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September 2013

Congratulations to 2A This Week's Holy Cross Mass Attendance Award

Wow and congratulations to 2A for their terrific mass attendance last weekend of over 90%


2A Mrs. Huthwaite's Class



How exciting it will be to help these children prepare for their First Holy Communions this spring!

3B and 7A had respectable showings too. I wonder who the first class will be this year to reach 100% attendance!

Sunday Mass at 5 PM for 8th Grade Confirmandi

 is a Latin expression which loosely translated means, "those who will be confirmed." 

Worshipping our Lord and receiving the Eucharist at least weekly is an integral expression of our Catholic faith in all the years of our lives, but especially whenever we prepare to receive one of the other sacraments like Confirmation, Holy Orders or Marriage. So our parish two year confirmation program includes an opportunity for our young people to express their faith with their peers. 

This weekend is the first of our monthly Sunday 5 PM masses and it follows a formation session for the 8th grade confirmandi. While parents and sponsors of these children are surely invited, please be aware that if younger brothers and sisters are brought to these masses, the homily may be rated PG-13. This is not simply another regularly scheduled mass, but an opportunity to focus on some contemporary issues with not only a specificity which is difficult at other Sunday masses, but using vocabulary appropriate to the Christian truth being explored in the gospel. 

Thanks to our Religious Education teacher volunteers and Religious Education staff members for planning these gatherings and praying with our young people.

Not only are the fruits of the Eucharist available in abundance during these times, but the group interaction and communal aspects of the afternoon formation sessions are crucial for young people to explore and develope their faith. The old sacramental preparation mentality that there is a simply a core of information that you "gotta know for the test" presumed a solid foundation of weekly mass attendance and faithful attendance at the "classes" themselves. 

Let us pray for the graces of the Holy Spirit to inspire our confirmandi and their families. This year, as you may know, Fr. Douglas Freer, Vicar for Catholic Education will confer the sacrament here at Holy Cross.


Friday is Pastoral Catechesis Day for Grades 7A and 8B

As you may know, beside visiting one grade of classes per week on a rotating basis, Fr. Manning teaches a weekly session with the 7th and 8th grade Holy Cross students, half of each class per six month session.

Sometimes the sessions cover topics selected by the teacher, the pastor or the students themselves. Often we discuss issues raised by their studies in Religion class. On occasion the session covers any questions they may have about Church events, Catholicism and especially morals and ethics in today's world.


Altar Stone
Typical Altar Stone with Relic

Last week the 8th grade asked questions about sacred relics. This afforded us an opportunity to discuss not only what relics are, but the place of reverence for the human body even after death, the proper distinction between the respect we show these mortal remains of saints and supersition or magic, even the bizarre and sometimes less than respectful travelling exhibit Body World. The implications for the new altar and the identity of the mystery saints relics in our altar stones were also discussed. Relics are no longer required by church law to be contained in the table of the altar. Why the church believes we should bury the dead or the cremains of the dead and the relatively recent church sanction for the practice of cremation were also mentioned.




Eden or Heaven Better ?


The seventh graders asked questions about the Bible, especially Genesis, theCreation and Fall, and the real Garden of Eden. The Discovery channel shows on the Bible, when properly explained, can be a good discussion starter, not only to put the claims of the shows producers in context, but to help understand the media's approach to religion and Catholicism.


No specific topics are selected today, so we'll see...

40 Days of Prayer Witness for Life

Today parishioners from Church of the Holy Cross joined others from Church of the Nativity and St. James Church to keep a vigil of prayer outside the Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank.

For many years the clinic has been the site of prayerful vigils by the bishops of our diocese along with members of the faithful.

Today's witness marked the beginning of 40 consecutive days of prayer to bring an end to abortion - a goal which is more realistic now than any time in recent memory. Most Americans are opposed to abortion on demand and would limit or restrict them to a very small fraction of the number which are performed in the United States daily.

This is the abortion clinic in case you've never realized what it is by its unassuming appearance.

So many motorists pass by each day, imagine the prayers which could be directed toward the protection of human life and the safety of the unborn. The prayerful witness is silent: pray the rosary, read Scripture, recite the Divine Mercy chaplet, any non-confrontational but public prayer.

Our trio of parishes has been assigned Thursdays from 9 AM to 6 PM. If you can join us anytime during these Thursday vigils please call the Parish Office to sign up for a specific hour so we know we can count on you.

What Glorious Weather for the Church Project

Digging pretty close to the rectory I'd say. That's the open kitchen window on the left!

The arm of the cross to the south.

Old Rectory
Brickwork from the Old Rectory formerly located at the Southwest corner of the church.
Northern Nave
Much of soil will be used as backfill against the exterior of the basement walls once they have sufficiently hardened.

Standing in the basement from the near the vestibule of the church. The meeting room occupies most of the center west of the transept.

A Little Less Dirt and a Little More Progress

Today the construction manager was able to release some of the fill we've had piled up on the site for a while. It's all a guesstimate, measured pragmatically by dump truck loads full. We're trying to save what we need and make room by getting rid of what we don't.


Meantime, we await the arrival of a trailer in which to store, among other things, our ambo from St. Francis Church. Sadly St. Francis has been vandalized twice in one weekend and the safety of items left there cannot be assured. As soon as we have a space large enough to store it, we will be moving the ambo out. Happily, our windows were removed long ago.

We are packing up the aisle windows from the old church for delivery to Beyer Studios which happens to be right around the corner from St. Francis Church. We have asked Joe Beyer to work on making one or two keepsakes from the old glass to assess the enthusiasm of parishioners or others for pieces of the decorative glass from the old church windows. If there is sufficient interest and funds can be raised for the church, we will proceed with converting more or most of the glass. 

