Holy Cross Orthodox Church
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
40th Anniversary

Holy Cross Church observed its 40th Anniversary on the weekend of November 11-12, 2017. It began with a Saturday morning Liturgy, specially remembering the departed founders, benefactors and builders of the church, together with departed Veterans. After Liturgy, a parish crew removed pews from the church in order to accommodate more worshipers for the coming services. Archbishop Mark arrived for 6:30pm Vespers that was followed by a meal and warm fellowship for family, visitors and guests. Archbishop Mark was welcomed Sunday morning with bread and salt by the parish warden Eric Affsprung and the holy cross by rector, Fr Dan Kovalak. After vesting, the Archbishop offered prayers enrolling Nicholas Occhino as a catechumen. Over 150 souls filled the church for the glorious Liturgy with eight priests and a deacon con-celebrating and responses sung beautifully by the enhanced congregation. Three chalices were used to distribute Holy Communion. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, the Archbishop presented a diocesan award to the Holy Cross Auxiliary in the person of president Christine Sinatra, citing the groups extraordinary efforts to support the life, mission, ministry and youth of the parish and beyond. After a brief Coffee Hour in the Orthodox Fellowship Center, the crowd found their way to the nearby Williamsport Country Club for the anniversary banquet. A greeting committee assisted the 173 guests with seating and distributed the 40th Anniversary Commemorative book produced for the occasion. A large screen showed historic photos of the parish while a band played and folks gazed at the beautiful anniversary cakes. After the Lord’s Prayer, invocation and national anthem, Eric Affsprung welcomed guests in behalf of the parish. Speakers included Fr David Shewczyk, assistant dean of the Wilkes-Barre Deanery, Fr Steven Voytovich, Dean of St Tikhon’s Seminary, Archbishop Mark, and Fr Eugene Pianovich. His Eminence presented Fr Dan and Matushka Myra Kovalak with a Synodal Gramota and the Order of St Innocent medals. Eric Affsprung presented an icon of St Herman to Fr Dan and Myra in honor of their 39-plus years of pastoral ministry. Fr Dan closed the program by recognizing the tremendous efforts of the parish council, anniversary committee, and many volunteers involved in the planning and execution of the inspiring weekend. Glory to God for All Things!

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LYRA Concert & Life-Chain

Holy Cross hosted the famous choral ensemble LYRA from St Petersburg Russia on September 27. The audience packed the church and included many first-time visitors. On October 1, over 20 Holy Cross parishioners participated in the Lycoming County Life-Chain; the largest local pro-life event. We held icons and sang hymns to the Theotokos as our witness to the sanctity of life.

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Summer, 2017

It's been a busy Summer at Holy Cross (for many reasons!) as we continue to observe our 40th anniversary year. We blessed vehicles for St Elijah's Day, held a fun-filled day of property maintenance,  had our church roof re-stained, blessed Transfiguration fruit and Dormition flowers, had our cupola crosses re-gilded, blessed and re-installed, and enjoyed our Annual Parish Picnic. More work remains on many fronts. Glory to God for ALL things!

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All Saints Day

June 11, 2017

Holy Cross observed All Saints Day with an outdoor procession after Liturgy: carrying icons of the heroes of our faith and the Holy Fire from Jerusalem.  We also honored our graduates at Coffee Hour. "Many Years!"

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Volunteer Luncheon

June 10, 2017

Holy Cross hosted our annual Volunteer Luncheon to honor our auxiliary helpers and parish senior citizens. Master Gardener Connie Moore offered an interesting presentation on brightening homes with house plants: and gifted a few to our eldest elders. Thanks Volunteers!  We can't spell "S C C E S S" without "U"! 

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Pascha, 2017

"Christ is Risen!"

Our Holy Cross Community observed the solemnity of Holy Week and joyously celebrated the glorious Resurrection of Christ!

"Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!"

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Palm Weekend, 2017

Baptism & Procession

On Lazarus Saturday, April 8, Andrew Soboleski was baptized into Christ. May the Lord God grant His newly-illumined servant "Many Years." On Palm Sunday, April 9, the children led a procession singing "Hosanna" at the Great Entrance.

