Editor’s Note

As this issue goes to press, my colleagues and I are planning our annual Christmas luncheon and marking the date for “Lessons and Carols” in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel on our calendars. (We are definitely not lacking in holiday spirit around here!) But with that cheer comes the knowledge that in just a few short weeks, we’ll be saying goodbye to the College’s 31st President, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J.

We are fortunate, of course, that our new leader, Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., will be joining us in the new year, and the excitement of an upcoming inauguration is already bubbling up. Still, goodbyes are sad, and now seems to be the appropriate time to pause and reflect on what the last 12 years have meant to our community on the Hill, even as Fr. McFarland characteristically eschews the spotlight and the praise so many want to lavish on him.
As our cover feature explains, the lasting effect of the McFarland era is one that the entire Holy Cross community can be proud of—because Fr. McFarland made sure everyone was a part of it. From the physical evidence of amazing, state-of-the-art facilities, to alumni satisfaction and giving rates that are the envy of many in higher education, this community bears tangible evidence of the improvements that Fr. McFarland spearheaded or supported.
But simply chat with anyone on campus, and you’ll hear many more stories about our President. The private moments of concern, the homilies that lifted souls, the personal connections with students—these are the stories that have been repeated across Mount St. James ever since the plans for Fr. McFarland’s departure were announced more than a year ago.

“Any story about Fr. McFarland would not be complete without discussing these kinds of intangibles that he brought to Holy Cross,” says Alice Laffey, longtime religious studies professor. Laffey has attended hundreds of Masses celebrated by Fr. McFarland on campus. “I believe that’s where he talks. His faith life, his experience of God—it is what has given him the freedom to do this hard job and give it his all,” she says.

In fact, Laffey’s cozy office on the fourth floor of Smith Hall is lined with two things: books and a fluttering assortment of notes bearing inspirational scripture and quotes. Most are from Fr. McFarland’s homilies, either his own words or quotes he has enjoyed.

“One of my favorites is ‘There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.’ He saw that on a student’s T-shirt and liked it,” she says. Laffey uses several others for inspiration, including “When moralism trumps mercy, the gospel is not being preached,” and “If you look for goodness and love, you will find them.”
If you would like to send Fr. McFarland a farewell message, please visit holycross.edu/hcm/mcfarland. And if you are thinking about how to honor Fr. McFarland in the coming weeks, in lieu of a gift, you might consider making a donation to the newly renamed McFarland Center.

In closing, please know that the editorial and design team here at Holy Cross Magazine wishes all our readers a joy-filled Christmas, happy holidays and warm blessings in the new year.

Suzanne Morrissey
hcmag@holycross.edu

 

P.S. On a recent visit to Hong Kong, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., enjoyed a reception at the home of Thomas ’88 and Catherine ’89 Jessop. “There is a small but well-connected alumni community here in Hong Kong,” Tom explains, “which we informally call ‘HC in HK.’ We try to get together on a recent visit to Hong Kong, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., enjoyed a reception at the home of Thomas ’88 and Catherine ’89 Jessop. “There is a small but well-connected alumni community here in Hong Kong,” Tom explains, “which we informally call ‘HC in HK.’ We try to get together on a quarterly basis.” Front row, sitting or kneeling, left to right: Glen McDermott ’90, Tom Jessop ’88, Casey Quan ’92 and Susan Darwin ’83. Back row, standing: Gail McDermott, Rebecca Ganswindt, Elliot Meehen ’06, Ryan McQuade ’10, Cathy Jessop ’89, Fr. McFarland, Brendan McCarthy ’97, Megan McCarthy ’97, Christine O’Donnell ’02, Patrick O’Donnell ’02arterly basis.” Front row, sitting or kneeling, left to right: Glen McDermott ’90, Tom Jessop ’88, Casey Quan ’92 and Susan Darwin ’83. Back row, standing: Gail McDermott, Rebecca Ganswindt, Elliot Meehen ’06, Ryan McQuade ’10, Cathy Jessop ’89, Fr. McFarland, Brendan McCarthy ’97, Megan McCarthy ’97, Christine O’Donnell ’02, Patrick O’Donnell ’02