November 7, 2024
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever! A couple times of year I like to send out a letter about the things going on in the parish currently and about things coming up. God is doing good things and we praise the Lord. We are made to praise the Lord! It is what we do as God’s people. So this letter is a praise report of what God is doing:
New Parish Staff
With the growth of the parish and also with the restoring of our campus we have hired new parish staff members. The campus has a lot of up keep so we hired a part-time maintenance man to help our full-time maintenance man, Tom Eilers. We hired my dad, Mike Hennigen, part-time, who has worked in school maintenance for over 30 years, who now helps Tom in the mornings taking care of different duties around the campus.
Also with the growth of the parish to over 500 families and between 800 and 1,000 people attending Masses on a weekend we are in need of help to minister to the needs of the parish. We hired, Morgan Hicks, full-time as ministry coordinator of the parish. Morgan and her husband Adam with their two young kids have been members of the parish for about 4 years and Adam’s grandpa, John Reeves, has been a long time member of Holy Cross. Morgan will help the staff and myself to coordinate ministries such as young adults ministry, family ministry, faith formation, new Women’s Walking with Purpose. Also we will be talking about a Holy Name society and other ministries.
Also we have welcomed to the parish staff, Jaime Lampone, as our youth director. Jaime is a teacher at Walton Verona High School and attends Holy Cross. This will be a stipend position. Youth Group will meet on two Sundays of the month between the 8:30am Mass and 10:30 Mass, so from 9:30 to 10:20 in the Underground. Also once a month on a Saturday there will be sports and adoration night from 8:00 to 10:00 or 7:00 to 9:00pm. Youth Group will start on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of December, the 3rd and 17th, after the 8:30 Mass. It is open to all grades from 6th to 12th. I am excited about this as youth ministry is so important and I am product of youth ministry and we must continue to minister to the young.
Also I would like to welcome Ms. Beth Vieth, the new principal of our grade school. Ms. Vieth comes to us from Holy Family School. It is has been a blessing working with Ms. Vieth this school year so far. She is a woman of deep faith, she loves Jesus and loves the kids. She knows that our school exists and all Catholic schools exists to teach Jesus, to teach the faith, and to form the young people entrusted to our care to be who God created them to be.
A few years ago we set the collection budget amount needed every week at $11,000 with this we have been able to pay our staff, pay utilities, and keep up with maintaining the campus. This allowed us to give our staff a raise a few years ago, their first raise in 17 years. With the increased staff to help with the campus and ministries, with an increase in utilities, and another increase in staff salaries the collection budget amount needed weekly will be $12,000. With the $11,000 budget goal each week the last few years we have been able to make our budget, to remain out of debt, as we are in no debt at all as a parish, and we have been able to do so many projects without incurring debt. Right now we have no bills to pay. God is good. We cannot out give God and all of you have been so generous and giving to the Lord.
Ministry Training/Parish Pastoral Plan
Part of our Parish Pastoral Plan from the diocese is the training of new and current liturgical ministers at Mass. So we will be having a training of new and current Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, Lectors, Servers, and Ushers/Greeters. The date for the training for all Extraordinary Ministers of Communion here at the parish will be on Monday the 27th at 6:45pm in the Church following the 6:00pm Mass. This meeting will be required to remain an Extraordinary Minister of Communion. If you are unable to make it to the meeting, set up a time to meet with me or Deacon Eric at anytime. Then over the next several months we will schedule the training for new and current lectors, ushers, and servers. Thank you to all who serve as liturgical ministers at the Masses. It is call of humble service to serve the Lord and God’s people.
Old Pipe Organ
Looking up in the balcony it is beautiful to see the old pipe organ and it would be more beautiful if it worked. The pipe organ is not original to the church and has needed to be restored for years. I was told by several parishioners that 4 pastors have put it off to the next pastor to have something done with it, and rather than having it fixed an electric organ was bought. Bill Blank who spent his life fixing organs and pianos played the organ in the 1950’s said the organ was tired then. He said that it probably cannot be sold and said it is not worth fixing. I don’t want to leave this to the next pastor. A few years ago we had the organ looked at and the cost to fix it came to about $900,000. With the new heating and air we still need to put into the church and the building of the new building, which will be discussed below, unless someone or a group of people want to give $900,000 to have it fixed in the next few months, we are looking to get rid of it. Tony Wagner, our music director, says that getting rid of it will allow more room in the choir loft to have risers for the choir in order to look straight forward and allow for the choir to continue to grow and have more room in the loft.
Heating and Air in the Church and Rectory
In the church we currently use the old boiler system for heat and the air conditioning unit in the loft is down to one unit and on its last leg. In the rectory we currently use the old boiler system for heat and for air conditioning we have small window units that barely do the job. We are grateful to the Gastright Family with Midwest Mechanical Systems, parishioners, for taking care of these systems. We received a proposal from them to put new heating and air conditioning systems in the church at $720,500 and $490,400 for the rectory. We will start to look into raising money for these, to maybe do one at time, as this is a needed project. We will see how this will coincide with capital campaign that is explained below.
The building of the New Building/Capital Campaign
Back in a October a Steering Committee between the Parish, High School, and Grade School began to meet about the building of the multipurpose building (The Holy Cross Center) on the corner across from the church and the gym building. The building of this building will be phase 1 of a multi-phase plan for the campus over the next 10 to 30 years. Right now we are focused on phase 1 as this multipurpose building is a great need for the parish, grade school, and high school. The building will include a large hall for receptions, gatherings after funerals, other large gatherings, dances, and school lunches. The building will include an auxiliary gym for practices and grade school leagues since we have 12 grades on our campus. The Steering Committee process will conclude just after Christmas and then we will begin the fundraising period of the Capital Campaign. The parish and the high school have hired MSA Design for the master plan. I told the Lord that I did not want to do a capital campaign and He told me I had to and that it is time. If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. It is time and this is a great need for our campus and for our continued growth. I tell the Lord all the time that He will build the house because the scripture tells us that if He does not build it, in vain do we labor. The Lord will build it, and yes we have to pray as if everything depends upon Him and work as if everything depends upon us.
Grounds of the Campus
We are continuing to work on the grounds of the campus with new landscaping, a new ramp into the gym building, and new grass. I want to thank Tony Weibel, from Weibel Landscaping, to Mike Bessler and Boone Ready Mix and many others who donated their time, talents, and treasure to these projects. It all looks wonderful and welcoming. We are looking into how we can bring wheel chair access in the foyer of the gym up into the gym. Also Tony Weibel is working with the High School to put in a new parking lot across from the high school building in the small grass field that will add more additional parking to the whole campus.
During the Advent Season coming up, Deacon Eric and I going to to do three nights of Faith Formation on Tuesday nights at 7:00pm at Bocks Bar on the corner. Gary Bockweg, who owns the bar, is a member of the parish and has offered us to use the big billiards room in the back. We are grateful to him for letting us use the space. The Forresters are going to sponsor the night with a first free drink and snacks. The topics are: Deacon Eric will speak on Church History on December 5th and on Mary on December 12th. I will speak on the Eucharist on December 19th. All are welcome.
