Many grades had excellent Mass attendance last weekend. Our Eight graders attend their Confirmation preparation program and Mass faithfully. Class 4A has won the Holy Cross in their classroom for a record six consecutive weeks (and their Italian Ice lunch dessert)! Congratulations 4A on consistent, excellent attendance at Mass.
Congratulations to our Eight Graders for their excellent mass attendance last weekend. Last weekend, even above most, we needed to be nourished by the Eucharist and consoled by Jesus' presence in our hearts.
The overall average was a bit higher this week than last, but we still have a way to go.
Let us encourage each other to attend mass.
Let's work on the attendance throughout the year to bring the average class attendance up well over 50%
"having completed the course of her earthly life, ( Mary) was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory".
Pope Pius XII
The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary will be celebrated at 9 AM tomorrow.
Brrr. At least the bright sunshine is beautiful and the forecast calls for some warming in the next few days.
The church parking lot is cleared of drifts and the walkways to the south entrances of the church are passable. The main steps are clear.
The barrier-free parking lot and driveway alongside the rectory are closed.
The 10:30 AM and 12 noon masses will be held as usual. The sun will be shining and temperatures will be at their highest.
The 5 PM and the 7 PM masses are cancelled. Come darkness and dropping temps the parking lot will refreeze and be too dangerous.
Keep in mind the conditions of the roads, your personal safety and the admonitions of civic authorities regarding venturing out at all.
We'll announce decisions about tomorrow's masses after daybreak tomorrow.
Reminder: The 8 AM Sunday mass has been cancelled in order to give us time to clear the parking lot and walkways if possible. If the storm is still in full force, more adjustments to the schedule may be necessary. Check blog tomorrow AM.
Let us pray for everyone's safety.
At this writing early Saturday morning, the wind conditions and continuing snowfall are making it nearly impossible to foresee when travel will again be safe and when we are able to provide safe parking and clear pathways to the church.
Presuming our ability to clear the lot and walks will eventually succeed, but wishing to get time for us to do so safely, we have cancelled the Saturday 5 PM mass and the Sunday 8 AM mass.
We will assess the storm's impact later this afternoon or tonight and make decisions about the remainder of Sunday's masses when we can project whether travel is feasible and parking and church walkways are clear.
As you know, Bishop O'Connell has dispensed us from the obligation to attend mass this weekend due to the storm.
Let us be thankful for warmth and shelter and pray for the storm's impact to spare human life.
PS Please help spread the word on social media regarding the changes to our mass schedule.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our online questionnaire. 109 respondents took the suvey; the results are reported as percentages of that number. There was consensus to keep the Christmas "midnight" mass at 11 PM, and no desire for a New Year's Eve midnight mass. Of the small minority of respondents who have utilized our mass sitters for their children during the 10:30 AM mass...100% rated their experience as favorable!
The spiritual benefits of mass attendance and worthy reception of the Holy Eucharists are inestimable. Though the fruits of the mass are freely given gifts from God, it takes our effort to attend mass and receive them. While our children are learning the mass and under the guidance of our spiritual formation, it seems prudent to encourage this attendance in many different ways.
The Holy Cross School class with the highest mass attendance this coming weekend will host the Holy Cross Award in their classroom, but also be given a guided tour of the construction site. The church is beginning to really take shape and can be readily without the need to interpret construction drawings. What a fun and hands on way to teach about worship, liturgical symbolism and community.
Last weekend our confirmandi gathered after mass to hear an inspiring talk by Detective Steven McDonald of the NYC Police Department on the nature of forgiveness. In July, 1986, Detective McDonald was shot three times and nearly killed. His injuries left him quadriplegic, but he still travels widely to give motivational talks to young people.
Our eight graders had terrific mass attendance at the 5 PM mass. Congratulations to Mrs. Tomaino's class for the best school-wide mass attendance. They only narrowly missed being the first class of the year with 100% attendance.
Wow and congratulations to 2A for their terrific mass attendance last weekend of over 90%
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!
Congratulations to Mrs. Gallo's 4A class on the best mass attendance last Sunday!
Good going to 1B amd 3B as well, who were very close.
Congratulations to 1B, Miss Enna, 8B, Mrs. Tomaino on the best mass attendance for this past weekend. Thank you to their parents for ensuring that our students are able to express their faith by worshipping with us on Sunday, a great blessing but also an important responsibility.
