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March 2016

Jesus Calms the Storm


The Calming of a Storm     Mark 4: 38-40


Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”  The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”


"Quiet! Be still!" Words to a storm at sea, but so clearly words to turbulent souls as well. Both meanings were intended, a reason we have entitled the sculpture "Jesus Calms the Storm" without calling it a sea storm. 

The sculptor, Nick Ring, worked with us to depict Jesus facing the Atlantic Ocean and being buffeted by great winds, but neither afraid nor angry - serenely confident. His garments blow and he needs to hold his cloak securely clasped. His right hand is held in a powerful blessing gesture, not meant to be a rebuke, but to demonstrate control and security. The statue is designed so a person can walk directly up to it and stand under Jesus' visage of blessing. His reassuring words echo down the centuries, Quiet, be still, have faith.

An inscription with the title of the sculpture and biblical citation along with a donor acknowledgement will be affixed soon. After the plaque arrives, a formal blessing of the statue will be announced.


Blessed Easter Sunday 2016!

LightI wish every Catholic had the experience of the Easter Vigil Mass and the Lighting of the Paschal Candle.

Outside the church, in darkness, the Easter Candle is lit from fire, in the "old day" the "new fire," which the priest had to build by striking flint and kindling tinder into a flame --- no matches, or butane lighter! The Easter Candle is then processed into the church in total darkness, shared eventually by priest and the congregation candle, by candle until the entire church is aglow with the Light of Christ. And the Easter Candle, as the exultet proclaims, is divided but undimmed.

The sharing of its flame brings an increase in light, not a decrease.

What a beautiful metaphor for God's love and the best kind of love we share among us.

The Light I share, takes away nothing from me, but adds to Christ's light in the world.

Think of this whenever whatever we have doesn't seem quite enough...

    Enough energy..."Not now..."

    Enough hope..."Now this?"

    Enough patience and perseverance..."Not again?"

    Enough forgiveness..."Never!"

Divided but undimmed

    spread but not thinned...

This is the joyful hope of Easter; let us bask in the Light!

Blessed Easter,

Fr. Manning


The Sacred Triduum Begins Tonight


Join us in praying the Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7 PM tonight in the church as we close Lent and begin the most holy three days of the church's liturgical calendar.

At the beginning of mass, we will formally receive the sacred oils blessed by Bishop O'Connell and the priests of the diocese at the Chrism mass earlier in the week. The Oil of the Sick, The Oil of the Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism will be used throughout the year to celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick. Last year, the Sacred Chrism was also used to consecrate our altar and our church building.

At tonight's mass, we will celebrate the foot washing in commemoration of Jesus' actions at the Last Supper.

At the conclusion of the mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be processed from the church to the chapel where it will be placed in the Altar of Repose for the night. The tabernacle in the church will be empty. 

We will pray night prayer in the chapel at 11 PM.

Parish Survey: The Sacramental Life of Holy Cross


 Survey says!

Online Survey

This survey is for our own use. It asks questions pertinent to our new church and policy decisions we need to make in the next few months and years.

Please take the time to complete this survey, which will, among other things, guide mass times for the summer months and beyond.

Comments and questions from some who have already completed the questionnaire prompt some additional explanations:

Sound System:  Our sound system installation has a turbulent history, plagued by undetected electrical surges which were resetting the computerized settings randomly and were detected eventually because the surges caused short circuits in two brand new amplifiers. Since an electrical line filter was installed, the system has been stable. There are two presets, one for weekday when the church is empty, the other for weekends when there are more people in the building. The question should be evaluated using experiences you have within the past two months or so, not in the first couple of months. Each of the speakers can be individually adjusted, so deficiencies in the setup should be noted with as many specific details as possible.

Weddings: One local parish has been willing to reserve wedding times for any couple eligible to marry in the Catholic church regardless of their parish affiliation. Due to the popularity of the shore for wedding receptions, it has been our policy to limit weddings to couples when either the bride or the groom has a connection to Holy Cross Parish or School.

As you can imagine, Holy Cross gets phone calls from brides shopping reception venues at the Jersey Shore and a church to go with them. While allowing non-parishioner weddings may seem hospitable (and a way to help pay for our church mortgage), it would limit the time and dates for weddings available to our own parishioners. Judge accordingly.

 Additional Improvements to the Church: Most of the items on this list were cut from the original church construction budget to save costs and to conform to diocesan guidelines. Additional contributions would be sought for each of these items before the work is authorized to be done. 


Passion Sunday and the Windy, Cold not sunny but at least not snowing day

A brave band of parishioners gathered in the windy cold of Passion Sunday in the parking lot at Sea Bright steps away from the Atlantic Ocean to bless palms and process with them from Sea Bright to Rumson for the 10:30 AM mass at Holy Cross Church.

Stepping off at 10:15 AM, we were only several minutes late for mass, but arrived with blood flowing and invigorated for the beginning of Holy Week. For the first time in several years, our procession entered not through the doors of the gym, but through the main doors of our new church.

Please join us for one or more of the liturgies of Holy Week! 

Jesus Calms the Storm

Delivery of our Jesus Calms the Storm statue is still scheduled for Good Friday, of all days. It will not be installed on the granite base until some time after Easter, but it will be outside where everyone can get a glimpse of it.