On November 20th after the 6:30 Mass from 7:00 to 9:00 we will have a free conference on the 7 Responses to Christian Suffering by author Carl Brown. He will also speak at the end of all the Masses on the 18th and 19th. There is no charge for the conference, but register at EVERYBODYSUFFERS.COM
New Holy Day Mass Schedule
The new Holy Day Mass Schedule will be 6:00pm vigil Mass the night before, then 9:00am, Noon, 6:00pm on the day. The next Holy Day is the Immaculate Conception so Mass on Thursday the 7th will be at 6:00 pm and the Masses on the 8th will be 9:00am, Noon, and 6:00pm.
We have purchased new hymnals for Mass with the grade school kids on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9:00am. They bring their hymnals with them from their classrooms. There are additional hymnals in the back of the church in a bin if you attend those Masses. We also have purchased new hardback hymnals for the parish that will be here in a couple of weeks. These hymnals do not have to be replaced every year. The hymnal is called Journeysong and have hymns that we already sing at Mass. The Mass readings for the weekend, the Order of the Mass, and the hymn numbers for the Mass will be in the bulletin each week. We are very grateful to an anonymous donor from the parish who donated $15,000 for the purchase of the hymnals. When we sing well we pray twice. Let us lift our hearts, minds, and voices to the Lord in praising Him.
The Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus have helped sponsor and put on many events over this past year from Summer Knights band nights, to Trunk or Treat, to Breakfast with Santa coming up on December 16th. The Knights have a heart of service. On First Saturdays at 10:00 before their 11:00 meetings, the Knights will help with service projects around the church and also in the community. If yourself or anyone you know is in need of service around their yard or house to contact Joseph Kiesewetter at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Knights of Columbus is a wonderful men’s group so if anyone like to join to come to a meeting on a First Saturday at 11:00 in the Knights Hall.
We have Eucharist Adoration in the Church on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:00 to 5:45, First Fridays 8:00 to 8:45pm, and Sundays 9:30 to 10:20. We have been discussing the possibility of opening and making Saint Anne’s chapel into a Eucharistic Chapel that would be open during the day, and we are considering all night like a perpetual adoration chapel, as there is door to access the chapel from the outside without accessing the church. Like other Eucharistic chapels in the area a cloth would be over the monstrance when no one is present and the person would simply take it off when they are in adoration and put the cloth back on when they are done. We will continue to pray and think about this and if anyone has any thoughts about this to let me know.
As Christians, our goal is to get to heaven and take as many people as we can. We should want more and more people to come to Jesus, to come Mass, to come to the church. There is no tiring in this. The church exists to evangelize, to bring people to Jesus and Jesus to people. This is our mission. To not do so, it to not fulfill Jesus command. It is not about us, it is about Jesus and we should do whatever we can to bring Jesus to others. All our effort, energy, time, talent, and treasure is to do this, to bring Jesus to our world. Jesus is the answer, to all that is going on in our world.
Father Barnes is doing well, he has moved into his condo while we have been redoing the floors of the rectory. Continue to keep Father in your prayers. Also let us keep in our prayers Will Fuller, a seminarian from our parish, at the Pontifical College Josephinum, and Terry Mason from our parish, in diaconal formation studying to be a deacon.
On behalf of Deacon Ritchie and the whole staff have a blessed Advent Season and Christmas!
I end with one of my favorite prayers, “One day more work for Jesus. One day less of life for me. But heaven is nearer and Christ is dearer then yesterday to me. Amen!” Let us praise the Lord and give Him thanks.
Yours in Christian Service,
Father Michael Hennigen
September 17, 2022
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever! Four times a year I like to send out a parish letter to give an update on things going on in the parish. My last letter was in the spring and I shared 33 Reflections on the Eucharist. As I write this letter on the day after our Feast Day, the Exultation of the Holy Cross on September 14th, and today September 15th is Our Lady of Sorrows, I want to reflect on discipleship.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? The Word “disciple” means follower and learner, so we follow and learn from Jesus. Disciples imitate Him. As disciples of Jesus He has called each of us by name to follow Him. He chooses us before we ever choose Him. There may be times in our life where we have remained faithful, or we have gone astray, and the Lord is always calling us to deeper faith. To remain with Him just as Mary our Mother, and John the beloved disciple did while standing there at the foot of His Holy Cross. To remain with Jesus at His Holy Cross both in the good and bad times of life. He remains with us always and never abandons us. As disciples He has given us the Holy Spirit, His Power, to go and be disciple makers, to bring others to Jesus by bringing Him into our homes, schools, and work places.
At Holy Cross, we always have duties and tasks before us. A responsibility of a disciple that we hear in the Gospel, “we are unprofitable servants, we are doing what we are obliged to do.” That is, we do what we are called to do and that is to love and serve the Lord and one another. We do this through various ministries in serving one another and the community around us. We also are to be good stewards of our finances and also the buildings and property entrusted to us to take care of and to pass along to future generations. As I say, “we have projects until Jesus returns.” As disciples we do not grow weary or lazy in doing this. Simply doing what we are called to do.
So, I want to give an update on our finances now that our fiscal year and summer festival have come to an end and then to give an update on our campus. You can find the financial report on the bottom of this letter. It is good news. We are being good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.
With our campus we had projects going all summer and we continue with projects. A summer high school work crew worked with Tom and I. We painted the inside of the grade school building and installed LED lights throughout the whole school. Some parent volunteers worked on the bathrooms in the grade school. The front windows to the grade school were replaced, the basement windows in the grade school were replaced with block windows, and Ellison Painting painted some parts of the front of building. All of the grade school projects were paid for by Grant money and an inheritance and through donated time. We will complete the windows around the school thoughout the year. We were able to complete the sidewalks around the Church and to reseal the parking lots from the money we collected over our DPAA goal. We were over our goal by $30,000 and all that money came back to the parish for these projects. Installing a speaker in the vestibule of the church so the Mass can be heard in the front foyer.
When we had the stone of the church tucked pointed last year, we were not able to reach the top front of the church and bell towers due to the power lines. Those areas cannot be left undone any longer and they must be tuck pointed between the stone, so a crane and scaffolding will be placed in front of the church here in the near future to complete the project. It will cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
On the corner across from the church where the house was torn down. The Knights of Columbus will be building a small park area, what I call “Holy Cross Square.” It will consist of a 12 foot cross, flags, benches, trees and bushes. We also are having made 4 signs that will be placed at the entrances to the campus that says, “Welcome to the Campus of Holy Cross” and underneath it will say, “Holy Cross Catholic Church, Holy Cross District High School, Holy Cross Elementary, Holy Cross Care and Learning Center, and Catholic Charities.” Also, on Church Street and 36th Street we are installing flags with a cross on them that will hang over the road to distinguish the campus.
Lastly with upcoming projects, and this is a big one, I am working with Mike Holtz, the principal of the High School, and the diocese to begin the process of a capital campaign to build a Hall and an auxiliary gym. This will be located across from the main gym building behind the house on 36th street and behind what will be Holy Cross Square. This will be one campaign between the parish and high school. We both are in need of a Hall (to rebuild the Care and Learning Academy that has been in the current hall since early 2000’s would be very expensive.) We will build a new hall and secondary gym (we have 13 grades on one campus boys/girls and one gym currently). With all of the projects completed in the past three years we did not do a capital campaign, (I have not wanted to do one), but the Lord says it is time.