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Sacrament of Ordination

Fr Ignatius Edward Hunter

Archbishop Mark led our Holy Cross Community on the weekend of January 7-8, 2017 in divine services that included the ordination to the Holy Priesthood of parishioner Fr Ignatius Hunter. Assisting were Fr Dan, Fr James Chuta, Fr Chad Hatfield, and Deacon Andrew Nelko. The congregation beautifully sang the services and offered prayerful congratulations to Fr Ignatius and Matushka Seraphima. The parish hosted a festal luncheon reception in the Orthodox Fellowship Center following the Liturgy and presented the new priest with gold vestments. Fr Ignatius celebrated his first Liturgy at Holy Cross on Monday, January 9. May the Lord God remember His newly-ordained priest and grant him many fruitful years of pastoral service to His glory!

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St Nicholas Project

December 4, 2016

Our parish held our annual St Nicholas Project, with our youth (and others) packing and delivering gift baskets to some of our church neighbors while joyfully singing songs about the beloved saint -- much to the surprise of area residents (and their pets).

 

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St Tikhon's Visits Holy Cross

November 13, 2016

Holy Cross was pleased to host the Mission Choir of St Tikhon's Seminary and the St Tikhon's Monastery Bookstore.  Seminary Dean, Fr Steven Voytovich, co-celebrated the Liturgy and offered an inspired homily on the parable of the Good Samaritan, quoting St John Chrysostom commemorated that day. The choir presented a concert at the Fellowship Hour following the Liturgy and parishioners purchased religious items from the bookstore. At the conclusion of the concert, Parish Warden Eric Affsprung presented a financial gift to the seminary on behalf of the parish.

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Election Day Dinner

November 8, 2016

Our 13th Annual Election Day Dinner was another great success, thanks to the efforts of an army of volunteers and diners eager to share our signature chicken potpie (and rest awhile from the election drama!). Many thanks to all who helped out -- young and old!

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"The Path" Comes to Holy Cross

October 24, 2016

Father Thomas Soroka from St Nicholas Church in McKees Rocks, PA offered an edifying and challenging lecture entitled "Ancient Faith: Modern Application." Building on the foundation of Matthew 6, and utilizing extensive "pearls of wisdom" from the scriptures and Church Fathers, he reminded us that prayer is essentially standing before God in the mind of the heart. Fr Tom has two popular podcasts on ancient faith radio: "The Path" and "Sermons from St Nicholas."  We're thankful his "path" brought him to Holy Cross!

 

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Coffee with Sister Vassa

October 17, 2016

Holy Cross was pleased to welcome Sister Vassa (Larin) for a wonderful lecture as part of her Eastern PA speaking tour. After her talk, we shared "Coffee with Sister Vassa."  Check her out on the internet and become one of her "zillions" of "followers."

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LYRA Concert

October 5, 2016

The LYRA choral ensemble from St Petersburg Russia performed another fabulous concert at Holy Cross! 

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All Saints...

...and a new catechumen

We held our annual All Saints Day celebration with a procession around the church following the Liturgy on June 26; carrying icons of the heroes of our faith on a gorgeous day in Pennsylvania.

On July 3, we formally enrolled David Reynolds as a catechumen as he prepares for his baptism in Christ.

Who will be next?!  Come, join us! 

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Summer Dance

June 17, 2016

Our Holy Cross Youth hosted a Summer Dance, inviting friends to join them in our Fellowship Center for music presented by DJ Meredith under the disco ball. It was a fitting end to the school year!

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Senior Luncheon

June 11, 2016

Holy Cross hosted its Third Annual Senior Appreciation Luncheon to pay tribute to community "elders" for sharing their time, talents and fellowship throughout the year. The Auxiliary provided lunch and gifts -- and participants enjoyed a sing-along of old songs led by Fr Dan. 

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Palm Sunday to Pascha, 2016

Following Our Lord...

Photos from our services from Palm Sunday to Pascha.

Christ is Risen!

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Sunday of the Cross

April 3, 2016

On the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, Archbishop Mark and Deacon Matthew Joyner joined the community of Holy Cross Church in Williamsport for the Divine Liturgy. A lenten luncheon prepared by the Holy Cross Auxiliary and warm fellowship followed the service.

