Year for Priests Talks – Audio Online

Recordings of the of the talks on the Priesthood and Ordained Ministry which were presented in early 2010 are available at the Triumph of the Cross Parish website. Our thanks to Bernie Stetson and Catholics United for the Faith for recording the talks. Whether you missed one or more of the talks, or want to listen to them again, listening to them is very rewarding.


Website Update: The Year for Priests

I’ve just posted the 2009-2010 Sacrament application forms on the Parish website. You’ll find links to them by slecting the “Sacraments” tab then the Sacrament name from the pull-down menu. You’ll find that the same application form is used for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation.

The website’s homepage now includes a Prayer for Priests as we begin this special Year for Priests announced by Pope Benedict XVI. I hope you’ll join me in praying not only for all priests, but especially for our parish priests, Fr. Nau and Fr. Mark Moore.

Jim Coyle

How Are We Doing?

Eight months since the last blog post. That’s a long time – way too long. For our parish, it’s been a time for new experiences of worship, meetings and activities together as members of one parish instead of our original 6 parishes. We’ve been together through our first Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter. How are we doing? Next month marks the 1st anniversary of the closing of the old parishes and the begining of our life together as Triumph of the Cross Parish. And we’ll mark the 1st anniversary of Fr. Thomas Nau moving to Steubenville to serve as our Pastor. There’s been so much change in the past year. How are we doing?

As I was getting ready to write this post, I thought I’d just be sharing about the Triumph of the Cross Parish website
( and some of the things we’ve tried to start on the site to help members of the parish know more about our activities and remember some of the things we’ve shared – our liturgies, our first parish social (the “January Thaw” which was, ironically, postponed ’til February because of icy winter weather), and our Parish Mission with Fr. Tom Forrest. We’ve taken and posted pictures on the Parish website, as well as audio recordings of all of Fr. Forrest’s Parish Mission talks, and recordings of the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil homilies given at Holy Name Cathedral by Bishop Conlon and Fr. Mark Moore. There are even a couple of videos from the February Thaw social. And every week, of course, you’ll find the latest Parish Bulletin posted online, along with archives of the previous bulletins. I usually read and post the new bulletin file before the weekend, so when I pick up and read my printed bulletin after Mass on Sunday, it seems like it’s “old news.”

The Triumph of the Cross website is also the place you’ll find information and forms for Sacramental preparation as well as the Catechetical programs for our parish and others in the city of Steubenville. This week several forms are being reviewed and revised, and I’ll have them online soon after they’re approved. We’re trying to not only have the parish website be an informative site for you, but one that can help each of us connect with the parish and with one another more than we do already.

The steps we’ve taken are small ones, and we hope to have a “new, improved” website serving the people of Triumph of the Cross
Parish that will offer much more. When, I don’t know. Like many parishoners, I’m working on the site as a volunteer, glad to have
the opportunity to share what knowledge I have of websites with my Church. Website dreams and wishes are more plentiful to me than time to implement them. We’ll see what develops as time marches on.

The 43rd World Communications Day was just celebrated by the Catholic Church in many places around the world. The U.S. Catholic
Communications Campaign occurred a couple of weeks ago. As I write this, Catholic communications professionals are meeting at their annual convention, reflecting on Catholic Church communications today and in the future. (I’ve frequently participated in this conference, but am happy to stay home to celebrate our youngest son’s graduation from Catholic Central High School.) Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the 2009 World Communications Day is spot on for today’s culture: “New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship” (available through this link to the Vatican’s website). I was planning to offer some thoughts about the Pope’s message, but I’ll let that wait for another post.

When I asked “How are we doing?” at the beginning of this post, I thought it was worth reflecting on as a parish and as individual members of the parish. Now I’d like to ask the question as an invitation for you to give us feedback about the parish website and our use of the Internet as a parish. How are we doing? And more importantly, How can we serve you through these resources?

I’d like to hear your thoughts. Please email me at Thanks.

Jim Coyle
Parish Webmaster
You can follow me on Twitter: @iJimCoyle

(By the way, I consider “webmaster” an ironic term since there are so many rules and picky programming procedures that MUST be followed to do things on the web. In my opinion, “web servant” is more accurate.)

Our Parish’s Third Anniversary

I began Sunday’s parish anniversary in a Pittsburgh hospital where I was recovering from surgery, and ended the day at home using a flashlight to get to bed since our power was out due to high winds.

