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March 2015

In Hoc Signo Vinces

"In this sign, you will conquer," read the inscription on the cross in Constantine's dream and so he carried the cross into battle, won the victory and changed the course of Christianity. 

After our St. Helena window was cleaned, we discovered a hidden secret in its background. The Roman soldier whose head and staff had already been visible, was discovered to be holding the banner inscribed with the prediction from Constantine's dream: "In hoc signo vinces."

Newly cleaned window


Detail from right background showing banner

Holy Cross' Steeple Cross Down for ReGilding




Cross facing East


Cross facing west.

We weren't sure how the cross atop the steeple was attached. It turns out that it was slid down onto a 4x4 post and nailed at the bottom via flanges of the copper.

In many places the gold was completely gone and the copper is bashed in places, but it seems to have stood the test of time rather well.

It will be sent with the companion cross from the west of the church for repairs and reguilding and remounted soon.

Meantime, spread the word that nothing happened to the original's not's being made good as new!


Join In the Palm Sunday Procession


Join us this coming Sunday at 10 AM in the municipal parking lot in Sea Bright for a procession to the 10:30 AM mass at Holy Cross Rumson.

The children's choir will be joining us. This year we have an additional banner of Jesus' Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem which will help passers-by understand the reason for our procession. I guess a bit of drive-by catechesis.

A public prayerful witness to our faith and our church is so important; please join us.

The procession will begin at 10:15 AM in order to arrive in time for the 10:30 mass.


Church Paint Colors

The painter has his painting orders for a good portion of the church interior. They do make good progress once they get everything set up. The stained glass windows are all protected. They painted a portion of the transept and ceiling vault with trial colors, which were approved after one adjustment. I hope that the weather cooperates this weekend; last weekend they were actually painting on Saturday and Sunday until late afternoon, so we couldn't sneak a peek. 

The color combination is very handsome and will complement the floor tiles, the wood of the pews and the kneeler and sanctuary furniture upholstery. 

We'll get some good pictures soon, but here are the colors so far:


walls and ceiling vaults

side aisle ceilings

actually a custom mix of these two greys for the columns and ceiling arches.

With Due Apology to Shel Silverstein's "I WILL NOT HATCH"


You've got to hatch, you've got to hatch
The shell that protects you
Has grown way too small
If you stay hidden inside its wall
No one will see you, no one at all

What if Jesus converted his tomb
Into a sturdy stone fort
Strengthened its wall
And sealed it door
"Those sinners won’t get to me anymore. "


His Father would ask him
"They why were you born
And why did you die?
So that no one would see you
Unless they’re a spy?"

So Christ burst through the tomb
And rose to the sky
Thousands have seen him
And that’s no lie

You've got to hatch, you've got to hatch
When you’re afraid
Don’t stay in your shell
Come follow Christ
And all will be well


Mary, Mother of the Church Stained Glass Rose Window

We asked workmen to move the scaffold and ladder away from the window so we could get a good look at the new window.

Mary  Mother of the Church Stained Glass Window at Holy Cross Rumson
Mary Mother of the Church


Detail: Mary with Child Jesus
Detail of Mary Mother of the Church. Conrad Schmitt Studios did such a great job creating a new window to match the colors and theme of our 130 year old windows!

And of course, at sunset the True Cross Window has never looked so glorious!

The Discovery of the True Cross Stained Glass Window Holy Cross Rumson
St. Helena and Bishop Macarius at the Discovery of the True Cross.
Until after the cleaning, I never noticed the soldier holding the banner "In Hoc Signo Vinces." This was the inscription the Emperor Constantine beheld in his dream predicting victory under the Sign of the Cross.

Not Glamorous But Important Nonetheless: Sure Footing

I think we'll be very glad we have them in the future, but they're not a tangible liturgical memorial and so donors have been hard to come by:  electric snow melt on the main church steps and handicapped access ramp, and bluestone pavers on the steps rather than simple poured concrete. They both had been eliminated in the "value engineering" phase of the project, which reminded me a little of when my grandmother used to take us to the toy store. Whenever we picked out something that was too expensive, she would say, "no, that's too dear." We restored these two items later, confident that we would either receive generous donations for them,and if not, they were important enough to borrow for.


