Holy Cross Catholic Church and School 60th Anniversary Newsletter - August
Holy Cross 60
Hello Holy Cross community!
Welcome to the August edition of the 60
anniversary newsletter! It is hard to believe that it is August already!!
We invite you to visit
to view past newsletters from this year of celebration!
Thank you for being a part of this wonderful faith-filled community! We hope you have a wonderful month of August!
Father Robert Buchmeier, Pastor
Mrs. Lisa Kane, Principal
Mrs. Megan Harbold, 60
We Want Your Photos!
The Holy Cross 60th Anniversary Committee is looking for photos from the far or recent past, to share as a part of celebrating the 60th anniversary of our church and school.
Please email photos to
in highest resolution and if possible, please identify
is in the photo,
the occasion was,
the photo was taken. Thank you!
History collected by MaryAnn and Karen Crespy.
PARISH ORGANIZATIONS, Part 2
This month we wrap up our parish organizations. This is not an exhaustive list, but aims to cover the historical groups as well as many of the current activities at Holy Cross. Parishioners are encouraged to find an organization that speaks to their talents and interests and become an active member of our beautiful parish!
THAT MAN IS YOU
Former Holy Cross Pastor Monsignor Cary Hill asked parishioner Dave Ruppert to look into the “That Man Is You” (TMIY) program that was already in progress at St. Raphael’s Parish in Potomac.
After attending a series of these meetings, Dave recommended the program to Monsignor Hill for Holy Cross Parish. In 2014, TMIY was introduced to the parish with approximately 35 men in the first group. The group meets for 2 hours on Saturday mornings at 6:30 a.m. at Holy Cross School. During the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings were held virtually. Each meeting is composed of three sections: social (coffee and donuts), video presentation, and discussion centered on the video.
TMIY is focused on encouraging and enabling men, especially husbands, to take responsibility for bringing Christ and Catholicism to their family and friends. There are 26 sessions with 13 meetings beginning in the Fall and 13 meetings in the Spring. Men of all ages are welcome to check out TMIY on any Saturday morning and to join us when they can. The group extends a special welcome to new members of the parish.
As of 2021, approximately 10 men are participating in TMIY meetings. Between semester sessions, the men continue to meet on Saturday mornings for Bible Study and Gospel sharing. Many of these men attend the Saturday morning mass after their meeting and take the opportunity for confession following the mass.
TMIY was created in Texas and has the full backing of the Catholic Church. The program is constantly revised to allow for fresh presenters and to keep the material interesting.
If you want to find God growing in the midst of family and friends, this program is for you.
ROSARY AT GROSVENOR IN 1970s
In July 1970, a few residents of Grosvenor Apartments gathered in an apartment to recite the rosary once a week. As word about the group spread, the number of participants soon reached 40. This was an overwhelming number of people to fit in one place, so some members offered to host smaller rosary groups in their apartments. By September 1970, rosary groups were meeting in Grosvenor Apartment buildings 10201, 10401, and 10500. There is no record of how many years this continued; and most, if not all of the women and men who participated in the 1970s, have gone to their Eternal Reward. This wonderful practice at Grosvenor seems to have ended with them.
DAILY ROSARY GROUP AFTER DAILY MASS
Monday through Saturday following the 8:30 a.m. Mass, a group of men and women gather to pray the Rosary. This has been an on-going practice for a number of years. All are welcome to join.
TUESDAY EVENING ROSARY GROUP
In the mid-1990s, parishioners Lori Suman (deceased) and Yolaine Watkins called together a group of friends and acquaintances to pray the rosary every Tuesday evening. For 25 years they have met in one another’s homes to faithfully pray for each other, special intentions, and to support each other through difficult times. While some of the original members have passed on, the vitality of the group is renewed with new members desiring a group with whom they can share fellowship, prayer, and devotion to Mary.
HOLY CROSS BOOK CLUB
From 2011 to 2016, Jeanmarie Keeney led 12 men and women in the Holy Cross Catholic Book Club. They met once a month on Tuesday evenings during the school year to discuss a book assigned the previous month. Some of the authors covered were: Flannery O’Connor, C.K. Chesterton, Rumer Godden, C.S. Lewis, J.H. Newman, Robert Hugh Benson, and several Russian authors. The readings were sometimes challenging and the discussions were always lively. Best of all, each book brought diverse subjects to consider and opened up a world of characters and situations that made every book a treasure to be discovered. Sadly, the group disbanded when Jeanmarie Keeney left her position as Director of Religious Education (DRE) at Holy Cross.
TEEN CLUB/YOUTH GROUP
Holy Cross high school Catholic youth gathered as a “Teen Club” in the early years of Holy Cross parish. Between 1963-1970, more than 300 teens were members of this group, and several teens, who participated in Teen Club, found their future spouse and later married. The Teen Club was moderated by our first Associate Pastor Father Joaquin Bazan. Activities ranged from dances with live bands providing music of the day, to road trips to places near and far.
Following are some Teen Club Sunday Bulletin notices:
This afternoon a team is entering the car rodeo at St. Bernard’s, Riverdale.
Weekly Record Hop 8:00-11:00 p.m...35 cents.