This past Sunday, September 14, 2008, was the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, and marked the third anniversary of the official founding of Triumph of the Cross Parish. Parishioners would be the members of six Catholic parishes in the city of Steubenville which would be closed primarily because of the shortage of diocesan priests and growing costs of maintaining the several old churches. These were not easy decisions.

As noted in earlier blog posts here, until June, 2008, Triumph of the Cross was a parish with a Pastor but no parishioners. The plan was to design and build a new church for the parish and then close the six individual parishes to form a new Catholic parish community worshiping and experiencing the many activities of parish life in our new church. As soon as the parish was founded, a building committee and finance council with members from all six of the closing parishes met almost every week to pray, plan and design the new church, trying to reflect the practices and “personality” of each parish. But by late 2007 it was clear than not enough money had been raised to begin construction of Triumph of the Cross church and the building project was put on hold.

It had been clear for some time, though, that the individual parishes would have to be closed even though a new church building wasn’t ready. The shortage of priests and the increasing costs of maintaining the separate parishes and churches hadn’t changed. And so we all came together as members of Triumph of the Cross Parish this past June, and welcomed our new pastor, Fr. Nau, July 1.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I began Sunday’s parish anniversary in a Pittsburgh hospital where I was recovering from surgery I’d had two days before, and ended the day at home using a flashlight to get to bed since our power was out due to high winds. In some ways it seems like our parish is having a day like that. It’s been tough to lose our old parish and we haven’t had much chance yet to develop and experience new ways to come together and build relationships as members of one parish.

Weatherwise, the days since Sunday have been sunny, the temperatures perfect. Some areas are still without power and cleanup from storm damage continues. We need to move ahead as a parish, move into the sunshine. Our parish, our city, our region have serious economic challenges we have to face and solve. We can’t do it on our own. But by putting our faith in Christ and working together in His name, each of us can help make Triumph of the Cross Parish a bright spot in Steubenville, Ohio – a witness to God’s love for each person. Whatever we do for our parish and for one another, no matter how small or large, will make a difference.

Let Christ be our Hope as we walk into the sunshine.

Jim Coyle

Lots of Change

The first half of 2008 brought several significant changes to most of the Roman Catholic parishes in the city of Steubenville as well as changes at other parishes in the Diocese. They’ve been reported in the Diocesan newpaper and the regular news media.

After receiving input from several groups and committees, Bishop Conlon decreed that even though there weren’t sufficient funds available to build the new Triumph of the Cross church and cathedral at this time, the six parishes which would form Triumph of the Cross Parish would close June 8, 2008, and their parishioners would become the members of Triumph of the Cross. Fundraising will continue for a new Triumph of the Cross church and cathedral. For now, we’re meeting and worshiping at two buildings – Holy Name Cathedral and Holy Rosary church.

Celebrations were held at the closing parishes June 7 and 8 with parishioners sharing their memories of life in their parishes.

Another major change affecting Triumph of the Cross as well as several other parishes thorughout the diocese was Bishop Conlon’s announcement that many priests would be moving to different parishes, effective July 1, 2008. Among the changes, Fr. Tim McGuire – our founding pastor – was assigned to be pastor of parishes in nearby Harrison county, and Fr. Thomas Nau came from Ironton in the southern part of our diocese to become pastor of Triumph of the Cross Parish. Fr. Nau introduced himself to parishioners at the July 5 & 6 Saturday and Sunday Masses.

As summer continues, we’re experiencing our early life as a single parish. Step by step we’ll become a strong community of God’s people.

Jim Coyle

Some Personal Reflections on 2007’s Triumph of the Cross Developments

As summer moved into fall, the Building Committee’s work for a time shifted primarily to the people responsible for sending the bidding documents and details to prospective contractors and then evaluating the bids that were received. These included the architects, construction manager and diocesan facilities director. Other members of the committee expected to continue working on incorporating special elements from the closing churches into Triumph of the Cross church and cathedral. But as reported in our diocesan newspaper, The Steubenville Register, and other local media outlets, after reviewing the results of the fundraising campaign for construction of the new cathedral, the diocesan Finance Council did not give the required approval to proceed with construction. It was determined that because the capital campaign had not raised what had been anticipated, the parish and the diocese would have to borrow too much money for this project. Following the November 16, 2007 announcement, Bishop Conlon formed and is meeting with a consultation committee of some 35 members from the area parishes, pastors and diocese to consider an alternate plan regarding Triumph of the Cross Church and Cathedral. We don’t know what will happen, but the Bishop has said he would like to make his decision relatively soon.

