Thursday, February 23, 2017

HOLY CROSS PARISH - A Progress Report And Invitation

This Sunday is Quinquagesima, the last of the three Sundays in the Pre-Lenten season. In the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 1st. 

This year will be our fifth Lent and Pascha as an Orthodox parish. The first year we were under the Protection of Bishop Jerome as we were working through the process of being received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. This year will be our fourth Lent and Pascha as a full member-parish.

We love being Orthodox! God has been very good to us and our parish is thriving and growing.  


Holy Cross parish is very active in supporting four area homeless shelters: the Francis (men) and Siena (women and children) House shelters, and the Open Door Mission (men) and Lydia House (women and children) shelters.

Last year we delivered more than $15,000.00 worth of donated gourmet bread to the Francis and Siena Houses. Holy Cross volunteers make bread deliveries to these shelters every Friday and one Saturday of each month. And this is nothing new. We have been doing this now for years. The commitment and dedication of our volunteers is amazing!  

Every year we also collect and deliver large amounts of much needed food for the Open Door Mission and the Lydia House. Every ounce is collected from within our parish and volunteers make deliveries as soon as our parish food bins have been refilled. Over the years we have delivered tons of food to these shelters to feed those most in need.


Our Mission at Holy Cross parish is to Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him, and the fulness of the Apostolic Faith to those who do. 

In 2016, we received nine new members into the Orthodox Church and into Holy Cross parish — six adults, two children and an infant — and we ended the year with four catechumens. We are committed to evangelism and advancing the Work of the Great Commission.


Members of Holy Cross are of all ages, from pre-born, and infants less than a year old, up to 80 years young. We are white and black, young and seasoned, male and female, urban and rural, and of various professions, both blue and white collar.

Our total membership is in the upper forties, but if you factor in those who regularly attend but are not yet members, we number in the fifties. Holy Cross is a solid, growing and vibrant Christian community.

I am 59 years old, and am the full time Rector of Holy Cross parish. My wife and I will be married for thirty-five years this year. In the Orthodox Church a priest’s wife is called Matushka (mother), and my wife is deeply involved in the work and ministry of our parish.

I am assisted at Holy Cross parish by a Subdeacon, Reader and Cantor/Music Director. We also have a retired priest in the parish. 

We have three very important parish organizations at Holy Cross. These three organizations are our Schola Cantorum, our parish Sisterhood (Women’s Group), and our St. Joseph’s Guild.

We have a vested choir called the Schola Cantorum. The difference between a simple church choir and a Schola Cantorum is that traditionally a Schola Cantorum primarily focuses on ecclesiastical chant, and that is exactly what our Schola does. We use ecclesiastical (Gregorian) chant in all of our Services. 

Our parish Sisterhood is called the Sisters of Holy Cross. As with most Orthodox parishes, I do not know what I would do without our Women’s Group. They are an active part of our ministry and are deeply involved in the work of our parish.

The St. Joseph’s Guild is a parish men’s organization that cares for and beautifies our church facility. They do everything from hanging icons and lampadas, to building church furnishings such as our new Credence Table. Most recently, the Guild has set up a speaker system outside our chapel so those in the parking lot and immediate neighborhood can hear the bells calling the faithful to worship.


We are a Western Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Our Eucharistic rite is the traditional English Liturgy, commonly called the Liturgy of St. Tikhon. The Liturgy of St. Tikhon is named after Patriarch St. Tikhon of Moscow who made its authorization for use possible.

In 1904, Archbishop Tikhon (Belavin), who was serving in America as Archbishop at the time, and Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny), assisted by Fr. John Kochuroff, petitioned the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to approve an Orthodox edition of the English Liturgy for use by Western Christians entering the Orthodox Church. All three of these men would later be canonized as Saints.

In 1907, a Commission of the Holy Synod reported in favor of authorizing an Orthodox edition of the traditional English Liturgy for use by Western converts, and set out the criteria for its adaptation for Orthodox use. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted the report. Today, both the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Moscow Patriarchate) and the Antiochian Orthodox Church have Western Rite parishes and monastic communities using the English Liturgy. 

