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February 2012

Principal Search Committee Survey

Principal Search Committee Formed for Holy Cross Elementary School

SchoolAs many of you already know, Mrs. Patricia Graham, our school principal has made the decision to retire at the end of this academic year. I speak for many when I express my gratitude for her service to Holy Cross School and assure her of the affection in which she is held. Mrs. Graham will help us complete this year smoothly along with the capable leadership of Mrs. Alison Mitchell, our Director of Curriculum.

I have formed a Principal Search Committee according to Diocesan guidelines to begin our selection of a new principal as soon as possible. The members of the Committee are: Cynthia Casciola-Kitts, Associate Director for Elementary Schools, Diocese of Trenton; Steve Chappell, member Holy Cross School Board; Brother James Butler, F.S.C., Principal, Christian Brothers Academy; Jacqueline Whitelaw, Chairperson, Holy Cross School Board and former PTA Chairperson; William Kenney, parishioner/parent. I am delighted to have a Search Committee of such high integrity and talent and thank each of them for their generous service to our school.

Here is an outline of the task ahead of them:

  1. Committee prepares a School and Community Profile (this step includes anonymous faculty survey on the needs of Holy Cross School).
  2. Committee prepares ads, establishes timeline for applications and interviews
  3. Committee makes recommendation(s) to pastor
  4. Pastor’s input and choice
  5. Superintendent of Schools interviews final candidate
  6. Pastor announces new principal to parish

The Search Committee will begin within several weeks, so that they can begin advertising the position and inviting applications for their consideration.

With our solid curriculum, dedicated teachers, supportive parents and parishioners and with Christ at our core, the future of Holy Cross School looks even brighter. Please pray that the Holy Spirit animates our search and illuminates our path.

To help the Search Committee formulate our school and community profile, please take a moment to complete an online survey about Holy Cross School:

Principal Search Committee Survey

Please note, faculty and staff will be surveyed anonymously by the Search Committee;

this anonymous survey is designed for parents and parishioners

Pope Urges Spiritual Correction In Charity


I read the online news report that a marine lance corporal was acquitted by a court martial of responsibility for the eventual suicide of a fellow marine who killed himself as a result of alleged hazing and humiliation imposed by the acquitted lance corporal. Defense attorneys argued that the physical labor and calisthenics ordered by his client, were neither excessive nor exhausting and are permitted as a disciplinary measure in marine combat zones. They note that the physical drills were imposed as a penalty for the fourth time the deceased marine had fallen asleep on duty watch, which placed his fellow marines in mortal peril. In describing the discipline meted out by the acquitted marine, the defense attorney said: "We don't let Marines slack because we care about each other." 

Strangely enough, he echoed the words of Pope Benedict’s Lenten message: Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). In discussing the Christian virtue of charity, the pope calls for the use of “fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation.” Modern Christians think an “act of charity” is almost always a donation of material goods or time. The pope reminds us that there is a rich Church tradition of “admonishing sinners”  as one of the spiritual works of mercy. Too often, the pope complains, Christians become conformed to the thinking of the world, rather than confronting evil and helping to transform the world in Christ.

I’m not suggesting that Church penance should include digging trenches, or performing leg-lifts with sandbags. But we must correct the impression that spiritual tepidity is the norm for the modern age, that anything we vote for is permitted, or that moral truth changes if a majority, even a vocal minority, refuse to listen. Which is more difficult: digging a trench or speaking up against evil?

Pope Warns "Spiritual Anesthesia" Can Numb Us To The Suffering Of Others

spiritual anesthesia

In his message for Lent 2012, Pope Benedict XVI warned that our hearts "can be hardened by a kind of spiritual anesthesia which numbs us to the suffering of others."

Charity suffers much at the hands of the indifferent. The pope has captured a truly human description of what can happen to our sense of compassion, our ability to have empathy for another. Such a sense can become numbed, hard to rouse, insensitive to the pain of others. The seemingly never-ending stream of images of human suffering beamed to our televisions and computer screens, even to handheld devices can give us compassion-fatigue.

The pope also blames the possession of material wealth, which can lead to a false sense of self-sufficiency, along with our all too human tendency to put our own problems and concerns above all else.

