Whenever the class who is preparing to receive First Eucharist gathers for a daily mass in the morning, they participate eagerly in all they can do (except, of course receive communion). That means they answer the prayers, pray the Our Father and usually help me with my homily. We also ask one of the children who has attended Sunday mass to ring the bells for the consecration.
This year's class seems to have developed an exuberant and inclusive "Sign of Peace" ritual which takes quite a bit longer than the cursory nod or glance most adults are accustomed to exchange.
It is well they remind us of the importance of the entire mass - especially the significance of the Sign of Peace wherein we recognize and respect the presence of Christ in each other and Christ's Lordship over us all.
Today we celebrated mass marking the Third Anniversary of the Dedication of our church. The readings emphasized both the sacred character of the building and the people of God who worship in it. Deo gratias!
Today we celebrated the first school mass of the academic year with Holy Cross students, faculty and staff. Several of our school children helped us open the doors to the triptych and reveal the new painting for the reredos Risen Christ With Cross installed just yesterday. The paint is still wet!
The painting will be blessed at tomorrow's 10:30 AM mass when the parish family celebrates our patronal feast.
Our painting completes the story told by the art in the church nave itself. The crucifixion of Christ on the cross, its rediscovery by St. Helena shown in one of our original stained glass windows now in choir loft and the new painting. It will inspire us to understand that Christ's sufferings and our own do not end in despair or death, but are the pathways to glory and victory over sin, suffering and death.
"At about the third hour of the day, an enormous Cross, formed of light, appeared in the heaven above holy Golgotha and reaching to the holy Mount of Olives, being seen not by one or two only, but manifest with perfect clarity to the whole multitude of the city; not, as one might suppose, rushing swiftly past in fancy, but seen openly above the earth many hours in plain sight, and overcoming the beams of the sun with its dazzling rays"
St. Cyril of Jerusalem; May 7, 351 A.D.
Our Palm Sunday Procession is an exciting and colorful profession of our faith. Join us for the procession across the bridge. We will assemble in Sea Bright and begin our procession at 10:15 AM for the 10:30 AM Sunday Mass in Holy Cross Church.
Gratitude to so many for so much: to Pope Francis and Bishop O'Connell for the opportunity to participate in the world-wide worship of Christ, our Lord; to the parishioners who so graciously and readily signed up for prayer hours before the Blessed Sacrament; to our parish staff for their organization of the prayer times, setting up the hospitality spread, and keeping a prayerful quiet in the church for worship.
There was a steady stream of adorers both day and night. Penitents' most recent confessions ranged from days to decades.
Pope Francis has added a Marian celebration to the calendar of the church: Mary, Mother of the Church to be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday.
Holy Cross created a window entitled "Mary, Mother of the Church" for the North Transept Rose Window. It consists of a central representation of Mary with the Infant Jesus, emphasizing her maternity, surrounded by representations of the 12 apostles and the 4 evangelists.
After yesterday's storm, complete with thunder-snow, the sun was shining brightly today and so I snapped this picture.
Our catechumens, who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil, were sent from our 12 noon Mass to celebrate the Rite of Election with Bishop O'Connell at the Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine in Freehold. Here they are pictured with their familes and members of our RCIA catechetical team.
Each year we celebrate a mass at Holy Cross for our loved ones who have died including those for whom we have prayed a Mass of Christian Burial here at Holy Cross. After the homily, a candle is lit from the Easter candle on the prayer tree for each person we remember.
Each family in attendance is given a small votive candle, crafted from the previous year's Easter Candle.
Our Book of Remembrance is available all during the month of November beginning with All Souls Day. In it we inscribe the names of all the deceased for whom we wish the church to pray. This year, the book is located in front of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death.
It has been a tradition at Holy Cross to pray a rosary outdoors during the month of October, Mary's month. This year's Living Rosary was prayed in our prayer garden during a beautiful, sunny, summer-like afternoon. The children were reverent and well prepared. The support of their teachers and parents helped make the day especially prayerful. Thanks to the photos from Teresa Makin, our school's Director of Public Relations.
To help our valued priests to negotiate the first few steps to the altar, fabricators are working on a railing to the presider's chair. They have done such a beautiful job with the railings to the ambo and on our stained glass windows and we're happy to have them work on these new railings.
Blessed Feast Day Everyone!
With great respect for Pierro della Francesca I've repaired his beautiful fresco of the Proving of the Holy Cross, the portion of his fresco series in Arezzo that most closely mirrors our Holy Cross Window, now in the choir loft.
This weekend would be a great time to read a little about the origin of the feastday and the history of St. Helena's pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Certain of the panels have more deterioration than others. In many of them the blue sky has flaked and disappeared, and in the Death of Adam, above, many of the greens have faded and disappeared. Looking at della Francesca's other paintings, it isn't too hard to either copy or modify the trees from his intact paintings to fill in the background of the trees in "Death of Adam." The Tree of Life is taken from a the panel of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon. Some have argued that half of the tree was dead and half living. I'm not sure, but here's what it might look like if it were intact. Trees figure prominently in some of his other panels in this series and in his Baptism of Jesus by John, for instance.
As we pray what kind of art to put in our reredos, it is well to consider the history of the iconography of the "Invention of the True Cross" in art.
While today is the date of the celebration on the liturgical calendar, as you know, we will be officially celebrating the feast this coming weekend at all the masses.
Thank you to our teachers who took the lead as Liturgical Ministers this morning at our opening mass for the academic year. It was great to see both the returning students and so many new faces as they prayed reverently for the Holy Cross School family which gathered today for the first time in church.
We tried something different after the 10:30 AM mass last Sunday. Parishioners love singing patriotic hymns and several are in our hymnal. Even if one is selected for the recessional hymn on a patriotic holiday weekend, that leaves a few favorites unsung. So, after America the Beautiful as a recessional hymn, most parishioners stayed on to sing the entire repertoire of patriotic hymns in our hymnal!
Before the mass, we prayed the Prayer For Religious Liberty from the USCCB. We have a lot to be thankful for and as much to be vigilant about on this national celebration of freedom.
Our new principal, Dr. Mark DeMareo, will have his formal meeting with our faculty tomorrow on the last day of school.
Tomorrow is the official last-day-of-school starting off with our the last school mass of this academic year at 9:00 AM in the church. All parishioners are invited and we hope to see many parents there to give thanks to God for the blessings we received this past year and to ask God's protective care during the summer months.
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.