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St Nicholas Day

December 6, 2015

After the Liturgy on St Nicholas Day, our youth, and others, delivered gift baskets to some of our church neighbors and sang songs honoring the saint in what has become an annual tradition of sharing the life of St Nicholas with others. Surprised residents appreciated seeing and hearing our children and were grateful for the unexpected visit!

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St Tikhon's Seminary Choir and Monastery Bookstore

November 22, 2015

Holy Cross was pleased to host the St Tikhon's Seminary Mission Choir and Monastery Bookstore.  Seminary CFO Fr Dennis Swencki co-celebrated the Liturgy with Fr Dan and delivered the homily.  At the Fellowship Hour following the Liturgy, the choir sang a brief concert of liturgical hymns and parishioners purchased religious items from the bookstore.  Parish Warden Eric Affsprung presented the seminary a financial gift on behalf of the parish and the faithful sang an enthusiastic "Many Years" to our guests.

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Sacrament of Chrismation

"Drawing Fish into the Net of Christ"

The Holy Cross parish family rejoiced in sacramentally welcoming the newly-enlisted warrior for Christ, Michael (Brent) Fish, on Sunday, November 8, 2015: fittingly, the feast of the Archangel Michael and the Heavenly Powers. His sponsor was David Dylan Jenkins. May God grant the newest member of our Eucharistic fellowship "Many Years." His family hosted a wonderful luncheon following the Liturgy for all to share in their joy.

"Holy Chrismation is a Sacrament in which the baptized believer, being anointed with Holy Chrism on certain parts of the body, in the name of the Holy Spirit, receives the gifts of the Spirit for growth and strength in spiritual life." (Philaret's Catechism).

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Election Day Dinner

November 3, 2015

Our 12th Annual Election Day Dinner served over 300 rib-sticken, homemade chicken potpie dinners with all the trimmings; thanks to our chairpersons and an army of volunteers.

 

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Fall Lecture

Abbot Tryphon

Abbot Tryphon from Vashon Island, Washington gave an inspiring and insightful lecture at Holy Cross on October 19 entitled "Engaging the Culture." He has thousands of followers on facebook, does daily podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio and signed copies of his book "The Morning Offering."  He just loves children!  It was a pleasure to have been able to host him.

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LYRA CONCERT
October 13, 2015
October 13, 2015
October 13, 2015
Summer, 2015

Summer Happenings

We've had a busy Summer at Holy Cross.

JUNE 7: Baptism of Maria Sophia Nemoianu, child of Andrei and Evelyn. Sponsor, Archdeacon David Oancea

JUNE 28: Baptism of Julian Thomas Thetford, child of Dan and Erica. Sponsors: Scott and Beth Yonkin

JULY 19: St Elijah Day Car Blessing

JULY 20-24: Holy Cross delegation to the OCA All-American Council in Atlanta

AUGUST 6: Transfiguration Youth Day

AUGUST 16: Presentation of Alpha-Omega Orthodox Scouting Award to altar boy Boone Jenkins, and Parish Picnic!

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Senior Appreciation Luncheon

June 6, 2015

Our Parish Council hosted a Senior Appreciation Luncheon for our seasoned citizens and guests in our Fellowship Center. Attendees enjoyed good food and warm fellowship. Thanks to those who prepared the luncheon. Special thanks to our parish seminarian Ed Hunter for sharing an enlightening slide presentation of his recent participation on an OCMC Mission Team to Africa. "A good time was had by all!"

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Holy Baptism

May 3, 2015

Phoebe Joan Fowler, daughter of Virgil and Rachael Fowler, was baptized into Christ on Sunday, May 3. Her sponsors are Dylan and Meg Jenkins.  May God grant His newly-illumined servant "Many Years!"

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Spring Dance

May 1, 2015

Our Holy Cross Youth hosted an enjoyable Spring Dance on Friday, May 1 welcoming over 30 for an evening of fellowship, dancing to traditional and pop music, pizza, snacks and ice cream. A Greek line-dance wound its way outside to the backyard! Thanks to all who helped organize the event and those who came to enjoy it.  There's talk of planning another!