Even though it may be uncomfortable to waken our compassion, let us pray for the resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to stir our hearts to be moved by the plight of others and through acts of charity to alleviate physical and spiritual poverty.


Lenten Survey


What are you doing and what are your giving up for Lent?

Though the practice of "giving up" something for Lent came to be looked upon with some derision after Vatican II for its "negativity," the practice of doing something "positive" for Lent probably never took as firm a hold on the Catholic imagination. It strikes me a little like the now abolished mandatory abstinence from meat on Friday which was to have been replaced by something else of a penitential nature. Really?

Positive, negative, giving up, doing...the age old trinity of fasting, prayer, giving alms never truly went out of style and is still the proper attitude for Lent.

What are your Lenten plans and practices? Let us and others know by taking our recent survey. We'll also be posting a few great books for Lenten reading - both classics and by contemporary writers.

Lenten Practices Survey

A Time To Build


Our first phone-a-thon was a great way to spread the message that the schematic plans for our expanded and renovated church have been approved by both our diocese and the Borough.

With a donation of time to participate in several more phone-a-thons, and a donation of a pledge to the campaign, we will be able to achieve our dream of a traditional, prayerful and sacred space large enough for the needs of our parish family, to provide access to parishioners in wheelchairs and hospitality for parishioners and guests alike.


Ashes to Begin Lent


The ashes imposed on our foreheads during liturgies on Ash Wednesday retrace the sign of the cross our parents and godparents made on our forehead the day of our baptism, and the sign the priest or deacon made with the  sacred chrism immediately after the baptismal water washed us into God’s family. If we have been confirmed, the bishop or his delegate also anointed our foreheads with sacred chrism.

The grimy residue of a cross on our head reminds us midweek that we have been claimed for Christ by our baptism. It also helps us prepare for the joyful celebration of Easter by initiating a period of penance and fasting. Ashes have been used for penance and sorrow for sins since the days of the Old Testament and have been incorporated into Ash Wednesday ceremonies in the Catholic Church since the first millennium. 


Be Afraid then Write, Email and Call


A Real Three Ring Circus

The media circus over Obama's HHS mandate that religious institutions provide health care coverage for artificial contraception, abortifacients and surgical sterilization grows daily. The cast of characters streaming into the Big Top would be amusing, except that this three ring circus is deadly serious.

Did you know: Every Christian denomination denounced artificial contraception prior to 1930.

Did you know: "The Morning After Pill" prevents pregnancy in some cases by preventing implantation of an already living and multiplying human life?

Did you know: That Natural Family Planning is more effective at preventing pregnancy than female chemical contraception and equally effective as male barrier contraception?

Why do some of our elected representatives feel as though they have the right to challenge the legitimacy of the teaching authority of our bishops by misinterpreting polls on artificial contraception? What about if we put each of the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes to a vote? Or how about if we nullified each commandment we routinely break? Our chuch teachings are ideals to help us strive for holiness, not a political party platform. Jesus himself lost at least one crucial poll...the crowd chose Barabbas. 

The brazen attempt to both minimize the theological objection to artificial contraception and ridicule or ignore the teaching authority of our bishops is bad enough. But coverage for abortifacient drugs and surgical sterlization are also mandated by the HHS directive. 

Bad when politicians turn theologians or preachers, worse still when they challenge our own.

One Ringy Dingy...Capital Campaign Phone-a-thon



Tomorrow night is one of first of several Phonathon nights for A Time to Build campaign. Fellow parishioners will be calling to spread the good news of our approvals for the church renovation and expansion, to answer any questions you may have and to enlist both financial and volunteer support.

There are several more evenings of calling scheduled - we hope to contact each one of our registered parishioner families before the campaign ends in a few weeks. If you can help us one or more evenings by making some phone calls, please let us know. The more callers we have, the more parish families we will be able to contact.


Signs of Spring 2012


The northern perimeter of the parish field is a safe place for some of the early spring bulbs to greet the warmer weather.


rosemary arp in the winter sunshine

Rosemary arp suvives (and thrives) outdoors protected from the worst winds by the corners of buildings and overhanging shrubs.


Witch Hazel blooms in late winter
I think VanGogh would have enjoyed painting the Witch Hazel against the bright blue sky.

















