Altar Reredos for Closed Triptych Doors

The artist study depicts the Tree of Life bearing the fruit of the 12 Apostles. It emphasizes our heritage as Holy Cross since our Tree of Life is the Cross of Christ and our history of displaying the Twelve Apostles on the altar reredos. 

Brochures with more details are available at the church, in the Parish Office and soon online. Donations can be made in the name of a loved one and the artist can even fashion one of the apostles to resemble someone in your family tree (with beard of course!)



The Marks of the Church

ArtLogo MarksI was delighted our third graders at morning mass knew the four marks of the church today, since it wasn't a question they would be anticipating based on today's gospel. Jesus sent the Twelve in mission two-by-two to preach and heal. Our church traces its origin back to Jesus' Twelve disciples, hence the 4th mark or characteristic of the church, apostolic.


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

For the weekend masses we had our icon of Rublev's Trinity in the sanctuary. It used to hang in the atrium to the chapel over the baptismal font while the new church was under construction.

It's a beautiful meditation on the mystery of the Trinity, including even the simple identification of which of the figures represents Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Parish Trip to "Splendors of the Vatican" Exhibit at Franklin Institute

Join us on Monday, January 18th for a trip to Philadelphia's Franklin Institute and a tour of the Vatican Splendors exhibit. 

"Vatican Splendors" explores more than 2,000 years of art, historic objects, and ancient documents that illustrate the Vatican's impact on the world.

The exhibit features artwork by Michelangelo, bone fragments of Saints Peter and Paul, and historic objects from both the modern and ancient basilicas of Saint Peter's in Rome.

The evolution of the church is displayed in 11 separate galleries that feature important events, people, and growth in the history of the Vatican.

And P.S. a huge Lego model of the Vatican made by a priest from Pennsylvania.


The sublime and the whimsical...


St Louis, The Saint And Our Window, Not The City

St Louis IX of France Stained Glass Window
Today we celebrate one of Holy Cross' "Window Saints." King Louis IX of France was canonized for his piety, charity to the poor and defense of the Church from Turkish incursions into North Africa and the Near East.

King Louis took St. Francis as a patron and is closely associated with the Secular Order of the Franciscans. This connection led to his being included in the collection of stained glass from St. Francis' Church which is now proudly in our possession.

He died of infectious disease during his second crusade. The advice he gave to his son is an amazing instruction to a Catholic ruler not to compartmentalize his faith from his governance.  

Let us pray to lead integral Catholic lives at work, at prayer and at play. The love of Christ should fill and overflow any and all arbitrary compartments.


Lenten Prayer Series Wednesday Nights


This Lent our Adult Faith Enrichment program will focus on prayer and art. We will be using a newly published book  Art and Prayer by Msgr. Timothy Verdon. The book is lavishly illustrated with color photographs of the works of art discussed in the text.  We will order only as many books as we need, so please make a reservation with the Parish Office or obtain your own copy. The requested donation if the parish orders your book is $ 25.

Here is a tentative schedule:


Ash Wednesday

February 18

Chapter 1

Prayer, Life, Art


February 25

Chapter 2

Spaces of Prayer


March 4

Chapter 3

Liturgical Prayer


March 11

Chapter 4

The Prayer of Pleading


March 18

Chapter 5

Lectio Divina


March 25

Chapter 6

Contemplative Prayer


April 1

Chapter 7

In the Hour of Death



All You Who Labor

Christus“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart;

and you will find rest for your selves. 

For my yoke is easy

and my burden light."





  Christus Consolator, as the image of Christ sculpted by Thorwaldsen has been called, has been reproduced widely. The original stands in a lobby at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, another is in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

The story how the statue came to be and where it rests at Hopkins is interesting, especially in this day and age when religious symbols are being stripped from public and private institutions alike.  Read one account of this history by Nancy McCall: The Statue of the Christus Consolator at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Beyer's Informative and Beautiful Presentation


St. Kieran Window
Joe Beyer gave an informative and beautiful presentation on the
Joe Beyer (at left)  Displays Print of St. Kieran Window to Holy Cross Parishioners
art of stained glass window making with a spotlight on D'Ascenszo Studios and Edwin Sharkey, the company and designer of our newly acquired windows.


The surprise of the evening was a full sized, color print of our St. Kieran window, who even in his slightly pixellated state look magnificent. I think we'll have St. Kieran make an appearance at all our masses on the weekend of our groundbreaking, April 14th. Face









The window shows Kieran holding his crozier as founder of the Monastery at  Clonmacnoise. The monastery itself is pictured at his feet in the background along the shores of the River Shannon. A hair shirt protrudes ever so slightly from underneath his fine garments. 

