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December 2017

January 2018

Common Sense with Communion and Communicable Illness

Since the flu season is upon us, it is important that we take simple precautions to minimize the chance of spreading it during our Masses. 

Some common sense guidelines are worth repeating: 1) If you are experiencing the effects of any potentially contagious illness, refrain from taking communion from the common chalice. 2) If you are coughing repeatedly and not feeling well, it is sensible to stay home and not attend Mass until you are well. 3) If you have a cough and runny nose (not allergies) it would be prudent to refrain from shaking hands.

Here is a recent guideline from the bishop's office:

With the guidance of the bishop it is the role of the pastor to judge whatever measures are needed to ensure the well-being of his parish community and to take every opportunity to remind the faithful that they should refrain from receiving Communion from the chalice if they are ill.  The sick are not obliged to attend Mass and should use prudence and good judgment before coming into contact with others.


Saul and David Reconciled

ReconciliationIn this morning's reading, mutual suspicion and enmity gives way to reconciliation as King Saul, moved by David's putting aside an opportunity to kill him, reaches peace with David.

This sculpture was erected in Derry, Northern Ireland as a sign of peace and reconciliation between North and South.

Nine Days for Life

This morning we began praying the Novena for Life after morning mass. Please join us or participate online by clicking the link below to reach the website of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) for the materials.

This year, for the first time ever, our president will address marchers at the March for Life in Washington, DC via satellite hookup from the Oval Office. There are still seats on the bus Holy Cross has chartered for the day trip tomorrow (Friday). Call our office to reserve and pay for your seat now.

Joining together to pray for the protection of human life at all its stages is a crucial contemporary mission. 


Nine Days for Life

Saint Jaime Hilario

JaimeSaint Jaime Hilario's studies for the priesthood in Catalonia, Spain were ended by a serious inner ear infection. Still wanting to serve God, he became a Christian brother and taught for 20 years in Catholic schools run by his order until declining hearing forced his retirement from teaching. Instead, he became the gardener for the local Christian brother's community.

He was caught up in the Spanish Civil war and executed (1937) for being a Catholic religious brother. After confirming that he was martyred "in hatred of the Catholic faith" the path was cleared for his beatification and nine years later, after a verified miracle, canonized a saint by St. Pope John Paul II in 1999.


Saint Anthony of Egypt

When St. Anthony was a prosperous cloth merchant, he heard Jesus' words in the gospel as he never had before - if you wish to be perfect, sell everything, give to the poor and then come follow me. He did just what Jesus said and became the preeminent monk in the Church and the founder of monasticism. 

He set up habitation in a small cave at the top of a mountain whose base contained a spring of water and lived there for much of his long life of 105 years. He died in 356 AD but his cave can still be seen and the monastery founded at the base of the mountain shortly after his death is still houses a community of monks.

A monk at St. Anthony's monastery recently explained one of the purposes of their constant prayer, "We're you're backup." The prayers of those who have left the world support those who still labor in the world for the gospel.



Saint Fursey

Yesterday we remarked about the important effect St. Ita had on the church as an educator, one of her pupils being St. Brendan the Navigator. Today, a student of Brendan the Navigator is on the church's calendar of saints, St. Fursey.

So our window with Ita and Brendan introduces us to St. Fursey, one of the first missionaries to the Angles and the Saxons and an important founder of monasteries in Ireland as well. Fursey was reportedly gifted with visions of heaven and hell which he wrote down, long before Dante.

Let us continue the ripple effect through which the faith has been handed on to us and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be vehicles of God's grace and mercy in the world.

SaintfurseySaint Fursey with a monk

Saint Ita of Kileedy

One of the "Window Saints" at Holy Cross Church, Saint Ita was the most well known woman saint in Ireland after St. Brigid. Her name is also translated as Deirdre or Dorothy.

A woman of noble lineage who dedicated her virginity to Christ, she established a school for girls and another for boys. She is sometimes called Mother of Saints because several of her pupils went on to sainthood in the Church, including Brendan the Navigator.

Here is a photo of her shrine in Kileedy. Not only did she educate her pupils to become more learned, but also more holy. Let us pray for that gift in Catholic education today.


I Come Through the Window


...or the roof. Some may remember the tag line of Stan Freberg's parody of Harry Belafonte's Banana Boat song. The too-loud, shrill lead singer has been banished from the recording studio for his most piercing lines, locks himself out at the end of the song and after the sound of crashing glass, he returns to finish the song, "I come through the window." I guess you had to be there.

This morning I thought about the stretcher bearers lowering the paralytic who "come through the roof" to encounter Jesus. Our prayers could occasionally use a boost of earnestness and hope. 



Philistines Capture Then Release the Ark of the Covenant


In this morning's first reading, the Philistines defeat Israel in battle and capture the Ark of the Covenant, bringing it back to their territory as booty.

This mural shows the Philistines preparing to send the Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites. Possessing it brought the Philistines nothing but trouble with boils, vermin infestations and the desolation of the pagan temple in which they had housed it (shown in the painting above).


Nocturnal Adoration, Wednesdays 11 PM to Midnight Beginning February 7th



Beginning Wednesday, February 7th we will resume the nocturnal adoration from 11 PM to midnight at Holy Cross Church. During Advent we always had a few faithful adorers; hopefully the word will spread and more will find the quiet time with the Lord after the day has ended fruitful. We’ll see how the reception of this interesting devotion goes and continue it for the immediate future. If more than several individuals volunteer to pray, we might take the next steps toward establishing a Nocturnal Adoration Society with its accompanying privileges and indulgences with Bishop O’Connell’s permission.

Ordinary Too Soon

It seems too soon to take down the Christmas decorations!

As we begin ordinary time, today's gospel recounts Jesus' healing of the crowds who mobbed his doorstep. In the first reading at today's Mass, Samuel misinterpreted the call of the LORD during his sleep until Eli explained its source. 

May we  be open to miraculous communication from God even during these ordinary days and have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to deepen our relationship with God and enrich our spiritual life.Eli_and_Samuel

Snow Sabbath


Whenever the weather forces a halt to human commerce, it's a good time to pause and give thanks for the many benefits we enjoy and for protection from the harsh elements. 

 We prayed a quiet Latin mass this morning, since the roads were virtually impassible and unsafe. Church events are cancelled for the rest of the day. Stay warm and safe.


The Stone Churches of Cappadocia


The landscape surrounding the stone churches of Cappadocia seems like from another world. Today we celebrate the feast day of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen. For centuries, monks and nuns inhabited dwellings in the desert hewn from the volcanic stone. Surely such starkly beautiful and simple images of the desert dwellings formed the spirituality of the Eastern Fathers of the Church.