The seals are sunning themselves on the sandbars at Sandy Hook. I don't have pictures (yet).

Gifts to Previous Capital Campaigns


Just a reminder about something we've been noting for years: if you pledged and completed a capital campaign donation to either the first parish capital campaign in 2003-4, or to Lift High the Cross, thank you very much. Your generosity enables us to make the goal for our final campaign A Time To Build within our grasp. We have a record of your donation and memorial, if  you chose one, and will happily acknolwedge your gift in a dignified manner in the renovated and expanded church. Call MaryRose from our parish staff, or Terence Curley from CCS, our on-site manager for A Time To Build for details about your previous donation/pledge.

Please consider a donation to A Time To Build - the final phase of our parish building project so long in the making. The campaigns were divided so as to divide the total capital needed into smaller, achievable goals.



Architect and Engineer at Holy Cross This Week


Fresh on the heels of the recommendation of Rumson's special board to approve the amendment to our site plan, our architect James McCrery and an engineer will visit Holy Cross this week to conduct precise measurements and assess the church and the site. 

In the coming weeks, the schematic diagrams you have seen at our masses and available on the webpage will be developed in more detail sufficient to enable contractors to estimate the total cost of the project and its particular components. 

Music Director at Holy Cross


As you may know, Holy Cross parish is searching for a new Music Director. Luckily, we have many qualified individuals interested in discovering our parish. Over the next several weeks, the organists you see and hear at our masses are among those who are being considered for this very important responsibility. Accordingly, please be patient if our liturgical music seems a little off pace, or not "the way we're used to." This seemed to be the best way to enable many people to hear potential directors, asess their skills during real liturgies and permit interviews to proceed without formal auditions.

Let us know your reactions to the musical accompaniment at any particular mass.

Catholic music is so important a part of our Sunday worship that we will invite the best director we possibly can to join us.

Archbishop Chaput: HHS Mandate "... belligerent, unnecessary and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief"

Everything Archbishop Chaput writes is lapidary and clear. The Archbishop's response to President Obama's latest assault on our religious freedoms is no exception:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) refused on January 20 to broaden the exception to its mandate that nearly all Catholic employers must cover contraception, abortifacients and sterilization in their health care plans.

