Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Thursday, Sep. 14, 2023

Location: All Parishes

“No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” — John 3:13-15

“We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered.” This is the entrance antiphon for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which comes from Galatians 6:14.

This feast originally celebrated two historical events: St. Helena's discovery of Jesus' cross in 320 A.D. and Byzantine Emperor Heraclius'a recovery of that cross after it was captured by an invading army in 629 A.D. Now this feast focuses on the role Jesus' cross played in salvation history. 

"The cross is a sign of suffering, a sign of human cruelty at its worst. But by Christ’s love shown in the Paschal Mystery, it has become the sign of triumph and victory, the sign of God, who is love itself," according to "Saints and Feast Days," by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio.

"The cross is the primary symbol of the Christian faith. It represents Jesus himself, his suffering, his immeasurable love for us, his victory over sin and death and our redemption. In cruce salus. In the cross is our salvation," explained Father Michael Van Sloun in the Catholic Spirit.

"The sign of the cross is a kind of synthesis of our faith, for it tells how much God loves us; it tells us that there is a love in this world that is stronger than death, stronger than our weaknesses and sins. The power of love is stronger than the evil which threatens us," wrote Stephanie Mann for Simply Catholic.

St. Francis of Assisi Prayer

We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, here, and in all your churches throughout the whole world, and we bless you, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.