Just a reminder to school parents that our morning masses are streamed live on webcam. The school will notify the parents in each class when their child is scheduled to attend mass and we invite you to tune in to pray along, but also listen to the homily which might serve as a topic of conversation later in the day.
It was terrific to see so many of our young children at mass this weekend, especially at the 10:30 AM mass, where the first graders were especially invited to share in prayer and after-mass hospitality. All the children were so reverent and well-behaved.
Thanks to our Hospitality Committee who set up the refreshments, to our Religious Education and School teachers who supported the children by their attendance, and of course, to their parents for making sure their children are being raised in the practice of the faith.
You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor. First Precept of the Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church
The issue of mass attendance and our attempts to encourage it by using stickers imprinted with images from each week’s gospel has been percolating a bit lately, especially as we begin a new school year with a new principal, so let me share with you some thoughts as pastor.
The importance of weekly worship as a community and the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist cannot be overstated. This is especially true in a parish community with a school. Parents, parishioners and parish staff make incredible sacrifices to ensure that our students are well formed in the practice of the faith – not simply the knowledge of the faith, but its practice. A parish’s religious education program is also an indication of how dearly the parish esteems the Eucharist and the liturgy. Our CCD program has evolved over the last few years to include an important emphasis on the gospel of the week and the importance of attending mass. The classroom teaching component is not the only, nor in my view, the most important part of faith formation. It is crucial that our young people understand that Catholics go to mass.
Surveys indicate this is not the typical practice among American Catholics, even though mass attendance is higher in the United State than in many European countries. Our children are in a formative period of their faith and it is incumbent upon us to see that they are given the best opportunity to integrate the practice of their faith into their daily lives from the youngest age.
It is quite sad to see so many funerals at Holy Cross for the most ardent, faith-filled Catholics whose children have been assimilated not to Christianity, but into a kind of religiously indifferent American multi-culturalism. What can we expect if they are not taught the vital practice of attending mass, receiving the Eucharist and nurturing their ties with the local Catholic parish? It is irresponsible to accept the premise that most children attending Catholic school do not attend mass.
It was quite possible to read, study and achieve good grades in religion without ever having heard the gospel for Sundays. Families accepted completing homework, service projects and passing tests as an expected component of religious formation. Trouble is, sometimes it became emphasized as the only component of faith formation for our children, and many schools and Religious education programs lost sight of the ideal of weekly mass attendance.
Here at Holy Cross, our school students were invited to daily mass, began to experience prayer at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, prayed the Liturgy of the Hours and helped create Stations of the Cross during Lent. Weekly reflections on the gospel were introduced into the classrooms. The parish prints stickers with clipart from each Sunday’s gospel to serve as the nucleus of discussion, even for children who cannot read. Students keep a reflection journal into which the sticker may be placed along with a one or two sentence summary of that week’s gospel in their own words, or their own drawings.
After the parish community and the teachers in both our school and volunteer Religious education teachers became empowered to discuss our obligation to attend weekly mass, mass attendance was eventually taken in Religion class and CCD. The old copper cross which stood atop Holy Rosary Church for so many years has been refurbished and is awarded weekly to the class with the highest mass attendance and the class with the most improved mass attendance.
Mass attendance at Holy Cross among our school children and religious education families has more than doubled…for some months it has tripled. Occasionally one class can proudly and rightfully boast of 100% attendance. The expectation that we should attend mass is no longer a well-kept secret and is spoken about openly and frequently. The obligation as parents, parishioners and catechists to insist that our children participate fully in their faith formation by attending mass is gradually becoming better understood.
The stickers still truly annoy some parents, obviously those whose children rarely if ever attend mass, but interestingly, some of those who do. While I’m not sure surrendering our responsibility to assess how our school and parish is doing with one of its primary missions should exactly be called “the honor system,” I get the point. Are we to abolish attendance taking in the classroom for religion class and Religious education classes, homework, quizzes and projects for religious formation as part of the honor system as well? What about tracking student tardiness for class, grades and exams in all subjects, extracurricular activities and requirements for participation in sports teams? Strident conscientious-objection to mass stickers or gospel journaling by mass-going families seems to miss the point, or at least underestimate the need to ensure our children attend mass. After all, we never see the children who aren't here, except perhaps on Christmas. The stickers aren’t the point, are they?