An "accommodation" offered Friday by the White House did not solve the problem. Instead, it triggered withering criticism from legal scholars like Notre Dame’s Carter Snead, Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon, Princeton’s Robert George and Catholic University of America president John Garvey, along with non-Catholic scholars like Yuval Levin, the religious liberty law firm The Becket Fund and numerous Catholic and other organizations.
Many Catholics are confused and angry. They should be.
Quite a few Catholics supported President Obama in the last election, so the ironies here are bitter. Many feel betrayed. They’re baffled that the Obama administration would seek to coerce Catholic employers, private and corporate, to violate their religious convictions.
But it’s clear that such actions are developing into a pattern. Whether it was the administration's early shift toward the anemic language of "freedom of worship" instead of the more historically grounded and robust concept of "freedom of religion" in key diplomatic discussions; or its troubling effort to regulate religious ministers recently rejected 9-0 by the Supreme Court in the Hosanna Tabor case; or the revocation of the U.S. bishops’ conference human trafficking grant for refusing to refer rape victims to abortion clinics, it seems obvious that this administration is -- to put it generously -- tone deaf to people of faith.
Philadelphians may wish to reflect on the following facts. The Archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Human Services spends $278,000,000 annually on services to the community. About 4,000 employees comprise our Secretariat’s work force. Catholic Social Services is the largest social service agency in Pennsylvania and the largest residential care/social service sub-contractor with the Department of Human Services of the City of Philadelphia.
There’s more. Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Services is the largest faith-based provider of long-term-care services to the poor and elderly in the five-county area, and the seventh-largest nationally. And our Nutritional Development Services ministry serves more than 8 million meals a year to school children, summer programs and child care centers. It also provides 2 million pounds of non-perishable food to needy families and the elderly through its Community Food Program.
Much of the money used by these ministries comes from public funding. But of course, the reason these ministries are trusted with public funding is that they do an excellent job. The service relationship works well without compromising the integrity of either the government or the Church. In fact, in a practical sense, government often benefits more than the Church.
It’s also important to note that many millions of the dollars disbursed are resources directly donated by faithful Catholics to carry out their Gospel mission to serve the needy. For the Church, this makes perfect sense: As a believing community, we share our resources freely and gladly. We’ll cooperate with anyone in service to the common good, so long as we are not forced to compromise our religious beliefs.
But the HHS mandate, including its latest variant, are belligerent, unnecessary and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief. Any such mandate would make it morally compromising for us to provide health care benefits to the staffing of our public service ministries. Moreover, we cannot afford to be fooled -- yet again -- by evasive and misleading allusions to the administration’s alleged "flexibility" on such issues. The HHS mandate needs to be rescinded.
Many critics are focusing on the details of this or that particular version of the HHS regulation -- the narrowness of the religious exemption, the breadth of the mandate, the hollowness of the grace period. As useful as this approach may be, it risks wandering into the weeds. The White House response on these points is ambiguous and weak. The true magnitude of the issue is getting lost as just another debate about details.
In reality, no similarly aggressive attack on religious freedom in our country has occurred in recent memory.
The current administration prides itself on being measured and deliberate. The current HHS mandate needs to be understood as exactly that. Commentators are using words like "gaffe," "ill conceived," and "mistake" to describe the mandate. They’re wrong. It’s impossible to see this regulation as some happenstance policy. It has been too long in the making.
Despite all of its public apprehension about "culture warriors" on the political right in the past, the current administration has created an HHS mandate that is the embodiment of culture war. At its heart is a seemingly deep distrust of the formative role religious faith has on personal and social conduct, and a deep distaste for religion’s moral influence on public affairs. To say that this view is contrary to the Founders’ thinking and the record of American history would be an understatement.
Critics may characterize my words here as partisan or political. These are my personal views, and of course people are free to disagree. But it is this administration -- not Catholic ministries or institutions or bishops -- that chose the timing and nature of the fight. The onus is entirely on the White House, which also has the power to remove the issue from public conflict. Catholics should not be misled into accepting feeble compromises on issues of principle. The HHS mandate is bad law; and not merely bad, but dangerous and insulting. It needs to be withdrawn -- now

Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM



Catholic News Agency post 2/11

Church Project Timeline 2004 until Present



It's interesting and instructive to review the many and sometimes difficult steps which were taken to get us to the threshold of the construction of our church expansion/renovation project. Many of you are familiar with series of events prior to 2004 which resulted in the out-of-court settlement and continuing resolution. This timeline highlights the events from 2004 onward.

Holy Cross Rumson– Church Construction Timeline


April 20, 2004

Parish receives approval for the church and school renovation and expansion project from the Borough of Rumson; continuing resolution including deed restriction agreed to

November 3, 2004

Fr. Michael Manning assumes pastorate of Holy Cross; contract with EPIC construction on bishop’s desk for signature

November 21, 2004

Financial integrity of building fund assessed; plans for school revised to include technology, media room, new library, enhanced gym; Epic Construction maximal bid contract approved

November 28, 2004

Project approved by Bishop Smith this past week; parishioners updated; Phase 1 of the project to be the school construction. Phase 2 the church. Both school and church plans will need revision – the school immediately before construction begins, the church in the coming years

December 24, 2004

Epic Construction hired to provide Construction Manager as Constructor services including acceptable Guaranteed Maximum Price Budget

January 23, 2005

Liturgical Art and Environment Committee established to work on the church interior design;  will begin with liturgical catechesis

March 20-June 12, 2005

liturgical catechesis of parish begins; bulletin inserts and homilies

May 5, 2005

Ceremonial groundbreaking for school addition; resolute determination to complete construction permit application and comply with articles in continuing resolution

May 23, 2005

Building and Planning Committee composed of previous and new members has  meeting; will be involved with construction and fundraising

June 14, 2005

Liturgical Art and Environment Committee has first meeting; presentation on the building plans given; upcoming meetings feature prospective liturgical consultants; some committee  members visit churches, liturgical suppliers and attend lectures.

