Previous month:
July 2011
Next month:
September 2011

August 2011

Campus Repairs

Bricklayers_industry_195055 As the bright sunshine and calm skies continue, there are some repairs to the campus property that are being completed. These had been scheduled weeks ago and have nothing to do with the recent storm.

Finally the sidewalk pavement in front of the church is being replaced. This had been damaged in the last big snowstorm along with damage caused to our brick columns from plows and snow accumulations. One column suffered a direct hit earlier in the year from a school bus. The column was pretty well shattered...I didn't see what the bus looked like. All the columns were repaired and the electric lights will be. The lights also suffer from the storms, snowdrifts and occasional vandalism.

The surveyors were interrupted by the storm, and were back to measuring our property on Tuesday. They should complete their task this week and forward their data to the civil engineer to construct site plot. As you recall, this survey is preliminary to our site plan amendment application.

Franciso did a great job of attacking all the fallen trees on our property with a power saw and clearing the driveways, pathways and lawns of debris. Our business manager, Jose and Eduardo did a great job of pumping the water from the school basement and attending to the damage from other minor leaks.

Phones are working again in the parish offices and most electric equipment seems fine.





Woo Hoo...Power! The electric kind.

Idea_002 Moments ago power was restored to the church campus.

Thanks to the electric crews who worked hard to restore power, even coming some residents reported, from NYC and good old Con Ed.

Let us pray for those who lives were not only inconvenienced but really hurt by this storm and look for opportunities to help them in the coming weeks.



Another Day of Bright Sunshine

Battery_collection_sizes There's something odd about "business as usual" without electric power.  There were actually some lawn services in the area yesterday using of all things, leaf blowers.  Jr. Soccer Recreation team members in their gear with parents in tow, arrived for a practice. The field was dry enough, soggy here and there. Most of the vehicles seeking refuge from the storm have been reclaimed, with the exception of a few shiny "historic" vehicles and a jeep or two sealed with tarps. One Saturn bascially blew apart in the storm...we kept retreiving the bumper with license plate attached from different parts of the campus. I was trying to imagine an accident report detailing a collision of a parked auto with a flying auto fender. At least the car it blew off wasn't going to roll anywhere far away on its flat tire! Finally we tied the flying bumper in place with a plastic cable tie. There is an irony that the residents of Sea Bright now claiming their vehicles have electric power, while this part of Rumson does not.

Residents here typically lose electric power during an average, not-so-severe thunderstorm, at least for short periods of time. The parish staff are pretty much on a first name basis with the telephone operators at ADT, our alarm company, who dutifully call as each power off and on triggers another cascade of alarm conditions in the school building. Every cycle we discover another piece of electronic equipment that somehow managed to evade surge protectors or isn't on the orderly power down of battery backup. So, I suppose we understand that restoring power might take a while...but it's amazing to listen to the managed low expectations coming out of Trenton and JCP & L. 

So it's business as usual...just without electric power. 

Our business manager picked up a gas-powered generator and was loaned an additional unit to help provide power to pump out the basement of the school and deal with some flooding caused by leaks. If we can get all the water out and a few more fans going, the building should be dry for the start of school. Our tree service arrived this morning and began clearing the campus of the fallen trees. 

Everyone I'm sure is collecting stories...and batteries.



Good to See

I worried when we installed Mary atop the Carriage House years ago, whether she would withstand the wind. She did. And our cross might be a bit more off its axis than before, but it managed fine as well.

I climbed up into the bell tower this morning to ring the bell before mass (with a hammer), since the electronic chimes don't work without power and the even the striking mechanism for the real bell is electric. 

Here's a bit of the exterior damage from Irene.  100

 This is the tree in front of the Carriage House. Arborists should be here to cut the hanging branch today.












102 This tree was blocking one of the drives into the parking lot until it was cut into pieces this morning. 

It just came loose at the roots.







106 This tree is alongside the rectory. It looks like fairly healthy wood.























Two trees on either side of Rumson Road fell within hours of each other. Both trees just gave loose at the roots. 

108 114









North Side                                                                    South Side

And take a look at what bloomed during the storm, a Julia Child rose...



Post Storm Alert 8 PM Sunday

Whoops, been a while since I could blog. We lost power early on really before most of the storm even got here and have so far not had it restored. I don't have anything 3G or 4G, so when the wifi from Verizon went down, so did my communications. I think if my Kindle had been charged, I could have blogged or emailed from there.

