Adult Faith Formation

Spirituality and Iconography of Stained Glass Windows - An Colorful Lenten Evening


St Patrick
St Patrick Window for Holy Cross Church
Join stained glass artisan, Joe Beyer of Beyer Studio, Philadelphia, PA for a discussion on the history, iconography and spirituality of American stained glass on Wednesday, March 20th at 7 PM in the gymatorium.


Beyer Studio will be removing the stained glass windows from St. Francis Church in Philadelphia for us and installing them in our new windows. 

Listening to him describe our present windows was amazing. We can anticipate an enlightening evening.


Year of Faith Monthly Wednesdays

Thanks to eYear-of-faith-logo-montageveryone who brought their faith and interest and love of Christ to our first discussion meeting last evening on the topic of "The Year of Faith." It is wonderful to be able to discuss questions which are too complex for a brief Sunday homily.

Next month's topic is "The Trinity." Why do we believe in a Trintarian God and what difference should that belief make in our spiritual lives? We're using the appropriate questions in the Compendium. If you would like to receive some additional reading material which I might reference during the discussion, I'll post a link for you to download the material.

Adult Faith Formation Wednesday Night for The Year of Faith

A reminder that at 7:00 PM this Wednesday evening there will be a discussion session on the meaning of "faith" especially as it relates to the pope's call for the Year of Faith.

Questions 11 - 19 in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be discussed, along with an exploration of faith vs. reason.

St. Michael's Media Room    7:00 PM    October 17th.

(Awesomely enough, attendance at three of these session along with fulfillment of the other conditions necessary merits a plenary indulgence during The Year of Faith ! )

Adult Faith Formation Sessions for the Year of Faith

These are the discussion topics and reading material for the Adult Formation Sessions for the Year of Faith. The numbers in the second column refer to the question numbers in the Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church. The parish office has a supply of these books on hand for a requested donation of $15.

St. Michael Media Room, 7:00 PM Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church
Question Numbers: (not page numbers)
Oct. 17th-Year of Faith # 11-19; p. 191 Act of Faith
Nov. 14th-Trinity 19-23
Dec. 12th-Jesus Christ, True God and True Man Chapter 2; 79-135
Jan. 16th-Baptism of the Lord… Church 147-193
Feb. 13th-Reconciliation 295-320
Mar. 13th-Sacraments/Sacramentality Section 1
Apr. 17th-Real Presence 271-294
May 15th-Divine Revelation as Scripture & Tradition 11-24
June 12th-Morality, Sin and Conscience 357-376;73-78;392-400
July 17th-Social Teachings/Social Justice 509-520
Aug. 14th-Mary and the Communion of Saints 194-199
Sept. 11-The Mass 271-294
Oct. 16th-Grace and Virtue 422-433;377-390
Nov. 13th-Death and Eternal Life 202-217

Physician Assisted Suicide: The Time Should Never Come

Physician Assisted Suicide : The Time Should Never Come

DPhysician Assisted Suicideemocratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli has introduced the “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act” which if approved would place the following on the NJ ballot:


Do you approve allowing an adult who is able to make health care decisions and has a terminal disease that will cause death within six months to use a prescribed drug to end his life in a humane and dignified way?

The bill authorizes safeguards to ensure that the decision by the individual requesting the life-ending overdose is freely made and the drug is self-administered. While I am sure there are many specifics in the bill to be critiqued by attorneys, the issue of physician-assisted suicide merits discussion on its own moral footing.


The Catholic Church has consistently spoken out against physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and its cousin, euthanasia. The arguments against legalizing PAS range from the secular to the sacred:

1) Physician assisted suicide is a contradiction in terms. Physicians are obliged to cure and ameliorate disease when possible and in the context of hospice care, to always ease suffering. There is an intrinsic code of medical ethics against ending life which cannot be violated, or permitted even with the patient’s request. In our day of individual empowerment, this assertion is not warmly received. Our culture rejects any absolute moral norms. Patient autonomy, one of the cornerstones of medical ethics in this country, can be wrongly taken to mean blindly conforming to the patient’s wishes as long as consent is informed and freely given.