So as disciples much has been entrusted to us and much is expected. Especially the gift of our faith, and we are to pass it on. We have been so blessed with help in doing this with the assignment of Father AJ Gedney to our parish as the parochial vicar, who has been a tremendous blessing to me and all of us, and with the assignment of Deacon Eric Ritchie who serves with great devotion. Please keep me, Father Gedney and Father Barnes and our whole staff in your prayers and be assured of ours. As disciples we are called to work with another, pray for another, love another, and to help build God’s Kingdom on earth. Let us praise the Lord and give Him thanks.
Yours in Christian Service,
February 22, 2022
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!
I like to send out a letter four times a year, so every three months, to give a spiritual reflection and an update on the parish. This is a good time for a letter since we will be entering into the holy season of Lent, 40 days, when we fast, pray, and give alms to prepare ourselves to celebrate Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, the holiest days of the year.
In this letter I would like to give a spiritual reflection on the Eucharist, as it is something that the Lord has put on my heart. Every renewal of the Church throughout history has always been a Eucharistic renewal, renewing the world. The renewal of our parish church building itself has been Eucharistic, centering on Jesus.
- The Eucharist reflection I would like to share came to me at 3:00 in the morning on February 16th when I woke up and had these Eucharistic reflections on my mind. I kept trying to go back to bed, but they kept coming so I kept writing them down and I was unable to go back to sleep. I often joke with the Lord saying, “Why do you have to put things on my heart in the night, can’t you do it while I am awake.” I want to share with you these Thirty-three reflections on the Eucharist. Thirty-three is the age of Jesus when he suffered, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven. The condensed version is in this letter. The full version will be placed in the pew when the pews are done before Easter. We also will be placing in the pews laminated prayers:
- Litany of the Holy Cross
- Litany of the Eucharist
- Litany of the Sacred Heart
- Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Litany of Saint Joseph
Beginning on Sunday, March 13th we will begin a 33 Day Retreat on the Eucharist that will end on Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. For 33 days I will reflect on each of the lines on the Eucharist during the homily and also share the lines on Facebook.
“Personal Encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist”
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist: His Real Presence, True Presence, Substantially and Sacramentally Present. I would adore, praise, and worship Him: my Lord, my God, my Savior, my redeemer, and my healer. He is Good, all the time, never changing. I would embrace my personal encounter and relationship with Him in the Eucharist. He who is the Lord of all creation, all His works show His glory.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; He would be the center of my life and everything else would find its meaning in Him.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; He would be first in my life and nothing would come before Him or separate me from Him.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; just like at the Last Supper, He offered bread and wine to become His Body and Blood to perpetuate His sacrifice on the cross throughout all time.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would recognize that, at every Mass, I am at Calvary. The altar is His cross. His Body-broken and Blood- shed for the forgiveness of sins. He took our place upon the cross. He paid the price for sin, which is death.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would know that only He can save me from my sins and death. No one and nothing else can.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; at every Mass we join in the Heavenly liturgy with our Mother Mary, the saints, angels, and our loved ones, who have gone before us, in the sign of faith, in praising the Lamb, who was slain and has risen.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; when drawing closer to Him, it draws us closer to one another. It is He who unites us as one Body of Christ.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; He who was born in Bethlehem, “Bethlehem” in Hebrew means, “House of Bread”, and in Arabic, means “House of Meat”. He is our Bread. We eat His flesh. Just like animals that ate from a manger, He has become our spiritual food.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would not receive the Eucharist as ordinary bread, rather as the Bread of Angels. The Bread of Life, Himself, His Body and Blood. I would receive Him with reverence and devotion. My spiritual food. My strength and nourishment. Food for the journey, from this life to the next.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would walk by faith and not by sight. “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.”
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I can overcome any temptation that that evil one, the world, and my disordered passions throw at me. Demons would shriek because of my knowing, believing, and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would come to Him with a humble and contrite heart. Sorry for the things I have done wrong. To know His mercy and love. He is so merciful. My heart would be cleansed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I would be properly disposed to receive Him, so as to be a worthy dwelling place for Him. He always takes me back. He takes me into His arms and embraces me and loves me, He raises me up on His shoulders, He sets me free from my sins.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would never stop thanking my God for all that He has done for me. I would give thanks in all circumstances. Eucharist means “thanksgiving.”
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would cast all my cares, worries, anxiety, and fear upon Him. He who cares for me and tells me: “Be not afraid.” “Trust in Him.” “Have childlike faith.” “Be still and know that He is God.” “He is the Good Shepherd.” I hear His voice and I know Him.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; although I am labored and burdened by many things, I come to Him and He gives me rest. I take His yoke upon me, His love, which is easy and light.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would have faith to move mountains. I would walk through any storm, any trial, any hard times. I would know that He is always with me in whatever I am going through. I would always be prudent and never panic because of my trust in Him.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; in Him, I am united with my loved ones, who have passed away. I am united with the Communion of Saints.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would give Him all my prayers of petition and intercession. I would especially pray for those who are in need of prayer.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would live by His words, teachings, and commandments; that give eternal life.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would love Him above all things. I would love my neighbor as myself. I would love my enemies, and pray for those who hurt me. I can only do this by the help of His Grace.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would love others as He loves me. His amazing love. His sacrificial and unconditional love.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would forgive others their trespasses as He has forgiven me. I would make sure I get right with others before leaving my gift at the altar.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would live as a true follower of Christ. Be Christ to others. Be who I receive. Treat others with kindness and respect. Even if I am rejected or it is unpopular, I will uphold the dignity of every human person. I will never stop doing good for others. I would treat myself and others as Temples of the Holy Spirit.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would be His hands and feet to others. I would bring others to Him. I would be a disciple maker. The goal is to get to Heaven and take as many people as I can with me. I would be a “fisher of men.” I would “catch them and He cleans them.” To live distinct in the world but not separate, to be in world but not of the world.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; my life would be different and never be the same.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would be filled with a joy and peace that no one and nothing could ever take from me. Because He conquered sin and death and He lives in me, the Eucharist is a constant reminder that He is with me until the end of time. He is always with me. I am never left alone, just as He promised.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would know He is what my heart longs for and desires. Only He gives me true happiness and fulfillment.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I would go to Mass every weekend (if I am physically able too). I would allow nothing to get in the way. It is the Lord’s Day. The day of rest. Keep Holy the Sabbath, the greatest day of the week. I would receive Him daily when I could.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; whether the Mass be short or long, the music on key or not, however the homily is, everything may not go perfectly, and whomever the priest is (in the person of Christ), I would still receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; how do I respond to Jesus in the Eucharist? To His invitation? To His call? Do I accept His invitation and call, do I accept Him? It is Jesus in the Eucharist, may I say “yes”! Yes, like Mary our Mother and follow Him! “Blessed is she who believed” and blessed are we who believe.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; I know that He loves me, just where I am. He meets me where I am. I am a work in progress. I am not done yet. “Do not judge me as He is not through with me yet,” His love does not keep me where I am, rather His love makes me grow in love for Him, others, and myself.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist; “Jesus loves me this I know,” it is Jesus in the Eucharist.
If only I knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist, then what for my life? Only each of us can answer this for our self. For me personally, it is this, “If only I knew it is Jesus then I would not miss celebrating Mass. I have not missed celebrating a single day in almost 9 years. If only I knew it is Jesus, then I would never miss Mass, to receive Jesus.” Jesus is our longing, our happiness, why we live and move and have our being. He is the reason for the Church, for us to receive him and to be Him to others.