Social Hall–Teen Club presenting “An Evening with the Folk Singers” featuring Allan Dameron and Carol Hedin. Profits from this Hootenanny will be used to entertain hospital patients, in particular the mentally challenged. Tickets: Adult $1.50, Student $1.00. If you like folk-music be sure to come.
All who are going to the Luau should meet at school at 10:45 a.m. (Bring your own lunch - Dinner will be served). Bus will return to Holy Cross from the beach at 10:00 p.m. Cost $2.00
8:00-11:00 p.m. – the 1963 Summer program ends with a record hop.
Dance, Melotones $1.00 – COLLECTION – Kidney Foundation, March of Dimes/distributed 900 envelopes to apartment-dwellers – CYO play contests at St. Michaels (one act play) – ten-pin bowling with Fr. Bazan – 3
Sunday of month is Communion Sunday – at Holy Redeemer: lecture on Sacrament of Penance/round table discussion on confession – food and songfest. – game night and Hootenanny – Forest Home for mentally challenged: basketball and songs – ELECTION for president of Teen Club.
“The Holiday Hootenanny” starring the “Singing Seminarians,” “Bill & Julie,” “Jack Gramlich” and many others is being sponsored by the Teen Club.
7:00 p.m. Election of Officers. Your presence will determine the future of the Club. Candidates: President: Tom Reinecker and Pat McMahon, Vice President: (Tom Reinecker) Janet Seibolt and Roger Thomson, Secretary: Margaret Newton and Kathy Birmingham, Treasurer: (Kathy Birmingham) Linda Kellinger and Colleen McCarty.
At 7:30 p.m. in the Social Hall. Tickets are $1.00 for adults and 50 cents for children 12 and under. Proceeds from this benefit will be used to help in the rehabilitation of refugees in Uganda, East Africa. Whether you like to listen to Folk songs or sing them the “Holiday Hootenanny” should be an evening of fun for all.
Bowling tournament at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets to the Holy Redeemer Holiday Dance may be purchased from Jim Bruno.
Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets to the Bullet-Laker game (pro basketball) may be ordered from Charles Newton or Pat Kullman. $1.00 per ticket.
In 1969, the Teen Club sponsored Catholic teens from Fairfield, CT on their visit to Washington, D.C., hosting them in their homes and showing them the sights of our Nation’s Capital. Our Teen Club then traveled to Fairfield and spent time on the waters of Long Island Sound and visiting Mystic Seaport and the Naval Submarine Base New London. They had teen Masses, youth retreats, and youth conferences.
This are just some examples of the Holy Cross Teen Club activities when Fr. Bazan was the moderator. An excellent example that fun, prayer, and good works can be the model for life. Fr. Bazan had set the standard for the Teen Club. He was reassigned to another parish in 1970.
Christopher Plante became Director of Youth Ministry in 1983. He is remembered as being a vivacious young man fresh out of college that the teens looked up to and grew the Youth Group membership to approximately 300 teens. Chris gained the teens’ trust as a friend or big brother – someone you could trust who was not your parent. He engaged them with activities like volleyball, Friday night game night, hikes, and other activities, creating a community of teens.
Chris arranged for retreats and called in special speakers, brought them together for Reconciliation and Adoration – all leading to the teens’ religious growth and encouraging their relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Chris lived with the John Locke family while he served as Director of Youth Ministry. He later joined the Peace Corps.
of Christ’s passion took on a deeper, more personal meaning to the parishioners of Holy Cross. On that night, as a dramatic conclusion to a week-long Lenten Mission, 22 parish youth brought to life Jesus’ death on the cross.” Jayne also chaperoned a small group of teens to the Marion
Jayne Stodola arrived in 1986, and during the next 3 years Jayne formed an adult youth group team and a youth council. The youth met for catechesis on Sunday nights and held social events, attended sporting events, participated in service projects throughout the year, and took trips to Mount St. Mary’s Grotto in Emmitsburg, MD.
Under Jayne’s direction the Teen Club presented an inspiring reenactment of the Passion on Good Friday evening March 11, 1988. The opening paragraph In the Diocesan publication
Today’s Parish reads:
Shrine in Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, an ex-Yugoslavian country in south Europe, where in 1981 the Virgin Mary appeared to six young people. Father Walter Lawrence, our Associate Pastor, also worked with the youth during Jayne’s tenure.
In July 1989, Christopher Roux was named Director of Youth Ministry. Twice during his tenure, Chris and Teen Club adult chaperones drove a couple of vans full of teens to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week in the sun. Deep friendships were formed that kept teens grounded in that knowledge that they were loved in their community, and those ties lasted through high school and beyond. Youth
meetings were frequently held in a meeting room at the Rectory. Chris continued the Good Friday Passion Play, casting parish teens in the production. During his tenure, the teens participated in Parish service projects and made religious retreats. Teen Club members recall Chris as a fun person with his door open to talk at any time. Joanna Shea O’Brien shared, “The Holy Cross Church Youth Group meant a lot to many of us because we made new friends and created happy memories, while also building a foundation of understanding of our faith. We had a yearly retreat in the Fall, we traveled to Myrtle Beach in the summers, we all participated in service projects, and we performed the Passion Play for the parish every Lent. I remember the lively discussions led by Chris Roux. His sense of humor, deep faith, and ability to include all of us, each with different personalities and levels of faith, created a welcoming space for all of us to grow as Catholics. Most of all, I remember how
much we laughed together during those years. When I reflect on my time spent with the Holy Cross Youth Group, I smile in gratitude for that time in my life."
