Archive for the ‘Parish History’ Category

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
E-mail web@totc.info

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

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.

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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.

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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.

Guest Column by Bishop Conlon in Steubenville “Herald Star”

In today’s (December 31, 2006) Steubenville Herald Star there’s a Guest Column by Bishop Conlon in which he shares some of his thoughts about the Catholic Church in the city and Diocese of Steubenville, Triumph of the Cross, and his prayerful commitment to the people and the Catholic Church of Steubenville.

The link above and here is to a pdf copy of the column. It’s a very thoughtful article, well worth the time to read and reflect on.

 Jim Coyle

(Update: Links to article added 1/5/2007)

Historical Recap – Part 14

July 25, 2005 was the day, chosen by the bishop, to accept and publish The Pastoral Plan for the City of Steubenville. His decree made the Pastoral Plan effective on August 6, 2005. As of that effective date, the Steubenville Task Force ceased to exist.

However, shortly thereafter, the bishop moved very quickly to implementation.

  • As of September 14, 2005, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Triumph of the Cross Parish was formed and its pastor named.
  • The Implementation Team was formed from some former Task Force members and others. This group is charged with the implementation of the entire Pastoral Plan.
  • Another group formed was The Schools Task Force. This group was formed to make a recommendation to the bishop on the configuration of our Catholic schools – only the ones within the city limits of Steubenville. Within the next several weeks, The Schools Task Force will share with the public its recommendation prior to formally presenting it to the bishop. A new configuration of schools is expected for the 2007-2008 school year.
  • The final groups to be formed, these by Fr. McGuire, were the Triumph of the Cross Building Committee and Finance Council.

Fr. McGuire

Historical Recap – Part 13

The Task Force presented its first proposal to Bishop Conlon on November 1, 2004. While the bishop attended only a couple of our meetings, he received minutes from each meeting. He would sometimes respond to something in those minutes by asking a question or two for clarification.

It was determined that our first proposal wouldn’t work. Therefore, the Task Force spent the next six months determining how our second proposal could be put into effect. After consultation with the Presbyteral Council (diocesan council of priests), the bishop accepted our final proposal, and it is now taking effect.

Fr. McGuire

Historical Recap – Part 12

After over a year of working and praying together, the Task Force determined that it was time to start discussing not only the number of parishes, but which parishes. Our first proposals involved four parishes – either two downtown and two in the West End or one downtown and three in the West End. However, we soon decided we needed only two or three parishes. The reason for the change in thinking was our fear that the next generation would have to go through this process all over again. In other words, if trends don’t change, there will be far fewer Catholics in Steubenville in the years to come. We felt that with four parishes our children may find themselves in the same predicament we face today. We decided to do what none of us really seriously considered before. Our perspective dramatically changed when we imagined ourselves twenty years in the future looking back to the decisions made today.

Fr. McGuire

Historical Recap – Part 11

There were a great many pros and cons in our consideration of various parish configurations. In fact, there were several pages. While I cannot reproduce all of those pages in one short paragraph, I can give you some of the more salient arguments for and against. (Remember: at this point we were speaking only of the number of parishes we need, not which parishes.)

  • One model was to leave only one parish in the city – pros (sense of unity, consolidating programs and resources), cons (too large and unwieldy, community-building difficult).
  • Another model was to leave only two parishes in the city – pros (downtown presence important, proximity to where people live), cons (lopsided population and resources, better but not enough).
  • Another model had three or four parishes – pros (puts parishes where the people {and schools} live, better use of remaining priests), cons (collaboration among parishes not assured, how to bolster Cathedral).

Fr. McGuire