“The mission of Holy Cross College is to educate and form global citizens with the competence to see and the courage to act. Holy Cross is a Catholic college that advances the apostolic mission of the Brothers of Holy Cross. Our practical, experiential, liberal arts curriculum applies timeless truths to contemporary life and leads people to wholeness in the image of Christ.”-Holy Cross College Mission Statement
This fall, the National Catholic Register recommended South Bend’s Holy Cross College (HCC), along with 36 other Catholic universities and colleges, in its annual Catholic Identity College Guide (CICG) for the 2013-2014 academic year.
According to the September 8 publication, the NCR compiles its CICG recommendations in response to the results of a questionnaire administered to Catholic colleges and universities across the country. Other schools listed in this year’s CICG include Ave Maria University, Catholic University of America, University of Dallas and Wyoming Catholic College.
The NCR crafts a 10-question survey such that “yes” responses to each of the inquiries “reflect essential elements of the renewal of Catholic identity called for by Pope John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution on higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (Out of the Heart of the Church), its 2000 ‘Application to the United States,’ canon law and other relevant Church documents,” according to NCR.
Questionnaire inquires included:
“Is the majority of the faculty Catholic?”
“Do you provide daily Mass and posted times (at least weekly) for individual confession?”
“Do you exclude sponsoring pro-abortion campus groups?”
“Do you exclude advocates of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research or cloning as commencement speakers or recipients of honorary degrees?”
Holy Cross administrators responded “yes” to each of the 10 survey questions.
Holy Cross is a “Catholic, residential, coed, four-year institution of higher learning, offering an applied liberal arts curriculum,” according to the college’s website. Founded in 1966, the college is rooted deeply in the tradition of the Brothers of Holy Cross, a society of lay religious men within the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Dr. Tina Holland, Executive Vice President of HCC, addressed the college’s Catholic mission and tradition in an email to the Rover.
“A commonly heard phrase on the Holy Cross College campus regarding our Catholic identity is ‘…distinctly Catholic, open to all,’” Holland explained. “It is an accurate depiction of our Catholic identity in that Holy Cross College embraces the teachings of the Church and accepts the Bishop’s teaching authority. At the same time, our Catholic identity is rooted in the history and traditions of the Brothers of Holy Cross. As such, we are a college community that is uncommonly hospitable.”
“We have intentionally cultivated a college environment in which students can grow in their faiths by developing programs and activities that are directly mission driven,” Holland continued. “[Particularly], The Holy Cross College learning model, known as the four pillars of the Holy Cross experience, illustrates how Holy Cross intentionally builds faith development into the students’ overall college experience.”
Holland went on to explain how each of the four pillars—internship, service learning, global perspectives and academics—“constitute the curriculum through which students are challenged in the academic disciplines while they connect solid course content to their understanding of faith and their discernment of vocation.”
Holland also cited HCC’s establishment of a student-leader Mission Team in 2000, the purpose of which is to act as “stealth leaven” on campus by taking “defined and measurable commitments to leadership by example,” as well as the college’s 2006 creation of the Center for Discernment and Preparation, as instances of the college’s intentional efforts to cultivate a faith-centered, holistic educational experience.
“We wanted to create a career center that would do more than place students, but that would help develop students so that they would find their post- graduate placement through a process of discernment,” Holland said of the decision to revamp HCC’s preexisting career center. “The Center for Discernment and Preparation immerses students in a program of service, reflection, discernment and preparation for life after college.”
Holland underscored specific initiatives the college has taken to foster a “culture of vocations” on campus. She referenced the inception of the St. Joseph Residency Program—which allows young men interested in the vocation of the Brothers of Holy Cross to live in community with them while discerning—and the Our Lady of Holy Cross Program, which connects interested young women with Holy Cross sisters through HCC’s Center for Global Perspectives, which allows students to visit and assist in various Holy Cross ministries across the globe.
Holland also emphasized the importance of being a mission-driven institution.
“The mission drives everything we do at Holy Cross,” she stressed. “It must. When an organization fails to be mission- driven, it loses its focus, its purpose for existing. The Church needs her schools to advance the mission now more than ever.”
According to its website, HCC offers 24 major and minor degrees in the liberal arts tradition, has an enrollment of about 510 students from more than 30 states and a dozen countries, and a 2013-2014 tuition fee of $24,500.
Michael Bradley is a senior studying philosophy & theology who lives in Dillon Hall and awaits in joyful hope the coming of Christmas break. Contact him at email@example.com.