Previous month:
December 2011
Next month:
February 2012

January 2012

Rumson Special Board Approves Holy Cross Church Renovation Plans


Let the joyful news go forth that Holy Cross Church's renovation/expansion plans have been unanimously approved (7-0) by the special board convened to hear the parish's application! This day has been anticipated and patiently worked toward by so many for nearly 7 years and is truly a testatment not only to their persistence but to the power of prayer. 

Some highlights of the new plan include:

the architecturally beautiful interior and exterior views by James McCrery already featured on both this blog and the construction blog.

preservation of our historic church's interior shell, its steeple and the present facade on Ward Avenue

continuity of the design and mood of our interior worship space with its past and present appearance

elimination of the parking lot behind the carriage house to make way for an entry garden and gathering plaza adjoining the south side of the church

a fountain / water feature in the outdoor gathering space and Marian prayer garden

preservation of the playground and parish playing field

restoration of the church's exterior appearance to its original cedar shingle and tile roof design

full handicapped accessible parking, entryways and rest rooms

several cry rooms for use by our most vocal and youthful worshippers

a basement meeting room for church groups and mourners after funeral masses if desired

fixed pew seating for nearly 650 parishioners facing East to the "rising of the Son"

cleaning and preservation of the Holy Cross "Discovery of the True Cross" stained glass window along with Sts. Alphonse Liguori and Anthony

installation of Sacred Heart and BVM windows from Holy Rosary Church

new choir loft and church organ

new altar, ambo (pulpit), lectern and baptismal font

specially comissioned reredos (wall painting behind the tabernacle and above the altar)

new Holy Rood cross

plans for renovation of the tool shed adjoining the Carriage House to service outdoor hospitality, heated walkways to the church to prevent snow and ice accumulation, geothermal powered cooling and heating and new shingles for the rectory to match the church will be studied and accomplished if finances permit.

Look for a public announcement of our "Time To Build" Captial Campaign in the next few weeks. The campaign has already been quietly underway as we make progress toward our goal of $4 million dollars. 

Projected ground breaking is October/November with an anticipated construction time of 18 months.




Father Manning's Homily For Respect Life on Jan 21, 2012

Tomorrow is the National Prayer Vigil for Life And the Annual March for Life in Washington And boy do we need them.

Last week, President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius determined that money from the school tuition you pay to Holy Cross And some of the collection monies on Sunday which subsidize our school, be used to provide health care coverage for our employees which includes medications, procedures and counseling that flaunts 2000 years of church tradition.

The Washington double‐speak‐filled‐directive which should anger every person who holds a single religious conviction, conceded that the ruling which forces Church employers to fund the immoral procedures, drugs and counsel would respect our religious sensitivities by giving us one year to comply with the ruling. Only one day before the unprecedented and anti‐Catholic ruling by Obama/Sebelius, listen to the truth proclaimed boldly by Pope Benedict to a group of US Bishops meeting with the pope in the Vatican:

"Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. …it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life."

Swear allegiance to the Roman emperor Or we will cut off your head! Well, at least, close your hospitals, schools and adoption agencies and force you to violate your religious convictions! 

I don’t usually like slogans, but if they make you think…here’s one: The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Just a slight dip into murky waters of secular media should focus our attention and energize us:

Again and again, we see free speech and open debate stifled whenever the subject of modern marriage comes up in civic discourse. Deviations from the current politically correct definitions are hate speech. (Wisconsin student essay on traditional marriage)

Piers Morgan in an interview with Rick Santorum Responded to Santorum’s traditional Catholic views on marriage and sexuality with the retort: But your views border on bigotry, don’t you think?

The Santorum’s reverent treatment of their deceased newborn’s body many years ago was aubject of mockery by liberal pundits on the Internet and in print.

Google, Coca‐Cola, Apple, The Simpsons - have been around longer than these new secular dogmas on marriage and adoption we are expected to embrace lockstep.

American bigotry toward Catholicism isn’t new or gone. I'm reading Gotham: On The History of New York City From Its Very Beginnings. From the earliest days there were European settlers in North America, Catholics were denied the rights accorded others. On Pope Day, effigies of the Pope and Satan were burned and thrown into the river. Local modern history even until very recently shows the anti-Catholic bias: several local golf and beach clubs were founded primarily for Catholics, who could not easily gain entry into establishment groups. The Knights of Columbus offered Catholic family men life insurance which they could otherwise not obtain. Where was the largest KKK march in the US in 1924? ?  Long Branch. Recall that the KKK not only hates blacks, but Jews and Catholics as well.

The news isn’t all bad though: Last week the US Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right of religious groups to set their own qualifications for ministry. A Lutheran church had dismissed one of its religion teachers and the Justice Department brought suit for her reinstatement under the ADA act, alleging discrimination because of disability. The supreme court reaffirmed the right of the church to hire its ministers as it sees fit. 

Archbishop Dolan, president of the USCCB, has criticized the Administration's insurance mandate and will be studying the church’s options.  Pray for Archbishop Dolan. We need bishops with fire in the belly on this issue. 

