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Friday, April 4, 2008

Promoting Vocations - "Notre Dame to hold fourth annual Eucharistic Procession"

From Catholic News Agency:
(my emphases)
The University of Notre Dame will hold its fourth annual Eucharistic Procession across campus on Sunday, April 20. According to Fr. Kevin Russeau, the event is responsible for an upswing in vocations.

The procession, a revival of an old university tradition, will led by Father David T. Dyson, Provincial Superior of the Indiana Province of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

"At a time when the culture wars are hitting our Catholic college campuses hard, it is heartening to know that Our Lord will be so honored and adored by so many people in Notre Dame, Indiana," said Robert Kloska, the director of Campus Ministry at Holy Cross College, in a press release.

The procession will begin after an 11:45 a.m. Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame and end with a picnic sponsored by the campus Knights of Columbus.

Kloska described Father Kevin Russeau, CSC, as "one of the driving forces behind this event."

Father Russeau, who is superior of Notre Dame's undergraduate seminary program and assistant vocations director for the Congregation of the Holy Cross, told CNA that the event has a "tremendous impact" on vocations.

Though the vocations offices do a lot of "well-planned strategic marketing and presentations," Father Russeau said they get many applicants who "just kind of drop in from nowhere."

"I believe that that is a direct result of prayer," Father Russeau said, noting the effect of prayer on the seminary population.

"Our numbers were better last year, and they're going to be better this upcoming year as well. I believe that has everything to do with adoration."

There are sixteen students in the university’s undergraduate seminary, while the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which runs Notre Dame University, has twenty-three applicants for next year.

"Jesus told us so often to ask for things. I think that when we ask him for blessings, that we receive them. We've noticed it with the vocations, but also we're looking for a greater respect for life," said Father Russeau referring to the purpose of the Eucharistic procession.

He noted that participants always pray for an end to abortion, saying that the campus right to life group is a "very energetic group."

Father Russeau said the Eucharistic Procession "inspires other Catholics to really live their vocation to holiness more fully. They recognize that their faith in Jesus that allows them to profess it publicly outdoors in a procession can also lead them to bring it into their relationships and into their families and their workplace and politics."

The effect of the procession on the level of devotion on campus was hard to measure, Father Russeau said, because students come to Notre Dame with a "pretty solid faith" that they express very well.

He said both the liturgy and the Eucharistic Procession help both students and participants from outside the university to live their faith. "It can only have a positive effect," he said.

According to Kloska, between 400 and 500 people participated in last year's procession.

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