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July 2016

Attack on Our Catholic Church in Normandy

A Statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic faithful around the world experienced the shock and sadness of this morning's barbaric attack on Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France, as if the loss was in our very own parish. We pray for Father Hamel and his parishioners knowing, as St. Paul stated regarding the Body of Christ, "if one suffers, all the parts suffer with it." (1 Cor 12:26)

The Holy Mass is the most sacred and joyful act we, as Catholics, celebrate. Never are we closer to our Lord Jesus Christ than we are when we receive the Eucharist. No act of desecration – no matter how vile – can obscure the merciful presence of God.

Jesus calls us to be sisters and brothers, to strive to care for one another, and always to reject the evil that seeks to divide us. We give thanks to God for the unforgettable witness of the faithful this morning at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

St. Francis Windows for North Transept Chapel

Beyer Studios has crafted a design for the two exterior windows on the north transept using the stained glass we already own from the former St. Francis of Assisi Church in Germantown, Philadelphia.

As you recall, the original windows were quite a bit bigger than our church permitted, so we have scenes from each of the windows illustrating events in the life of St. Francis. Four of them were used to fashion the window between St. Francis and St. Clare, including a scene where Francis blesses Clare.

The smaller windows would utilize 8 more of the scenes:




Francis prays for guidance.

Francis' rule  is blessed by Pope Innocent III.







Francis takes "build my church" literally.

Francis blesses King St. Louis IX. (?)






Francis meets St. Dominic.

Clare prays at St. Francis' deathbed.








Pray for Peace During Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesday

St. Stephen's Church

"Mindful of all that is going on in the world at the present time, let us pray for those who most need our prayers, for peace, for living together in harmony."

These are the words of Catholic priest Jacques Hamel, martyred today during mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Pere Hamel wrote them in the most recent parish bulletin. 

Living in the parish in semi-retirement, he was assisting the pastor. Ordained in 1958, the murdered priest was 86 years old. 

For the last 18 months he had served along with the other religious leaders on an interfaith committee, including Mohammed Karabila, imam of the local mosque.

Ironically, the mosque in Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray was erected in 2000 on a plot of land donated by the Catholic parish.

His former archbishop remembered Pere Hamel as a man "who radiated kindness."

Father Jacques Hamel

Spend an hour tomorrow at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament to pray for "peace, for living together in harmony."


Parish Center Phones Out Due to Lightning Strike

B4_lightningThat was quite a powerful thunder and lightning storm which blew over the church around dinnertime tonight!

There were really high winds and some lightning strikes quite close by to the church and school. I'm amazed no tree limbs are down on campus.

We only lost power temporarily, but the phone lines to the campus are out. No definitive promises from Verizon when communications can be re-established. 

Our email system can be reached from our outside server, so for the moment, email is the best way to reach school or parish personnel.


Drone Zones

We live in times when technology races ahead of regulation. The field of bioethics in medicine is one area where medical technology has made procedures possible before serious ethical reflection and political debate can guide its implementation.

Drone technology, especially the miniaturization of components, has also quickly brought to market inexpensive and relatively easy to operate unmanned aircraft that have legislators struggling to keep up.

Are you ready for wedding drones? Seriously.  They are becoming quite popular with wedding photographers for the bird's eye view they give of the church and its environs. 

After a recent wedding employed a photographic drone around the wedding time, we were prompted to check with both law enforcement and the Diocese of Trenton to formulate a policy regarding their use at Holy Cross weddings.

Diocesan liability insurers have recommended prohibiting drone photography at weddings. In addition, the parish can exclude drone operators from being present on parish or school property for the purpose of operating a drone. 

Our concerns are twofold: safety of persons on the ground and privacy both during worship services and school activities such as recess, gym, etc.

Other than near airports and stadiums, the law is surprisingly silent on drone flyovers. Legislation is being discussed at the state level and the Federal Aviation Association has issued recent guidelines for recreational drone flying, including a requirement that many drones be registered and that drone operators be 13 years of age or older and US Citizens or foreign nationals.  Here is an excerpt from the "Fly for Fun" publication by the FAA:

  • Fly at or below 400 feet
  • Keep your UAS within sight
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people
  • Never fly over stadiums or sports events
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
  • Never fly under the influence
  • Be aware of airspace requirements

Reasonable requests for drone photography from experienced operators with registered drones over our campus can be considered. Please call the Parish Office to arrange for a safe time.

Holy Communion

Parishioners and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion alike are reminded that communicants are to consume the host when it is received. The communicant receiving Eucharist in hand is expected to put the host in his/her mouth in such a way that the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion can be certain that the person has not carried the host away.

It is proper for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to pause distribution of communion until they confirm that in cases of doubt, the communicant has consumed the host or returns it.