2) Legalized physician assisted suicide is bad public policy. Economic factors weigh heavily on all modern medical decisions and the pressure on the terminally ill to end their lives is not alleviated by simply declaring that physician assisted death is entirely voluntary. Our lives should not be expendable once a physician determines it might only last six more months. The evidence from Washington state that highly educated, white citizens are primarily the ones choosing physician assisted suicide only strengthens the argument that the most vulnerable in society distrust the potential abuse to which it might be put.

3) Having complete control over one’s life is a modern illusion which death itself destroys. The Catholic Church teaches that our lives come from God and we are stewards, but not ultimate masters of our human existence. When physician-assisted suicide was first approved in Oregon, fear of unremitting pain and of being kept alive involuntarily by extraordinary means motivated some to approve its legalization. Hospice care, advance directives and health care proxy have alleviated some of that anxiety. Patient’s requesting physician assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington cite “having control” over their deaths as the primary reason for making the request.


Prayer Service for Religious Liberty

2f26f341f4caea7a5809ab9751f2fef7Thank 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.

Sunday's Homily

"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 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.

Father Manning's Homily For Respect Life on Jan 21, 2012

Tomorrow is the National Prayer Vigil for Life And the Annual March for Life in Washington And boy do we need them.

Last week, President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius determined that money from the school tuition you pay to Holy Cross And some of the collection monies on Sunday which subsidize our school, be used to provide health care coverage for our employees which includes medications, procedures and counseling that flaunts 2000 years of church tradition.

The Washington double‐speak‐filled‐directive which should anger every person who holds a single religious conviction, conceded that the ruling which forces Church employers to fund the immoral procedures, drugs and counsel would respect our religious sensitivities by giving us one year to comply with the ruling. Only one day before the unprecedented and anti‐Catholic ruling by Obama/Sebelius, listen to the truth proclaimed boldly by Pope Benedict to a group of US Bishops meeting with the pope in the Vatican:

"Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. …it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life."

Swear allegiance to the Roman emperor Or we will cut off your head! Well, at least, close your hospitals, schools and adoption agencies and force you to violate your religious convictions! 

I don’t usually like slogans, but if they make you think…here’s one: The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Just a slight dip into murky waters of secular media should focus our attention and energize us:

Again and again, we see free speech and open debate stifled whenever the subject of modern marriage comes up in civic discourse. Deviations from the current politically correct definitions are hate speech. (Wisconsin student essay on traditional marriage)

Piers Morgan in an interview with Rick Santorum Responded to Santorum’s traditional Catholic views on marriage and sexuality with the retort: But your views border on bigotry, don’t you think?

The Santorum’s reverent treatment of their deceased newborn’s body many years ago was aubject of mockery by liberal pundits on the Internet and in print.

Google, Coca‐Cola, Apple, The Simpsons - have been around longer than these new secular dogmas on marriage and adoption we are expected to embrace lockstep.

American bigotry toward Catholicism isn’t new or gone. I'm reading Gotham: On The History of New York City From Its Very Beginnings. From the earliest days there were European settlers in North America, Catholics were denied the rights accorded others. On Pope Day, effigies of the Pope and Satan were burned and thrown into the river. Local modern history even until very recently shows the anti-Catholic bias: several local golf and beach clubs were founded primarily for Catholics, who could not easily gain entry into establishment groups. The Knights of Columbus offered Catholic family men life insurance which they could otherwise not obtain. Where was the largest KKK march in the US in 1924? ?  Long Branch. Recall that the KKK not only hates blacks, but Jews and Catholics as well.

The news isn’t all bad though: Last week the US Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right of religious groups to set their own qualifications for ministry. A Lutheran church had dismissed one of its religion teachers and the Justice Department brought suit for her reinstatement under the ADA act, alleging discrimination because of disability. The supreme court reaffirmed the right of the church to hire its ministers as it sees fit. 

Archbishop Dolan, president of the USCCB, has criticized the Administration's insurance mandate and will be studying the church’s options.  Pray for Archbishop Dolan. We need bishops with fire in the belly on this issue. 

Let us stay informed: you contribute the donations and pay the tuition and I endorse the checks which would pay for this immoral insurance. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and read, read, read: American History, Church history, regional history, the church teachings on life issues and the moral reasoning behind these teachings, discuss the issues.

