Walking with the Excluded

To our Holy Cross community,

The Jesuit order holds many values dear, but one I was reflecting on this Easter is our responsibility to walk with the excluded. I realize that, for too long on this campus, that has included many gay, lesbian, transgender and queer members of our community. 

The recent nationwide efforts to demonize, terrorize and scapegoat LGBTQIA+ people are shameful and frightening. Many of our political leaders have traveled a road to power paved by hatred. We can and do decry these tactics. 

But we must also realize our own responsibilities, and shortcomings. We must remember that respect and reverence for the God-given dignity and worth of each person are at the core of our identity and mission here at Holy Cross. 

Recently I was honored to speak at the 10th anniversary celebration of our LGBTQIA+ alumni network. This is now a group of 700 Holy Cross graduates, many who have gone on to successful careers and impactful service, banded together by their dedication to one another and to Holy Cross. However, I know that, for many, the Holy Cross experience was not entirely positive. 

Here’s a bit of what I said (you can read the full remarks attached to this email):

I know that for a long time it was not easy to be an LGBTQIA+ person on this campus. We know that many did not feel comfortable to fully be themselves. We hope that moments like today, as we all gather here in the Hogan Ballroom, on our campus on The Hill, that you feel fully embraced by Holy Cross.

While progress has certainly been made, we recognize that there is still work to be done. There are still challenges and difficulties within our community, but we are ready to do the work.

We are saying that we see you, we hear you, and we support you.

I want to restate that message for our campus community. We know there is work to be done. I am committed to that work. And I want to be unequivocal: Holy Cross supports you.

Respect and reverence for the dignity and worth of each person are at the core of our identity and mission here at Holy Cross. I urge every member of our community to consider your own actions, and whether they contribute, or do not contribute, to the sense of belonging of your peers. Consider how you might best walk with the marginalized and the excluded. 

I know that, together, we will find the right path.


Vincent D. Rougeau