This will help preserve the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament and ensure that no one disposes of a host in an irreverent, sacrilegious manner.

 If you see someone dispose of a consecrated host, please bring it to the attention of an usher, our sacristan or a priest so that the host can be brought to the sacristy and disposed of in the proper manner.

As you may know, since the church teaches that the consecrated hosts becomes the Body and Blood of Christ as long as the appearances of bread remain, even particles or portions of hosts are the Blessed Sacrament. Hosts found in dubious circumstances are not consumed, but dissolved in warm water and poured into a sink in the sacristy which empties directly into the ground ( called a sacrarium) and not into the general plumbing.


Hot on the Outside, Cool on the Inside

...Our church on Saturday afternoon. I'm happy to say that our church was a comfortable 70 degrees while temperatures soared outside to over 90 degrees. 

The air conditioning has been a pleasure so far this summer: it is very responsive when necessary and helps us avoid pre-cooling the church for hours or keeping the church air conditioning running overnight.

As frustrating as things can be when they malfunction, it's important to note when they perform exactly as intended. Deo gratias!


If You Didn't Get the Pokemon Craze the First Time...It's Back


God and Pokemon ?

I thought I could safely ignore the Pokemon Go craziness, much like I was only casually acquainted with the Pokemon card collecting craze of years gone by. (You've got to be a bit older to remember the "Wacky Packs" craze of the late 60's.)


But after noticing a few more cars driving by the church slowly at night, I thought I might investigate a bit further.

Not news to many of you with children is that the virtual reality game requires you to drive or walk about guided by the GPS on your cell phone to find/hunt/collect and fight for Pokemon. Apparently there are teams / gyms at Tommy's, Woody's and St. George by the Sea and from what I can tell, Pokemon pop up with regularity around town.

Reaction on the web from pastors and churches seems quite mixed. Many are delighted that millennials come near their church for any reason and see an opportunity to evangelize. Others are not so sure. Japanese lore about monsters and  Shintoism raise concerns. Guess it would depend on whether the average person hunting for Pokemon is also looking for an answer to life's bigger questions.

I wonder if our cohort plans a Pokemon Outreach Ministry?






Diocesan Planning Commission's Recommendations For Our Immediate Area

It occurred to me that it might be useful to summarize the findings of the Diocesan Planning Commission's preliminary recommendations for parishes in our cohort and parishes contiguous with Holy Cross. It is automatically assumed that ALL parishes will collaborate

Holy Cross, as you know, is in Cohort 16. St. Agnes/ OLPH is in Cohort 15 and Precious Blood is in Cohort 17.

Holy Family, St. Agnes/OLPH and St Catherine Laboure to link, i.e. have one pastor and separate Finance Councils.

St. Jerome and St. Mary's to merge at the St. Jerome site by 2018. The merged parish to link with St. Michael's.

St. Dorothea's and Precious Blood to link.


Be sure to check the diocesan webpage for the


Faith in Our Future Preliminary Recommendations for ALL COHORTS



The diocese has released the preliminary recommendations of The Diocesan Planning Commission for all 25 cohorts in the Diocese of Trenton.

Each individual cohort received the recommendation from their own county weeks ago, but this is the first time the results for the entire diocese have been released to the general community.

Follow the link and click on the cohort(s) you are interested in to see the information. As you may know, Holy Cross belongs to Cohort 16.

Remember that these are preliminary recommendations and will be discussed and potentially modified after feedback from parishioners, administrators and pastors.


Two Generator Nights This Week

Our church emergency generator was put to good use two nights in the last week. One for a wedding which took place during torrential downpour #1; the second for a wedding rehearsal during the much shorter, but also torrential downpour #2. 

It performed as intended both times, providing sanctuary lighting and emergency stair and exit lighting for the duration of both power outages. It was fortunate the air conditioning had already cooled the church down for the wedding before the power went out, since the air conditioner is not on the generator unit, and the church had already begun to warm up by the time the wedding was finished. 

The generator has shown itself perfectly capable of helping us finish a mass if the power goes out and allowing a safe and orderly exit.




Summertime Projects

ChurchSummertime is a good opportunity to accomplish routine maintenance tasks on the Holy Cross campus. Here are a few of the items we're working on this summer:

  • The completion of the church punchlist continues with shoe molding being installed in the building and the installation of our Hospitality Room in the church basement. Acoustic panels will be installed above the stained glass windows in the church in the nave. This should improve the sound quality when the church is not completely filled. 
  • The main parking lot will be resurfaced and relined.
  • The gutters on the Rumson Road side of the school damaged by the winter blizzard will be replaced with insurance money from the diocesan property damage insurance