July 25, 2005

Pastor presents parish needs for church project to diocese; deed consolidation and restriction signed by Bishop and pastor as part of building permit application

Week of August 8, 2005

Our Lady of Grace statue installed on top of carriage house; crowned and blessed August 14

Week of September12, 2005

Epic Construction’s Guaranteed Maximal Price deemed too high by parish; school project put out to open bid.

November 1, 2005

Final bids on school project

December 9, 2005

Project awarded to Charles B. Hembling & Son Construction

January 6, 2006

Construction permit granted

January 15, 2006

Last events in old gym

February 3, 2006

Demolition of old gym begins

June 16, 2006

Decision to conduct (3 year) capital campaign as gymatorium project proceeds; Construction Open House; parish fundraising chairs present as plans for capital campaign are formed

July 17, 2006

Building inspection done on church

September 2006

School Project completion date pushed back to December

October 17, 2006

Lynch Development hired for Lift High the Cross campaign – planning and informal fundraising continue

November 1, 2006

Structural engineer inspects church

December 16, 2006

School project dedicated

January 2007

3year Lift High the Cross campaign begins officially; $3.1 million dollars pledged

April 25, 2007

Liturgical Art and Environment Committee meeting; with the school project complete, church design review, assessment, and planning intensifies

May 2, 2007

Open parish meeting; interactive selection of preferred church characteristics;Option of serving on liturgy and/or building committee

May  2007

Written survey to all parishioners asking for characteristics desired in the new church

July 7, 2007

Attorney John Brogan engaged to represent church before Rumson Zoning Board; parish seeking to revise the site plan to allow 25 additional parking spaces on western end of the property

July – December 2007

Diocesan Building Commission informed of progress

August 5, 2007

Report of church attribute study in bulletin

August, September,

October 2007

Parking lot improvements, paving as part of school building project installed

Spring 2008

Application filed with Borough for revised site plan with additional parking spaces

September 21, 2008

Lift High the Cross Memorial Wall designed

September 22 & October 17, 2008

Two hearings with the Rumson Zoning Board of Adjustment on revised site plan

December 22, 2008

Online survey of church project opened

January 26, 2009

Church Building Committee meets; efficacy of existing design discussed

February 11, 18 and March 11, 2009

Presentations by  3 prospective project architects including

James McCrery (Feb. 18)

April 26, 2009

Revision of church design announced;  card survey to be done for diocese

May 2009

107 responses to on line survey on interior of new worship space

300 endorsement cards; 70 volunteers for project

CAFRA determination  on additional parking spaces; landscaping site plan

May 20, 2009

Church Building Committee assesses architect presentations, receives update and discusses next steps

June 14, 2009

Parish celebrates 125th anniversary; Lift High the Cross Memorial Wall blessed by Bishop Smith

June 2009

James McCrery chosen as project architect

June 29, 2009

Pastor makes presentation to Diocesan Building Committee; given approval to proceed with concept drawings

July 2009

Church inspection by architect and structural engineer

Mid July, 2009

Contractor opens areas of church walls, ceilings, and columns as specified by structural engineer and architect so integrity of building can be assessed

July –September, 2009

Those who have made Memorial Gifts receiving acknowledgements; parish making sure records are complete

August 5, 2009

Engineer’s report submitted with summary by architect; building is sound; results sent to diocese

Church Building Committee meets; updates; discussion of architect’s ideas; subcommittees formed for certain liturgical appointments

August 19, 2009

Pastor starts construction blog to keep people informed

August 19, 2009

Borough has approved the revised site plan for the additional parking spaces, awaiting NJDEP; Rumson lets work proceed

Ward Avenue wall complete; landscaping later when site plan complete

Architect working on concept drawings for church

August 20 – September 4, 2009

Revised site plan work installed;  paving and 20+ additional parking spaces added to west side of property; curb work

September 9, 2009

Architect James McCrery brings first concept drawings of new church to parish

September 23, 2009

Online construction survey closed after over a year-125 responses

November 4, 2009

Architect presents concept drawings to Church Building Committee-received very favorably; posted on construction blog next day;

November 29, 2009 – May, 2011

Negotiations with Diocesan Building Commission

July 14, 2010

Church Building committee meets; updated on continuing negotiations with diocese

December 1, 2010

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. succeeds Bishop John M. Smith and becomes the 10th Bishop of Trenton