On a personal note, I’d like to share that the past year brought some great high points as well as disapointments as we continued our work on the Building Committee. The committee includes members from all the parishes coming together to form Triumph of the Cross Parish. Throughout our 2+ years of meeting, we acknowledged the sadness and sometimes pain we felt about our parishes closing, but we’ve really been blessed to get to know one another and work together on planning and designing a new church that would truly reflect the faith and community of Catholics in each parish.

We looked forward and had hope for the future. I recall one Sunday several months ago sitting in the front pew during Sunday Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, preparing to show the “Lift High the Cross” video during the capital campaign. The choir sounded magnificant during Mass, and I closed my eyes and visualized this glorious music being sung in the new cathedral, a building whose plans had become more and more detailed. (It was still a couple of months before we’d see the first computer renderings from the architects, but we knew well sketches, drawings and floor plans.) I wish everyone could have had that kind of envisioning the celebration of Mass as I did that Morning.

Even as we were continuing to develop the designs and plans for the new church and cathedral, we could see that financial support of the capital campaign was weak in most of the Steubenville parishes. I think that by not financially supporting this project, many people were expressing their sadness and pain about their parishes being closed. But it was most difficult for me to see and hear the anger being expressed in public. Through frequent letters to the editor in the local newspaper, a number of accusations and allegations were made that were more destructive than constructive. At times language and content of public conversations were extremely negative and inappropriate. Too often words and actions expressed anger and bitterness – and I think were actually often reflecting pain. 

For the Catholic Church in Steubenville, 2007 ended much differently than it started. Divisions are deeper, the future of a church for a new parish is unknown – and our area needs hope and peace more than ever. My prayer as we approach the start of Lent, anticipating Holy Week and Easter, is that each of us – myself certainly included – will turn to God and experience the hope and peace He has for each of us in new and tangible ways. And through that, worship Him in heartfelt unity.

Jim Coyle 

Prayers, Music and Blessing of the Cornerstone

Thursday and Friday, September 13 and 14, 2007, brought special times of prayer and celebration as we move forward toward the building and dedication of Triumph of the Cross Church and Cathedral in Steubenville.

“Triumph of the Cross: A Prayerful Concert Celebration” was held Thursday evening at Holy Name Cathedral. Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, Fr. Tim McGuire, pastor of Triumph of the Cross parish, and Dick Adams, head of the Steubenville Task Force Implementation Team, opened the evening with prayer and Scripture readings.

Dana - September 13, 2007

Music celebrating the sanctity of life, joy and our life together as members of the Church was performed and led first by Irish Catholic recording artist Dana and then Steubenville’s Unity award-winning David Vogel Band.

David Vogel - September 13, 2007

We enjoyed the evening’s heart-felt music and stories about many of the songs.

Triumph of the Cross Cornerstone

September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, is the feast day of Triumph of the Cross parish and cathedral. At 4:00 pm that day, Cardinal Francis Arinze presided at the Blessing of the Cathedral Foundation Stone – the cornerstone – at the site of the new cathedral. His Eminence, a member of the Roman Catholic Curia at the Vatican, is the Prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Our Bishop, R. Daniel Conlon, three other bishops and several hundred people gathered from Steubenville and other parts of the Diocese of Steubenville, including people who travelled by bus from Marietta, Ohio. The Scripture readings were about building and the significance of the Cornerstone.

Cardinal Francis Arinze

In his homily, Cardinal Arinze’s spoke about the importance of a church, and especially the cathedral, in the life of Catholics, saying that “the church building is for the gathering of the people of God.”

“There is particular significance of the cathedral of the diocese of the church. The cathedral church of the diocese is the mother of all other churches in a diocese.”  – Cardinal Arinze

He concluded by saying, “A cathedral is not built in a day. But we pray it won’t be too many days before another gathering when we celebrate the dedication of the new church.”

Bishop Conlon Blessing Cornerstone

Bishop Conlon then blessed the Foundation Stone, after which members of parishes that are coming together to form Triumph of the Cross Parish led the people in prayers of Intercession. The service concluded with a blessing by Cardinal Arinze.

