Cullinan remembered: “I listened and I was really taken by the idea. I said, ‘This is the kind of thing we need.’”
The Glencomeragh property came to the bishop’s mind, but he did not say anything because it did not belong to the diocese. He said: “Look, let’s pray about it. If God wants this to happen, it’ll happen.”
The very next day, the bishop received a call from a priest with the Rosminian order who said that the order wanted to gift the Glencomeragh property to the diocese “if it had a purpose for it.”
Cullinan said: “I actually had to ask him to repeat it. And I sat down. And he said it again. And I said, ‘There’s an answer to prayer!’”
Murphy recalls that the bishop “really saw that the Lord wanted Holy Family Mission and his time was now.” Holy Family Mission opened within a few months.
“Sometimes it is the case that the Lord is putting that deep desire in your heart because he’s actually asking you to respond to that call. He’s showing you a need, and he wants you to cooperate with his guidance and to make it happen,” Murphy said.
A Marian and eucharistic spirituality
Holy Family Mission focuses on formation in five areas: spiritual, personal, academic, community, and mission.
For Father Cahill, the full-time priest in residence for the program, the ultimate goal of the gap year is for young people to “know the Lord.”
“God has revealed himself to us because he wants us to know him. How can we love a God that we don’t know? So that’s what we aim to do. Here we aim to facilitate through various means in everything that we do to know who the Lord is. So if it’s academics, if it’s through community life, but most especially through being with him, and that’s why everything has to be eucharistic,” he said.
Tierney described the spirituality of Holy Family as “very Marian and eucharistic.”
“We have the rosary. We have eucharistic adoration. We also have a chapel on site where people can go during the day and just check in with God. And you know, that’s really important, because at least from me, like that’s where the growth has really occurred,” he said.
Holy Family Mission uses materials from Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catechetical Institute as part of its intellectual formation. A counselor is also made available to the community.
“We want to be in the right environment, a prayerful environment with like-minded people, where we can study our faith and allow that knowledge to impact our prayer life, to impact who we are, and how we interact with those around us,” Murphy said.
“We hope that in the nine or 10 months that they are here, that at the end, they are closer to who God has asked them to be and has called them to be, better equipped to live out the Gospel, and to fully embrace the beauty of it,” she said.