As a parish we have not taken any masses away or changed any Mass times but we have added Masses, confessions, and adoration. If only we knew it is Jesus we would have more of this, but these are the times we have for now and hope to add to it someday:
Weekend Mass Schedule
Saturday – 4:30 pm
Sunday – 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. 12:00 p.m.
Holy Day Masses
7:00 p.m. (Vigil)
9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
Monday – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday through Fri1day – 9:00 a.m.
Wednesday 6:00 p.m.
1st Saturday only 9:00 a.m.
1st Friday only 9:00 pm candlelight Mass
Mondays 4:30 p.m. to 5:45p.m. with Benediction
Wednesday 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. with Benediction
1st Friday 8:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. with Benediction
Sundays 9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Saturdays 4:00 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.
Wednesdays 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
1st Friday 8:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
1st Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Or by appointment.
Other Lenten and Holy Week Celebrations:
- Ash Wednesday Masses are 9:00am, Noon, and 6:00 pm.
- Stations of the Cross will be on Wednesdays throughout Lent after the 9:00 am Mass and 6:00 on Mass beginning the Wednesday after Ash Wednesday.
- The parish penance service will be on Wednesday April 13th from 6:30 to 7:30 and Stations will be at 6:30.
- The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is at 7:00pm on April 14th. This is when we will end our 33 Day Eucharistic Renewal Retreat.
- On Good Friday, April 15th, the Passion of the Lord is at 3:00pm and 7:00pm and Stations of the Cross at Noon.
- On Easter Saturday, April 16th, the Easter Vigil is at 8:30pm, where nineteen RCIA catechumens and candidates will enter the Church.
- Easter Sunday Masses are 8:30, 10:30, and Noon. I encourage everyone to come to the Holy Week services for a deeper celebration of Easter.
Other things going on at the parish to get involved in: Saint Vincent DePaul, Angels Pantry, Mom’s Group, Men’s Group, Spiritual Warfare Officers, Deliverance Prayers, Women’s Group, Adult Faith Formation, Knights of Columbus, Service Saturdays, Young Adults Group, Youth Group, being a server, usher, lector, Extraordinary Minister of Communion, join our several choirs, and the Summer Festival. There is something for everyone. We will begin again in April once a month parish family dinners on a Thursday and Donut/fellowship weekend on the 3rd weekends of the month.
Here are projects going on:
- We had installed a handicap door opener on the ramp door
- Installing a new camera system for live-streaming the Masses
- The pews will be done by Easter
- Helping the high school tear down the older brown house used for storage on the corner of church and 36th streets and putting put a large cross on the corner
- Renovations to the grade school building (new windows, new floors, and painting all of the inside) through grants and money left to the school.
- We soon will be sealing all the parking lots and also redoing all the concrete in front of the church and on the side of the church on 36th street.
As a parish, if only we knew it is Jesus in the Eucharist, then we will have projects going on until He returns. We do know and believe it is Jesus in the Eucharist and He is the reason why we do what we do, we are not going to stop working. Saint Augustine tells us, “we must always pray as if everything depends upon God, and work as if everything depends on us.”
We do know and believe it is Jesus in the Eucharist, it is why we Christians do what we do- all for Jesus. Know of mine and Father Barnes prayers for all of you, have a blessed Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. Also have a blessed 33 Day Eucharistic Renewal Retreat. Thank you for your prayers of Father Barnes and myself. Please keep in your prayers, Eric Ritchie, from our parish who will be ordained a permanent Deacon on April 9th at 10:00 at the Cathedral, all are welcome to attend. We will find out soon if he will be assigned to Holy Cross or elsewhere. God bless you all! Let us praise the Lord and give Him thanks. All for Jesus in the Eucharist.
Yours in Christian Service,
Father Michael Hennigen
July 12, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
- We are approaching soon to what I call the “crowning” of the Church. The murals are being installed and they are stunning. They are part of the original design for the church restoration. The angels remind us that we join the heavenly liturgy at every Mass, joining all the Angels and Saints in Heaven in praising Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Heaven comes to earth and earth to Heaven. The crown of laurel in the circle is a crown of victory. Victory that Jesus’ Holy Cross brings to us over sin and death and victory when we take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. The P and X, the Chi-Rho represents the first two letter in the name of Christ.
- The new pews have started to come in and the pews to be refinished and restored are starting to be taken out. The color looks great and it matches the doors of the church and the marble behind the altar. A reminder that it is the wood of the cross which hung the salvation of the world. Let us always behold the cross. We are so grateful to the team of “Saint Joseph” workers who made the crucifixes out of the old kneelers. 2020 we’re made and we raised $160,000 to restore all the pews and get new kneelers. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the project. It will take serval months for the project to be done.
- Our ramp in underway being built to the meeting room and food pantry which are located in the basement of the parish offices. New concrete is also being laid around the entrance to Barnes Hall. Once all concrete work is done we will have an open house and blessing/dedication of Barnes Hall, Angels Pantry, and the meeting room.
- In the next few months new concrete will be laid for the front side walk in front of the church and parish office. This will include a cross design in front of each of the three main doors of the church. All the new concrete will include the laying of brick pavers between the church and parish offices in honor of families.
- We will be starting in the next couple of months building a deck off the back of the rectory with a ramp access. This is to allow space for outside gatherings at the “Holy Cross Party Deck.”
- The rest of the sound board is being installed these next few weeks to help relieve the last of the echo in the church. It is a big church with vaulted ceilings and was not made for microphones, so the last of the sound board will help
- We began the painting of the trim and around the windows of the parish office/rectory. It looks great. Thanks to Ellison Painting for all that they have done for us.
- The cleaning of the stone of the Church and painting around all the windows was finished earlier this summer. With the new LED lights that shine on the church all night, the Church stands as a beacon of light and hope to the city, just as Jesus calls us to live our lives.
- The gym roof has been completed. The project was paid together by the high school and the parish. The parish portion came from a Will that was left to the parish and the project has been paid in the full. No more mopping up the gym floor when it rains.
- The grade school roof and roof drains are being replaced in the next few weeks. The money for this project came from a grant. Also we are in the process working on new windows being installed in the grade school building.
- This summer I hired some high schoolers to work with Tom, our maintenance man, and I and we work 9:00 to 3:00 most days and we have trimmed all the trees around the gym building, did some painting of the exterior of the gym building, power washed the rock wall from the grade school to Catholic Charities, will be painting both garages, and have been doing some landscaping.
- As I say, “we have projects until Jesus comes back,” on ourself as a working project, projects of bringing people to Jesus, and our physical grounds. We are one campus of Holy Cross and we are going to keep sprucing up God’s house and around it. So we are not done, this all is just the beginning.
- With all the projects mentioned above, we have the money for all of them from so many generous donations. Our projects have not added any additional debt to the parish. So we are going to keep rolling.
- Also other great news, just in the last few weeks, we paid off all of our old parish debt. We are debt free. Praise the Lord! Our last debt was to Midwest Mechanical for boiler work in the past, and we have cut that debt down and have now paid them off. Saint Paul tells us, our debt should be to love one another, so we will always keep paying that debt. This is an exciting time for us as a parish and all of it made possible through our Sunday offering to the Lord each week and through donations.
- Thank you all so much for the offering to the Lord through the DPAA, our parish goal was $31,000 and we are up over $41,000 and the money over the goal will come back to the parish.
