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March 2017

April 2017

Rise Up: Projects and Plans

4c3828b0478982779f0e00fb18a5f2b3The search committee for a new principal for Holy Cross School continues its work after a brief rest for the Easter holiday vacation. Pray for the committee's success. It was no small measure of consolation to note that the Walt Disney Corporation has persuaded its own CEO, Bob Iger, to postpone retirement for the third time, since finding a suitable replacement for him is so difficult.

New carpeting and security is being installed in Holy Cross Chapel in preparation for its use an Adoration Chapel for the Blessed Sacrament.

Repair of the snow melt cable under the main church stairway has gotten underway.

A final proof list for the engravings in our Book  of Donors will be published soon.

New designs for the organ pipes and cabinets in our choir loft were approved and ordered. Preparations are underway for their installation.

A brass handrail alongside the ambo and protective window bars on the stained glass windows will be installed.

Evergreen plantings along the parish playground and fence will be installed. Replacements for the dead/dying boxwood hedges will be planted.

Planning has begun for the early fall concert in honor of our parish feast, The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Watch for an ecletic, but beautiful mix of sacred, American spirituals and traditional hymnody to celebrate the theology of our salvation through Christ's cross. We anticipate the participation of invited solists and both the adult and children's Holy Cross Choir.

This week we have a second meeting regarding the sacred art for the reredos. I can't wait to see the second study.

One of our Sunday night Latin masses will be celebrated with song each month. We plan the relatively simple variant of one priest with choir/schola singing the mass, with or without incense. 

And of course, excitement in growing in anticipation of the celebration of our Confirmations and First Holy Communions.

Blessed Easter Season!

 


Work To Begin On Church Organ Pipes

Pipe Cabinets

Crafstmen are about to begin work on the church organ pipes and cabinets for installation in the choir loft. We have received beautiful designs and reasonable estimates.

We are still in need of financial donors for this beautiful addition to the church. Please call the office if you are willing to memorialize a gift.

 


Let There Be Light

AltarWe finally got the burned out LED's replaced on the sanctuary ceiling (40% of them were already out) and have brightened up the sanctuary quite a bit. It's still not as it will be, but better. The Holy Cross had been pretty much in the dark for Lent, but that surely wouldn't do for Easter!

 


Handrail for Help To The Ambo And Window Railings To Protect The Stained Glass

We've approved two additions by Two Brothers Iron Works who fabricated the beautiful railing for our ambo: a hand rail into the north end of the sanctuary near the ambo and brass window rails along the main aisle and transept windows. 

People have occasionally been sitting on the window sills (and breaking them, oddly) and leaning against the stained glass, neither of which is good for the long term health of our valuable heritage.

They not in our budget, so the church would gladly accept contributions to help defray the installation costs! Thank you.

 

 

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The handrail will match the existing rail and help our readers get a grip.
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The window rails will protect the glass and the sills.

Snow Melt and Stair Repair to Begin

As you may recall, the snow melt cables laid under the blue stone stairs on our south west main entry staircase and into the basement were inadvertently cut during changes to the hazardous diagonal cut stair patterns in the upper landing. Neither the architect nor the construction supervisor were aware of the damage and we only discovered it during a few snow flurries and freezing morning dew cycles before the big blizzard. (after being reassured it was on "automatic")

Blame (1)

In a similar "you can't make this stuff up" category, the snow melt cables on the handicapped accessible ramp on the north side of the church were also cut when the handrails and wheelchair barriers were installed. Repairing this snow melt would require demolition of the concrete ramp and reinstalling it - too costly to contemplate. 

Renovations to the south staircase will begin next week. All the blue stone will be removed from the stairs to expose the heat melt cable, which will then be entirely replaced. New blue stone paving will then be installed and hopefully, we will have fully functional heat cable. The costs of replacing this system are being paid from settlement amounts we reached with the construction manager, though before we knew the full scope of the necessary repair. 

The contractors on our job site had nothing to do with the original problem, so be nice to them, please!

Main entry will be through the southeast transept on the double stairs by our Jesus Calming the Storm statue until the repairs are completed. 

Thank you for your patience.

 


More Triduum Pictures 2017

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Honor Guard and Crucifers Ready the Cross

 

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The Cross is Carried Down the Main Aisle: Behold!

 

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Heavy Lifting: Behold the Wood of the Cross on Which Hung the Savior of the World!

 

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The Fire Blazes As We Wait For Darkness

 

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Our Easter Vigil Servers

 

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Easter Resurrection Finest

 

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The Easter Candle With The Resurrection Window in the Background


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New Fire for Easter Vigil Paschal Candle Lighting

This year we decided to go back to Christian roots for the building of the "new fire" - flint and steel and cotton soaked with last year's Holy Oils to start. One of our  helpful Boy Scouts loaned his fire starting skills.

FireWe built the fire at dusk so that the fire would be burning as people arrived for the Easter Vigil Liturgy. 

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We begin by blessing the new fire.

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Lighting the Paschal Candle

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Processing the Easter Candle into the Church

Vigil LightsAltar Servers spread the Light of Christ to the congregation.


Veneration of the Cross 2017

Once again this year, thanks to the help of those who raise and lower our Rood from above the altar and to the help of our crucifers who carry the cross during the Veneration liturgy, we were able to revere the cross which hangs atop our congregation all year long.

It affords us some interesting views:

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Good Friday 2017

FridayHaving watched our church under construction, many of us have seen the sanctuary in various stages of completion, often without sacred furnishings. Still, the sight of an empty tabernacle and bare altar stirs to prayer on a starkly quiet Good Friday morning.

