Car Masses?

ParkingLotThe bishop has given permission for parishes to hold "car masses" in accord with the governor's new guidelines. We'll have to study the regulations to see how we could best implement these.

The biggest challenge is the sound system/audio system for hearing the mass. Some are suggesting FM radio, even though the word on the web seems to be AM radio for its longer range and less finicky nature. Audio sound systems are also possible and we do have a set of speakers we have used for the Living Rosary. These wouldn't have to be placed near the altar, but could be located strategically among the cars. 

Communion would be distributed auto by auto on the way out of the parking lot. They have suggested one person on either side of the car distribute Eucharist. 

Another sanctioned method is to have a live streaming mass inside the church, followed by distribution of communion when cars in attendance leave the parking lot. This sounds easier, since people could pray the mass on cell phones without the worries of a temperamental outdoor sound system. 

If cars are parked in every other space, the windows could be rolled down. If not, the windows are supposed to remain closed.

Of course, just about every kind of reasonably priced FM or AM transmitter are out of stock on the internet. I had investigated this a few weeks ago when I though this might be coming, but hoped there would be more sane alternatives using sacred space. Such is life.

The earliest we would get to a weekend mass would be NEXT weekend, but we'll let everyone know by mid-week (hopefully).

Too bad there's not a drive in movie theater closer than Vineland! Perhaps we could rent the facility during the day-time. Not for the screen, but the parking and sound system!

Suggestions are welcomed, 


Parking Lot Mass Survey and Suggestions


Keep in mind, at this point no regularly scheduled confessions have been allowed by the bishop.


Music at the 5 PM Sunday Mass Survey Results

The results of the 5 PM Sunday music survey show that parishioners who don't usually attend the mass are fine either way with music or not. 

5 o'clock mass attendees (either regularly or occasionally, there was no significant difference) who expressed a preference, were about equally divided. 

Thank you for you to the 102 parishioners who responded. You will help myself and the new music director develop a music program for Holy Cross parish weekend masses.


Parishioners who usually or sometimes attend the 5 PM Sunday Mass.



Parishioners who rarely or never attend the 5 PM Sunday Mass.

Music at the 5 PM Sunday Mass ?

With the selection process underway for a new music director, it may now be possible to have music at the Sunday 5 PM Mass. 

Please help us decide by taking a 30 second survey. Music or no Music ?

    This survey has closed as of 9/4/2019



All respondents
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Rarely or never attend 5 PM
Always AND sometimes attend 5 PM

Interestingly, there were identical percentages for the Always attend 5PM mass considered alone or with sometime attenders of the 5 PM included.

The survey is still open.

Questionnaire on Baptismal Certificate Sponsorship Eligibility Results

Thank you to those parishioners who completed our online questionnaire regarding availability of Baptismal sponsor certificates. 123 respondents completed the survey. There were many thoughtful open-ended comments on the questionnaire. Since the survey was anonymous, I cannot respond to each one personally. However, over the next few weeks, I will summarize and discuss some of them.

Here are the results of the forced-choice survey:

Question 1

The seventy percent with personal experience or firsthand knowledge were offered questions about their experience. The remaining thirty percent were only offered the last two questions asking about shopping around for certificates and what we can do to help reduce potential confusion about the criteria or the process.

Survey ColumnsAs expected, most parishioners first contact the parish secretary. The Diocese of Trenton has sponsored several workshops and appreciation days for Parish Secretaries. These have helped impress on everyone who speaks with a parishioner the importance of being helpful and courteous. However, the luxury of having a full-time receptionist dedicated to answering the phone can no longer be afforded. Here at Holy Cross, our parish secretary not only answers the parish phone, but also serves as secretary to the School of Religion. Between vacations and days off, lunch breaks and other responsibilities, we depend some of the time on parish volunteers who may not be as knowledgeable about parish procedures and sometimes may simply take a message. More frequently than I would like, the phone is in message taking mode. Other parish staff fill in answering the phone when available. If there is anticipated difficulty, the caller is always referred to a Pastoral Assistant. We frequently adjust the staffing pattern to answer the phones as best we can.




Nine Ten


Universal church law requires that sponsors:

  • have completed their 16th year
  • be baptized, confirmed and received Eucharist in the Catholic faith
  • lead a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on

This is purposely open to interpretation by the local bishop or pastor. If we imagine what a life lived in conformity with the role of a sponsor looks like, we would probably identify: being a not only a fully initiated Catholic, but one who attends mass and receives the sacraments frequently. If married they should be be united in a Catholic sacramental marriage. But unless the parishioner is personally known to the pastor or parish staff to be fulfilling these responsibilities, it can become contentious to prove.

For this reason, many parishes describe characteristics of a “life of faith” and ask the person to attest that they are fulfilling them.  The pastor also signs the certificate acknowledging the parishioner’s testimony and endorsing the sponsor’s eligibility.

Baptismal preparation interviews and preparation classes are excellent opportunities to teach the couple having their baby baptized about the characteristics of a sponsor required by the church. If the couple use prudent judgment in selecting a sponsor, or sponsors, many potential difficulties in obtaining a sponsor eligibility certificate can be eliminated. Given the high rates of divorce and remarriage and the low rates of mass attendance, it is not as likely as before that every immediate relative is an ideal baptismal sponsor. It can be quite difficult to convince everyone that a baptismal sponsor is more than an honorific title, but rather a witness of living Catholic faith.

Sacramental Life Survey Results So Far

Thank you to those who took the time to complete our survey on Sacramental Life at Holy Cross. So far, 181 parishioners have submitted survey results. We'll keep the survey open for a week or so longer, to give everyone time to transition back from Easter vacation. Please encourage others to complete the survey and forward the survey to those on your social media contacts.

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How Would You Rate the New Sound System at Holy Cross?


 We have requested an adjustment of the individual speakers throughout the church, especially since the recently installed power surge filter seems to be protecting the system from the automatic resets and amplifier overloads it had been experiencing.




Priorities for completion of church



The "add a mass time" responses were open ended and varied. There is  a small, but vocal group who want the 7:30 AM mass back. Another group sees no need to add a mass at this time. A third group suggests resuming the 9:00 AM mass. I will tabulate the responses and report back.


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. 


Church Dedication Survey

I've uploaded a quick, one question survey about the timing of the church dedication. Please click on the link provided and give me some guidance...thanks! Since we don't yet have a specific date, we may not have much choice about waiting, but just in case I'd like to know what you think.

Fr. Manning

Create your own user feedback survey

Should We Have a Sunday 5 PM Mass?


Help us decide whether it is worthwhile to plan adding a 5 PM mass to the regular schedule when the summer mass schedule is complete.

It seems to be a popular time based on attendance by our confirmation students and their families once per month. 

While having more masses is a virtue for convenience's sake, the best reason to introduce the 5 PM would be to enable more families to attend mass, especially at Holy Cross. Please address these reasons in your comments.

Thanks and keep praying,

Fr. Manning

Click here to take 5 PM MASS SURVEY