Chris is now Father Christopher Roux, pastor of Saint Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte, NC.
The next Youth Minister, who arrived in the early 1990s, was a young woman named Kirsti who is most remembered for escorting many of the Holy Cross Teens to World Youth Day in Denver, CO from August 10-15, 1993. The World Youth Day experience left a lasting impression on our youth.
Following Kirsti, Francis E. Fusco served from November 1993 to December 1994. He gathered the teens on Sundays for videos, discussions, pizza parties, DC sports game watches, and organized a mixer dance. He also took teens on trips to attend Mass and tour the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Franciscan Monastery.
In 1995, Monsignor Gatto reached out to parishioners to gauge interest in continuing the Teen Club/Youth Ministry. In July 1995, his message in the bulletin indicated that interest had waned, and no new youth director would be hired for the foreseeable future.
OVER FIFTY CLUB
The Holy Cross “Over 50 Club”, originally called “The Over 50 Sunshine Group”, was founded in September 1981 by Norma O’Gara (who was new to the area) on the basis that “a family that prays together stays together.” Norma remained the leader until May 1984 when she relocated to Florida.
From 1984 through 1988, Peg Mahoney and Mary Sansone were co-presidents with the assistance of Catherine DeGiorgio and Anne Capozzola (both deceased).
In September 1988, Jean Christian became president of the club with assistance from Marie Horan until 2002. The club flourished and grew under their leadership, and in April 1989, the name was changed to “The Over 50 Club.” Jean retired and moved away in May 2004,
and in October 2004 Charlene Hubbard took over leadership and holds that position to this date. Except for July, the club meets the first Friday of each month at 8:30 a.m. Mass at Holy Cross and then gather for breakfast at the I-Hop on Rockville Pike at 10 a.m. Occasionally they schedule short day trips to local sites. Previous pastors and Fr. Perkins have been frequent attendees. They are a cheerful group and extend an invitation to join them.
GIFT CARD PROGRAM
Anyone who knew Sister Miriam Brosnan, C.S.C. as the former Principal of Holy Cross School, knows that it was hard to say no to her. Margie Tritschler was on the School’s Board of Education at the time the Manna Program was being offered to parishes in the Archdiocese in 1989-1990. The Manna Program was an inventory consignment program whereby grocery store gift cards were purchased at a discount and sold at face value. The Manna Program took a small percentage of sales and the parish and school kept the remaining profit. The income earned was allocated proportionally to the school and parish based on sales.
Sister Miriam was looking for ways to generate income for the school and wanted to implement the Manna program. Margie was chosen to chair this program along with her husband, Gerry, who served as co-chair. Together they initiated the sales of gift cards at Holy Cross.
The Tritschlers solicited school volunteers to assist with the take-home envelope-ordering-system for school families. Additional help came from parishioners who would sell gift cards after weekend Masses. The program was well received, and in those first years, it generated income of well over $10,000. While the goal was to supplement income for the parish and school, the added benefit was the socialization with fellow volunteers and purchasers providing a wonderful opportunity to get to know parishioners and school parents alike.
After the first few years, in 1993, fellow parishioner and retiree, Bob Masucci, was recruited to take over this program. The Manna consignment program ended, so under his leadership, Bob negotiated directly with the stores. He was able to expand the scope of the
program to include more gift card providers. Holy Cross no longer had the middleman so the entire profit benefited both the school and church. Jack Fitzgerald, owner of Fitzgerald Auto Mall, graciously provided the ability to add credit card sales to the program, markedly improving gift card sales. Through no small effort, Bob Masucci and his daughters, Cindy Kratz, Elaine Martin, and Loretta Bonner, the store gift card program became a long-term commitment for their family and continues to be a success for Holy Cross.
Today, Margaret Dikel leads the program and its 22 volunteers who sell gift cards after the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass and Sunday morning after all Masses until 12 noon. The Social Concerns Committee has utilized the Gift Card program to acquire gift cards for their food drive program. They often add a grocery card to the items collected at the monthly food drives to enable recipients to purchase fresh produce, meats, and dairy items.
In October 2017, a group of women gathered as a community of mothers of all ages with the desire to follow Mary’s example in carrying out their vocation of motherhood, to share the wisdom of raising Catholic families, and to grow in faith.
The emphasis is three-fold: to grow deeper in faith through prayer, reflection, and friendship; to support each other in the challenges and blessings of nurturing a family; and to share resources that help us pass on Catholic traditions that give comfort and stability.
The group meets monthly and children are welcome. Those who cannot be present at meetings are committed to supporting each other through prayers when they were needed most and in many other ways.
The spiritual director and the heart of this group was Fr. Mathias Ngong, a visiting priest from Cameroon who lived in-residence at Holy Cross while studying in Washington, D.C. from 2015-2020. Father
encouraged these women unceasingly, especially in their hidden work. He taught them that “God is like a mother, and we are all His children. He loves us the way we are with all our shortcomings, no matter what.”
