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Holy Cross Celebrates Opening of New Contemplative Center


Jesuit Father Philip L. Boroughs cuts the ribbon at the opening of the Thomas P. Joyce '59 Contemplative Center. Photo by: Dan Vaillancourt

October 21, 2016 — The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, celebrated the opening of its newly constructed Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center with a ribbon-cutting and blessing ceremony on Sept. 10.

Located 20 minutes from campus and built on a 52-acre site overlooking the Wachusett Reservoir, the center will provide a home for the college’s many retreat programs.

“The Joyce Center is an important statement about who we are,” Holy Cross President Jesuit Father Philip L. Boroughs said at the ceremony. “As a Jesuit and Catholic institution, this striking facility embodies our commitment to becoming contemplatives in action, engaging in prayerful discernment, and developing an openness to God’s transformative and healing love for us. So formed, we can engage the needs of our world with greater compassion and justice.”


Fr. Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, president of the college, blesses those attending the opening of the Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center. Photo by: Dan Vaillancourt

The 33,800-square-foot complex includes a main building with a chapel, meeting rooms and a dining room. Living quarters with bedrooms and bathrooms for 60 individuals are located in an adjoining building.

The opening of the center reflects the significance of retreats and programs devoted to spiritual discernment in the college’s history. More than 500 students participated in a retreat during the 2015-16 academic year.


(left to right) Fr. Paul Harman, SJ, director of special projects in mission; Fr. William Campbell, SJ, vice president for mission at the college; Megan Fox-Kelly, associate chaplain and director of retreats; Marybeth Kearns-Barrett, director of the chaplains’ office; Fr. Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, president of the college. Photo by: Dan Vaillancourt

With the Joyce Center, Holy Cross hopes to expand retreat opportunities for students while providing new opportunities for faculty, staff and alumni.

“While the college has an existing, robust retreat program — including overnight and weekend retreats and a five-day silent adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola — new programming offered at the Joyce Center will build on this foundation and continue to offer time for mindfulness and reflection for those of all faith backgrounds and traditions,” a news release said.

Following the ribbon-cutting and remarks, Fr. Boroughs led a tour of the building, reading a prayer in each room, which are named after saints, including Ignatius Loyola, Peter Faber and Francis Xavier. Music and a blessing of the space followed.


Led by Normand Gouin, assistant chaplain and director of liturgy and music, students sing at the blessing ceremony during the opening of the Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center. Photo by: Dan Vaillancourt

The center is named after the late Thomas P. Joyce ’59, who served on the Holy Cross board of trustees and was the father of six Holy Cross graduates. The Joyce family made this gift in memory of their father.

"The Joyce Center is going to be a place for Holy Cross community members to come to better know themselves,” said Will Peters, a student who attended the ceremony. “It's a place designated for peace and quiet. Peace and quiet, although often in short supply in all of our lives, afford us the opportunity to take a step back and see things the way they really are." [Sources: College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Telegram & Gazette]





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