- We have been able to support ACUE and our ministry to our school in our call to pass off the faith.
- Our Sunday Offering budget each week is $8,000. Each week we come close to or around that amount. The budget for this upcoming Fiscal Year for each week will be around $9,000 because of some cost of things going up and we are a growing parish. We keep on giving our offering to the Lord and we cannot out give the Lord.
- Our festival is coming up and I hope it is a time of fellowship and fun. We are praying for good weather. The money raised from the festival will be used for two things: to go towards the rest of our Catholic Mutual Bill (Property Insurance) due at the end of the year and open up a parish savings account to save “for a rainy day.” God is good! Thank you so much to Kim Wagner and the committee for all their hard work.
- We are made to worship and praise the Lord: weekly Mass schedule is on the bulletin and on our Facebook and webpage. Adoration is on Sundays from 9:45 to 10:20, Monday from 4:30 pm to 5:45, Wednesday from 5:00 to 5:45, and First Friday from 8:30pm to 9:15. Confessions are from 4:00 pm to 4:20 on Saturday, 5:00 to 5:45 on Wednesdays, and 8:30 to 9:15 on first Friday. Rosary is at 6:00 on Thursdays from May to October. Deliverance Prayers is every 3rd Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30.
- We are called to serve as Jesus served, to be His hands and feet. Opportunities to serve: Service Saturdays on first Saturday 9:30 to 11:30 where we serve our neighbors, Saint Vincent DePaul on first Mondays at 7:00, Angels Pantry open various times throughout the week.
- We are called to grow in our relationship with Jesus. Opportunities to grow in faith: Knights of Columbus meets on first Saturday at noon, Faith Formation as I teach on different topics on Mondays from 6:30 to 7:00pm, Men’s Group 8:00pm to 9:00 on Wednesdays, Women’s Group at 6:30 on Thursdays beginning August 5th, RCIA beginning in September on Thursdays at 7:30 (so if you know anyone interested in becoming Catholic- invitation goes a long way in inviting someone to follow Jesus), Fall and Spring Bible Studies with David and Mary Ann Arnold, Young Adults Group from 10:15pm to 11:30 after the 9:30 pm candlelight Mass, youth group will restart when school begins, and CCD will start back up when school begins. We are excited as our our school enrollment is going up by 20 or 30 this year so close to 170. Every age is covered in opportunities to be apart of a Faith Formation group
- If you are interested in serving at Mass, being a lector, extraordinary minister of communion, or usher to let myself or the parish office know. I want to thank everyone who serves in these. Thanks to everyone who helps with our wonderful ushers with offertory when asked and those who bring up the gifts at Mass.
- Tony Wagner, our music director, he does a wonderful job in helping us praise the Lord and he is starting some choirs: adult choir, young adult, and children’s choir. If interested see Tony after Mass.
- Coming up: We will have another Summer Knights on August 20th, a night with a band, food, and fellowship sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Our plan is to continue these in the Fall. We will be starting back in the Fall donuts after the Masses on the 2nd weekend of the month when we have the anointing of the sick after Mass. In the Fall we will start back our parish dinner, a pot luck once a month, on a Thursday at 5:00 before rosary.
Yours in Christian Service
Father Michael Hennigen
March 1, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!
It has been a couple of months since my last parish letter which was before Christmas. Now we find ourselves in the holy season of Lent. The word Lent means “spring” and in following Jesus we always spring to new life. We are journeying to the cross with Jesus and to his glorious resurrection, and it is a reminder to us, that even in hard times, like Jesus’ suffering and death was, and in the hard times we experience, that even during this time with the pandemic, that we are to hold on tight to Jesus and there is always victory in the Lord. We remain faithful to Jesus in good times and in bad and that the Lord sees us through the storms in life and we praise Him in the storm.
In the letters I send every couple of months giving an update on the parish are “Praise Reports.” We give God all the praise for the good work He has begun in us! That in both good and bad times we praise the Lord and give him thanks. This is what we do as a parish, this is how we live as Christians. So here is the “Praise Report:”
WORK ALREADY GOING ON IN THE CHURCH
- The painting in the Church is complete and it is beautiful. We should be receiving the murals for the church in the next couple of weeks from a company called New Guild. The murals are part of the design developed in our painting project funded through generous donations. The murals include a cross and angels in the dome, angels on the top two red walls, gold crosses on the 4 red walls, and the laurel crown of victory in the gold circle. The crown of victory comes from Jesus victorious over sin and death.
- We are very close to reaching our goal of $150,000 for our Pew Restoration Project. This money was raised from donations and the Crucifixes made from the kneelers. 1500 crucifixes were made from the wood of the kneelers plus 410 more to come. We will stop at 1910, for the year the pews were made. Any money collected over the goal will remain in the Church Restoration Fund to help with upkeep of the church. New pews are being made and will arrive in the next couple of weeks, and will replace folding chairs. The company “The Church Pew People,” is doing the pews. In the next couple of weeks sections of the pews will be removed, stripped to their natural wood, refinished and new kneelers made. During this time, we will use folding chairs so as to keep same number of seats available in the church. I want to thank everyone who has helped with this project, from the donations as well as the group of “Saint Joseph carpenters” who made the crucifixes from the 110-year-old kneelers.
- Over the past few months, we installed LED lights in the whole church, using money from our restoration fund to cover the project. They really brighten the church and give it a warm look. Coming to Mass should give us a “warm feeling” because of resting in the arms of Jesus. The new lights will impact our electric bill and those savings will help offset their purchase/installation.
- Our recently renovated Bridal/Servers Room on the left side of the altar will be dedicated to Saint Anne, the mother of Mary. Another generous donation of $16,000 was received for this dedication. Saint Anne is the patron Saint of mothers, grandmothers, and infertility. A plaque and statue will be put up in honor of Saint Anne. The rest of the donation was put into the Church Restoration Fund. This room is used for all my meetings: wedding, individual, and confessions.
FUTURE WORK ON THE CHURCH AND AROUND THE CHURCH THIS SPRING AND SUMMER
We have several projects coming up this spring and early summer that should complete the major restoration of the Church. God is good! We have received a generous donation of $100,000 to complete the restoration. All the work we have done to the church has accumulated no additional debt for the parish. PRAISE GOD!
- The cleaning and sealing of the all the stone on the outside of the church. The church will then “pop” and “shine” like when it was built. Holy Cross is a rock and gem of Latonia and we are to be a light that shines for all people to see that they may give glory to God. The copper valleys of the roof are going to be replaced. The roof itself is in good condition and does not need to be replaced.
- The concrete in front of the church will be replaced as well adding three crosses of red brick in front of the three front doors.
- The concrete replacement will include new concrete between the church and parish offices. Memorial brick pavers will be placed in this area from existing orders and donations. There are still Memorial Pavers available to order, $50 donation, may be ordered through the parish office.
- The concrete project will include ramps built to Angels Pantry, located in the basement of the rectory/ parish offices and our meeting rooms (Barnes Hall, Knights of Columbus and Youth room) underneath the back of the church. These ramps will really open up access to these areas.
- A new ambo (pulpit) will be built in the front left of the church that is similar to the ambo that was in front of the original Church.
- The wood on the outside of the all-stained-glass windows needs to be scraped and repainted. We will be doing the work ourselves this summer.
