By Liz Sullivan
From the moment a damaging fire engulfed the second floor of Holy Cross Church in San Jose in the early afternoon of November 16, 2014 the parish community has been waiting for the structure to be rebuilt.
And it is almost there; better than ever.
On May 25, at 3 p.m., Bishop Patrick J. McGrath will preside at the dedication of Holy Cross Church at 13th and Jackson streets. There will be a Commemorative Banquet for 300 people later that day at 6 p.m.
“I am so very pleased that we will soon be able to dedicate our new Holy Cross Parish Church. Since the fire that took the old church that Sunday afternoon, the people of the Parish have come together in even stronger bonds of faith, community, service and prayer,” said Bishop Patrick J. McGrath. “In the darkest hour, the people of Holy Cross never lost hope. Under the guidance of Father Firmo and Father Livio, the parish has continued to flourish, and we will all be eternally grateful for their leadership throughout the process of planning and rebuilding.”
Since the fire, for which a cause was never discovered, the parish has held all liturgies in the Parish Hall behind the church.
“The parish, as well as I, are looking forward to moving into the new church. Once this is blessed and consecrated by the Bishop, we will move all religious services there,” said Father Livio Stella, CS, pastor. “The new building will shine with plenty of natural light. The restored stained glass windows of the old church look awesome. A brand new organ will make its sound fill the sacredness of the place. The old crucifix stands majestic at the center of an art glass wall.”
Local architect Ramiro Torres of Topa Architecture and Strawn Construction worked with the Diocese on the rebuilding of the Church, which cost more than $6.1 million. Holy Cross was founded in 1906 and the church was constructed in 1919. It is home to about 740 families and is ministered to by the Scalabrinian order of priests and brothers. It is the only parish in the Diocese which features a weekly Mass in Italian.
“Old timers are truly thrilled to see this dream come to age, the young people are also enthused by what they witness,” added Father Stella. “I am sure old parishioners who have moved out of the neighborhood will be anxious to come at one time or another to see the new church. Perhaps they were baptized here, or received any other sacrament. Perhaps their parents used to attend regular Sunday Masses here. They are all most welcome to come and see.”