Fr. Moreau’s Beatification draws 5,000 including Holy Cross Family Ministries
Like Jesus sent the apostles out in twos to evangelize, Father Basil Moreau in 1835 sent out the members of his new Congregation of Holy Cross by twos with just the clothes on their backs, into the French countryside. On September 15, 2007 the many descendents of these first Holy Cross missionaries came back to Father Moreau, to his home city and diocese of LeMans, France, to participate in his Beatification.
Priests of Holy Cross Family Ministries and Family Theater Productions and a group of 32 pilgrims were among the participants. The pilgrimage included some members of the Congregation and laypersons, including a couple of board members and employees of Holy Cross Family Ministries and others who have close contact with the Congregation or work side-by-side with its members. It was led by Father John Phalen CSC, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries, and Robert Hannon, director of development for the Congregation's Eastern Province of Priests and Brothers.
And there to tape the event and produce a one-hour DVD program on Blessed Moreau and his Beatification ceremony was a film crew from Family Theater Productions. Father Willy Raymond, CSC, the program's producer and National Director of Family Theater Productions; Father David Guffey, CSC, director, a former Family Theater intern and a Father Moreau scholar; Father Steve Gibson, CSC, cameraman and editor and media consultant for Holy Cross Family Ministries; Father Daniel Parrish, CSC; cameraman; Tony Sands, cameraman and Family Theater's administrator and production coordinator; and Claudia Ramirez of Mexico, cameraperson and translator and a recent grad of University of Notre Dame. The DVD is expected to be available in January.
Holy Cross Family Ministries also had an attractive booth that everyone had occasion to pass by as they proceeded to the Beatification ceremony in the Centre Antares. Father Leo Polselli, CSC, chaplain of the Father Peyton Center, Easton, Mass., with help from a Holy Cross school and Boy Scouts distributed 10,000 printed pieces and a DVD about Father Peyton and Holy Cross Family Ministries.
Bishop Jacques Faivre of LeMans presided at the Mass with around 200 concelebrants. After a summary of Father Moreau's life, Cardinal Jose; Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes and the papal legate, read the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI declaring that Venerable Basil Moreau "may be called Blessed."
"The high point of the Beatification was the dramatic unfurling of the tapestry of Blessed Basil Moreau, CSC," related Father Raymond. "The thousands gathered for the event gasped audibly and then cheered loudly to ratify Pope Benedict's solemn declaration beatifying Father Moreau."
A special reception and dinner, attended by 1,000 persons, followed the Mass, and a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated September 16 by retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., at the St. Julien Cathedral, LeMans, where Blessed Moreau had been ordained.
Members of the four congregations of Holy Cross "from 18 countries returned to France, the place of the birth of Holy Cross, having multiplied all the benefits of the founder's vision," a spirituality emphasizing Providence, Apostolic Zeal, Unity and Hope in the Cross," said Father Phalen. "Father Moreau's generous and trusting missionary spirit returned to bless the homeland at the beatification events!"
"The Congregation was founded on the pattern of the Holy Family, with the sisters dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, the brothers dedicated to St. Joseph, and the priests dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Holy Cross Family Ministries, then, is right at the center of what Holy Cross is all about, with its ministry of promoting prayer in families and devotion to the members of the Holy Family," he added.
"We can see the charism of Blessed Father Moreau clearly reflected in the charism of Servant of God Father Peyton," Father Phalen continued. "The 'providence, zeal, hope in the cross and unity' of Fr. Moreau translate into: 'The Family that Prays Together Stays Together' and 'A World at Prayer is a World at Peace.'"
Thirty-one years after he founded the Congregation, Father Moreau found himself on the outside, resigning as superior general in 1866 amidst internal dissent and accusations of mismanagement. He died experiencing such a cross, but never bitter or resentful, his spirituality always indicated that hope could be found in the cross. The Holy Cross congregations' move to re-embrace Father Moreau began in the 1930s. And now they gathered at the site of their roots to celebrate their founders' charism and the worldwide ministry of the four congregations.
Commentary and pictures on the Beatification are available at http://www.fathermoreau.org, http://moreau.nd.edu/beatification/experience-the-beatification/journals/september-15/ and http://vocation.nd.edu.