The theme of the first meeting in 2017 was “Family Prayer in the Footsteps of St. Therese.” Subsequent themes for that year were “We Give Thanks: Raising Grateful Children,” “Keeping Christ in Christmas,” “Knowing God’s Child: Recognizing Individual Gifts,” “Lent With Children,” “Setting Boundaries for Our Children,” “Family Meals: Keeping Our Families Healthy in Body and Soul,” and “Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help.” During the 2018-2019 academic year, they followed the Bible study program, “Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother.” The Mother’s Group also participated in the Marian Consecration that year, and sponsored a traveling Pilgrim Mary Statue as a special way for families to pray the Rosary at home. During the 2019-2020 academic year, they studied saints who could help them (including St. Rita, St. Agnes, and St. Faustina) and spent the latter part of the year on “A Biblical Walk Through the Mass.”
The Mothers Group assisted the Pro-Life Committee in collecting goods for the Gabriel Project and selling carnations on Mother’s Day. In 2019, members of the Mother’s Group organized an Easter Egg Hunt and an Advent Wreath Making event for all families.
THE HOLY CROSS BLOOD BANK
From 1963 to 1972 Holy Cross participated with other Kensington churches in a twice-yearly Blood Bank Day – in April and November. For many years, the Blood Bank drive was held at Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, but in 1972 it was moved to the Social Hall (Lewis Hall) at Holy Cross. Our parish had an annual quota of 50 pints of blood in order to continue participation in the Blood Bank.
There were dual benefits of participation: 1) to help keep the blood supply at a safe level for the area hospitals, and 2) parishioners who found themselves or an immediate member of their family in need of a blood transfusion would receive the transfusion free of charge.
Stan Eckles, husband of parishioner Ruth Eckles, was the Holy Cross Chairman of the Blood Drive. In 1972, 56 Holy Cross parishioners contributed their blood. Deacon Bob Hubbard led with four pints and 55 others contributed from one to three pints.
From the beginning of the parish there have been ushers appointed to serve at each Mass. There are three or four men and women assigned as ushers at each Mass to pass the collection baskets, hand out weekly church bulletins, and assist in any emergency that may occur during Mass. On occasion, they bring the wine and unconsecrated hosts to the priest for the Offertory. During Christmas and Easter season they assist in finding seats for the overflow crowds at all the Masses. Currently, in 2021, there are 19 ushers and 2 substitutes who can be called on when needed.
In 2018, members of the Usher Ministry were reminded: “Often the first person who gives witness to the joy of the Gospel is not the pastor but the parish staff member or volunteer who answers the phone call of an engaged couple, welcomes a family into religious education, or the Catholic school, or who greets a couple before Mass.”
Amoris Letitia Pastoral Plan p. 29
During the past 60 years, there have been several attempts to organize a hospitality group in the parish. In the early days of the parish, there was a faithful core group who planned and set up for various events. Rosalia Murray (deceased) made large white rectangular tablecloths to cover the school lunch tables, and the women arranged napkins, cutlery, and flowers for the banquet tables. The donated platters of food, deserts, and fruit were carefully placed around the table. Beverage stations were set up to serve coffee, tea, and soft drinks. A volunteer clean-up group washed and dried dishes that were returned to their owners to take home. The Social Hall (Lewis Hall) was swept and put in order to be ready for the students.
Today, the Hospitality Committee lists 27 volunteers that plan, set up, and clean up Lewis Hall for events throughout the year, including serving coffee and donuts after 9 a.m. Sunday Mass. Every Friday evening during Lent, committee volunteers set up tables and chairs for a light dinner for “Soup and Stations.” The food is supplied by various parish groups and students serve the diners who will later attend the Stations of the Cross in church. After the Easter Vigil Mass, they prepare a welcoming reception for those who have entered the Church and their guests, and when there is a reason to celebrate something, the Hospitality Committee transforms Lewis Hall into a very special place. For the Feast of the Holy Cross
each September, the Hospitality Committee joins the school to put together a wonderful afternoon of fun, games, good food, and fellowship at the Annual Holy Cross Parish Picnic held on the beautiful Holy Cross School and Church campus.
COFFEE AND DONUTS
The Holy Cross Boy Scout Troop 463 managed the coffee and donuts every Sunday morning from the 1960s until Pat Logan and her friends took over many years later. Kudos also to those families who unfailingly volunteered their services for this Sunday morning treat for hungry boys and girls heading to their Religion classes, and others who liked the ritual of getting a fresh yummy treat after Mass. For many years, a group of parishioners regularly claimed one entire table for their large group to sit and chat while enjoying coffee and donuts after 7:30 a.m. Sunday Mass.
Today, every Sunday morning five members of the Hospitality Group set up Lewis Hall to serve coffee and donuts after the 9:00 a.m. Mass. Coffee and donuts are available during the school year from September until June.
The lectors welcome attendees to Mass and read Scripture passages and Prayers of the Faithful from the pulpit during Mass.
During the past 60 years, there have been as many as 32 lectors to fulfill the assignments. For many years, Carmine “Cappy” Capozzola (deceased) made up the rotation schedule and Bob Masucci (deceased) made sure each person received a copy of the schedule. This required coordination and scheduling with deference to preferred Mass times of the lectors. For the past 10 years, Don Watkins has handled this in addition to finding new people join the group.