From what I was told at this morning's masses, most or all of Rumson's power is out, but the outages seemed spotty. A few people arriving for mass had power, but I think they might have lived in Fair Haven. Several large trees are down on the campus and on Rumson Road; even this afternoon as the weather cleared, the ground remained soggy and the high winds kept the trees falling - right from the roots.

Our venerable Church, God bless it, is pretty much undamaged. There is some water seepage in the basement. The school had major flooding in the basement. Luckily none of the falling trees hit any of our campus buildings. 

We were ready for 7:30 AM mass this morning, but probably prudently, no one came. We did celebrate the 9:00 and the 10:30 by candlelight in the church. The break in the storm and even the bright sunlight for a while was wonderful to see in midmorning and it surely brought everyone out - just not for mass. (It was annoying to have more people outside the church sightseeing and taking pictures than inside the church worshipping and to be competing with them for parking spaces in our lot.) Yesterday I was able to help apportion spots between those seeking flood parking and those we needed for the wedding and the 5 PM mass, but once you take down the cones it's pretty much everyone for themselves. We are happy to share our resources with those who were truly inconvenienced by the storm, but my apologies to any parishioners who were inconvenienced, especially this morning for the sake of sightseeing. The 7 PM Latin mass was cancelled.

Tomorrow morning, unless power is restored, we will once again have a candlelight mass but the parish office will be closed for routine business. I'm not sure if there are interviews scheduled for the Financial Planning Study - we'll touch base to confirm any appointments assuming our CCS representatives can arrive and phone service continues. As far as school goes, I know that there is a substantial amount of water to pump from the basement. The large tree in front of the carriage house has a large, dangling branch which will be removed when the tree service can arrive; meantime, stay clear!

Stay dry, pray for a speedy recovery from the storm.



Storm Alert 7PM

Well, so far, so good. It's begun raining fairly heavily and there are some gusty winds.

Believe it or not, our wedding at 4 PM was well attended and we managed to have planned the right amount of parking for our guests arriving from out of town even with sharing our lot with residents of Sea Bright and Rumson seeking higher ground. It was amazing to me that some people arrived from as far away as Conneticut, Maryland and elsewhere and some didn't carry umbrellas or wear a raincoat!

The 5 PM mass in the gymatorium was fairly busy, and we once gain lucked out by having saved just about the right number of parking spaces for our parishioners even while we released more of the parking spaces for flood parking as the wedding guests left.

As it stands now, the central bank of parking spaces in our lot is reserved for masses tomorrow and the rest of the lot is occupied by storm parking.

All in all, everyone has been great. I do have a few stories though. Triage doesn't always mean "especially me." 

As of now, masses are scheduled tomorrow morning as usual. THE 7 PM LATIN MASS IS CANCELLED.

The bishop's office has reminded everyone to use common sense when deciding whether or not to venture out for mass tomorrow.



More Storm

Saturday 10 AM Commerce_objects_185191

No masses are officially cancelled at this time.

Parking for residents of West Park in Rumson is currently provided in the parking lot in the west side of the lot along Ward Avenue and alongside the tennis court on the east side of the lot. Please avoid parking in the coned areas and NO BOATS or trailers please. Rumson police will enforce this. If cones start blowing or floating away, obviously things will have changed.

Holy Cross still has a wedding scheduled for 4 PM today, for which we need parking, and of course, for the 5 PM mass. Although mass attendance may be light, it seems at this point that there might be nothing more than a rainy storm at 5 PM. For this reason, and because undisclosed numbers of the entire Sea Bright emergency services vehicles have requested to use our lot, there are spaces cordoned off and not for the use of abandoned vehicles at this time. This may change depending on the severity of the storm.

Thanks for cooperating with us as we try to do the best we can to serve the needs of the church community and citizens of two municipalities during a time of uncertainty. 


Storm Alert


Holy Cross is working with Rumson Borough to enable parking for residents of West Park during the anticipated storm and flooding this weekend. Unfortunately, the worst is expected on Sunday.

It is difficult to predict whether it will be predominantly the residents of West Park affected by flooding, or the rain and the wind will make getting to mass very difficult for everyone else as well.  In the first case, we need to plan to share the parking lot.

So at this point, we will section off the main parking lot for mass and allow storm parking along two areas only: the spots facing Ward Avenue along the brick wall and the parking alongside the gymatorium facing the tennis courts. Once the storm has passed, cars must be removed.

Other spots may be available if it begins to look like we won't need them for mass.

Hopefully, we will avoid the worst!



