“We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart. While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for eternal life.”

(Rev. Basil Moreau, C.S.C.)

In 1841, when the Congregation of Holy Cross was in its infancy, Fr. Moreau sent missionaries from France to the United States to educate the people of the New World. Their mission was to educate minds and hearts in the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that the people they served would be successful here and in the hereafter. The goal was to make these educational institutions “one of the most powerful means for good in the country.” (Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C.)


The first Holy Cross priests were recruited by Fr. Moreau to preach parish missions and assist diocesan clergy in the French countryside. After Fr. Sorin crossed the Atlantic and settled in Northern Indiana, he ventured out on horseback as a circuit rider to celebrate Mass and the Sacraments for Catholics who rarely saw a priest. He founded a number of parishes in the area, and today the Indiana Province staffs twelve of them across the United States. Parochial ministry and a strong commitment to social justice have always been central elements of the community’s mission. Holy Cross is particularly invested in parishes with schools and those which serve the poor.


“Our mission sends us across borders of every sort. Often we must make ourselves at home among more than one people or culture, reminding us again that the farther we go in giving the more we stand to receive.”

(Constitution 2.17)

From the beginning, the Congregation of Holy Cross sent members to developing areas of the world. Holy Cross was instrumental in developing the Catholic Church in Bangladesh (formerly Bengal). The goal was not to remain there as missionaries forever, but to build up the local church so that leadership developed from within. Over time, people in former mission territories became missionaries themselves, traveling to other countries in need of evangelization. In this way, Holy Cross continues the directive of our founder to reach “across borders of every sort.”

Other Ministries

The Congregation of Holy Cross has historically been involved in a variety of important ministries. At the heart of each of these ministries is the evangelization (and re-evangelization) of the people of God by educating their minds and hearts. These ministries range from education to direct service to the poor.

Notre Dame High School
Niles, IL

Under the patronage of Mary, Notre Dame High School is a college preparatory school committed to educating young men within a community which is Christ-centered and family based, where faith, scholarship, and culture interact and where the individual is cherished and respected. In preparing our students as lifelong learners, we serve as educators in the faith forming individuals empowered with knowledge and inspired by Gospel values. Faithful to the Roman Catholic tradition and in the spirit of the Congregation of Holy Cross, we strive for excellence in furthering the construction of a world where justice, peace, and love prevail. Therein lies our hope for the future.

André House
Phoenix, AZ

André House is a ministry to the homeless and poor populations of the Phoenix area. We make our services available to hundreds of people in need every day. André House was founded by two Holy Cross Priests in 1984, combining elements of the Catholic Worker movement with the charism of the Congregation of Holy Cross. We dedicate ourselves to serving Jesus through others, as we are challenged in the Gospel: “I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”

(Matthew 25:35-36)

Ave Maria Press
Notre Dame, IN

Ave Maria Press has been in continuous business since 1865, when the visionary French priest Edward Sorin, who had founded the University of Notre Dame twenty-three years earlier, started the Ave Maria magazine. His goal was to produce a magazine honoring Mary, focusing on Catholic families, and showcasing the best American Catholic writing. Now established as a major Catholic book publisher, Ave Maria Press is home to Sorin Books, Forest of Peace, Christian Classics, and Spiritual Book Associates. Ave Maria is also recognized as a leader in publishing for adolescent catechesis, pastoral care and guidance, and spiritual formation.

Valley Missionary Program
Coachella, CA

Following the call of Pope John Paul II for a “new evangelization”, the Valley Missionary Program has sought to bring new life to the Catholic Church of the area. At the heart of the Program is the “Missionary Encounter Retreat.” It is the tool used to provoke a deep conversion to the Lord so that His commandment of mutual love may be leaven amongst the members of the Small Christian Communities formed as the result of the Encounter. The members of the Valley Missionary Program are called to joyful service as lay missionaries to the Hispanic community.

Holy Cross Associates
Notre Dame, IN

Holy Cross Associates is a post-graduate service program which offers participants an opportunity to integrate their Christian faith through service, community living, spirituality, and simple living. Founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1978, the program has opportunities for both one year domestic and two year international service placements.