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Pascha, 2015

"Christ is Risen!"

"Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!"

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Lenten Sunday of the Cross

March 15, 2015

Bishop Mark visited Holy Cross on the Lenten Sunday of the Holy Cross. The flower-adorned cross was central to the day's worship. Prior to the Liturgy, the bishop explained to the faithful the significance of the Antimins that rests upon the holy altar and signed it. The beautiful Liturgy was followed by a soup luncheon and fellowship. In the afternoon, parishioners were joined by clergy and faithful from the Wilkes-Barre Deanery as Bishop Mark led the Lenten Vespers, enthusiastically sung by the faithful. Fr George Volkovinsky offered an inspired homily. All in attendance were treated to a delicious lenten meal provided by the Holy Cross Auxiliary to conclude an uplifting day.

"Before Thy Cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy Holy Resurrection, we glorify!"

 

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Winter with the Kids

Recent photos

January 18: A contigent from Holy Cross traveled to Philadelphia for the 78th Novogodny Ball.

Feb 6-8: Seven of our Holy Cross teens attended the Diocesan Winter Teen Retreat

Feb 15: On Meatfare Sunday, our youth hosted another Hot Dog and Ice Cream Sunday Sundae as a community service and to raise funds for their designated charity.

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ELECTION DAY DINNER

November 4, 2014

Our Eleventh Annual Election Day Dinner was another great success -- thanks to the chairpersons, kitchen crews, parishioner donations, volunteers young and old, and hundreds of satisfied patrons; with the last serving of the day going to His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York!

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ICON FESTIVAL

October 18, 2014

Our Icon Festival was truly an inspirational and enlightening event in the life of our community and for the many visitors who attended. Special "guest" for the day was the Weeping Icon of St Anna from St Tikhon's Monastery, brought by Fr Steven Voytovich, Dean of St Tikhon's Seminary. After an Akathist Service, we were blessed with a dynamic presentation/demonstration by noted iconographer, Lynette Hull on "Encountering the Icon." The Holy Cross Auxiliary offered many delicious ethnic foods and desserts for lunch, after which attendees shopped at St Tikhon's Bookstore and watched a video of the Our Lady of Tikhvin Icon. Vespers concluded the day, with a heartfelt farewell to our "special guest." Thanks to all who participated!

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LYRA

October 8, 2014

The fabulous choral ensemble from St Petersburg Russia -- LYRA -- performed a concert of Russian Orthodox liturgical hymns and traditional folk songs -- to another full-house at Holy Cross!

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August at Holy Cross

August Happenings

The Baptism of Zachary Stephen Alexander on August 3.  A Youth Day on the feast of the Transfiguration, August 6. The Tonsuring of parishioner Seminarian Ed Hunter as a Reader on the feast of the Dormition at St Tikhon's Monastery, August 15. And the Annual Parish Picnic, August 17.  Glory to God for all things!

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A Triple-Header!

June 15, 2014

We began the day by welcoming our newest member -- Chloe Joy Jenkins -- in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Then the Liturgy included prayers for all Fathers on their special day. Finally, we took up icons of Our Lord and the heroes of our faith in our annual All Saints Day procession around the church. "Glory to God for All Things!"

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Senior Appreciation Luncheon

June 7, 2014

Our community held an enjoyable Luncheon and Program for our seasoned citizens in the Fellowship Center, hosted by our Parish Council. The good food and warm fellowship indicated the appreciation was truly appreciated! Thanks to those who organized and executed the event; with special thanks to Chris Shatto for sharing her professional expertise and some exercise tips to stay fit. "It was a nice affair!"

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Pascha, 2014

"Christ is Risen!"

Holy Cross was honored to welcome His Grace, Bishop Mark for the glorious Paschal celebration in Williamsport!

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Sacrament of Chrismation

5th Sunday of Lent

Our Holy Cross community rejoiced on April 6, 2014 in the reception of Cory Michael Chelko into the life of the Orthodox Church and the Eucharistic fellowship of Holy Cross. His sponsor was Eric Anthony Affsprung. May God grant his newly-enlisted warrior "Many Years!"

