For 150 years, Catholic churches throughout Cumberland County have faithfully served generations seeking Christ. Today, the Catholic Strong Campaign hopes to ensure that tradition continues for generations to come.
The Parish of the Holy Cross was formed in 2010 through the mergers of Bridgeton’s two churches, Immaculate Conception and Saint Teresa of Avila; Saint Michael in Cedarville and its mission, Saint Anthony in Port Norris; and Rosenhayn’s Saint Mary Church.
“We are a large and diverse Catholic community of faith, from the farms of Pittsgrove Township to the bay community of Port Norris,” the parish says on its website — which can be read in English, Spanish and Filipino. “Our parish is enriched by both generations of families deeply rooted in our community and newly arriving Mexican immigrants.”
The parish’s mission statement identifies the people of the parish as “the young and elderly, married and single, healthy and broken.”
Among the parish’s compassionate outreach efforts are a weekday lunch program coordinated by the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, immigration legal assistance through the Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, and bereavement support.
Holy Cross is currently in the midst of its Catholic Strong push, a diocesan-wide initiative designed to raise a minimum of $50 million in gifts and pledges over a three- to five-year period. Seventy percent of all money collected will return to the parishes, while 30 percent will go to the Diocese of Camden.
At press time, The Parish of the Holy Cross is reporting $400,575 raised on a goal of $1,070,000, or 37.4 percent of their goal, according to Changing Our World, Inc., a consulting group assisting parishes with the Catholic Strong Campaign.
In addition, Holy Cross has received 41 gifts, with two gifts of $100,000.
Father Matthew Weber, pastor, has been “touched by the faithful’s generosity,” he said.
Funds raised for the campaign, Father Weber said, has been, and will be used, for such initiatives as the hiring of a part-time youth minister; a part-time liturgy coordinator; and for the restoration of the Immaculate Conception campus.
“Parishioners see their gift as an investment for the future of the church,” he said.