Write Congress, Sibelius, Obama. Write the reporters, editors, media outlets when their anti-Catholic bias shows. Then we should vote as if our faith depended on it!

Forgiveness Retreat by Dr. Fred Luskin at Holy Cross Rumson

How fortunate we were to meet and hear Dr. Fred Luskin from the Stanford Forgiveness Project at Holy Cross parish. Dr. Luskin spoke to an enthusiastic group of parishioners and non-parishioners alike for 90 minutes, motivating us not only to try forgiveness but giving us several specific techniques by which to accomplish it. Thank you to everyone who was so welcoming to Dr. Luskin and a great friend of his, Brother Henry, a Christian Brother originally from Louisiana.

Copy of Dr. Luskin Visit 041011 008
Dr. Fred Luskin emphasizes a point during his talk on forgiveness.

Lenten Reflection on Forgiveness / 7 PM, April 10th with Dr. Fred Luskin


We're getting some phone calls asking if there is a charge for attending the Lenten evening of reflection with Dr. Luskin.  NO CHARGE!

Not only that, but Holy Cross parish will give the first 50 attendees a free copy of Dr. Luskin's bestselling book, "Forgive for the Good." (if you don't already have one!) Dr. Luskin has kindly agreed to autograph the book for anyone who would like.


Just How Difficult Is It to Go To Hell ?


After our lively discussion last evening about the Catholic Church's teachings on Hell, conscience and free will, who would have guessed that there would be an article on MSNBC and other news services regarding a Christian pastor, Chad Holtz who lost his position after doubting the existence of hell?

Hell or No ?

The news article discusses a recently published book "Love Wins" by Evangelical pastor Rob Bell which claims to have found a new solution to the problem of reconciling God's mercy and love with God's judgment and justice. “One of the nation’s rock-star-popular young pastors, Rob Bell, has stuck a pitchfork in how Christians talk about damnation” crows USA today. Holtz endorsed Bell's views online and that was the final judgment on his pastorship.



Tonight Chapter Three of the "The Last Things"

Tonight's chapter in our discussion book deals with a terribly unpopular subject - eternal punishment, aka hell. Join us for a discussion of the Church's teaching on the topic along with a few reflections on the nature of human free will.  7 PM St. Michael's Media Room in the School. Enter through the Main Entrance doors behind St. Anthony.


Which Virtues for Lent?

Our survey is new and there are not too many responses yet, but the initial results are actually a little funny. So far temperance, generosity and abstinence are coming up blank. Do you think we should talk about the virtues no one votes for instead of everyone's favorite?

Take the survey from our parish website and help us plan the Lenten retreat.

Two Lenten Days of Reflection This Year at Holy Cross

Forgive for Good            

        Sunday, April 10th 7 PM in the Gymatorium

Dr. Fred Luskin, best-selling author (Forgive for Good) and co-founder of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project will help us learn what forgiveness is and how to do it. Don't miss the opportunity to hear him and meet him.

Have you ever taken something too personally? Have you ever continued to blame the person who hurt you for how bad you felt? Have you created a grievance story? We're told over and over that we should, even must, forgive, but rarely are we helped how to do it. Dr. Luskin will help us learn.

Forgiveness IS NOT condoning unkindness.

Forgiveness IS NOT forgetting that something painful happened.

Forgiveness IS NOT excusing poor behavior.

Forgiveness IS NOT denying or minimizing your hurt.

Forgiveness DOES NOT mean reconciling with the offender.

Forgiveness DOES NOT mean you give up having feelings. (from Forgive for Good)


A Virtue or Two I'd Like More Of

        Thursday, March 3rd 6:30 PM

Join us for discussion, prayer and insight into the role virtue plays in our daily spiritual journey. Help us select the specific virtues you would like to consider:

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Faith Seeking Understanding Sessions During Lent


Join with us beginning Ash Wednesday evening and continuing for the first four weeks of Lent in reading and reflection on the Last Things, Final Judgment, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. What are the Church's actual teachings on these matters and how are these things important in my daily prayer and spiritual journey?

We will use an accessible, recently published book by Fr. Benedict Groeschel to jump start our prayer and discussion - "After This Life: What Catholics Believe About What Happens Next." Call Eileen in the Parish Office to reserve your copy.

See you in Lent!