and the priests at my parish growing up for whom I had great admiration and respect.
I had been involved as a college professor, college administrator, business professional and a lawyer before I entered the seminary. I was happy and successful in all that I had done, but there was always the unsettled feeling that I was supposed to be doing something else. Continue reading
The title of this article is a familiar phrase although few people realize just how much spiritual implication it really has. It certainly characterizes the beginning of my religious vocation to Holy Cross.
I went to a high school in New York City conducted by the Congregation of Holy Cross. For more than 3 years, I got average grades and was not at all thinking about religious life. In my senior year, I applied to and was accepted by the State University of New York, and I really felt that I was on my way to a career in education. I was enjoying my senior year, spending a lot of time with friends and working on some social projects that were interesting.
Then suddenly I started to get these “strange thoughts.” I had a sense that God wanted something different for me than I had planned. Some might respond to this by spending more time in prayer in order to understand this new experience. Instead, I went to more parties to try to drive these ideas out of my head. However, it’s hard to outrun God. I remember feeling exhausted one night, and turning the light out, I thought that this just wasn’t working. I had to try to deal with these thoughts in a different way.
So I spoke to two different Holy Cross religious about what was happening to me. They encouraged me to apply to the Congregation of Holy Cross. I figured that when I applied, I would probably be rejected and then I would find peace once again. Within 2 weeks of my applying, I was accepted. Then my dilemma started all over again. Continue reading
If not for a hockey game, I wouldn’t be a Legionary priest today. As a good Minnesotan, I naturally considered hockey as divinely inspired, a sign of God’s love for us. But it’s what happened after the game that took me by surprise and lead me to know my priestly vocation.
During my first year at college, I often went to the rink at the University of Minnesota with my friends. After one such event —ending in a double overtime victory for the Golden Gophers, and a long celebration— I returned home in the wee hours of the morning, too tired to get out of bed until Sunday afternoon.
Stumbling upstairs for something to eat, I found my Dad sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper. Opening the fridge, I heard from over my shoulder: “Jason, did you go to Mass this morning?” I swallowed hard. I hadn’t. Quickly I tried to think up the perfect excuse. None came. Trying to hide behind the refrigerator door, I quipped “No, I didn’t go.” Without looking up Dad replied solemnly, “Go tomorrow then.”
It was my first Monday morning Mass ever. I was struck by how quiet the Church was, and how empty. I sat about halfway up and waited. Little by little people began to filter in. Then an attractive girl sat down a few pews behind me. How is it I find a girl like this now and not last Saturday evening? It must be God’s providence! I decided the sign of peace was the perfect time to introduce myself. When the moment came I turned around and, to my surprise, she passed me a note. I put it in my pocket pretending it happened all the time. Continue reading