Tuesday, December 23, 2014


A Western Rite parish of
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
7545 Main Street
Ralston, NE 68127
(402) 573-6558

December 10/23, 2014

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope that you are having a spiritually profitable Advent season and that you will have a holy and merry Christmas.

By the grace of God, the year 2014 has been a very good year at Holy Cross Orthodox Church, and we have been blessed in so many ways. Holy Cross is a faithful, friendly and active parish with a mission to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him and the fullness of the Apostolic Faith to those who do, to build up the Body of Christ, and to care for the most vulnerable in society — the poor, the sick, the pre-born, and the aged. 

So far this year we have contributed 5,237 pounds of much needed food to the Open Door Mission, an increase of 240 pounds over 2013, and every ounce was donated from within the parish. I am hoping that we will be able to make yet another delivery of donated food to the Open Door Mission before the end of the civil year. 

Every Friday and one Saturday of every month parishioners pick up donated gourmet bread donations from a local sandwich shop and make deliveries to the Francis and Siena House Shelters. Each delivery totals around 150 pounds of gourmet bread.

We are also actively involved in ministry to long-term residents at Douglas County Hospital. Services are conducted in the hospital chapel every month for all who care to attend, and a number of catechumens there are being prepared for reception into the Church. 

This Advent we organized a parish Mitten Tree in our church hall and parishioners donated new mittens, gloves, scarves, underwear and socks for men, women and children in need. A large amount was donated and delivered to the Open Door Mission.

After the Liturgy on Sunday, December 21st we put up our Christmas tree in the church and decorated our church and parish hall for the upcoming Christmas season. The church looks beautiful and smells wonderful. We will be putting up our Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve.

At Holy Cross parish we celebrate the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist three days each week, and our Sunday Eucharistic Liturgies include Gregorian chant for all the Propers. Confessions are scheduled to be heard two days of each week and by appointment.

Our parish Sisterhood, the Sisters of Holy Cross, is very active and involved in the ministry of Holy Cross Orthodox Church. Most recently our Sisterhood purchased a large flat screen television and DVD player for the parish so we will no longer have to project movies and teaching DVDs on a wall.

In May we had an episcopal visit to Holy Cross parish. Bishop George of Mayfield, who is also abbot of Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia, visited our church at the request of Metropolitan Hilarion. During his visit he tonsured a Reader for us.

In June we welcomed two priests who have become good friends of our parish to Omaha for an extended stay. They instructed Fr. Michael and I in the Eastern Rite so we could become bi-liturgical priests. While they were here Fr. Michael and I each celebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom four times. We have a lot to learn, but we are learning!

In July I was blessed to have an opportunity to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with his Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah and a number of Orthodox clergy. Metropolitan Jonah is himself a former Anglican and a great friend of traditional Anglicans.

I am assisted at Holy Cross parish by a retired priest Fr. Michael Smith, an ordained Reader, a Music Director, a traditional Vested Choir, a parish Sisterhood, the Guild of St. Joseph - a parish organization made up of woodworkers and craftsmen who beautify and maintain our temple, and by some very capable Sunday School teachers. Our adult Christian Education class is taught at the college level.

Fr. Michael, a late vocation, celebrated ten years in Christian ministry this year, and our newly ordained Reader has decades of experience as a Lay Reader in the Episcopal and Anglican Churches. Our Music Director is an accomplished singer and choir director who uses her gifts and talents to the glory of God.

In 2014, Matushka Cheri and I celebrated thirty-two years of marriage and thirty years in Christian ministry together. During those thirty years we have lived in four states and visited many more. On September 28th, we celebrated my thirtieth anniversary in Christian ministry with a Solemn Mass, followed by a catered luncheon in our parish hall. It was a wonderful day that we will never forget, and Matushka and I are looking forward to our next thirty years together in parish ministry.

As formerly traditional Anglicans we had always believed that Anglicans were Western Orthodox Christians separated from the Orthodox Church by the accidents of history. We always looked forward in hope to reunion with the Orthodox Church, but the Anglican branch theory led us to believe that we were already in the West what the Orthodox Church was in the East. By the grace of God we came to see the error of this theory, and that Anglicanism at its best could only lead us to the door of the Church, but no further. To be Orthodox Christians we had to be members of the Orthodox Church.

In the summer of 2012, we began working with the Vicar-bishop and Pastoral-vicar for the Western Rite of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. A year later, after much preparation, we were received into the Russian Orthodox Church in June of 2013. 

As a canonical Western Rite parish we are thoroughly Orthodox in Faith while preserving all that is best in our Celtic and English patrimony. For more information on the life and ministry of Holy Cross Orthodox Church I invite you to visit our parish website: www.holycrossomaha.net.  You will find our website packed with helpful information. To get a feel for our Sunday worship I invite you to visit the Photo Gallery on our Website and to view the slideshow under “Worship at Holy Cross Orthodox Church.” There you will see photos of our Eucharistic Liturgy, Vespers, the visit of Bishop George and the tonsure of our Reader.

The Christian life is the good life at Holy Cross Orthodox Church. We enjoy fellowship and refreshments in our parish hall every Sunday after the Liturgy, and a potluck luncheon on the last Sunday of every month. In 2014, we enjoyed a parish outing to see the Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team play on Faith and Family Night at Werner Park; we had our annual Summer Church Picnic at Halleck Park in Papillion; our annual Fall Hayrack Ride, Bonfire and Potluck at Santa’s Woods; and just this month we had a parish outing to the Omaha Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Spectacular at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Yes, by the grace of God 2014 has been a very good year at Holy Cross Orthodox Church, and we are looking forward to another year of service to God, his people and the community at large in 2015. If you have not worshipped with us recently or have never visited Holy Cross parish before I hope that you will soon. The “Thinking About Visiting?” page of our website will give you more information about us and what to expect when you visit. Please feel free to call or e-mail me any time. I am always here for you. You will find that we are a faithful and friendly church, and that everyone is always welcome.

