- 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.
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