A former classmate recently sent me this photo. Nineteen of us began our discernment in Holy Cross in 1974. A couple of men attended Holy Cross College, most of us began as freshmen at Notre Dame, a few others were sophomores or juniors. I was the only one to be ordained a Holy Cross priest out of this group.
As far as I know, four of these men have died. Neil, third in front row, died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Mark, fourth in front row, was ordained a priest in Buffalo, and died almost ten years ago. One man died of AIDS in the 1980’s and another died of cancer way too young.
Most of these men left after a year or two of formation. I have kept up with only four or five since. God scattered us across the globe. We look more like inmates than classmates in this unflattering photo. However, we all desired good things.
I hardly recognize myself in this photo after 47 years. I am second in second row. However, I remember this day like yesterday. I pray for these men, no matter where they are today, who wanted their lives to matter, to count, in service of others. I would love to hear the stories.