Nicola D'Ascenzo - Stained Glass Master Craftsman

You may wonder why  I am writing about a stained glass craftsman who lived from 1871 - 1954? No mystery, really. He is the maker of some beautiful windows we may acquire for the renovated church.

Nicola D'Ascenzo
Photo of Nicola D'Ascenzo from an article in the May 1936 issue of The Rotarian


D'Ascenzo immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1892 and studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He then taught painting until he could open up his own studio. The artist championed a Gothic revival in stained glass making and became reknowned for his own style of glass with strong reds and blues and a more disciplined style compared with Tiffany and LaFarge, especially for his ecclesiastical glass.

D'Ascenzo Studios thrived even during the Great Depression - a tribute to the reputation and skill of this master craftsman, whose Philadelphia studios were not so much a factory as an artisan's guild.

His works are collected and traded at auction, and his stained glass still bathes admirers in colored light all around the world. Here are just a few of his commissions: The Seven Ages of Man window in Shakespeare's Folger Library in Washington, DC; the chapel windows in the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, PA; "Nipper" the RCA dog, the West Window in Princeton University's Chapel; windows in the Washington National Cathedral, the Horn and Hardart windows in NY and PA; and closer to home, the cathedrals in Newark and Philadelphia, St. George's by the River and the former Bishop's Chapel in Trenton, NJ.



How are poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, painter Thomas Moran and Holy Cross related?

Well, through a mountain - Holy Cross Mountain in the Colorado Rockies.

The mountain is reached only with some difficulty, and in the early days of settlement of the Western United States the existence of a mountain emblazoned with a cross was legend. Eventually explorers documented the presence of the snow-crossed mountain made famous by an early photograph by William H. Jackson and later in paintings by Thomas Moran. The mountain itself became a popular tourist destination.

William Henry Jackson
William Henry Jackson
Mount of the Holy Cross by Jackson


Thomas Moran
















Longfellow had seen both Moran's painting and Jackson's photograph and some 18 years after the death of his wife, Frances (Fanny) by accidental fire, he penned The Cross of Snow in tribute to her. Longfellow had attempted to extinguish the flames of Frances' clothing which had ignited from a candle or spark from the fireplace without success. Longfellow's face was scarred and disfigured from burns he sustained during his rescue attempt. He stopped shaving after the burns healed and photographs taken after the tragic acccident show his prominent whiskers.

The Cross of Snow

In the long, sleepless watches of the night,

A gentle face--the face of one long dead--
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
Here in this room she died, and soul more white
Never through martyrdom of fire was led
To its repose; nor can in books be read
The legend of a life more benedight.
There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.


Tonight Stations of the Cross in Art followed by Confessions

A reminder that tonight's Stations of the Cross will be the Scriptural Stations of the Cross once prayed by John Paul II. Since they do not correspond to the traditional Stations we have hanging in our church, we will once again use artistic representations of these Scriptural passages to help our evening meditation.

The Sacrament of Reconcilation will also be availabe immediately after the Stations are prayed. Please join us.


Mother Cabrini Shrine and Cloister Photos

Here are some additional photos of our trip to the Cloisters and the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.


Gate near the main entrance. Watching it raise and lower called to mind a time gone by. I don't think they had fireplugs in the middle ages though.


The imposing appearance of The Cloisters from main entrance walkway.


An interior door with candle stand c. 14th century. Most of the doors were decidedly smaller than modern doors; we've grown bigger over the centuries.


Monastic garden


The Annunciation Triptych  by Robert Campin



We gathered in a recreation of a 14th Century Spanish Church


The painted, wooden corpus is that of Christ the King.


St. Frances Cabrini's remains rest under the main altar at her shrine which is nearby The Cloisters.

Monday of Holy Week - Lazarus Causes A Commotion

Scholars agree that it was Jesus' raising of Lazarus that finally marked him for death and set the plans in motion to silence him forever. Jesus' fame already widespread, became even greater after this miracle, and his criticism of religious leaders of the day stirred hatred and conspiracy. In this morning's gospel, Jesus dines with Lazarus while a curious crowd, including some of the Scibes and Pharisees, seek a glimpse of the new celebrity.

This etching by Rembrandt depicts the drama of Jesus' raising of Lazarus and the almost dream like sleep of death from which Lazarus is beckoned by Jesus.

Rembrandt_etching Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead