Newly Ordained Priest to celebrate Thursday Morning’s Mass

Fr. Jerome Guld, a newly ordained priest for the Diocese of Trenton, will visit and celebrate tomorrow morning's regular 9 AM mass. Father had visited our school many times as a diocesan seminarian and after mass will visit with as many classes as his schedule permits. He will be accompanied by another familiar face to our school students, Seminarian Richard Osborn, who will also visit with our students.


Pastoral Visits to 2nd Grade

AzhandsraiseYesterday my visits to the Second Grade happily coincided with 2A's reception of the Holy Cross Mass Attendance Award.

The personality of each class is sometimes very different, partly based on the teacher's methods of teaching and the mix of the childrens' personalities. Yesterday someone in each of the classes asked "When will the new church be ready?" So, of course, that was quite a discussion. Mostly though, they were interested to tell me stories. While we were looking at the mass attendance graph in Mrs. Huthwaite's classroom on the whiteboard, I was impressed that the children seemed to easily interpret the bar graph. It seems to me that was a lesson saved for much later in the "olden days" when I was in grammar school.

For some of these classroom meetings, I generally let the questions drift around a bit, making a teaching point here or there as the opportunity presents. At other times, their studies in religion, or in this case, their preparation for First Holy Communion will be some conversations we need to have. 

Thanks to the teachers for preparing their classes so well. I have to read more thoroughly on the lives of the Saints now, since the classes are reading about the saint of the day before they attend mass! 




Friday is Pastoral Catechesis Day for Grades 7A and 8B

As you may know, beside visiting one grade of classes per week on a rotating basis, Fr. Manning teaches a weekly session with the 7th and 8th grade Holy Cross students, half of each class per six month session.

Sometimes the sessions cover topics selected by the teacher, the pastor or the students themselves. Often we discuss issues raised by their studies in Religion class. On occasion the session covers any questions they may have about Church events, Catholicism and especially morals and ethics in today's world.


Altar Stone

Typical Altar Stone with Relic

Last week the 8th grade asked questions about sacred relics. This afforded us an opportunity to discuss not only what relics are, but the place of reverence for the human body even after death, the proper distinction between the respect we show these mortal remains of saints and supersition or magic, even the bizarre and sometimes less than respectful travelling exhibit Body World. The implications for the new altar and the identity of the mystery saints relics in our altar stones were also discussed. Relics are no longer required by church law to be contained in the table of the altar. Why the church believes we should bury the dead or the cremains of the dead and the relatively recent church sanction for the practice of cremation were also mentioned.





Eden or Heaven Better ?


The seventh graders asked questions about the Bible, especially Genesis, theCreation and Fall, and the real Garden of Eden. The Discovery channel shows on the Bible, when properly explained, can be a good discussion starter, not only to put the claims of the shows producers in context, but to help understand the media's approach to religion and Catholicism.


No specific topics are selected today, so we'll see…

Catholic Schools Sustainability Commission



Holy Cross School

Bishop O'Connell has shared with pastors and parish administrators Part I of the final report of the Catholic Schools Sustainability Commission that he formed in March of 2012 to study the present and chart the future of Catholic primary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Trenton.


The general strategy to strenghten and sustain Catholic education in the diocese is discussed in Part I of the report. The bishop has emphasized the requirements for a viable Catholic grammar school: (a) sustained strong enrollment and (b) sustainable financial support.  The bishop's call for Catholic schools at every level to be "passionately Catholic… academically excellent and financially responsible" must not only be heard, but acted upon for Catholic schools to educate this generation of children and the next. 

Part II contains statistics concerning each school  - appropriate sections will be shared by the bishop with each pastor whose parish maintains a school.

Over the coming months, the criteria for sustainability will be circulated, discussed and explained. Each parish with a school must discern whether it can authentically commit to these goals or consider the sad, but real possibility of closing their school. Holy Cross school is fundamentally sound but we are always striving to improve; the bishop's report will help us establish additional benchmarks to measure our progress. 

For decades, both school families and parishioners without children in our school have sacrificed for the mission of Holy Cross Parish School. We can be proud of its record of academic achievement and spiritual formation. In recent years, we have been emphasizing the importance of the school's Catholic identity and have implemented many curricular and pastoral changes to help strengthen it, while at the same time strenthening the academic curriculum and modernizing the school facility itself. We are blessed with our principal's enthusiastic embrace of Catholic education, an excellent faculty and a supportive School Board and PTA. 

We must not only value our Catholic schools, but send our children to them if they are to survive. It seems rather obvious. Our budget for faculty enrichment, student activities, school environment, faculty wages and benefits is directly tied to student enrollment. If each classroom is filled with students to our stated capacity, uniquely small with an excellent faculty:student ratio for this region, not only will the students benefit from a diverse student population, but school programs, staff and facilities will flourish more comfortably with lesser increases in tuition.

Holy Cross School has been an important mission of the parish for almost half the lifetime of the parish. We can ensure it remains healthy under our watch for coming generations to cherish.

Fr. Manning


Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption

Celebrates_christians_187009Tonight we had music in the chapel for the first time and it was great! Our trusty Clavinova doesn't take up too much physical space and sounds perfect without extra amplification. 

What better way to inaugurate sacred music in the chapel than on a feast of Mary.

We also blessed some boxwood basil, rosemary and marigolds in honor of the Virgin Mary. There is also a tradition of blessing the sea and collecting some of its water for blessing the home or swimming in the blessed waters.

Tomorrow's mass is at 9 AM in the chapel. The solemnity is a holy day of obligation.