A lector needs to have a clear speaking voice and be at ease speaking in front of people. They are encouraged to perfect the pronunciation of difficult biblical words,
to practice the day’s readings in advance, and in general try to improve their presentation. Father Robert has held several sessions for new and current lectors to help them improve.
Altar servers participate in Mass in a special and privileged way. They are in the service of Our Lord in the Eucharist, assist the priest, and discover a true belonging in the Church through their service.
In 1960, when Holy Cross was established as a parish church, only boys and young men served at the altar. They were trained by Raymond Murray (deceased) and upon his death by
Robert Hickey (deceased). Each boy was assigned a cassock and surplus. Frequently their mothers sewed a name tag inside the collar to ensure they wore something that fit them; and because each boy was responsible for the care of their cassock and surplus, the laundering and ironing of these garments was their responsibility.
The servers were given assignment sheets on which they could see when they were expected to serve Mass and at what time. While Father Lewis was pastor these assignments were also published in the Sunday bulletin. Two boys served at every Mass offered during the week and on weekends. As an aside: sometimes when they served at weddings and funerals people would be very generous and give a tip to the altar servers for their part in such a meaningful occasion.
In the 1970s some dioceses in the United States began permitting young girls to serve Mass. This was very controversial at first, but as time passed more and more dioceses and pastors admitted girls to the rank of altar server. Holy Cross began including young schoolgirls around this time and it was a smooth transition.
Boys and girls from the 3rd grade through high school routinely serve Mass and set a good example for those aspiring to join their ranks.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Holy Cross is hoping for a resurgence in the desire to be an Altar Server and serve at the altar of God the Father.
Mr. Pedro Bueno and Deacon Rob Stout implemented a re-training and a renewed call for recruitment for the Ministry of Altar Servers in 2020 and anticipate returning to this very soon. For more information on altar serving and to view training videos, see our website:
ADULT SERVERS: Holy Cross has been blessed to have had three adult men servers.
Mr. George Tamerlani has been a constant presence for 20+ years and continues to serve at the Sunday 9 a.m. Mass before heading over to the school where he teaches Religious Education.
Mr. Roberto Ibanez served Holy Cross from the early 1990s until his death in 2020.
Deacon Carlos Hernandez, who served as an acolyte at Holy Cross for several years prior to becoming a deacon, was very seriously injured in an auto accident in 2017. As a deacon, he was assigned to St. Michael’s the Archangel in Silver Spring but is now unable to get around. Please remember him in your prayers.
In 1960, Father Quinn, our founding pastor, gathered parishioners from various professions to form an “advisory council” to draw up a plan on how the parish and construction projects could be financed. This group was
likely the first Parish Council in the United States, and it is known that this group’s By-Laws were distributed to Bishops across the country to encourage and assist other parishes in forming similar councils.
The Parish Council acts in an advisory capacity to the Pastor to promote spiritual and temporal activity within the parish. The Parish Council consists of the Pastor, the Principal of Holy Cross Elementary School, Director of Religious Education, persons with financial and
legal background, the Ordained, and others suggested to the pastor. These persons are often leaders of the liturgy committee, finance committee, grounds committee, building maintenance committee, community outreach committee, among others. The goal is to build our parish as a loving Christian community. Each person on the Council serves at the Pastor’s discretion from three to six years, or more.
MINISTRY TO THE SICK AND HOMEBOUND
The Holy Cross Ministry to the Sick and Homebound is dedicated to providing spiritual and compassionate support for all parishioners confined to their homes and to the Catholic residents of Brighton Gardens Assisted Living on Tuckerman Lane.
Although the homebound may be unable to come to church for the sacraments, they are an integral part of our parish and are in communion with us although they are not physically present at the Eucharist.
More than 40 years ago, Sister Veronica Kerwin, C.S.C. founded the parish Ministry to the Sick and Homebound. In the early 2000s, Sr. Veronica and Father Perkins extended the ministry to include the Catholic residents of Brighton Gardens Assisted Living. Sr. Veronica continued her work with the sick and homebound until she was called to return to the Holy Cross Sisters’ Motherhouse in Indiana in 2018. Father Perkins remains active at Brighton Gardens, celebrating a monthly Mass for the residents.
Some of the services provided by the Ministry are:
Enabling homebound parishioners to receive the Eucharist at least once a week
Visiting the sick and homebound to listen, comfort, and provide encouragement
Arranging reception of the sacrament of the sick and the sacrament of reconciliation to those who are experiencing serious illness
Assisting every November with a special Mass offered for the anointing of the sick for those who are ill, undergoing a planned surgery, and in need of anointing
Praying as a faith community for all who are sick and have requested prayers by including their names in the parish bulletin and in the intention book in the Adoration Chapel at Quinn Hall
Remembering our homebound and Catholic residents of Brighton Gardens with greeting cards and seasonal cards made by the parish school and religious education students
Arranging occasional rides for doctors’ visits or medical treatments
Celebrating the Eucharist at Brighton Gardens on the 3rd Saturday of the month
Hearing confession and anointing the sick by Father Perkins and Father Robert as requested by the individual or family
Reciting the Rosary weekly at Brighton Gardens
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mass intentions were offered on a regular basis at Holy Cross Church on Sundays and weekdays for our homebound parishioners and the Catholic residents of Brighton Gardens who could not attend Mass.