Backwards Pews?

OK, has anyone actually seen any of these pews, or pews like them?

Here's the dilemma: how do you accomodate the congregation for baptisms when the baptismal font is located in the gathering space, or the entrance of the church. When all the pews face forward, people either stand or turn around in their pews. Some limited number of these "reversible" pews are sometimes pressed into service.

The reversible pews avoid the problem of storing, moving and arranging folding chairs, but I'm sure bring problems of their own. These are photos of old and venerable pews, but there are more contemporary versions.

New Liturgical Movement: NLM Quiz: Why Is This One Pew Backwards? (No. 5)


Church Project Update

The civil engineers are still mapping Holy Cross property in preparation for our amended site plan to the Borough and we are in our second week of interviews for the Financial Planning Study. We hope to file the amended site plan application with the Borough in October, and when the planning study is completed in several weeks, we will have the information necessary for Bishop O'Connell to approve the final phase of the project.



New Gloria at Mass


Well, we gave a good first sing to the new translation of the Gloria this past weekend. The musical setting called The Belmont Mass was fairly easy to sing and we should be comfortable with the tune in no time.

There were major changes in the translation, but in a "back to the future" kind of way. The Gloria is based on ancient prayer texts and Scripture and the new English translation attempts to show that more clearly, primarily by returning to the rhythm and more literal rendering of the Latin original.


  Present Translation   ---   Revised Translation


Jesus Calms the Storm at Sea

Recapitulating our parish history for the information statement is an opportunity for prayerful reflection on God's providence and the virtues of faith and hope.

I arrived at Holy Cross parish during what would become a fierce storm, perhaps the most difficult storm in our parish's history. I say perhaps, confident that there were other difficulties the parish weathered now hidden by the tides of history. Unlike the system of categorizing the severity of hurricanes, however, there are so grading systems I know of to evaluate the severity of pastoral storms.

To help my prayer during this challenging time in our parish life, I placed a copy of this painting, of Jesus Calming the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Eugene Delacroix where it was always before me. It served as a great reminder to trust in the Lord even during difficult times. Seagalilee


In recent days, I discovered this image, which helps me pray with more direction and focus, now that the storm has subsided.


Planning Study Information Statement

View of Proposed Renovation from the Gymatorium

Here a link to the information statement that we are mailing and have available at the Parish Office. It is a succinct summary of a very long process and can't include every bend and turn or hill and valley in the long journey which has brought us to this exciting point in our parish history.

Both interior and exterior views of the church remain substantially the same as the plans on our construction blog for almost two years. The recent modifications will be released when the drawings are ready and the plan goes before the Borough Council for approval.


Download Holy Cross Parish Information Statement

Interviews for Church Construction Planning Study

Jim Gallagher from CCS, the company managing our planning study for the church construction project, has settled in our parish offices and is already running a busy schedule of interviews. Jim will be on-site for the next three weeks.

Thanks to everyone for their anticipated cooperation with Jim as he helps us gather our resources and plan the steps necessary to make the dream of our long anticipated renovated church a reality. Beginning tomorrow evening, there will be a receptionist at the parish office during the evenings to help welcome those who are arrving for interviews and to answer phone calls and help with other aspects of the study.

CCS's study and report will estimate the amount of funds we can comfortably raise and help us plan the scope of the financing we will need for the project. Our fundraising requirements are modest and we hope that financing is not necessary, except for contingency and cash flow purposes. Final approval of the project is contingent upon 1) Bishop O'Connell's personal approval after reviewing the documents; 2) Borough of Rumson approval of our amended construction plan. We anticpate having the necessary documents to file for the Borough application by next month. The new topographic survey of the parish site will already be complete by the end of this week.

We have an excellent team of professionals helping us and, of course, we pray for God's continued guidance and providential care.

Thank you for your faithfulness and hope as we begin this new phase of our parish life!




Planning Study for Church Construction Project

Our planning study for the Church construction project has begun. Letters will be mailed to many parishioners requesting their time to participate in an interview regarding the project and their willingness and capacity to give. This survey will enable us to obtain final diocesan approval for the project, as well as assess whether we can anticipate financing a portion of the costs.

4337_cartoon_doodle_businessman_waving Beginning tomorrow, Jim Gallagher, a consultant from CCS will be on site for approximately three weeks to arrange and conduct these confidential interviews. Jim will be using space in the parish office. I am sure you will extend a warm welcome to him while he strives to help us accomplish our long-sought goal of an enlarged and renovated church.