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Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross will be celebrated at all masses today.

The Exaltation of the Cross consists in the fact that "the event of the cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life." (CCC 1085)

From the Pastor:
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Sept. 14

Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the second-century Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.

The cross is today the universal image of Christian belief. Countless generations of artists have turned it into a thing of beauty to be carried in procession or worn as jewelry. To the eyes of the first Christians, it had no beauty. It stood outside too many city walls, decorated only with decaying corpses, as a threat to anyone who defied Rome’s authority — including Christians who refused sacrifice to Roman gods. Although believers spoke of the cross as the instrument of salvation, it seldom appeared in Christian art unless disguised as an anchor or the Chi-Rho until after Constantine’s edict of toleration.

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor
Sept. 11, 2016

For more information on this feast day:

Sep 14 2011 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2012 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2013 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2014 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2015 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2016 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2017 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2018 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Sep 14 2019 - 7:00am - 12:00pm
Event Type: 
Church Event