Since physical visits were not possible during the pandemic, members of the Ministry, along with members of the Parish Council, the Holy Cross Girl Scout Troop 5973, and other parishioners maintained regular contact by sending monthly cards, copies of the church bulletin, copies of the
yearly Catholic calendar, and spiritual communion prayers to each homebound individual. In lieu of weekly physical visits, Eucharistic Ministers phoned individuals to recite the spiritual communion prayer and monitor the spiritual wellbeing of the homebound. Often Eucharistic Ministers delivered groceries and other essentials.
The Ministry to the Sick and Homebound welcomes volunteers.
EUCHARISTIC ADORATION FOR CHILDREN
In 2011, after retiring as a French Teacher at Stone Ridge High School of the Sacred Heart, Yolaine Watkins started a program of Eucharistic Adoration with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students at Holy Cross Elementary School.
Twice a month, on Fridays, she met in Quinn Hall Chapel with 6 groups of about 8 students each for 25 minutes. Yolaine tried to make the class aware of the real presence of God in the Eucharist. She taught them to talk to Jesus and to listen to Him in the silence of their hearts. With alternating silence, meditation, petitions, and singing, it was a truly beautiful
experience for the children. These sessions, modeled after “Children of Hope Adoration” continued for six years, from September 2011 to June 2017. In September 2017, Michelle Ilagan joined, taking the 5th and 6th graders, while Yolaine stayed with the 3rd and 4th graders. The fidgety children relaxed and learned to pray quietly. The power of a child’s prayer should not be underestimated.
Children’s Formation and Sacraments
All sacraments are celebrated by the entire parish, both First Holy Communion and Confirmation” Director of Religious Education, Michelle Ilagan
Religious Education/Faith Formation is an integral part of the mission of the Church. The ministry
covers the full range of formation from sacramental preparation for all ages from our first communicants, confirmation candidates, RCIA participants to the continuing education for children and adults through the study of Sacred Scripture, the lives of the saints, devotions, Catholic Social Teaching, etc.
Who made us? God made us.
Why did God make us? God made us to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him, and to be with Him in heaven.
Holy Cross School and School of Religion (SOR) students learn the Gospel truths and values of the Catholic Church and are taught how these are rooted in scripture and expressed by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and the Creed.
When the parish school was established in 1961, Sisters of the Holy Cross staffed the school and taught all class grades and subjects. As time passed, lay teachers joined the nuns as faculty; and today, the school is exclusively staffed with lay classroom teachers. As recent as the 2017-2018 school year, some grades continued to have the nuns teach religion and help prepare the children to receive the sacraments. By 2019, St. Angela Hall, a retirement residence for the Sisters of the Holy Cross, next to the church, was closed and the Sisters were called back to the Holy Cross Mother House in Indiana.
Instructors currently use the
Christ our Life
series by Loyola Press for grades kindergarten through seventh grade.
Confirmation students in the 8th grade use
by Ascension Press, along with supplemental resources to enhance the lessons.
Younger students are taught what the Mass is and to identify the parts of the Mass. They learn the traditions, signs, and symbols of the Faith for deeper and lifelong friendship with God. The teachings of the Catholic Church are learned in age-appropriate lessons. The lives of the Saints serve as role models for genuine Christian living and the children’s own spiritual development. The students are offered opportunities for doing good deeds and acts of charity; and are nurtured in the sacramental life, in the celebration of Holy Mass, and reconciliation.
In the 2nd grade, they begin preparation to receive the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist. They learn how to prepare to confess their sins and to receive the consecrated host, the Body and Blood of Jesus. On the exciting day of their First Holy Communion, the people most important to the communicants are there to witness and celebrate another milestone in their Catholic faith. This is their third sacrament following baptism and reconciliation. The parish invites all attendees to a reception that follows in Lewis Hall.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the 2nd grade communicants and their guests were served a sit-down dinner prepared by the 1st grade mothers. In the 1980s, the reception became a brunch with egg casseroles, juice, coffee, bagels, and donuts. During these decades, each of the long banquet tables held several coconut-frosted lamb cakes made by the 1st grade mothers, and those little lamb cakes are fondly remembered by the children and families who enjoyed them. In the 1970s the children received their first communion the morning of Holy Thursday because this was the day Christ instituted the Eucharist. Years later, the date was changed to the Saturday before Mother’s Day. The lamb is a significant image of the “sacrificial food of the Old Testament, is a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, and victory over death.” (Holy Cross Bulletin, April 2, 1972)
1970s the children received their first communion the morning of Holy Thursday because this was the day Christ instituted the Eucharist. Years later, the date was changed to the Saturday before Mother’s Day. The lamb is a significant image of the “sacrificial food of the Old Testament, is a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, and victory over death.” (Holy Cross Bulletin, April 2, 1972)
reception became a brunch with egg casseroles, juice, coffee, bagels, and donuts. During these decades, each of the long banquet tables held several coconut-frosted lamb cakes made by the 1st grade mothers, and those little lamb cakes are fondly remembered by the children and families who enjoyed them. In the
Stan Eckles, husband of parishioner Ruth Eckles, was the Holy Cross Chairman of the Blood Drive. In 1972, 56 Holy Cross parishioners contributed their blood. Deacon Bob Hubbard led with four pints and 55 others contributed from one to three pints.
