Interesting results from our First Communion families regarding their preference for a 2013 date. Eighty-seven families have responded so far; this is quite a good return from 102 families of First Communicants. Please spread the word about the poll to all Second grade families so we can make our decision with as complete a picture as possible.
Today we received a set of the completed Design and Development drawings for the renovated Church. This major phase of the project is now complete. The architect and construction manager have already begun planning the Deconstruction/Construction phase of the project, including the second of three more precise project cost estimates.
Once we move out of the Church, daily mass will be held in the former convent chapel adjacent to the school building. Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament will also be in this chapel until the rededication of the new church and consecration of the altar. Only several minor modifications will be necesarry to recovert the space from a classroom to a chapel, including securing the rest of the building from access through the chapel. Meantime classrooms are being modified in the school to to adjust for the temporary new configuration.
Along with the usual clean-up the summer recess affords our school, this year the principal's office is getting a bit of special attention. Already a fresh coat of paint in a new (slate-blue?) color has been applied, and fresh, new carpeting in both the inner and outer school office has been laid. Mr. Belluzzi has already unpacked many treasured memorabilia which adorn his desk and now hang on the walls of the principal's office. During his first week, Fr. Manning presented him with a Waterford crystal "Holy Cross" for his desk.
This of course, along with fresh coats of paint for classrooms and hallways, plumbing repairs and general cleaning. When the contents of the classrooms are moved into the hallways, it's amazing to realize the amount of furniture, books and equipment each classroom holds.
The repairs to the gutters of the school have already been underway.
Please spread the word that parents of this year's First Communicants are invited to take a survey asking their preference regarding the celebration of the sacrament this year. The link to the survey is on the Parish webpage.
So far, the results
Does anyone recognize either of these windows?
Congratulations if you realised they are two of the windows in the old convent chapel here at Holy Cross.
At long last we are doing some reparative work on the school roof, especially replacing the leaders and gutters along the older portions of the school building. Work is scheduled to begin today and be completed within a week or two.
Parents of next year's first communicants are being asked to respond to a survey. The question is whether they would prefer to celebrate First Communions early so that they may be done in our Church, or at the usual time in May in the Gymatorium, after construction has been scheduled to begin.
The results of the survey are interesting, even at the preliminary stage. So far, a majority are expressing an interest in First Communions early, in the Church.
I like purple coneflowers well enough for their long-lasting blooms and hardy nature, but I especially love that Monarch butterflies love them. We've had quite a few Monarch visiting for the last weeks.
Susan was able to snap this picture today, just before a wedding.
July 1st is nearly infamous as the day when all new hospital interns begin their responsibilities and all the existing residents and interns are either promoted or move on. I remember my first weekend on call as a Medical Resident watching the Tall Ships enter New York harbor under the Verrazanno Narrows Bridge from the rooftop of the hospital. It was July 4th, our Bicentennial Celebration. The reason I remember the day, is that our reverie was interrrupted by a cardiac arrest in the Operating Room. At least we were very close, the OR was on the uppermost floor.
Interestingly, July 1st is also the day many transferred pastors, parochial vicars and newly ordained priests are beginning their new assignments in our Diocese. We pray for them and their parishioners as they grieve the loss of the familiar and begin a new phase in their journey with the Lord and His Church.The Church remains in good and caring hands and we remain in His hands no matter where we serve.
July 1st marks the first day our new principal, Mr. Bill Belluzzi assumes the leadership of Holy Cross School. He and his staff have already been hard at work rearranging the office space, and reviewing some matters which require immediate attention. I know that our students, teachers and parents will enjoy working with him as much as I already have. Please keep Mr. Belluzzi in your prayers as he joins Holy Cross School and Parish in helping educate our children and form them as faithful Catholics.
Thank you to all who stayed to pray today after the 10:30 AM mass for religious liberty in our country and in the world. We prayed the litany suggested by and composed by the American bishops which was quite beautiful and very appropriate.
Our campaign to collect signatures for letters to our elected representatives is ongoing and there were letters available for signing after all the masses this weekend. To date, almost 1000 signatures have been collected and letters mailed.
"Do not be afraid, just have faith." I hope these words of Jesus go straight to our minds and hearts this weekend; how sorely we need to hear them.
In the face of sin, illness, even death, Jesus reassures us. How much more should we be reassured in the face of disorder in our relationships, finance, politics, family? Increase our faith, O Lord!
There is a surely a crisis of faith, both secular and religious. All human institutions and promises are undergoing a trial: do we mean what we say, can we trust anyone's promise? Can we rely on each other? These questions are serious enough, but the crisis of religious faith tempts us to believe we cannot or better not rely on God. Or equally perilous, we might come to believe that our faith is simply an inner assertion of belief which carries no obligations to live a faith-filled life.
Our faith is a precious gift and it must be nurtured and protected. How many times, if we're honest, have we chosen fun over faith? Our amusement and leisure time is important, but so is preserving some of it to nurture and practice our faith.
Pope Benedict has proclaimed a Year of Faith beginning in October 2012. In calling for a year of prayer and action to nurture our faith, he reminds us that Mary's "yes", her life of discipleship from Bethelehem to Golgotha, her taste of the fruits of Jesus' resurrection and participation in the formation and life of the early Church at Pentecost - all were acts of faith. The first apostles left everything in fatih and preached everywhere. This very faith which has been handed down to us by countless men and women so that we can recognize Jesus in the Eucharist and in each other, in our church and in our history.
Faith has both an intellectual and spiritual component. We hope our faith resides down deep in our hearts, but it is also fed by our mind and our reason. To nurture our faith, we need acts of prayer and charity, the Eucharist, the sacraments, but we also need to read, study, appropriate the faith for each stage of our journey. There is a rich content to the faith, even called "the deposit of faith," a rich tradition and beautifully clear Church teachings for us to know and understand. In conjunction with the Year of Faith, Bishop O'Connell has proclaimed that the preaching on the second Sunday of each month be reserved for teaching an important aspect of our faith, church tradition or church teaching.
We must appreciate how threatened our faith can become by simple everyday events, if we don't take precautions to strengthen and protect it. The books we read, the news we hear, the movies we see, the conversations we have and the jokes we laugh at; the friends we keep, the things we buy, the ad campaigns we respond to, the way we permit our children to dress, the song lyrics they carry around in their heads, the trends we become part of...all these can be a slow and relentless drip, drip, drip eroding the foundations of our faith. Without reparative and preventive measures, we should not be surprised to discover at a funeral, or a wedding, or the doctor's office, that when we turn to rely on our faith...it has collapsed.
This weekend, especially, we remind ourselves that our civic freedom also needs protection. If we fail to nurture and protect our liberties, pay little heed to world events, our nation's history, or political discourse, our freedoms will wither or be clipped and trimmed into a shape our forbearers wouldn't even recognize.
Today we join in prayer for the preservation of faith and freedom in our nation and in the world. This will become more important as specific articles of our faith bring us into conflict with the political and moral climate of our country, but also with a militant secularism which strives to sanitize God from any American public discussion. Some seek to regulate our Catholic charities and our Catholic teaching institutions no differently than MacDonalds or Walmart. We are different! What we do and how we do it springs directly from our faith, which we must be free to practice in private and in public.
Faith and our freedom to practice it is a God given liberty, which today we acknolwedge, has required heroic human sacrifice to preserve. Let us resolve today to reinforce both faith and freedom by prayer, reading and study, by witness and whenever necessary by willing sacrifice.