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Our students come from diverse backgrounds and practice a variety of faiths. Holy Cross is a safe and welcoming community where discussions of purpose and meaning take place among students from a range of faith traditions.  

As a Jesuit college, Holy Cross embraces the Society of Jesus' commitment to the service of faith and the promotion of justice which takes on new meaning in an era of globalization and environmental crisis. For us on Mount St. James, one dimension of this is to consider how we can live out our longstanding commitment to the development of faith and its integration with the intellectual and social dimensions of who we are in a community that is increasingly religiously diverse. The chaplains’ programs are open to people of every faith and belief including agnostics, atheists and seekers. At Holy Cross we seek to be a place where students, faculty and staff of all faiths and belief systems as well as those who are exploring faith, can grow spiritually and contribute to our common life from their own tradition or perspective. 


Food and Faiths
Held in November during Unity Week, this program invites all members of the Holy Cross community to visit Campion House to learn about religious traditions represented on campus through sampling foods from each tradition. Interested in helping prepare food for this event? Contact Marybeth Kearns-Barrett

Interfaith Immersion in the City of Worcester 
Fall break program for first-year students of all faiths and beliefs. Based out of a Lutheran church in the heart of the city, participants gain a broad understanding of Worcester and its people. The experience includes volunteer service, interfaith visits to a Buddhist temple, the Worcester Islamic Center, a Jewish synagogue, prayer and worship experiences, dining at local restaurants and a meeting with the mayor and other elected officials. Contact Chaplain Marty Kelly for more information.

Interfaith Council 
A student group for students of all faiths and beliefs that hosts discussions and events to foster dialogue and awareness. Contact Chaplain Marybeth Kearns-Barrett for more information. 

Multifaith Community Day of Prayer
The Multifaith Community Day of Prayer is celebrated in Mary Chapel on the first day of classes in the spring semester. The service provides a time to reflect on the rich faith traditions that are represented at Holy Cross. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to gather and participate as a community. Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College, presides at the prayer service, and is joined by other faith leaders from Holy Cross and the Worcester community. The program includes readings and prayer from various faith traditions as well as performances from various music groups. 

Shabbat Dinner - Torah Study and Informal Conversations With Rabbi Cohen 
Each fall, Rabbi Cohen ’72 spends a week on campus providing members of the Jewish community and others with a chance to celebrate Jewish faith and learn more about Judaism. 

Off Campus

If you are looking to connect with the local Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist communities or seeking transportation to houses of worship, contact Chaplain Marybeth Kearns-Barrett

Holy Cross Policy on Religious Observance

The College of the Holy Cross, as part of its commitment to a diverse workforce and a diverse student body, promotes respect for the observance of all religions. In furtherance of this policy, Holy Cross allows all students and employees the time they need to fulfill their religious obligations, as follows:

Students who are unable, because of religious observances, to attend classes or participate in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused and provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study or work requirement, provided this does not create an unreasonable burden upon the College. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to students because they availed themselves of these provisions. Students are asked to contact the appropriate Class Dean in advance of an absence due to religious belief or observance.

All employees (faculty, exempt staff, non-exempt staff) may request time off from work when their absence is required by a religious observance. The College encourages all departments to accommodate such requests if at all possible. Time off for religious holidays or other observances will be charged as vacation or personal time, if available, or may be granted as unpaid leave. In some cases, time taken for religious observances may be made up by working additional hours, provided that such arrangements are approved by the department head.

Interfaith Holidays Calendar

Please keep in mind the following religious holidays celebrated by members of our community. 

2016-2017 Religious Holidays 

  • Sundown July 6 – Eid-Ul-Fitr Ramadan ends (Muslim)
  • Sundown September 12-13 – Eid-al-Adha (Muslim)
  • September 14 – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Catholic)
  • Sundown October 2-4 – Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)
  • October 11 – Dussehra (Hindu)
  • Sundown October 11 – Ashura (Muslim)
  • Sundown October 11-12 –Yom Kippur (Jewish)
  • Sundown October 16-23 – Sukkot (Jewish)
  • October 30 – Diwali begins (Hindu)
  • November 1 – All Saints’ Day (Catholic)
  • December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic)
  • December 12 – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Catholic)
  • Sundown December 24 - January 1 - Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • December 25 – Christmas (Christian)
  • January 1 – Solemnity of Mary (Catholic)
  • January 28 - Chinese/Vietnamese New Year (Buddhism) (Taoism)
  • March 1 – Ash Wednesday (Christian)
  • Sundown March 11-12 – Purim (Jewish)
  • March 13 – Holi (Hindu)
  • April 9 – Palm Sunday (Christian)
  • Sundown April 10-18 – Passover (Jewish)
  • April 14 – Good Friday (Christian)
  • April 16 – Easter (Christian)
  • April 16 – Easter (Orthodox Christian)
  • May 3 – Buddha Day (Buddhist)
  • May 25 – Ascension of the Lord (Catholic)
  • Sundown May 27 – Ramadan begins (Muslim)
  • Sundown May 30 - June 1 – Shavuot (Jewish)
  • Sundown June 26 – Eid-al-Fitr Ramadan ends (Muslim)
  • July 31 – Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola (Catholic)

This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but simply to highlight major holy days. If there is an important holy day in your tradition that we have not included please let us know and we will update this calendar.

Mission and Identity Committee

The Subcommittee on Inter-faith Dialogue and Engagement of the Mission and Identity Committee supports opportunities for faculty and staff of different faiths and beliefs to come together in a spirit of dialogue.