OTHER MAINTENANCE PROJECTS
- This summer we will begin work on the parish offices/rectory: painting the trim, fixing the gutters, and repairing interior walls. We will be doing a lot of this work ourselves in order to reduce expenses.
- We received a $50,000 grant to fix the leaky roof of the grade school and to redo the bathrooms. New windows also to be installed in the grade school as a result of another generous donation
- Our gym roof for the grade school/ high school has needed to be replaced for some time and it is a $120,000 project. Someone has already donated $60,000. We hope to finish this project through other donations as well. The roof will be built with a pitch rather than a flat roof and will have a life of 30 years. We also will be doing other work to the gym building, which is the Monsignor Finn Building, again doing whatever we can ourselves to reduce expenses.
OTHER THINGS HAPPENING WITHIN THE PARISH
- Saint Vincent De Paul, our Knights of Columbus, our men’s group, and Bible Studies continue to meet either in person or virtually.
- We are in the process of starting a server’s club. Servers have new red and white robes. We found several of them in the basement of the parish offices. The rest of the robes were made possible through a generous donation.
- We have added additional ushers to Masses to help seat people and dispense Holy Water. If anyone would like to help with this ministry, let me or one of the ushers know.
- If anyone would like be extraordinary minister or lector, contact parish office at 859-431-0636.
- Once we are able to do more gatherings, will be doing our monthly parish dinner again, donut social on the 2nd Sundays of the month, having a young adult’s group after the 9:30pm candlelight Mass, starting a women’s group, and restarting our youth group. The flood gates of ministry are opening!
- Our Festival Committee is meeting and we will have some type of festival this summer.
- We are planning to have Vacation Bible School this summer.
- Service Saturdays will start back up on the 1st Saturday of May from 9:00 to 11:30 and they will be every First Saturday going out to serve our neighbors in need.
- We have added additional liturgies: adoration and confessions on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 5:45 and a 6:00 pm Mass. First Fridays only adoration and confessions from 8:30 to 9:15pm and 9:30 pm Candle light Mass. On Holy Thursday, April 1st, we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00pm and on Good Friday, April 2nd, Stations of the Cross at Noon and the Passion of the Lord at 3:00pm and 7:00pm. To really enter into those Holy Days of the life of Jesus, if you can, try to attend those liturgies. RCIA this year has 5 people coming into the Church at the Easter Vigil at 8:30 pm on April 3rd. Please keep them in your prayers. Everyone is invited to that Easter Mass. For Easter Sunday Masses (8:30 & 10:30 am) we are also planning to have an additional Mass in the gym at 10:30 am. In addition to all of this we have 20 weddings scheduled. In all things, may the name of the Lord be praised!
- Angels Pantry opened up in the rectory basement this past week. We made room for it by cleaning out the basement, painting the walls and floor. We did all the work ourselves. It looks really nice and we will have an open house after the ramp is built to it. Angie Dudderer is the director of the pantry. The pantry serves ACUE and will help serve Saint Vincent De Paul. Information on volunteering will be coming soon. When we need the pantry stocked, I will make an announcement at Masses of items needed. Also, food can be dropped off in the back of the church in the brown barrel. Donations to the pantry can be made to Holy Cross and mark “pantry.”
- As a result of increased offertory collections, we have made a big dent in our parish debt. We still owe $30,000 to the diocese for ACUE (an old ACUE debt) and remain current on our ACUE bills every month. Originally the ACUE debt was $700,000 but the diocese forgave $600,000 if we would pay off $100,000. We have already paid $70,000 and the rest of the remaining $30,000 will be paid off over the next several months. Our other major debt is $25,000 to Midwest Mechanical for past work over the years on our boilers. When the boiler went out at Christmas it was a $7,000 repair and we received a donation to cover that expense. Approximately $60,000 is the last of our major outstanding parish debt which we will continue to reduce as a result of your generosity. It is our goal/hope to be able to pay off our parish debt this year.
This is our PRAISE REPORT! In life no matter what is happening and going on, or whatever we are going through or experiencing, in good times and in bad, we praise the Lord. We are made to praise the Lord. Know of my prayers for all of you. Also, Father Barnes wants to express his gratitude to all of you for your prayers for him. He is doing well in his retirement at the rectory. Let us continue to keep one another in prayer, for many people are ill, many have lost loved ones, and many are hurting because of job loss. Again, we praise the Lord in the storm. Let us keep the Ledbetter family in our prayers as well. We were so blessed to have Deacon Carl assigned to us. He really showed what it means to serve the Lord and others. I miss him dearly by my side at the altar. I know he is praying for us and we are praying for him. Also let us keep in our prayers Eric Ritchie, who assists at the altar at the 10:30 Mass on Sundays. The Ritchie family is new to the parish and Eric is in Deacon Formation and is assigned to us as he prepares to be ordained a deacon next year.
As a parish and as a people we have projects until Jesus’ return. First, because we “ourself” are a “working project,” and God is not through with us yet. Second, we have the project of always bringing people to Jesus, helping saving souls and expanding God’s Kingdom by bringing people into His Church. We should never tire of this as this is our main purpose and mission of why we exist and all of us have a part in doing this. The Third way in which we have projects until Jesus returns is the work on physical grounds entrusted to us, to be good stewards of what God has given to us. I have tried to summarize all that is going on and I always want keep everyone updated as we are a parish family. Feel free to ask me questions anytime Let us praise the Lord and give him thanks! Lord by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
God bless you all!
Yours in Christian Service,
November 22, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever! Know of Father Barnes and my prayers for all of you and thank you for your prayers for us during this time. I want to wish you all a blessed, safe, and Happy Thanksgiving. Saint Paul tells us that we are give thanks in all circumstances. Not that we give thanks for the circumstance, just as we are not thankful for this pandemic, but to give thanks in the circumstance. Really for us to count our blessings in all things. I also want to wish you a blessed Advent as we prepare to make room in the inn, to make room “inn” our hearts and minds for Jesus.
With the end of the season of Ordinary Time in the Church and the beginning of the Advent Season our readings remind us about the end of time, when each of us will meet Jesus. The Lord does not want us to speculate when it will happen or how it will happen but that we are to be ready and prepared and in being prepared it will be a day of great Joy. In getting prepared, I preached in a Sunday homily a few weeks ago, that we have projects to work on until Jesus returns. How true this is in three ways. First, we ourselves are a working project. That we are to always be growing in charity and holiness, to keep getting better. For us to not judge others as God is not through with us yet. Also at this time for us to keep being smart, being healthy, and being holy. The second way in which we have projects to work on until Jesus returns, is to keep building up God’s Kingdom on earth. As disciples of Jesus, we are to be disciple makers, to bring others to Jesus, to bring others into the Church. Our goal is to get to Heaven and take as many people as we can with us. We can never tire in doing this. The third way in which we have projects to work on until Jesus returns is with the physical Church building and our property. We have done a lot of work in the Church since the pandemic and the work continues and will continue until Jesus returns.
The beautiful painting of the Church will be done just in time for Christmas. It is so exciting. Our Christmas Masses this year will be 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve and 9:00 am on Christmas Day. Last year the 4:30 Mass on Christmas Eve was standing room only so we are having two Masses earlier in the evening to relieve the crowd and also this year because of the limited seating in the Church due to the restrictions. Probably the most crowded Christmas Mass will be the 4:00 pm and we can only have so many people in the Church and we want everyone to remain safe, so everyone who will be attending Christmas Masses think on attending either the 6:00 or 10:00 Masses on Christmas Eve or the 9:00 Mass on Christmas Day. In the past the 10:00 pm and 9:00 am Masses were the least crowded. Also we will live-stream all the Christmas Masses, as there still is a dispensation from attending Sunday Mass and Holy Days.