The sculptor submitted his recommendation for the patina coloring of the bronze. The color is a rich, dark color, neither too chocolate looking nor verdigris. The sculptor will be at the foundry on Monday with more details.

We've also got some beautiful plants on the way for the garden and the pergola so as soon as its safe to plant, the beautification of the pergola by mother nature can begin. 

Walk With Jesus: Stations of the Cross and Palm Procession

Two opportunities to walk with Jesus during Lent are coming in the next few days:

Stations of the Cross Friday night in the church beginning a 7:00 PM. If you haven't gotten a chance to go to confession during Lent, there are also confessions immediately after Stations of the Cross at approximately 7:30 PM.

Procession of Palm on this coming Sunday from the easternmost part of our parish in Sea Bright to the 10:30 AM Mass at Holy Cross. We will gather in the public parking lot in Seabright and after a blessing of the palms, begin processing to Holy Cross at approximately 10:15 AM. Please join us to witness our faith and support each other in prayer as Holy Week begins.


Rumson St. Patrick's Day Parade

The Holy Cross parishioners who marched in the Rumson St. Patrick's Day Parade had a great time. This year the wind did not whip through the march and so the banners of our Irish Saints Windows were held high and finished the parade without need of repair for next year.

Thanks to our banner bearers for volunteering their time and energy. This year we added small banners announcing the identity of each of the saints. Even though the saints' names are inscribed on the windows, it is difficult to read them in the short time they pass in review.

Having noticed how many dogs line the parade route with their owners, we tried something new which turned out to be a great hit. Lori LaPlante baked St. Patrick shamrock dog biscuits with all natural ingredients and packaged them beautifully two to a bag. I handed a bag to their owners, almost all of whom seemed surprised and pleased with our offer. Even the dogs seemed to know something good was up for them! We ran out of biscuits less than half way through the line of march. More biscuits next year!

Congratulations to the parade organizers who did a fine job of keeping the parade step off on time and shepherding the numerous marching contingents to their proper places. 

Invocation St. Patrick's Day Parade
A Lucky Shamrock Biscuit Recipient
A Smile for the Camera
Our Lead Banner
Stained Glass Windows on Parade

Stations of the Cross 7:00 PM Confessions 7:30 PM

Tonight's Stations of the Cross will be led by Holy Cross Men's Group and will use the "Stations of the Cross with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus" as prayer. It's an interesting resource, more wordy than we are used to, but quite beautiful. If you remember the Stations authored by Pope Benedict, it is on par.

The reflections focus on the self-giving of Christ on the road to Calvary which leads directly to the Eucharistic sacrifice at Mass. "At each of the fourteen stations, readers are encouraged to offer themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by uniting their sufferings with his in the Eucharist."

Please join us beginning at 7:00 PM for Stations followed at 7:30 PM by confessions.


Good Friday Veneration of the Cross

Yesterday workers modified the suspension of our Holy Cross, or Holy Rood as it is also called, so that it can be readily raised and lowered by its cable attachments.  This will enable us to venerate this very cross on Good Friday's afternoon service.

Since it is heavy and a bit unwieldy, it will be carried into the church by several adults and placed on a bier at the foot of the main altar where it will remain for the Veneration of the Cross on Friday and throughout the rest of the day, including Stations of the Cross on Good Friday evening.

Please join us at 2:30 PM on Good Friday to meditate with contemplative strings followed by the liturgy at 3:00 PM. Silence on Good Friday is traditional, but has proved to be quite a challenge in the modern age. We have found that the beautiful sounds of a string ensemble helps everyone settle in and helps quiet reflection.

Please join us in prayer for each or all of the three liturgies, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.

The Holy Rood at Holy Cross

New Jersey Homeland Security and Preparedness for Houses of Worship

Faith Based Security Strategy (Follow link to NJOHSP Website and Report)

Pastors, priests, parish staff and liturgical ministers from around the diocese were invited to participate in a recent session hosted by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness on a Faith-Based Security strategy for houses of worship. 

Holy Cross had a healthy representation of parishioners and staff at the meeting. Attendees were alerted to suspicious activity around churches and took home suggestions for maximizing security at churches. Since Holy Cross has a school, the children are already trained in emergency response routines. These recommendations are for the church. 

We'll be reviewing the strategy and implementing recommendations. One important suggestion is the installation of security cameras; we had postponed purchase of a system to afford the construction budget. The infrastructure is in place; we will bid the purchase and installation of cameras and monitors to see if we can go forward at this time. 


Remembering Bishop John C. Reiss

BishopThis is the anniversary in 2012 of the death of Bishop John C. Reiss of the Trenton diocese, often called "a native son" because of his family roots in the diocese.

The funeral rites for the funeral rites were presided over by both the diocesan bishop John Smith and coadjutor bishop David O'Connell. Even Bishop Reiss' death came at a time of transition for our diocese.

Bishop Reiss' biography is on the diocese's webpage. There are also many interesting pictures of the bishop through the years which can be found with a Google image search.

I was the last priest to be ordained by Bishop Reiss, who had been the bishop during my years in seminary. On the morning of my ordination, I happened to encounter Bishop Reiss on his way into the cathedral in Trenton. I greeted him with a laugh and told him how glad I was to see him; he returned the greeting with a laugh saying he was glad to see me too.

Bishop Reiss' episcopal motto was "Let us Love One Another."