75 Years of Inviting US Catholics to the Global Body of Christ
Posted On September 12, 2022
The Xaverian Missionaries USA celebrate 75 years of presence in the United States. Celebrations were held at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Holliston, Massachusetts where the first founding of our presence took place.
On September 8, 1946, Cardinal Cushing of the Archdiocese of Boston blessed our first established community in Holliston, Massachusetts, where Our Lady of Fatima Shrine was first established, as well as the high school seminary. The shrine was to be a place of spiritual pilgrimage and missionary awareness and response. From here the Xaverian Missionaries pushed west to Franklin, Wisconsin, and the enlargement of our first seminary founded in Holliston. Since then we have established communities in Chicago and San Jose, California, campus ministry positions in Illinois, and directorship of the African Faith and Justice Networkfor a period in Washington DC. In 1967 we established our headquarters, the Provincial House, in Wayne, New Jersey.
Conversations and Celebrations
September 5th through 11th, 2022 we brought together Xaverian Missionaries from throughout the country, friends, and benefactors for days of dialogue and celebrations. We began with the 90th birthday of Fr. Francis Signorelli, the oldest and wisest confrere in our Delegation and one of the first Xaverians to settle in this country in 1953.
For two days the Xaverian Missionaries from through the country came to Holliston to reflect and share on our shared vocation through the charism of St. Guido Maria Conforti. We began with an inter-generational vocation panel. Frs. Francis Signorelli, Alex Rodgriguez, and Br. Pietro Rossini shared their call and challenges that shape and form their vocation. The following day we spoke of our corporate call as a new Delegation in the congregation and how we move forward together.
On September 8th, the actual day our foundation began, Bishop Robert Reed, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston joined us for a special mass with local friends. In his sermon, he remarked: “The Xaverian mission, is our mission, our mission as the Church. And in all our personal struggles, and our corporate struggles, to be faithful to the mandate of the Lord to baptize and teach, we need the help of the Blessed Woman who knows our friend, Jesus the best. Today, we commend the past, the present, and the future of the Xaverian community and mission into the hands of the Holy Mary, whose birth we honor today with the Universal Church. She is a woman beautiful not only in appearance (which has been confirmed by the seers of Fatima, and other apparitions), but Mary is MOST beautiful in the way God prepared her from the moment of her conception, and then, in her birth, God used her for His wonderful purpose. And she, who we honor today, gave herself over to God’s will in a most extraordinary way. Her beautiful life is seductive, in the holiest way.” (Read his entire homily here)
Arts and Crafts Festival
Saturday, September 10, our good friends at the shrine organized a fundraising project by inviting the larger community to an arts festival that gathered local artists and craft makers. It was an occasion to celebrate the beauty of the divine inherent in the creative gifts of our community. Baked goods and a wonderful time were had by all. We are very grateful to our Fatima Volunteers who worked so hard to provide this beautiful occasion.
Culminating Celebration: Mass with Cardinal Sean O’Malley
On Sunday, September 11, the remembrance of the attacks on 9/11 served as the stage to underscore our founder’s words, “make of the world one family,” through the global mission of the Xaverian Missionaries. In the outdoor mass on the shrine, many friends gathered to strengthen this unitive mission across cultures and faiths.
The cardinal publically thanked our congregation for our presence in the Archdiocese as well as our service to the multicultural Catholic community. From the Gospel, he emphasized the gift of forgiveness in our divided world and the importance of our mission that links cultures and faiths.
We were also so pleased to have our interfaith guests with us. They included Siri Karm Singh Khalsa and Maron Tracy from the Sikh Community, and Shaheen Akhtar and Burak Yüzügüldü and friends from the Muslim community. Our Lady of Fatima Shrine is working to become a center for interreligious dialogue and collaboration through the Metrowest Interfaith Dialogue Project.
About The Author
Fr Carl Chudy, D.Min.
Fr. Carl Chudy is Interfaith Outreach Coordinator at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Holliston, Massachusetts, run by the Xaverian Missionaries. He also is a trainer for Active Bystander's Training and does research in Catholic disaffiliation. More about Fr. Chudy