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Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On September 14, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  The feast commemorates two historic events of great importance: the finding of the relic of the True Cross by St. Helena in 324 and the building of the first churches in Jerusalem by her son, Constantine, the first Christian to serve as emperor of Rome.  The churches were built at the tomb of Christ where Jesus rose from the dead, and at the site of Calvary where his Passion and death occurred. These Churches were dedicated nine years after St. Helena’s discovery in 335.

"These are important things to commemorate but, of course, what is really of the greater importance is the event, the saving event, which is the crucifixion and death of Jesus, and his resurrection three days later. In that event lies our salvation. And so it is good for us to have this feast where we focus on the cross and its saving importance," Bishop Robert Deeley said. "The feast gives us opportunity to see the cross in Jesus’ whole life and mission. And, of course, as is always the case with the Scripture, we also see what the Lord Jesus wishes for us as our own mission. The Scripture is a reminder for those who wear it and who see it that we are called as Christians not just to wear the cross, or even to admire it, but to make it the heart of our lives. Jesus’ words to his follower were very specific, 'Take up your cross and follow me.' In serving one another, we carry on the mission of Jesus. In fact, we 'carry his cross.' We seek to put the one we serve before our own interests. That is how Jesus calls us to live. The message of the Gospel reminds us that we are called to serve."

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross has been celebrated by the Catholic Church since the seventh century.