Here are some of the choices the architect reviewed yesterday for the bluestone steps:



Church Tours This Weekend After Masses

The construction site has dried up a bit and the walking path to the side entry door is passable. Given decent enough weather, we'll be able to take tours through the church this weekend. It's hard to believe your eyes when you first walk into the church, so be prepared! We'll be treated to a spectacular sight if there is enough sunshine.

Wear appropriate footwear for some mud and walking on course gravel. The entry way we will be using is at the top of the double stairway across from the carriage house. 



A Message From Bishop O'Connell

In John’s Gospel, Jesus prays for the apostles and those who believe in him through their word: “that they may be one (John 17:22). The unity for which Jesus prayed so earnestly on the night before he died is a grace and gift that comes from belief in him and his presence among us. For two thousand years, the Roman Catholic Church continued Jesus’ prayer for unity among Christians, despite movements and schisms that witnessed anything but unity. The Roman Catholic Church divided and divided again. And the resulting divisions divided and divided again. “That they may be one” has become a far off goal since Jesus first uttered those words in prayer.

Splinter groups of Christians, with roots in the Roman Catholic Church, have continued to arise offering a competing doctrine contrary to our own. Recently one of those groups, using the word “Catholic” in their title, has established itself within the Diocese of Trenton. This is not the first time something like this has happened here. Thankfully, this group has honestly identified itself as “independent of the Roman Catholic Church.” Its members, especially its clergy, continue to use Roman Catholic vocabulary, symbols, liturgical prayers and sacraments but profess to be more “inclusive” than the Roman Catholic Church differing from it “on several major points, such as married clergy, female priests, divorce and re-marriage, same-sex marriage, and lay leadership.” Again, this description is an honest one but retaining the “appearance” of Roman Catholicism has caused confusion among the faithful which, in turn, has caused great concern among Roman Catholic pastors and priests. Some of its clergy, in fact, are former or laicized Roman Catholic priests who have left the Roman Catholic priesthood and Church. They are reaching out to Roman Catholics whom they identify as “especially ‘the alienated and disenfranchised, as well as strayed and hurt Roman Catholics who want to continue their Catholic faith’ but can’t subscribe to the Roman Church’s rules, regulations, and stigmas.”

As the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I simply want to alert the Roman Catholic faithful to their establishment since they are offering sacraments, weddings, funerals, counseling and so forth. Before seeking to meet those pastoral and sacramental needs, Roman Catholics should inquire if those who approach them or whom they approach are, indeed, authentic and legitimate Roman Catholic pastors and priests offering ministry sanctioned and approved by the Roman Catholic Church. I cannot prevent them from offering such services within the four counties of the Diocese. I can only alert the Roman Catholic faithful to this situation that does not further Jesus’ own prayer “that they, that we may be one.”

Also, the Chancery is getting questions about a solicitation being sent out to the faithful here from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to help defray expenses connected with the World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit in Philadelphia in September. That is an effort of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. No donor lists from the Diocese of Trenton have been distributed or given to the Archdiocese. While it is certainly an understandable and legitimate effort given the millions of dollars involved, it should not be confused with the Diocese of Trenton's own fundraising activities (Appeal, Endowment Campaign, etc.) Individual members of the faithful or even parishes are free to contribute as they would to any charitable request:

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is sponsoring the World Meeting of Families 2015 in Philadelphia September 22-25, 2015, culminating with the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis September 26-27, 2015. Those interested in participating are encouraged to consult for details.
Organizers of this event in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have reached out to the faithful throughout the dioceses of New Jersey, including Trenton, to help to defray the substantial expenses connected with these events. Although fundraising activities represent the efforts of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, those willing and able are encouraged to contribute to this extraordinary gathering as they would any charitable request, to pray for its success and to participate with those planning to attend in Philadelphia. The theme of the World Meeting of Families 2015 is "Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive."


Bishop David M. O'Connell, Bishop of Trenton