The Very Rev. David Cray, S.S.E., was elected as the new superior general of The Society of Saint Edmund, the founding religious order of Saint Michael’s College at the religious order’s general meeting last week. Cray, a native Bostonian and a 1968 graduate of St. Michael’s, has been the pastor at St. Jude’s in Hinesburg and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Charlotte since 2003.
The Edmundites are dwindling in numbers; the order has 24 current members, including three religious brothers who live with the community – down from a high of nearly 150 in the 1960s. The order teaches at St. Michael’s, runs St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle La Motte, has a substance-abuse rehabilitation program in Mystic, Ct., and has run a mission in Selma, Al. since 1930.
On Monday, Cray met with with Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne to begin discussions about how this position will affect his current diocesan and parish responsibilities in Charlotte and Hinesburg. No decisions have been made at this time about his future in the two parishes.
Cray said that as superior general, he will focus the future of the order. “It’s important to me that we reverse the trend of diminishment in our numbers and in our apostolic activities, and determine new directions to become a true spiritual ‘Field Hospital,’ to use Pope Francis’s expression, for the 21st century,” he said. He also said he would like the Edmundites to pay more attention to the communication and marketing of a carefully considered public identity.
He succeeds the Rev. Stephen Hornat, S.S.E., as superior general. Hornat recently served a four-year term in the position. The Society of St. Edmund this year has been celebrating the 175th anniversary of its founding in France in 1843.