President's Letter


The Way of Peace

In response to the violence in Paris and around the world, Associate Chaplain and Director of Protestant and ALANA Ministries Rev. Virginia Coakley and College President Rev. Philip L. Boroughs led an Interfaith Prayer for Peace in Mary Chapel on Nov. 19.


During this holy season of Christ’s birth, our deep desire for peace in our world once again is dramatically heightened by domestic and global violence and the displacement of millions of people around the world. In fact, these are not new realities. They are reflected in our seasonal Scripture readings as we listen to the story of the Holy Family’s journey to Bethlehem for the census and subsequent flight into Egypt to protect the life of their son. This year, as we reflect on these themes, I am both inspired and challenged by Pope Francis who, during his recent visit to the United States, reminded us that just as Jesus lovingly and willingly entered into the human condition to bring hope, those of us who are his disciples are invited to do the same, knowing that Jesus will be with us to strengthen our resolve and companion us on the way forward.  

In this Holy Cross Magazine featureyou will discover how many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni were profoundly influenced by Pope Francis’ first trip to our country. I had the extraordinary experience of being present at the Holy Father’s address to the joint meeting of Congress, as a guest of Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern. Pope Francis’ humility and simplicity moved all of us present; and as he bravely spoke to us in heavily accented English, I was struck by the inscription carved into the marble wall above him, which proclaimed: “In God We Trust.” As the first religious figure ever to address a joint meeting of Congress, the challenge of that familiar phrase became clear. 

If we as a people are to respond to the crises in our nation and our world, we will need God’s help to sustain us in the daunting tasks ahead. But as Pope Francis reminded us, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day, each in very challenging times in our country and in distinct ways, grounded his or her prophetic leadership with a profound reliance on divine support.   

Pope Francis’ call to use our own power to heal the “open wounds” of a planet torn by hatred, greed, poverty and pollution has stayed with me throughout the fall semester as our campus community, like many other colleges and universities, engaged in difficult conversations around diversity and inclusion, the impact of history on the present and our need to engage the needs of the global human family in a time of violence and terrorism. At Holy Cross, conversations like these help us to fulfill our mission to form leaders who will make a difference in our troubled world. Each year, I am deeply impressed by the energy, talent and deep desires of our new students who want to use their gifts and education to serve the human family. How these students come to join the Holy Cross community is the cover story of this edition of the magazine. Here you will find described the admissions process at Holy Cross with a behind-the-scenes look at the host of year-round activities and initiatives that go into building a class of incoming students.

In addition to admitting extraordinary students to Holy Cross, I am reminded of the words of Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, who remarked, “The real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who are students become.” In my travels for the College, I meet literally thousands of Holy Cross alumni whose lives, commitments and leadership embody the ongoing mission of the College. Each year, we honor a special group of them with the Sanctae Crucis Award, the highest non-degree honor the College bestows. The stories of this year’s honorees are told here, and their interaction with our students invites these young people to discern who they might become, as well.

In this troubled time, I hope that you and your families will find solace and hope in the message of Christmas; and, with courage, will discern creative ways of transforming our world.  ■

Very truly yours,

Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.