May God grant you every grace and blessing,

Father Victor Novak+

Friday, December 12, 2014


Have you ever thought about taking a short-term missionary trip through an Orthodox Christian missionary society, visiting Russia or Eastern Europe, or have you always wanted to learn another language? In September Matushka Cheri and I began taking a non-credit Russian for Beginners class at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. We have enjoyed the class very much and learned a lot, not just about the Russian language, but about Russian culture as well. By learning some Russian we can communicate with people who speak various Slavic languages. 

After learning that we were taking a Russian language class several people in the parish expressed interest in taking the class as well. So I talked with our teacher about it and we have made it possible for anyone who is interested.

I have been able to arrange for a Russian for Beginners class to be taught at Holy Cross Orthodox Church beginning in January 2015. The teacher will be Dr. Munavvar Dadajanova, a native Russian speaker and a practicing Orthodox Christian. Dr. Munavvar Dadajanova earned her doctorate in languages during Soviet times and moved to the United States in 2001. She teaches Russian at Creighton University and at Metropolitan Community College. This will be the same class that she teaches at these schools with the same text book. 

Class will meet on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 PM in our parish hall, beginning Thursday, January 15th, and ending on Thursday, February 19th. This will be a non-credit class, but a Certificate will be awarded by the teacher to those who complete the course.

In addition to Russian language, the class will introduce students to Russian culture, history, religion, literature, music and food. The cost of the class is $90.00, plus $30.00 for the text book. This is not a parish fund-raiser. The class is open to people outside the parish as well, so please be sure to tell your family and friends about it. Everyone is welcome.

Holy Cross Orthodox Church is a Western Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). For more information about us you can visit our parish website: www.holycrossomaha.net . 

We are conveniently located in the Ralston Suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. Our address is: 7545 Main Street in Ralston. We are just south of the 72nd Street exit off Interstate I-80, and three blocks west of 72nd Street on Main Street in Ralston. We are located on the East side of Hillcrest Landing. Just look for our signs. You can't miss us.

Let me know if you would like to take this interesting, helpful and fun class. You can contact me by e-mail at venovak@hughes.net or call me on the church phone: (402) 573-6558. If you plan to attend this class you must make reservations with me, so please contact me as soon as possible. I'll be looking forward to seeing you on January 15th!  

Monday, December 1, 2014


Dear friends in Christ,

Our parish website has just been updated with new material and photographs. I hope that you will visit our website and share it with others. It is packed with information about the Orthodox Church and Faith, the Western Rite within the Orthodox Church, and about Holy Cross parish. Here is the link:


My letter on the Home page will give you a helpful overview of our parish and its ministries. I suggest that you then go to the Photo Gallery and view “Worship at Holy Cross Orthodox Church.” On the slideshow you will see what a Sunday Eucharistic Liturgy is like at Holy Cross parish. You will also see photographs of the visit of Bishop George of Mayfield to our church and the tonsure of our Reader.

A visit to the About Us page will tell you more about who we are and where we come from. The Sidebar has some very important articles that you will want to read. First, I recommend that you read “Do You Have A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ?” You will then want to read “Introducing the New Testament Church” and a “Letter To An Inquirer.” For those who want to dig deeper into the Faith and practice of the Church, I suggest viewing the “Recommended Reading List” which is also found on the Sidebar. These books will be very helpful in your spiritual journey.

The Thinking About Visiting page is also something that you will not want to miss. On it you will find thorough and helpful answers to sixteen commonly asked questions such as “What are the people at Holy Cross like?”, “How are you different from traditional Anglicans?”, “How are you different from traditional Roman Catholics?”,  “What is your pastor like?”, and  “How does the Orthodox Church view non-Orthodox Christians?”

The News page will keep you up on the latest church news, and Fr. Novak’s Blog will not only keep you up to date on parish happenings but will also give you my take on much, much more. I hope you will keep coming back to read Fr. Novak’s Blog.

As you have time I encourage you to look through each page of our information packed website and read all of the articles. It is well worth the time and effort. What you learn will help you share your Faith with others and to defend the Faith when necessary. Our mission at Holy Cross is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him, and the fullness of the Apostolic Faith to those who do. This website will help equip you to do the work of an evangelist.

Short on time? Then at least read my letter on the Home page and view the slideshow under “Worship at Holy Cross Orthodox Church” on the Photo Gallery, — but be sure to return and visit the website again when you have more time.

A big Thank You to Hannah Frederick our Web Mistress for her good work in building, maintaining and updating our parish website. Being Web Mistress is no simple task. It is a demanding and time consuming ministry, but a very vital one.

Please be sure to introduce your family and friends to the Holy Cross website. An easy way to do this is to send it out to your Facebook friends.

If you have never visited Holy Cross parish before or haven’t worshipped with us recently, I hope you will accept my personal invitation to worship with us soon. If you are not in the Omaha area but have an interest in the Orthodox Church in general or the Western Rite in particular, please contact me by e-mail or by phone. I would be happy to  help you and to answer your questions.

Holy Cross Orthodox Church is a faithful, friendly and active parish, and we have a place for you!

May God grant you every grace and blessing,

Fr. Victor+

V. Rev. Victor E. Novak
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
Rectory: (402) 687-9458
Church:  (402) 573-6558