Veneration of the Cross and Communion Service                3:00 PM

Stations of the Cross followed by private confession          7:00 PM


Spy Wednesday

JudasKissIt's an old term, not one often used in the Latin church for Holy Wednesday but it makes a good point. The gospel on this day describes Judas Iscariot's agreement to lead his enemies to Jesus under the cover of darkness  at a place and a time when no crowds would be present.

The eleven disciples with Jesus at the Last Supper didn't seem to know Judas' plan and to misunderstand or not hear Jesus' dialogue with Judas. Otherwise they would have restrained Judas from fleeing into the night to put his plan in motion.

Scholars speculate about Judas' motives for betraying Jesus, but the Scriptures describe an important reason: money. Whether or not Judas was disappointed at Jesus' interpretation of his suffering Messianic role and wanted a more powerful opposition to the Roman occupation cannot be known. Thirty pieces of silver was not a life-changing sum of money and hence the search for non-financial reasons for Judas' treachery.

Treachery needs secrecy and the cover of darkness. Otherwise good people can oppose it and win. Betrayal, by definition, must come from a friend.

Money, power, greed, mammon are all names for the same thing: temptations for potentially good people to do evil for a temporal reward.

Treachery is afoot. This Holy Week let us pray to be of one mind and heart in Jesus Christ. Let us admit our sinfulness and the ever-present temptation to trade eternity for temporal goods and ask God's strength to resist the power of Satan in our lives. 

And let us pray for God's protection for Christians all around the world.

 


Coptic Christian Martyrs

PewExplosionIt may be true that Americans have reached a point of moral and compassion fatigue on many issues. But to have so many personal indignations in Washington, DC and in our cities and schools constantly paraded before us, while many of the most significant world-wide issues get little notice only numbs our spiritual sensibilities further.

Little notice and precious little outrage seemed generated by the innocent slaughter of Coptic Christians at Palm Sunday Liturgy.

Spared from the modernization of liturgy after Vatican II, Coptic  liturgy seems more impenetrable than our own. Their priests and patriarchs sport beards and more elaborate headgear than our own bishops, but they are us. Tracing their roots back to St. Mark and the early Christian community, they separated from Rome due to theological disagreements over the Divine and Human natures of Jesus Christ. But even if we are no longer fully united ecclesially, we are united in Christ.

The blood splattered columns of St. George's church with the Stations of the Cross visible in the background, and blood stained palm-crosses amid the pews twisted from the explosion remind us of our shared discipleship with Jesus. 

Whatever challenges we face finding the time to worship together pale in comparison to the sacrifices so many Coptic Christians make daily by simply deciding to practice their faith in a hostile environment. 

Let us pray for their protection, for an increase of our own religious zeal and for the safety of our Holy Father who plans to visit this very region next week.

 


Palm Sunday Procession

I'm not sure how many parishes in the diocese are made up of parts of different cities, but each year one important message we send by processing from Sea Bright to Rumson is that both belong to our parish.

The sky was beautiful and the weather almost warm enough to smell the surf- the hint of Spring was surely in the air. I think we had our best attendance yet, surely it was the most tuneful with our children's choir leading the traditional chant to the church for our 10:30 AM mass. 

It was fun to pass Duncan Donuts chanting "All Glory Laud and Honor."

 

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Gathering and Blessing Palms in Sea Bright at the Ocean
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Crossing the River Shrewsbury
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Two of Our Faithful Altar Servers: A Pillar of Smoke and Column of Fire

 

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Jesus' Entry Into Jerusalem
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The Procession Arrives at Holy Cross



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Through the Garden Into the Church



 


Absolute Moral Norms and Weaponized Sarin

Many contemporary ethicists, including some Catholic theologians beginning in the 1970's, began to doubt the existence of absolute moral norms. The real world, they argue is free from any moral imperative at all, and within the contingent realm of human ethics, nothing can be for ever. 

In Catholic moral theology, even though our human intentions inform in part the moral goodness of our actions, there are nevertheless some actions which in and of themselves are intrinsic moral evils - no circumstances or human intentions can make them morally virtuous or even neutral. 

For one important moment, the human community has arrived at a moral consensus approximating a moral absolute: spraying innocent women and children with a powerful insecticide to kill them is wrong. Period. No reasons mitigate its wrongfulness. 

Pay attention to those who divert the moral discussion away from the human-pesticide-sprayer and criticize the president who challenges the school yard bully. It's never easy to end bullying and there isn't usually only one answer, but I think we ought be suspicious about those who become furious over the actions taken in response to the use of Sarin, but ignore the crime of using Sarin in the first place.

There has already been outrage, some real and some feigned, over any physical collateral damage from the US air strike, and over any innocent human lives that are lost. The Catholic principles of double effect are helpful in reasoning through those reports. 

Last Friday we prayed the Stations of the Cross written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. His prayers invoked courage to confront unmerited human suffering and those threatened by human evil. 

No more Sarin, ever.


Pray the Triduum

 

Praying the Easter Mysteries during the 3 day Triduum will strengthen our faith, not only for the weeks and months until the next Easter, but for our entire faith journey.

Please join us for the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Thursday evening at 7 PM, the Veneration of the Cross on Friday at 3 PM and the Easter Vigil on Saturday at 8 PM.

This year we are happy to have a catechumen who will be baptized at the Vigil and candidates who will be welcomed into full communion with the Catholic church.

 


It's Spring!

Holy Cross School Class of 3B unwraps our Prayer Garden Fountain from its Winter Sleep and strips off its protective covering. This class had nearly perfect mass attendance last weekend and so was invited to participate in what has become an annual rite of Spring for Holy Cross.

 

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The children write their names and prayers on the fountain covering.
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The plastic covering was wet with dew, but the children found a way to use the markers nonetheless.
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Unbind the Fountain And Let It Go!