Stepping into the Mission: St. Anthony Students Receive Junior Oblate Cross

March 1, 2024

Chapel stained glassThis February, nine St. Anthony Catholic High School (SACHS) students received their Junior Oblate Cross in celebration of Oblate Day, which marks the anniversary of when the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate congregation obtained recognition from Pope Leo XII in 1826 for their work of serving the poor and needy in more than 60 countries. Pope Pius XI called the Oblates “Specialists of the Most Difficult Mission”.

The Oblates founded SACHS as a seminary in 1903. Historically, the Oblate priests who took the vow to carry on this mission of service were given a cross that belonged to Oblate priests who had passed. Through this tradition, they were able to carry the history and spirit of former priests with them on their own journeys.

Today, the distribution of the Junior Oblate Cross to students allows this history to be honored, as they too can take on the mission of serving others.

Those gathered at the celebration reflected on the following words before the students received their crosses: “As we bestow the honor of the Junior Oblate Cross to those chosen from our student body today, we pray that these crosses be a constant, immovable reminder to these students to always lead and inspire others through their service to the poorest of the poor.”

Sharon Longoria, dean of Student Affairs at SACHS, shared that as an administrator she hopes to see the students she works with intentionally do good in the world. “We as people are called to put others before ourselves, to see those in need and be decent human beings to others,” shared Longoria. “When students apply to receive their Junior Oblate Cross, they demonstrate that they understand the mission. They understand the challenge of it, but they choose to commit themselves to do their very best to serve others.”

Junior and senior students who apply are considered for the honor based on their service to others, both within and beyond the school. This year, students Stevvy Anessa Acosta, Erica Cano, Samantha Cerrillo, Dylan DeLeon, Sophia Ibarra, Mathew Myer, Isabel Moreno, Mariela Mozingo and Gabriella Viagran earned the honor, joining generations of SACHS students who came before them.  

“Several alumni do return for these celebrations wearing their own crosses. We had parents and teachers who wore their crosses during this last celebration. You can tell it means something to them and that it signifies the life that they've chosen to minister to others,” explained Longoria.

This year’s honorees were recognized for work ranging from organizing donations of essential items for immigrants, preparing food for those in need, raising funds for necessary church repairs and more. Longoria is touched every year as more and more students take on this mission and continue to help those in their communities. To her, this celebration is one that allows the community to gratefully reflect on its history, while carrying the tradition of service into the future.

“This celebration is a visible way to see that the kids have listened and have willingly accepted to be spiritual leaders in their community. That they have chosen to be the hands, feet, words and mouth of Jesus in order to be living compassion for others. I think that's all anybody asks for.”