Music was provided by the Steubenville Catholic Central High School and the St. John Central High School Marching Bands, the Schola Contorum Franciscana of Franciscan University of Steubenville and Choral Members representing the parishes comprising Triumph of the Cross Parish.

Marking Cathedral Outline and Altar Location

At the site, the outline of the cathedral was marked by stakes and colored tape, with a Cross standing where the main altar will be located.

Building Committee Progress Report and Upcoming Special Events

Although we haven’t been meeting every week because of members’ summer vacations and projects, the Building Committee and the architects continue to develop the detailed plans and documents to bring our new church closer to construction. At our meeting next Monday, we hope to finalize many details about the interior of Triumph of the Cross. Our efforts on behalf of our fellow parishioners are centered on gathering as a living, prayerful community of Catholics to worship and celebrate the Eucharist at Mass and other liturgical celebrations. Although the project has been delayed a bit because of fundraising challenges, we pray and look forward with anticipation to celebrating Mass together in our new church.


Our requests for several zoning variances for the church were granted by the City of Steubenville’s Zoning Appeals Board on July 30. After the Board hearing, a local resident challenged one aspect of the site plan. On August 14, Steubenville City Council Council voted to dismiss the objection to variances granted to the design plans for the proposed Triumph of the Cross Cathedral. All in all, we’re moving ahead well.


Finally, as you’ll see in the next Parish Bulletin, also available online August 19, special celebrations are planned for the evening Vigil of the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross and the day itself – our parish Feast Day. Thursday evening, September 13, a special evening of prayer and song will be presented by Triumph of the Cross Parish. Our special musical guests will be David Vogel and Dana. The next day, the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will bless the cornerstone for Triumph of the Cross during a special ceremony at the cathedral site. More details will be published in upcoming Parish Bulletins, and we hope you’ll join us for these special events in the history of Triumph of the Cross and the City and the Diocese of Steubenville.

Architects’ Initial Computer Renderings and More in New Gallery on Website

First Computer Rendering from Architects

We’ve been making steady progress on the design specifications for Triumph of the Cross cathedral, even though there hasn’t been much to share here on the blog. And on June 16, 2007, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon was the main celebrant at a special Feast Day Mass at Holy Rosary church, followed by a procession to the nearby site where the cathedral will be built. With several hundred people joining in prayer, Bishop Conlon blessed the site.

As soon as you’ve read this, take a look at our new Online Gallery at the Triumph of the Cross website. You’ll find photos of the site blessing, several new sketches and floor plans, and the first computer renderings from the architects. They look wonderful! The buidling committee will be using computer renderings to help select exterior brick colors and treatment for the cathedral.

Thanks for stopping by here, and check out the Online Gallery and Cathedral Parish Website.

75 Building Committee Meetings

At our last Building Committee meeting, March 26, we estimated that we’ve had 75 meetings since we began in October, 2005. The committee includes priests and parishoners from all six parishes that will form Triumph of the Cross Parish, and we’re dedicated to helping design and build a truly prayerful new church for our parish community, a church that will also serve the diocese of Steubenville as its new cathedral.

Together we’ve studied, talked and prayed together that the Holy Spirit will guide us in serving the Church in Steubenville through our work. While each of us feels loss that our present parishes will be closing, we also look ahead and see such potential for building a new Catholic community and a new “home” for worship. For me, being part of this committee has been a true blessing as I’ve gotten to know people from different parishes and shared their experiences.

As I’m written before, we’ve been meeting regularly – almost weekly – to review and discuss the architects’ plans, take a hard look at projected costs, and “value engineer” virtually every aspect of the project to enable us to cost-effectively build a church that will truly enhance our worship as parishoners of Triumph of the Cross parish and invite all visitors to prayer.

Having spent recent months working on details of the overall design of the church and the site, we’re now starting to discuss interior design details, including more details about incorporating elements from the churches that will be closing. Up to this point, Fr. McGuire, pastor of Triumph of the Cross Parish and head of the Building Committee, has filled two large binders with notes from our meetings and many documents and plans we’ve discussed, and is ready to move on to Binder #3. And he’s got larger plans and drawings in his office.

Fr. McGuire’s Building Committee Notes
Our next meeting is April 9 as we keep working and praying with anticipation that we will have a worship-filled church through which we’ll build a new community of Catholics in Steubenville.

Have a very Blessed Easter!

Jim Coyle