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!









Faure's Gift of Heaven

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It was an amazing experience to sit in our church, the place many of us customarily pray, and be treated to the sounds of a composer's invitation to enjoy something of what "eternal rest" may feel like. 

The concert, featuring, Faure's  Requiem took us through each of the parts of the Roman Catholic Funeral Mass in music from beginning to end. For me the highlights were the Pie Jesu and the Benedictus, the first a plea to grant the deceased eternal rest and the latter an invitation to all the saints in heaven to greet them at their coming.

Attendance was a little disappointing, but we hope that as we continue to hold such concerts of sacred music, the interest and attendance grows. At this point, we would be quite grateful for a person or group to underwrite the cost of such concerts so that we can continue to keep them free for a good will offering only.

Don't tell our music director I'm already working on plans for another event in the Fall to be held in conjunction with our parish feast day, the dedication of our new church and the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is possible our new organ pipes will be installed by then, and who know, perhaps even some of the art on our reredos - coincidentally entitled "The Exaltation of the Holy Cross."

That should be spectacular!

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm for enlivening the arts at Holy Cross Church.

 


Tomorrow is a Day of Rest

Spend a time of relaxing beauty and prayer in church on Sunday afternoon and join us for a performance of Faure's Requiem by guest soloists and member of the Holy Cross Choir. 

Faure's Requiem is noted for its quiet beauty. The composer wanted the composition to help people imagine the restful bliss of heaven itself. 

Your free will donation for the concert enables us to continue to offer fine classical music in our beautiful church setting performed as a vehicle for prayer.



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Artist's First Rendition For Christ Enthroned In Heaven For Holy Cross Reredos

We were so delighted to receive not simply a small painting for our first review from Zu Zheng Yu, but a beautiful work of art. Those who saw the 25% sized panels  in the reredos space itself were enthralled and the comments we received were universally positive.

It is far too beautiful to hide, so for now we have placed it in the exonarthex. 

After discussing some theological and compositional adjustments to the piece, we eagerly await the next work.

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Human Rights Quiz

Take a quick quiz on Human Rights. Which of the following has the legal rights of a "person" according to its local jurisdiction? 

 

 Te Awapa Tupua River, NZ

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YES. Granted personhood by the New Zealand Parliament. Read this excerpt from Bioedge:

Riverine personhood is an untested concept in a Western legal system. According to the government, Te Awa Tupua will now have its own legal personality with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person. Lawyers say that the river cannot vote and cannot be charged with homicide if people drown in it. But it will have to pay taxes, if liable. The gender of the river is unspecified at the moment.

The government has awarded River Awapa (if I can be so bold to use the River's first name)  $80 million in pollution damages for the last 20 years along with $30 million toward improving its environmental, social, cultural and economic health. It will have two court appointed guardians: one by the indigenous people who brought the petition, the other by the crown. 

 Attorneys for the river indicated its gender had not yet been determined: "At this stage the river is referred to as "it" but it could be assigned a gender (and not just that of a man or woman). If the people appointed to act as the human face of the river want to ask people to use another pronoun, they can, just like everyone else."

With this Act of Parliament, I think that New Zealand has officially entered the age of liquid modernity. I am sure the search didn't take long for 2 guardians to administer the river's assets! Imagine the lawsuits When River gets angry and floods home and basements. I wonder if it has legal immunity from that?

 

Kiko  22308806-mmmain

 No, so far. (But litigating) Kiko is a deaf chimpanzee rescued by his current owners years ago from performing in circuses and movies, he lives on a Wild Life Preserve in upstate New York. A lawyer, Steven Wise is arguing before a court in New York that the chimpanzee's personhood rights are being violated by being kept in his enclosure. He should be freed according to Wise to live in a preserve in Florida.  

 

 A 35 Week Human In Its Mothers Womb

Bill of rights

 No. See Roe v. Wade for the irrational explanation. 

 

A 35 week old human in its mother's arms.

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Happily Yes, so far.