Deacon Joseph Pedersen
Deacon Joseph Pedersen
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The U.S. Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross is celebrating perpetual profession of vows for five men, followed by the priestly ordination of four more men the next day.

Three of the fresh Holy Cross religious have links to Oregon.

One of those professing lifelong chastity, poverty and obedience Sept. 4 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame will be Brother Pablo José Quan López, who is serving at St. André Bessette Parish in downtown Portland and assisting in campus ministry at the University of Portland.

Brother López graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Notre Dame in 2013 and attained a master’s in divinity from Notre Dame in 2020.

Brother Pablo entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2013 as a postulant.

“I was helping out with adult faith formation and preparing adults for the sacraments of initiation and found great joy in teaching others about the Catholic faith,” he said. “As I listened to people’s journeys of faith, I found myself learning a lot about what it means to follow Christ, to have faith in God’s providence, to carry the cross, and to find true hope and joy amid difficult circumstances.”

Among those being ordained Holy Cross priests in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart Sept. 5 by Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades are Deacon Joseph Pedersen and Deacon Zachary Rathke.

Deacon Pedersen is the fifth of six children of Michael and Mary Pedersen of Waterloo, Iowa. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame in 2009, earned a master’s in theology from the university in 2011, and a master’s in divinity in 2019.

Prior to entering the Congregation of Holy Cross, he was a theology teacher at Benilde-St. Margaret School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

During his formation, Deacon Pedersen served as an intern in the development office at the University of Portland in addition to duties as a hospital chaplain in Colorado Springs, at the Catholic Worker House in South Bend, Indiana, and as a pastoral assistant at La Luz Parish in Monterrey, Mexico.

“I am both excited and nervous as ordination approaches,” said Deacon Pedersen. “Living the priesthood well is an enormous responsibility and a difficult task. At the same time, I have a lot of peace knowing that Christ, the High Priest, will strengthen and sustain me in my ministry.”

Deacon Pedersen most recently has been serving as rector at a Notre Dame dormitory.

Deacon Rathke is the youngest of three children of Charles and Anne Rathke of College Station, Texas. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and earned a master’s in theology from Harvard Divinity School. He completed a master’s in divinity at Notre Dame last year.

During his formation, Deacon Rathke served in school and ministry programs at Holy Redeemer Parish in North Portland. He also worked in youth and outreach programs at La Luz Parish in Mexico and Peru.

“I feel a profound sense of peace about priestly ordination,” said Deacon Rathke. “It feels like a logical conclusion to what I already discerned and professed. I have desired to bring Christ to people in such a profoundly tangible way, especially in the sacrifice of the Mass. I look forward to that moment with great excitement and yet great peace.”

Most recently, he has been serving at St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, Texas.

“I speak for our entire province when I say how delighted we are with these young men who have chosen to walk with us in Holy Cross,” said Holy Cross Father Bill Lies, provincial superior of the U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers of Holy Cross.

Father Lies cited a passage from the Holy Cross Constitution: “Our mission is the Lord’s and so is the strength for it. We turn to him in prayer that he will clasp us more firmly to himself and use our hands and wits to do the work that only he can do.”


The Sept. 4 vows Mass will stream live at 11 a.m. Pacific at The ordination Mass on Sept. 5 will stream live at 10 a.m. Pacific at