By Liz Sullivan
On May 25, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath together with Bishop Carlos Sevilla, S.J., Scalabrinian Provincial Father Miguel Alvarez, CS and others from the Diocese of San Jose and beyond, as well as parish officials, civic officials joined to dedicate the new parish church at 13th and Jackson streets in San Jose.
It has been almost four years since November 16, 2014, when a 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. It resulted in all liturgies being moved to the Parish Hall behind the church.
“This is an absolutely beautiful church,” said the Bishop at the start of Mass. “The windows are spectacular.”
Local architect Ramiro Torres of Topa Architecture and Strawn Construction worked with the Diocese on the rebuilding of the Church, which cost more than $7.6 million. More than $7.2 million was covered by insurance. Holy Cross Parish is paying more than $383,000 for items not covered by insurance. Those include: clay tile roof, Baptismal font, additional art glass windows in the gable ends of the church, curved art glass wall behind the altar and additional lighting.
Prior to the start of Mass, the architect and construction team formally handed over the architectural plans, the key to the church and a list of donors who made this building possible.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts,” said the Bishop quoting Psalm 84 at the beginning of his homily. “I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Today, by these sacred rites, we dedicate this new parish church. In doing so, we honor all whose work, worry and prayer have contributed to this magnificent edifice.”
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.
“This building is successor to the church, ravaged by fire, now reborn from the ashes. It is a gem, here in the heart of San Jose, a home where the Word of God will be proclaimed, the Sacraments celebrated and, most especially, where the Bread of Life will be shared as our food. We set this church apart as the new home of our encounter with the living God,” said the Bishop at the conclusion of his homily. “It is God’s dwelling place, but it is also ours, for this is where the Church of Christ will meet, day in and day out, week in and week out, and, God willing, year in and year out, until the Lord comes again.”