Let us stay informed: you contribute the donations and pay the tuition and I endorse the checks which would pay for this immoral insurance. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and read, read, read: American History, Church history, regional history, the church teachings on life issues and the moral reasoning behind these teachings, discuss the issues.

Write Congress, Sibelius, Obama. Write the reporters, editors, media outlets when their anti-Catholic bias shows. Then we should vote as if our faith depended on it!

Participating or Non-Participating? That is the Question...

Holy Cross Parish Needs Everyone to be a Participating Parishioner

A parish thrives or withers on the participation of its parishioners. Each Sunday Jesus fortifies us with His Body and Blood and the Holy Spirit strengthens our bonds with each other. We are sent forth from mass to live the Gospel and change the world – no small task these days, but needed so badly. Parishioners serve the poor, gather in prayer groups, study the bible, work with our youth, increase their knowledge of the faith by reading and discussion, help other parishioners in need, console the bereaved and help us pray beautiful liturgies. An integral part of our mission at Holy Cross is our grammar school which forms our children in the Catholic faith while at the same time equipping them with an excellent academic education. Parish-sponsored PTA events are a significant and needed subsidy. Subsidy to the school also comes from monies contributed by parishioners in the Sunday collections.

We have inherited what was formerly called a “parishioner” and “non-parishioner” tuition schedule. Since a non-parishioner family did not worship with us on the Sabbath, did not generally contribute to the financial support of the parish through the use of weekly envelopes and may or may not have participated in or organized fund raising events or have been a member of a church group, they were asked to pay an increased tuition fee. This arrangement seems fair, especially when coupled with a robust financial aid program for those who are unable to afford full tuition. (We are familiar with in-state and out-of-state tuition rates for state universities.)

Determining parishioners from non-parishioners used to be a simple matter defined by place of residence. In modern times, the Catholic Church recognized the right of each family and individual to register in a parish of their choice.  For this reason, current tuition rates may more properly be called “participating” or “qualifying.” Families who reside outside the geographical boundaries of Holy Cross may meet qualifying conditions, while some who reside within our boundaries may not. 

So what are the qualifying conditions?  Diocesan guidelines give parishes the option to grant reduced tuition fees to those families who do ALL of the following:  attend mass weekly, contribute to the support of the parish through the regular use of Sunday envelopes and who are active in the life of the parish through volunteerism or membership in parish group(s). Each family is asked to assume regular, sacrificial giving of time, talent and treasure to the parish. In this way, all our parish missions will thrive. 

Christmas Mass Schedule Survey Update

Our parish survey on Christmas masses is still open, and the results are preliminary, but here's a snapshot of the most intersting findings:

Not surprisingly, there is literally "zero" interest so far in an evening Christmas day mass. 

As for some of the other questions:

ChartExport (1)

ChartExport (2)

ChartExport (3)

ChartExport (4)

Please take the survey if you haven't done so. It only takes a moment to complete and it will help Holy Cross plan the most convenient worship schedule for next Christmas.


Denis McNamara, PhD at Holy Cross Rumson March 4th 2012

St_-Helena-WindowDenis McNamara, PhD will speak at Holy Cross Church on Sunday, March 4th at 7 PM in the church. The subject of his talk will be "Shadow, Image and Reality: Church Architecture As Sacrament of Heaven." Denis will be working with our architect, James McCrery to ensure that our church expansion is architecturally, theologically and liturgically beautiful.

He will visit all the masses on Sunday to meet our parishioners and experience worship in our present church. We are quite excited that Dr. McNamara will be helping us pray a new, even more beautiful church and look foward to his visit. There is no fee for attending his lecture presentation and members of the general public are also invited. Please mark your calendars and invite your friends.

He is currently Assistant Director and faculty member at the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, and serves as a liturgical design consultant. He is the author of two widely acclaimed books, "Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy," and "How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture." 

        " ... a church allows the earthly congregation to experience in sacramental form the deeply biblical notions of God's beauty and redemptive presence....By experiencing heaven on earth, the faithful become ever more accustomed to heaven and conformed to the image of God by worshipping in a church that "looks like" a church."



St. Gregory Nazianzus


This year I learned that not only is St. Gregory well noted for his Trinitarian theology, but he wrote poetry as well. In fact, Erasmus learned about St. Gregory through his literary works, not his theological writings. 

I had fun tracking down some of his poems online in preparation for my morning homily a few days ago on St. Gregory's feastday. "Three Prayers for a Day" is a set of short poems, "A Morning Prayer," "An Evening Lament" and "A Prayer to Christ the Next Morning" which ask for God's help in living holiness that day, lament for the day's failures at eventide and ask for Christ's help again the next morning.

It struck me that the poem asking for Christ's help in the new day for resolve and rededication fits well at the beginning on an entire new year as well.

A Prayer to Christ the Next Morning

Yesterday, Christ, turned out a total loss!

Rage came upon me, all at once, and took me.

Let me live this day as a day of light.

Gregory, look - be mindful, think of God!

You swore you would; remember your salvation!

in Gregory of Nazianzus by Brian Daley. Routledge:2006