At Holy Cross parish we sing the Divine Office (Vespers and Matins) and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist (Divine Liturgy/Holy Mass) acapella, using the ancient Gregorian chant and Office Hymns. When we use instrumental music it is for hymns sung outside of the Divine Office and Liturgy. 

Frederica Matthewes-Green described the Western Rite this way: “While you can focus on the differences between Eastern and Western Rite, on a spectrum of all the varieties of Christian worship available today they look a great deal alike... When I get to attend a Western Rite Service I’m struck by the clarity, humility, and tranquility of the worship” (Welcome to the Orthodox Church, p. 55).

During the first millennium of Christianity, Eastern and Western Christendom were fully united. The Christian East and West were different in culture, liturgy and in spirituality, but they were compatible because they were united in Faith and Morals. 

Today the Orthodox East and the non-Orthodox West remain different in culture, liturgy and spirituality, but are no longer compatible because they are no longer united in Faith and Morals. Western Rite Orthodox parishes and monastic communities are fully Orthodox in Faith and Morals, making the Eastern and Western Rites of the Orthodox Church fully compatible. 

The restoration of the Western Rite and Western Orthodoxy is a witness to the catholicity of the Church. As St. John of San Francisco said, “Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox you must be Eastern. The West was fully Orthodox for a thousand years.”


We currently lease a very nice church facility consisting of a traditional and well furnished chapel, a parish hall, and office and classroom space. We have a large church parking lot and even have covered parking which is a real blessing when there is inclement weather.

Although our current church facility meets our needs very well at present, our goal is to purchase a permanent church building and we have money saved for a down payment. Once a suitable building becomes available we are ready to purchase it.


Our parish life revolves around the Fasts, Feasts and Seasons of the Church Year. We are a Eucharistic community, and the Holy Eucharist is the centre and summit of our spirituality. We encourage frequent Communion and the faithful participation in the full sacramental life of the Church. Our desire is nothing less than to become Saints.

At Holy Cross parish the Sacraments are administered with reverence, the Word of God is proclaimed, and the Orthodox Faith is taught. The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, commonly called the Divine Liturgy or Holy Mass, is celebrated at least twice every week, and our adult Christian Education class is taught at the college level. 

We have fellowship and refreshments every Sunday after the Liturgy, and a Potluck Luncheon on the last Sunday of every month. Other parish activities include an annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, a Summer Church Picnic, an outing to Werner Park on Faith and Family Night to see the Omaha Storm Chasers play baseball, a Fall Hayrack ride, Bonfire and Potluck at Santa’s Woods, and more. 

The Christian Life is the good life at Holy Cross parish!


If you are looking for a church home where you will be welcomed with open arms, we have a place for you. If you are searching for God, you will find Him here. If you have worshiped with us in the past, but have stopped coming for whatever reason, you can come home again. If you haven’t visited us for while, you are invited to visit us gain.  If you are looking for a Western expression of the Orthodox Faith, you will find it here. Everyone is always welcome at Holy Cross parish, and Lent is a time for New Beginnings.

Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM. This coming Sunday, February 26th, is our monthly Potluck Luncheon immediately after the Liturgy. Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing. There is always plenty of good food and warm fellowship, so come and bring your family and friends.

Our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper is Tuesday, February 28th, at 6:30 PM. This is not a parish fund-raiser and the meal is free. Visitors are always welcome. Come, you will have a great time and will be blessed.

Confessions are heard every Sunday during Matins, at other times as scheduled, and by appointment. Confessions will be held on Shrove Tuesday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Great Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1st, with Services and the Imposition of Ashes at 6:30 PM. Lent is a time for New Beginnings and for renewed commitment. There is no better time to begin coming to church, come back to church, or to renew and deepen your relationship within our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Holy Cross Orthodox Church is a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish and we have a place for you. Sunday Liturgy is at 10:00 AM. I hope to see you there!