By Liz Sullivan
Holy Cross Church is almost ready for its close up.
On Nov. 16, 2014, just after the 1 p.m. Mass in Italian had concluded, fire broke out in the second floor of the church. More than 100 San Jose Fire Department personnel battled the flames for two hours before the fire was contained.
While there were no injuries the church was heavily damaged by fire, of which the cause was never determined. It resulted in all liturgies being moved to the Parish Hall behind the church.
Now more than three years later, at a reconstruction cost of more than $6.1 million, the Church located at 13th and Jackson streets in San Jose, is inching closer to opening.
“We are certainly seeing the results we have been waiting for,” said Father Livio Stella, CS, pastor. “The outside looks almost done. The community has been helping out with the fundraising efforts and they have been very generous. I am pleased to see that.”
One of the milestone moments in the reconstruction came in early November when a huge cross was placed on top of the roof of the church.
“It was very majestic to see the cross put up there,” said Stella. “It is wonderful.”
Father Stella expects the scaffolding that surrounds the outside of the church to be taken down in time for Christmas. The focus of the reconstruction now shifts to the interior of the church. Stella said he hopes the church can reopen in April.
“There is still a bit to be done inside,” he said. “Inside we kept the same structure and had the eight stain glass windows restored and the cross behind the altar cleaned. The community is already looking to the future. They want to schedule events in the new church. It’s exciting.”
Holy Cross Parish was founded in 1906 and the church was built in 1919. It is home to about 740 families and is ministered to by the Scalabrinian order of priests and brothers.