Panes of Glass from the old aisle windows.

Meantime the forms for the basement walls near readiness for the concrete, perhaps sometime later this week.


I Can See Clearly Now

 It won't be long before the walls outline the shape of the church, but here is a panorama after today's work. The church outline becomes more apparent with each passing day. 

The northern transept, or the left side of the arm of the cross near the rectory as pictured, will have no basement, so there is a pile of dirt there now where a slab on grade floor will eventually be poured. There is a full basement under the southern transept as can be seen in the photo.

The tallest mound of earth and the ramp into the construction site cover part of the garden and plaza leading up to the main door of the church from the parking lot.

Church Two


Elevator Footings and Preparations for Walls

Today the remaining footings were poured on the western end of the narthex and the vestibule, including the foundation for the elevator.

When I mentioned the elevator to some of the students, they remarked, "The church is going to have a basement?" As you know, the basement will house a meeting room, bathrooms and storage rooms and be accessible by a simple elevator for those who cannot climb or descend stairs. 


The footings along the westernmost extent of the church can be seen along with the rectangular foundation for the passenger elevator.


Preparation for the Forms of the Basement Walls

Catholic Schools Sustainability Commission


Holy Cross School
Bishop O'Connell has shared with pastors and parish administrators Part I of the final report of the Catholic Schools Sustainability Commission that he formed in March of 2012 to study the present and chart the future of Catholic primary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Trenton.


The general strategy to strenghten and sustain Catholic education in the diocese is discussed in Part I of the report. The bishop has emphasized the requirements for a viable Catholic grammar school: (a) sustained strong enrollment and (b) sustainable financial support.  The bishop's call for Catholic schools at every level to be "passionately Catholic... academically excellent and financially responsible" must not only be heard, but acted upon for Catholic schools to educate this generation of children and the next. 

Part II contains statistics concerning each school  - appropriate sections will be shared by the bishop with each pastor whose parish maintains a school.

Over the coming months, the criteria for sustainability will be circulated, discussed and explained. Each parish with a school must discern whether it can authentically commit to these goals or consider the sad, but real possibility of closing their school. Holy Cross school is fundamentally sound but we are always striving to improve; the bishop's report will help us establish additional benchmarks to measure our progress. 

For decades, both school families and parishioners without children in our school have sacrificed for the mission of Holy Cross Parish School. We can be proud of its record of academic achievement and spiritual formation. In recent years, we have been emphasizing the importance of the school's Catholic identity and have implemented many curricular and pastoral changes to help strengthen it, while at the same time strenthening the academic curriculum and modernizing the school facility itself. We are blessed with our principal's enthusiastic embrace of Catholic education, an excellent faculty and a supportive School Board and PTA. 

We must not only value our Catholic schools, but send our children to them if they are to survive. It seems rather obvious. Our budget for faculty enrichment, student activities, school environment, faculty wages and benefits is directly tied to student enrollment. If each classroom is filled with students to our stated capacity, uniquely small with an excellent faculty:student ratio for this region, not only will the students benefit from a diverse student population, but school programs, staff and facilities will flourish more comfortably with lesser increases in tuition.

Holy Cross School has been an important mission of the parish for almost half the lifetime of the parish. We can ensure it remains healthy under our watch for coming generations to cherish.

Fr. Manning


Fall Flowers

A Rosemary which survived transplanting and a good cutting back earlier this year

Zinnias escaped powdery mildew this year

John Paul II Rose Surprises With More Blooms
Walker's Low Nepeta has done well just about everywhere it is planted

Sky Pencil Boxwood finally showing its stuff after 6 years!

Nothing's worse than a Wisteria looking for something to latch onto. The new fence has so far eluded its grasp

This akebia was cut back to make room for the new fence, but has already started reaching for the sky. Do you spot the Holy Cross?

Perennial Asters are an aggressive spreader

Autumn Sedum is usually covered with bees.

Work on the Walls to Begin

On Saturday afternoon, trucks delivered the forms and equipment needed to begin work on the basement walls of the church. About half of the foundations remain to be poured, but most of the footing work looks to be complete, and more concrete will be poured early in the week.

Things change quickly, so check back on the blog to follow progress. We're still working on a construction webcam.

A good portion of the excavated dirt will be removed beginning mid-week. The rest will be saved for grading and backfill here at the construction site.

It will be exciting to finally see the church begin to rise from the excavation!


Holy Cross Youth Ministry Registration Form 2013-2014

Download 2013 Welcome letter Registration Form.pdf (62.6K)


Dear Friends,


For the 2013-2014 season, we will again be offering our Youth Program for teens of Holy Cross Parish.  Young people in grades 9-12 are encouraged to participate!  Our staff has worked out a great program to benefit this age group in many ways.  Holy Cross teachers Greer McCarthy, Amy Evans, and myself along with CBA religion teacher Matt Butler are excited for a year of good fun, super service projects, and “an enlightening experience”.

 Most young people desire a relationship with God, but struggle with how to get started and keep it going.  Holy Cross Youth Ministry is an excellent way to keep young people thinking about their faith while acting on Catholic social teaching.  The program will include prayer, service to those less fortunate, social gathering and, of course, a lot of fun!  Participating in our Youth Ministry is something positive to add to college applications and job applications. Today’s world is so competitive, and youth ministry can provide a spiritual edge to help our teens develop a smooth transition into growing older. 

 We hope you will join us!  Please fill out the registration form and return it to the Holy Cross Parish or School office.  Questions?  Call me at 732-842-0348, extension 1140.

Thank you!

 Michael Feerst

Director of Youth Ministry