From 1963 to 1972 seven Holy Cross parishioners alone contributed a total of 131 pints of blood. The Blood Bank continued until 1980.
Today, the tradition of the 1st grade mothers preparing a reception continues, and it has transitioned to a buffet-style event with beautifully laden tables of food platters, beverages, and a very special cake; and each communicant receives a little hand-knit lamb.
In compliance with the Archdiocesan Curriculum Guidelines, students in
grades three to eight take a standardized assessment during the year. Knowing well that faith itself cannot be tested on paper, this assessment merely reflects religious education efforts and assists catechists in their lesson planning. In an effort to create a safe environment for the children of Holy Cross, the Religious Education Program follows the Circle of Grace Safe Environment Program. This program emphasizes personal dignity as a creation of God and the space that envelops us in His grace.
In 8th grade, the Holy Cross and Religious Education students study to receive the sacrament of confirmation, their 4th sacrament. The Archbishop, or an assistant Bishop, of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. confers this sacrament at a confirmation Mass. Following Mass there is a beautiful reception in Lewis Hall prepared by the 7th grade families.
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
Holy Cross Church is committed to accompanying not only the children but also adults, known as catechumens, in their Catholic faith formation journey.
Adults are given opportunities to grow in their faith through various ministry and formation programs including scripture and dogma study, prayer, and fellowship.
RCIA meet on Wednesday evenings during the school year with the RCIA team led by the DRE Michelle Ilagan, Father Robert Buchmeier and, since 2016, Deacon Robert Stout.
The process involves religious instructions (catechesis) and faith formation to those who wish to become Catholic or to come into full communion with the Church, including returning inactive Catholics, adult Catholics preparing for confirmation, those who have been baptized or brought up in other faiths or traditions, and unchurched adults.
Faith Formation Initiatives for All Parishioners
In 2020, Pope Benedict XVI called the Church to a “New Evangelization” and provided tools to parishes, including a paper called “Indicators of Vitality” which focused on parish life. Below is an excerpt from this document which the DRE uses as a guide for religious education classes and how Holy Cross fulfills each area:
WORSHIP: The heart of parish life is the celebration of the Eucharist. From the Eucharist flows all of the
worship, prayer, and faith formation of the parish. This indicator examines the vitality of the parish’ liturgical life.
Holy Cross’ Worship fulfillment
: In 2019, to mark the 15-year
anniversary of Eucharistic Adoration in Quinn Chapel, there was a breakfast after which Father Emmanuel Magro, Parochial Vicar at Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C., spoke.
During the pandemic, the parish used virtual meetings for a faith-journey which included morning prayer with Fr. Robert during Holy Week; praying the
Novena; Fr. Robert’s Saturday reflections on the upcoming Sunday Gospel; Wednesday morning prayer meetings; Friday morning rosary; and children’s “Praise and Worship” on Saturday mornings.
With church re-opened, in-person activities include Monday night movies and discussion featuring a variety of religious films and documentaries from FORMED;
Who am I to Judge
by Dr. Edward Sri; encyclicals study and discussion; scripture studies; Gospel sharing;
How to Pray like Mary
; consecration to St. Joseph; women’s group monthly speaker series; parent formation that features various speakers on topics such as chastity, social media, setting boundaries, etc. and
Back to Basics: Learning about Catholicism
EDUCATION: Forming the lay faithful for mission depends on a variety of educational programs. Assessing the parish’s ability to provide education and faith formation to parishioners of all ages is the focus of this indicator.
Holy Cross’ Education fulfillment:
Additional devotions, studies, and formation opportunities are achieved through several books: Dr. Edward Sri’s
Biblical Walk with Mary
Biblical Walk through the Mass
by Rev. Mark Toups; and a book discussion to accompany the book given by the parish in 2018,
by Matthew Kelly.
COMMUNITY: Building community begins with hospitality. Vitality is found in a parish’s ability to make all members feel at home and to open-wide the doors of the parish to welcome inactive Catholics and all who seek a relationship with the Lord.
Holy Cross’ Community fulfillment:
Holy Cross has a history of hospitality; new parishioner welcome; adult
evening wine and cheese gatherings; coffee and donuts on Sunday mornings. Refugee Panel (2017) – a talk on how the Church responds to refugees and how we can help; Youth Nights (2017-2018) monthly Youth gatherings with the cooperation of Catholic University of America’s Campus Ministry as facilitators; and since 2017, children attending religious education have been writing cards and notes to the parish elderly in nursing homes and those homebound every Christmas and Easter, with the help of the Ministry to the Sick and Homebound.
SERVICE: This dimension of parish life assesses the ways in which the parish calls parishioners to serve all those in need. It evaluates the parish’s commitment to bring the Gospel to bear on the issues of the day in a way that supports the mission of the Church.