After Christmas we will begin restoring the pews of the Church. The pews are 110 years old, as old as the Church, and many of them are broken, the paint is peeling off and they have had to be touched up, so we will have them restored to an original wood finish. Also we are still missing 21 pews in the Church that we have room for, so we are going to have those made by the same company who will be restoring the pews. There is a pew in the back of the church to the left that has already been redone. The project will cost $150,000. We have done already all the work in the Church debt free through donations and this project will be done through donations as well. To help with the pew restoration project, a gentleman, who is a friend of Holy Cross, had a literal dream about taking all the wood from the 110 old oak kneelers and making them into crucifix’s. Since we will be getting new kneelers since the ones we have now are heavy and many of them are broken, the ones not in use now have been taken out and have been made into crucifix’s and some of the end pieces made into wood keepsakes. We are not selling the crucifix’s or the wood keepsakes, but you get one when you make a donation to the pew restoration project. Let us remember our end goal and how much we need to raise. Throughout Advent after the weekend Masses, the wood keepsakes will be in the back of Church for you to give a donation to the pew restoration project and get a wood keepsake and also we will have order forms for the crucifix’s after the Masses. There is also an order form with this letter and we soon will have it posted online and on Facebook. Please be as generous as you can so we can raise enough money to restore our pews. The money raised beyond the cost of the pews will go to clean the stone of the Church, to make it shine. Projects until Jesus returns.
Also some others things going on at the parish: during this time we have had quite a few baptisms, 7 weddings at the Church, with 24 scheduled for next year. Small groups and meetings are able to meet with the protocols in place: like RCIA, Knights of Columbus, and SVDP. We have 14 kids in CCD and they will now be meeting virtually, as well as our school kids at this time, and our prayers are with all our children. At this time we are still not able to have the choir at Mass, our donut socials on the 2nd Weekends of the month, and our monthly parish dinner. We will get back to these when we can. We are allowed again to have servers at Mass, so a new schedule and training will begin in Advent.
This is an exciting time for our parish, even in the midst of hard times. It is our faith in Jesus that is getting us through and us always standing by our Lord’s Holy Cross even in the midst of hardship, just like our mother Mary did during our Lord’s suffering and death, never abandoning the Cross. It is only the Cross of Christ that triumphs over sin and death. So let us ever glory in the Cross of Christ and the triumph of God’s great love. Lord by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
Let us praise the Lord and give Him thanks.
Yours in Christian Service,
Fr. Michael Hennigen
September 2, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever! Know of Father Barnes and my prayers for all of you and thank you for the prayers for us during this time. Let us keep one another in prayer especially those who are sick and for Father Mario the pastor of Saint Cecilia, who suffered a stroke, and for the people of his parish. We are people of prayer, we believe in the power of prayer, and we know that God is in control. We are to live in His love and to show His love by our words, actions, and by caring for one another, especially during this time with the pandemic.
In my last letter in June I updated you all on things going on in the church and it was time for another update as God continues to build His house. As seen in the church and mentioned in my last letter we had removed the carpet by volunteers only costing a couple of thousand dollars. Volunteers helped paint and redo the sacristy and old choir room. We will have an “open house” in the next couple of weeks. Volunteers also painted the vestibule of the church, and built the stands and arches for the statues in the church. In the next couple of weeks we will be installing our sound board, to decease the echo in the church since we installed the new sound system back in April and we removed the carpet. Thank you all for your patience with the echo. We have done all of this accumulating No debt and through generous donations. This gets us ready to paint the Church hopefully to begin in October with the $75,000 donation given for the painting of the church.
With the painting of the church, we have the colors that were done in the corner of the church in 2006. We will be using the design of those colors with the tan walls, light tan columns, and gold on top of the columns. An architect who is helping us and who is donating his time has made other recommendations for the church that we will display in a rendition in 2/3 weeks when the design is complete. The recommended colors to use is the light tan of the columns on the Stations of the Cross, the confessional, and around the new statues to make everything match. The dome behind the altar will be gold. Also for the pews once they are refinished is to match the wood of the doors. We had a pew removed in the back of the church to be refinished to give us a glimpse of their restoration that we will focus on after Christmas when the painting of the church is complete. The new pews will have new kneelers that are much lighter to put down and up. We will simply do this through any donations and not have to undertake a capital campaign.
Also recommended to us is for us to paint the ceiling in the church a red color, like a rose color. The blue rendition in the corner of the church that was done in 2006 is very beautiful but the reason it is recommended that we paint the ceiling of the church a red color is in keeping with the theology of our parish. We are the parish of Holy Cross and it was on the cross that Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins. The Church is built in the shape of the cross and red is the color of His blood. We will be able to display the exact colors in the rendition once we receive it from the architect in the next couple of weeks. The red color will really stand out for us as a parish as Holy Cross.
A few others things that we are working on is installing new rails in front of the church and a rail on the side wall near the altar rail for the steps. We are almost done with the hall underneath of the church that the brother Knights of Columbus have restored for their Knights Hall, our youth room, and for other parish functions that will be dedicated as Barnes Hall. We will be installing handicap ramps to this hall and to our parish meeting room. Also we will complete the new pavement in front of the Church and the brick pavers in the court yard next to the church. In order to get a brick paver in honor of a memorial for someone and to give a donation, contact the Church office.
Also during this time when we are not able to gather much with other ministries at the church due to the pandemic, we are reinstating some ministries when we safely can. RCIA will meet soon on Thursday’s meeting in the church. We will be offering on-line Bible studies. We have a men’s group that meets over zoom on Wednesdays. I will offer catechesis classes on the 2nd and 4th Mondays from 6:30 to 7:00 after the 6:00 Mass starting here soon. As school is already in session, we begin CCD on Monday nights starting on September 14th. We continue to have Adoration on Mondays, Adoration and Praise and Worship on Sundays between the Masses, and Rosary at 6:00 on Thursdays. Prayer is so essential.
Also we have a new prayer team for prayer requests that can be reached at the parish office. With our Deacon Carl at the parish he will be reaching out to parishioners about any service we can be of assistance too as we reinstate Service Saturdays. When we are able to we will have Knights meetings, SVDP meetings, donut socials on Sundays again, and parish choir. We are wanting to start a women’s tea and hope to get working again on the Men and Women’s Welcome Weekends when we can. We are having to be patient with all of this. We do feel somewhat disconnected without all these other ministries going on at this time, though it is true that as we draw closer to God we draw closer to each other.
That’s it for now. God is so good! It is the Lord who builds the house! Let us remember that it is “Nothing but the blood of Jesus” that saves us and it is only staying close to Jesus that we can make it through anything.
Lord by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Yours in Christian Service,
Fr. Michael Hennigen
Also in the letter sent to the parish is a beautiful letter from Father Tom Barnes, our pastor emeritus, on how he is doing.
