Hearts build a home
The forecast called for rain, but hardly a drop fell. Children wandered in followed by brightly patterned backpacks. Hundreds filled the pews as photos filled the room with nostalgic vibes. Friends old and new remarked how quickly time passes.
Our tenth anniversary Mass and celebration of our Holy Cross church building was an incredible testament to the loving community that makes Holy Cross a warm home for so many. On Saturday, September 17, 2016, we gathered together to celebrate the many blessings of the last ten years, when our community banded together to build a new home. The experience is best viewed through the words of Msgr. Yeazel's homily found below.
We cannot thank the clergy, staff, and volunteers that made this possible, especially due to the direction of Julie Sheridan. The altar was decorated to show the many ministries and gifts of the parish. Msgr. Yeazel blessed our students, teachers, and catechists for another successful school year, and our choir led us in Ernest Camerota's very own hymn written ten years ago for the opening of our new home. The Mass followed with a cook-out celebration and what a joyous occasion to celebrate. We we're overwhelmed by the sense of community and joy in celebrating this most special occasion. See photos from our Mass and celebration below.
Photos from the Day
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Tenth Anniversary Mass of Holy Cross Church Building
Rev. Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel
September 17, 2016
The Mass of Dedication homily, ten years ago, opened with the Bishop uttering just one word : “Wow”. “Wow” for all you had accomplished, “wow” for your labor, your sacrifices, your toil and your prayers that made this magnificent building the reality that we enjoy this day.
The Old Testament Book of Exodus was our inspiration: “let them build Me a house and I will dwell in their midst” says the Lord.
Our Gospel of today, the multiplication of the loaves and fish, encouraged us to give the Lord our loaves and fish in the early 2000’s and ask Him to bless our efforts and multiply our gifts and so create a new Home for Him.
The first clear sign that the Lord had blessed our efforts came during a Holy Hour scheduled by the Parish Council to pray and then vote on whether to renovate the old church or build a new one. Before the hour began, a member of the Council asked to speak. He said :‘ I want to say before we begin, that I am against building a new church.” The Hour continued with Scripture readings, prayer – both recited and silent, interspersed with music. You could feel that something amazing was happening if you had been there. We sat before the Blessed Sacrament exposed and asked the guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct us. When the hour was complete we were to take a vote. Prior to taking the vote, the same man who was against the project asked to speak again. He said: “ I don’t know what just happened, but I am all for the project’. It passed unanimously! I know what happened – the Lord spoke to his heart.
That began three years of praying, planning, designing, sharing. Two-hundred and seventy of you joined the various committees- you gave of your time, talent, labor; thousands of hours of caring; fourteen visits to the Town Planning Board; purchasing four homes and tearing them down for parking. Meeting with architects, acoustical engineers, sound engineers and so many others, under the guidance and direction of John Fennessey, our Chair. Just as with the loaves and fish, the Lord blessed and multiplied your gifts beyond imagining.
You wanted the building to be perfect and you left no stone unturned to do so. The spirit of the workers was most inspiring as characterized by one young carpenter who was working on the church doors. He said to his mother : ‘ I’m so honored to help build a Home for God” and so it went.
The theme of the construction under the direction of Hueber- Breuer Construction and Ed and Mike King as clerks of the works, was that everything had to be to perfection. This was so reminiscent of a time when Michelangelo was working on the Sistene Chapel and he noticed a flaw. One of his workers remarked that no one will notice, to which Michelangelo responded: “God will”. And so it was with our project – it was all for the Lord and they did it perfectly.
The history is impressive – the parish began in 1943 with 60 families or 180 people, and today has 1650 families or 5000 people!
It has been said that “it takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.” You build a Home for God from your hearts and with your hearts.
Now ten years later, the same commission we heard ten years ago and decades before that from the Lord is repeated to us today from the Prophet Micah : “ what does the Lord ask of us? To act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with God.” That is what we have strived to do these ten years and before, and I know we will do for the next ten years and the decades to come far into the future. Congratulations! You have built a magnificent Home for the Lord and a magnificent community of Faith to serve Him and all who are in need of our help and His presence. With His blessing it will flourish forever.
God bless you all.