May 23, 2011

Permission from Bishop O’Connell to proceed with church project

June 1, 2011

Church Building Committee meets

June 2011

Attorney Michael Bruno retained to present amended plan with new church design to Borough

June 2011

Committee formed to interview prospective fundraising companies

June 2011

Community Counseling Service (CCS) retained to conduct feasibility study for parish capital campaign A Time to Build

August 2011

Kennedy Engineering engaged as civil engineers for project; begin site plan work

August & September 2011

68 personal interviews conducted for feasibility and planning study

September 17-18, 2011

In-pew survey on the church project at all masses

October 13, 2011

CCS hired to conduct capital campaign

November 2011

Silent phase of capital campaign begins

November 30, 2011

Application for amended site plan with new church design filed with Borough of Rumson

December 12, January 23,and January 30, 2012

Borough of Rumson Special Zoning Board hears application

January 30, 2012

Application approved; resolution to be formalized March 5, 2012

February 11-12, 2012

Public phase of capital campaign announced

March 4, 2012

 Liturgical Consultant for project, Denis McNamara, to make presentation to parish

October-November 2011

Anticipated groundbreaking

April-May 2014

Anticipated dedication

All Masses are in the Gymatorium This Weekend Feb 11-12


Join us this weekend for masses in the gymatorium. Nourished and strenghtened by Jesus' presence, indeed His very Body and Blood, we can give thanks to God for having brought our parish family to the threshold of the wonderful expansion and renovation of our beloved and historic church.

A full set of architectural drawings will be available for inspection, as well as an audiovisual presentation of the drawings. Fr. Manning will highilght the summary of the project during the homily, and remain after all the masses for a more complete presentation and to answer everyone's questions. 

A full timeline of the project's history will be available for review and posted online when we've compiled the listing - it's long! Much of the work to nurture the project has been behind the scenes, in committees and by deliberate, careful steps which required prayer, persistence, faith and patience. Now we need everyone's enthusiasm and participation!

Only the dimensions of the renovated church building and the arrangment of the driveways and parking have been decided! Its interior look and spirit are open for research and discussion. Our liturgy and planning committee has been meeting with architects, liturgical designers and holding meetings over the past six or seven years; some members have come and gone as the process took longer than anticipated at some points, but we will now resume the serious work of subcommittees to discuss and help plan the church's interior appointments. Please get involved!

The final phase of our campus construction project has been entitled "A Time To Build." It is inspired by the bible verse from Ecclesiastes 3:3 and refers not so much to a convenient political, economic or even practical time, but to God's time. The bible speaks about the "fullness of time," a ripeness which comes through the grace of God. The time is ripe, it is our "Time to Build."

A new parish history wall is scheduled for completion by the weekend. Located in the entryway of the gymatorium, it will be a permanent and beautiful display of significant moments in the history of Holy Cross Church.

If you can't join us in person this weekend, join us in prayer!

Bird's Eye View of Holy Cross Entry and Garden


I've highlighted a few areas on this plan to show the plan for the garden and entry. The existing church is highlighted in dark blue and the areas of new construction are yellow. The carriage house is highlighted in light blue.

You can see that the area behind the Carriage House, now a parking lot, will be converted into a plaza and entryway to the new southwest entrance to the church. The existing green space to the south and east of the church will be retained and improved.

Entry to the ground level and ramped church doors is by way of the handicapped accessible parking on the northside of the church. This parking court is accessible by the widened drive to the north side of the church which is for handicapped access only.

Three (3) additional handicapped spaces in the main south parking lot are adjacent to the gardens and outdoor hospitality areas.

The garden plan is easily changed and only preliminary, but shows a fountain in the central gathering space and an oval green space for a shrine just east of the fountain toward Ward Avenue.

The dual entry driveways on Ward Avenue in front of the Carriage House have been combined into one, with access to a drop-off zone, parking in front of the Carriage House and the main parking lot. No driveway exists around the church. The space for this driveway was dedicated to the vestibule and narthex of the church.

 A closer view of the Carriage House shows the portion of the Carriage House which is now a toolshed refurbished and dedicated to an area to serve as a center of outdoor hospitality. This can be planned for the future if funds do not permit its completion with the present project.