The meaning of the celebration
+ The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross celebrates the finding of the relic of the True Cross by Saint Helena around the year 320.
+ Helena’s son, Constantine, built a basilica on the site of the Holy Sepulchre (the tomb of Jesus) and Calvary and this church was dedicated on September 14, 335. This is the same Church of the Holy Sepulchre that pilgrims can visit today.
Sacred Scripture tells the story of Simon of Cyrene, the man who was compelled to carry the Cross of Jesus during the Passion. Although we know nothing more about his life, the Gospel of Mark records that his sons, Simon and Rufus, became missionaries and leading figures in the Christian community in Rome. Simon’s act of kindness has been immortalized in the fifth station of the Way of the Cross.
“Are we able to understand that in the Crucified One of Golgotha, our dignity as children of God, tarnished by sin, is restored to us? Let us turn our gaze towards Christ. It is he who will make us free to love as he loves us, and to build a reconciled world. For on this Cross, Jesus took upon himself the weight of all the sufferings and injustices of our humanity. He bore the humiliation and the discrimination, the torture suffered in many parts of the world by so many of our brothers and sisters for love of Christ.”—Pope Benedict XVI
Through the centuries, a handful of religious communities have taken their names from the Cross of Christ. To learn about some of these communities, visit the links below:
The priests and brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross: www.holycrosscongregation.org
The Brothers of Holy Cross: https://www.holycrossbrothers.org/
The Benedictine Monks of Holy Cross Monastery (Chicago): http://chicagomonk.org
The Trappist Monks of Holy Cross Abbey (Berryville, VA): www.virginiatrappists.org
The Crosier Fathers and Brothers: www.crosier.org
The Sisters of the Holy Cross: https://www.cscsisters.org/
The Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross: http://www.holycrosssisters.org/
The Daughters of the Cross: http://www.daughtersofthecross.org.uk/
O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son
should undergo the Cross to save the human race,
grant, we pray,
that we, who have known his mystery on earth,
may merit the grace of his redemption in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.