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Community Outreach

St Nicholas Basket Project

On Sunday, December 8, our group of excited Holy Cross Kids shared the joy of St Nicholas with some of our church neighbors. After Liturgy, they decorated the Fellowship Center tree, prepared 20 gift baskets, then headed out on a cold wintry day to deliver them with song to (surprised!) neighbors who greeted them with smiles. The last stop was at a local assisted living center for carolling -- then back to the parish to warm up!

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Boy Scout Award

Alpha-Omega Award

On December 1, 2013, altar boy Keegan Federoff received the Alpha-Omega Orthodox Scouting Award from Father Dan after completing the various elements of an ambitous program of study and community service. Scoutmaster Dan Cero was on hand for the presentation. We congratulate Keegan on this accomplishment and his parents, Ted and Carol, for their support through the process. "Many Years!"

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Election Day Dinner, 2013

November 5, 2013

We held our TENTH Annual Election Day Dinner -- with huge pots of homemade chicken potpie satisfying the appetites of a couple hundred patrons on a chilly fall day. Thanks to our committee and the army of hard-working volunteers who helped make it a success -- and to our customary final diner of the day; His Grace, Bishop MICHAEL of New York.

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2013 Fall Lecture Series

October, 2013

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LYRA, 2013

September 25, 2013

The fabulous choral ensemble from Saint Petersburg Russia LYRA kicked-off our 2013 Fall Program with another great concert of liturgical hymns and Russian folk songs -- to the delight of a full-house!

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A Wedding!

Sacrament of Marriage

Parishioners George Lamprinos and Mary Meredith Gee were united in the Holy Sacrament of Marriage on Sunday, September 1, 2013 at Holy Cross.  May God grant them "Many Years!"

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Vacation Youth Day, 2013

Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, August 6

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All Saints Day, 2013

June 30, 2013

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, we held our annual All Saints Day procession around the church. It was a gorgeous day for us to praise the heroes of our faith!

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Pentecost, 2013

Youth Sunday

On Pentecost, June 23, our youth hosted another Hot Dog and Ice Cream Sundae Hour after Liturgy -- to the enjoyment of all!

 

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Holy Baptism

Sacrament of Baptism

Mary Meredith Gee was baptized into Christ on May 26, 2013, taking St Mary Magdalene as her heavenly patron.  Daria Armstrong is her sacramental sponsor.  Meredith was enrolled as a catechumen by Bishop Mark at our Paschal service.  May God grant His newly-enlisted warrior "Many Years!"

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Pascha, 2013

Divine Services for the Glorious Resurrection of Christ

Fr Dan and the Faithful of Holy Cross were truly blessed to be joined by our Diocesan Administrator, His Grace, Bishop Mark, for the services of Pascha and the bounteous Agape Feast (with lamb!) following. 

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Holy Friday, 2013

Vespers, Procession and Lamentations

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Lazarus Saturday

Mulch-bearing, Mountain-moving faith

After the Liturgy for Lazarus Saturday April 27, nearly two dozen parishioners (and, of course, their priest) spent the better part of a beautiful day preparing for Holy Week and Pascha, attending to all sorts of things -- cleaning, polishing, flower-arranging and, spreading a 15-yard mountain of mulch around the property.  Thanks to all who exercised their stewardship, and muscles, to manifest mountain-moving faith! 

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Parish Revitalization

Revitalization Conference

After the morning "Soul Saturday" Liturgy on April 13, Parish Council members and others participated in a Parish Revitalization Conference; utilizing the Parish Health Inventory Model adopted by the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania.  The conference began with an introduction by Fr Dan, followed by eight Council members making brief presentations on the eight specific inventory focus areas specifically as related to "life at Holy Cross."  They subsequently developed a list of concrete recommendations that will be prioritized and pursued at coming monthly Council meetings. Participants noted (among other things) their appreciation for the conference, bringing issues to light, personally and collectively, that represent tasks and efforts associated not only with "running the parish" but enhancing our faith to better accomplish the "work" of the Church.  Many thanks to those who participated!

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