June 7, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever. During the time when we were not celebrating Masses with the public we spent those weeks preparing the Church with additional seating to accommodate more people safely around the altar once Masses resumed. I had sent several letters during that time sharing what was going on. The project included adding 17 additional pews to the Church that we had in storage, moving the choir to the loft, and moving the altar onto the marble which allowed space for the pews, and removing the carpet from the Church. We were able to do all the work through volunteers from the parish and from other parishes in the diocese over 8 to 10 weeks. This work also brought about a beautifying of the Church. The project should have cost around $70,000 and we did it for around $3,000.
Now we enter into what is the next phase of beautifying the Church now that the ball is rolling. I had no intention of doing any work in the Church until we raised the money or undertook a capital campaign in the future. God had other plans. Things are now moving and God sure is working! There are things that still need to be done and one of the main things to be done is to paint the Church. We have the beautiful example of colors in the corner of the Church that were done in 2006. To paint the ceiling we would need professionals to do it but we thought that volunteers could paint the walls. To paint the Church we would need the ceiling to be painted before the walls, but we first would have to raise the money. Well, God provided! This past week we received a generous donation of $75,000 to paint the Church. God is so Good! So we are in the process right now of consulting the diocese and consulting bids to begin painting the whole Church very soon, both the ceiling and the walls, as it should be about $75,000 to complete. We are going to use the same pattern of colors that are in the corner from 2006: Blue ceiling, tan walls, light tan columns, and gold tops on the columns. We are hoping to begin this in the next few weeks since we have the money in full and we should be able to remain in the Church for Masses while it is being painted.
With things moving forward there are other additional projects that are in need to be done and God has brought the opportune time for us to do them. They include: new handrails in the front of the Church (as the ones now are rusted out at the bottom), new hardwood floors in the sacristy and former choir room (as the carpet is ripped), chair lifts to be installed to the choir loft, a ramp to be built to our new Hall downstairs underneath the Church (This is the area beneath the church in the front of the Church that was used as a Boy Scouts room in the 80’s and then storage for 30 years. Our Knights of Columbus have been working on redoing it the past 8 months and it is almost done. It will hold a capacity of 40 and be dedicated as “Barnes Hall,” and with the ramp it will give handicap accessible to it), also a ramp built to our parish meeting room, and redoing the pews. A lot of this work will be done by volunteers but some of this work will have to be done by professionals. To do all of this we are asking for any donation you can give to these projects? The donation made to the Church should be marked, “restoration.” It is amazing all the work to the Church that we are doing that we will not accumulate any debt and we will not have to do a capital campaign. As the Bible tells us, “If the Lord does not build the house in vain do we labor.” God is building the house! Also with any donation given or if a donation has already been given, we are purchasing brick pavers for $50 each, for in for between the Church and rectory, as a memorial to honor you, your family, or your children, so send in the information you would like on the brick to the parish office. The information should include what you would like on the brick as it can have 3 lines and up to 13 letters per line (spaces also count for a letter).
Lastly, some other news going on. I am happy to announce and maybe you have already seen it in the Messenger that Bishop Foys has assigned Deacon Carl Ledbetter to our parish. I have known Deacon for several years where I celebrated Mass with him on First Fridays at Hospice in Edgewood where he served before retiring from there last year. He has served as the Deacon at Saint Patrick’s in Taylor Mill for the past 10 years. We are so happy and blessed to have Deacon Carl assist at our parish as a pastoral associate. He will help expand our ministries at the Church. Deacon Carl will begin on June 11th. We are such a welcoming parish, so I know he will feel right at home. Also in the Diocese we still have the Diocesan Parish Annual Appeal and due to the pandemic it had been delayed until now and you all should have received the information in the mail straight from the diocese. The diocese is still encouraging the parishes to reach their parish goal and our goal is around $36,000 and it is for the purpose of ministering to those in need and there are still so many people that need our help. Please be generous as you can. You can send DPAA back to the diocese and to mark it as Holy Cross Parish.
God is so Good! We keep giving the Lord all the praise as He builds the house and has called us as His own as His people. All of you remain in mine and Father Barnes prayers, please pray for us.
Lord by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.
Yours in Christian Service,
April 21, 2020
Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,
Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever! Lord by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world. Before March 19th we celebrated Masses with the public and on the 1st and 5th Sundays of the month, between the Sunday Masses, we had Adoration and Praise and Worship. During that time, I often would play the song, “Come to the Altar,” by Elevation Worship. Some of the lyrics say,
“Are you hurting and broken within, overwhelmed by the weight of the sin, Jesus is calling. Have you come to the end of yourself, do you thirst for a drink from the well, Jesus is calling. O come to the altar, the Fathers arms are open wide, forgiveness, was bought with, the precious blood of Jesus Christ. O what a Savior, isn’t He wonderful. Sing Hallelujah Christ is Risen, bow down before him, for He is Lord of all, sing Hallelujah Christ is risen.”
Jesus is calling us to the altar. Unfortunately, with sadness we have not been able to come to the Altar physically as brothers and sisters as God’s Family since March 19th. Since then, we have been united in spirit and in prayer around the Altar and during this phase of no Masses with the public.
To help us spiritually gather around the Altar during this time as a parish family:
- We have live-streamed Masses on our Holy Cross Facebook page.
- We have updated our website at holycrosscov.org.
- We added online giving/envelopes can be mailed or dropped in mail slot.
- Have posted beautiful songs for us to mediate on.
- Many call to parishioners and have mailed letters out.
- Checked on our elderly parishioners and dropped off several bundles of food to our neighbors at the Colony and will continue to collect food donation.
This phase will give way to the next phase during this epidemic, when we will gather around the Altar of the Lord once again. This will be when the Bishop will let the whole diocese know the time for us to safely return to celebrate Mass once again. When we return to Mass with the public, we will still be required to social distance in the church. According to experts and everything being said at this time period of having to spread out in public places will last for some time. In order for the parish family to return and for more people to gather around the Altar in the Church, we must have everyone’s safety and well-being as our number one concern. We will still be able to gather around the Altar in Church, but to accomplish this we will have to socially distance ourselves. In order to do this, we have added more seating capacity.
In response to this next phase of having to spread out in the Church, we have added 17 additional pews for more seating. In order to accommodate this, the choir was moved to the loft and are now able to spread out. We have removed all the raised and carpeted areas. Those pews are now faced towards the Altars. The Altar has now been relocated on the marble floor behind the Communion rail. The safety and well-being of my Holy Cross Family is my only concern as we gather around the Altar. Father Barnes, the parish staff, and Parish Council are also all concerned about ensuring everyone’s safety and allowing for more room to distance when we return. We had to move quick during this time that Masses with the public had been suspended and to enable us to be ready for when we return to church so as to be able to provide social distancing. Companies, sports arenas, our government, and restaurants are all doing the same at this time and we must respond as well so that we can gather around the Altar again as a parish family.
We are already thinking of different strategies for our safety, such as possible additional masses, how to safely come forward for Holy Communion, how to do the sign of peace and how collections will be taken (baskets won’t be passed around anymore we now have baskets with handles so parishioners will not need to touch them), and we will also be sanitizing pews after each Mass. This is where we challenge ourselves to be smart, healthy, and to be Holy for the good of our community.
Father Barnes and my prayers are with you all. Let us praise be the Lord and give him thanks. We are called as the community of Holy Cross to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to others.
Yours in Christian Service,
Holy Cross Parish: Where we bring the Good News of Jesus Christ