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Notre Dame Abroad: The Holy Cross Missions

This week, Notre Dame dorm masses were a little different than usual. Dorms and other communities around campus participated in the taking of a collection- the one aspect of traditional Catholic mass that is typically excluded, probably because we rarely carry cash that isn’t in the form of FlexPoints. However, this week was special: it’s Holy Cross Missions Week. The Order of the Holy Cross is one that is near and dear to the students of Notre Dame. Our live-in priests and professors belong to this order and we have practically been raised since our freshman baby years on stories of Basil Moreau and Saint Andre Bessette. So when the priest asked for donations at mass this week and we were all faced with the uncomfortable realization that real adults carry real money around (although one priest did approve Venmo requests), we knew it was for a good cause. If you’re curious about all the good the Holy Cross does, and maybe want to check out some more ways to get involved, here are some profiles of all the missions Notre Dame has a strong connection with. 


Where: Pirgacha, Bangladesh

Established: 1853

Mission: The congregation in East Bengal primarily promotes education through access to elementary and secondary schools, including Notre Dame College which is a leading educational center in the country. Additionally, the mission works to serve the Christian minority in Bangladesh, which is under 0.3% of the population.

Connection to Notre Dame: In 1931, a group of students created Bengal Bouts, the men’s amateur boxing league that is still incredibly prevalent on campus today. The group raises money to send to the Bangladesh Mission under the motto: “Strong Bodies That Fight. That Weak Bodies Might Be Nourished.” Make sure to buy tickets!


Where: São Paulo, Brazil

Established: 1943

Mission: The mission in Brazil has worked to serve workers and their families in an area known as Jaguaré, a neighborhood for industrial workers. The Holy Cross Brothers have founded parishes, schools, community centers and a college to serve the area.

Connection to Notre Dame: São Paulo is also one of Notre Dame’s global gateway programs for study abroad so the school has a tight connection with the region and its people.

District of East Africa

Where: Includes Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania- almost 27,000 square miles

Established: 1958

Mission: Because of the widespread area that this district serves, the needs met by the Congregation in this region are extremely diverse. One of the bigger missions set in this region is recognized through the parish-run health clinics. There are also several schools, a rescue center, and a vocational training school.

Connection to Notre Dame: The participants of Baraka Bouts, the sister program to Bengal Bouts, fight to support the missions in East Africa. This year their goal is to raise $75,000 to build a new dormitory in for the school in Uganda. Fights are this week so make sure to buy a ticket and support some kick-butt women!


Where: Cartavio and Canto Grande

Established: 1962

Mission: Originally formed to serve field hands and factory workers, the mission has taken on a lot more since its founding. In 1982, the Congregation established the “Yancana Huasy” which is a house that attends to the needs of children with disabilities and their families.

Connection to Notre Dame: Although the school as a whole doesn’t have a large connection to the mission center in Peru, there are two sites in Peru where you can participate in an International Summer Service Learning Program and become involved.

When we think of Notre Dame abroad, we typically think of the study abroad programs or the occasional research project. However, the scope of Notre Dame and the Congregation of the Holy Cross goes well beyond that.


Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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Hi everyone, I'm Margaret! I'm a sophmore in Cavanaugh Hall (embrace the Chaos) and I'm majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Science, Technology and Values. I'm from Falmouth, Maine where I work for a company that makes really awesome bags and purses from old boat sails. In my spare time, I love to dance, read, and binge watch series on Netflix. I also pride myself on my skills as a foodie, so if any one knows of places to get good grub around South Bend, I'd love to hear about them! Notre Dame has been my dream school practically since birth and I still haven't come down from cloud-nine yet despite the struggles of Organic Chemistry- here's hoping that feeling never goes away!
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