Holy Cross’ Service fulfillment:
Bereavement Group was formed to accompany those experiencing loss by integrating reflection, prayer, and teachings of the Catholic faith. Since 2017, in conjunction with Social Concerns, children attending religious education have been taking turns, rotating as a class, in assisting the monthly parish Service Sunday efforts to collect, pack, and drive goods to shelters.
ADMINISTRATION: The ability to carry out the mission of the Church depends on strong leadership. In this area, staffing, management of parish resources and decision-making processes are evaluated.
Holy Cross’ Administration fulfillment:
Over the years, Holy Cross has had several directors of religious education. Since 2016, Michelle Ilagan has dedicated her time, energy, and talents as DRE to working with parishioners, clergy, and staff to ensure that Holy Cross is offering creative programs and classes that align with Catholic doctrine and prepare students and catechumens for full participation in the Church.
Additional parish continuing faith formation programs include:
Weekly Sunday discussion group led by Don and Yolaine Watkins that uses videos of Bishop Barron covering in-depth studies of lives of the saints.
Annual Lenten Retreat with various speakers and an opportunity for prayer and fellowship.
Ongoing study and reflection of sacred scripture is offered seasonally with intentional Scripture Study Programs previously led by Msgr. Macfarlane (while he was in residence 2018-2020) and presently by Deacon Bob Stout.
Weekly Gospel Sharing on Thursdays, initially led by Fr. Mathias (while he was in residence 2015-2020) and continued by the current DRE, with the goal of reflecting on the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading and committing to action a word chosen by the participants to guide their week as enlightened by the scripture.
Sr. Rachel Marie C.S.C. (1974)
Sr. Mary Elizabeth Loughlan C.S.C., DRE and Director of Music (1974)
Sr. Julia McMurrough C.S.C. (1975)
Ms. Marilyn Williamson, Lay Ministry Counselor Coordinator (1977)
Mr. Larry A. Fishbach (1979–1981)
Rebecca Miller (1981–1985)
George Dermody (1985–1988)
Sr. Maris Bonnett C.S.C. (1990)
Amelia Wissner (1993–1996)
Carol Ann Cirbee (1996–2004)
Jeanmarie Keeney (2004–2016)
Michelle Ilagan (2016–present)
Parishioner Interview by Kate Oczypok
Emilia Grove & Family
Emilia Grove grew up in Chicago and her husband Tyler was originally from Chambersburg, PA. Emilia moved East for work and met Tyler when the two found themselves in Maryland. After moving to the area, Emilia sought out a parish that reminded her of home. She stumbled upon Holy Cross and immediately felt connected.
“It was smaller, I had come from a basilica in Chicago, but I got that same good feeling without it being a massive church,” Emilia said.
Emilia and Tyler joined Holy Cross Parish in 2015 when their oldest son Jacob was baptized here. Tyler then enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) and was confirmed at the Easter Vigil 2016. Now the couple have two more sons, David and William, who were also baptized at Holy Cross. Before COVID hit, the family would attend the 9:30 a.m. Children’s Mass regularly. They have been attending Mass Saturday evenings at 5 p.m. lately and hope to go back to the 9:30 a.m. Mass as things continue to get back to normal.
She joked that you’ll know it’s her family as her husband is often playing referee to her sons during mass to keep them focused!
“When he’s not helping to corral the kids, he will take up the collection,” Emilia added.
Emilia was room mom at Holy Cross School last year; This fall Jacob will be in attend Kindergarten at Holy Cross while his brother David will be in Pre-K 4 and William in Pre-K 3, In 2016, Emilia suggested the traditional Eastern European Easter basket blessing on Holy Saturday and it is now a tradition at Holy Cross. Emilia also worked closely with Michelle Ilagan on a family Advent wreath making event to kick off Advent 2019. She is an active member of the Mother’s Group at Holy Cross Church.
“I love all the faith and fellowship,” she said. “Cindy Kratz has me throwing all tentacles in every area!”
Emilia shared with us a few anecdotes about Mass at Holy Cross. During a 9:30 a.m. Children’s Mass, a child got up to cantor for the
and her son immediately started singing at the top of his lungs. Everyone around her couldn’t help but laugh!
Also, more recently, during her father’s memorial Mass, one of her sons refused to leave Father
Robert’s side during the entire Mass. Emilia was so grateful to Father Robert for allowing her son stay with him the entire time.
“No matter what coercing I did, he would not leave!” she said. “Even during the Gospel he stood in front of the pulpit, listening closely.”
Emilia mentioned how much she loves seeing familiar faces at Mass. “Holy Cross really is a never-ending wonderful and blessed part of us,” she added. “I feel like life would be emptier without it.”
That sense of fellowship is what Emilia marks as why Holy Cross is the parish for her family.
“Honestly, every person has a smile on their face and would give you the shirt off their back,” she said. “It really makes me want to continue to grow in faith.”
The Grove family hopes that Holy Cross continues this sense of warmth and community the next 60 years and beyond.
“Holy Cross really does have a way with its parishioners,” Emilia said. “We are truly blessed.”
Thank you for celebrating Holy Cross Catholic Church and School's
anniversary with us!
Volume 7, August 2021
Mary Anne Gadbois
on Sunday, August 1 at 1:30PM