Holy Cross Parish in Indiantown celebrates its 60th anniversary this year as a diverse spiritual family who welcome those seeking a spiritual home.
Made up of both white and Hispanic members, the parish community grows more robust with each passing year. Though there is a segment of the church family from the Indianwood section of Indiantown, a senior living community, there is a number of Hispanic members originating from both Guatemala and Mexico.
The median age of the church family is late 30s to early 40s, an encouragingly young demographic. Father Francisco Osorio, pastor, spoke about why the church is so active and vibrant.
“Holy Cross parish is a family in which everyone counts. It is open to the participation of all ministries, activities, and programs,” he said. “In addition to common ministries and services for the liturgical celebration, we have organizations in which there is dialogue about the future of pastoral and charitable action in the parish to make decisions and assume commitments.”
For the people of Holy Cross Church in Indiantown, the story of San Juan Diego and the Miracle of Tepeyac Hill inspires three cornerstones of spirituality in the community’s 60 years of faith foundation. These cornerstones are the cross, which is the relic of the Holy Cross possessing great spiritual richness and a remembrance of the path to salvation; the Eucharist, which is the food that nourishes souls and sustains the faithful constructing the kingdom of God, and the Virgin Mary, who watches over her beloved children with motherly devotion and is a conduit to God’s kingdom.
“This great truth of, ‘to Jesus through Mary,’ is the impetus of Holy Cross Parish’s annual Guadalupano Festival, which has been held annually for more than 20 years and has financed the construction of a new church and paid part of the loan debt the parish assumed as a result of constructing this temple of honor to the Blessed Virgin,” Fr. Osorio said.
He added that for nearly two decades, Holy Cross has encouraged approximately 10 small faith communities, which host weekly group gatherings of families and residential communities reading and praying with the Word of God. He also said there is an active Rite of Christian Initiation faith formation program that helps welcome and prepare adults to receive the sacraments and embrace the Catholic faith. There are nine ministries of liturgical music and livestreaming through Catholic Radio and Facebook Live – each of which has become more integral to the faith community at Holy Cross as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although Fr. Osorio pushes away any compliments, there is no doubt in the minds of parishioners that the strong and faithful guidance of priests like Fr. Osorio and parish leaders have helped to strengthen the foundation of this community of faith.
“Throughout these 60 years, it has been possible to see the progress of this Holy Cross community and the fruit of the tenacious and committed work of priests and parish leaders,” the pastor said. “It can be seen in the foundation of Hope Rural School, where directors with great social and academic commitment serve immigrant families with diverse origins.”
He added the progress can also be seen “in the construction of the new church, a work led by Father Nestor Rodríguez in which he committed the entire community and was supported by the diocese, priests from other parishes and benefactors who with their generosity have helped carry out this project.”
Fr. Osorio believes the coronavirus pandemic has given the community a chance to re-evaluate and revise some of its goals, too.
“We were not prepared to face this reality, and with what little we had at hand, we moved forward, highlighting the generous and unconditional support of our Bishop Gerald Barbarito, the pastoral organizations of the diocese, the employees, volunteers and parish community of Holy Cross and benefactors of the other parishes, who have always been willing to support us. We always give thanks to God for his abundant blessings through the marvelous people.”
Juan Carlos Lasso is the director of religious education at Holy Cross Parish. He says that ensuring that everyone has a place in the community helps to make the parish family a real family.
“The celebrations are lively and very dynamic, and families come together to praise and celebrate the Eucharist,” Lasso said. “Each ministry is an active part of the community, and through Hispanic pastoral care, all activities and missions are planned, which means that the mission of each ministry contributes to the sacramental and missionary building of the parish and its ministry as a whole. Every celebration and party has a purpose, and it is such a joy to work in a community where everyone contributes. In addition, the Guatemalan and Mexican people have deeply enriched this community by the faith which they have brought from their own countries. Their way of praying, their dedication to work and family, and their faith have permeated us all and have made this parish exceptional.”
Because of the hard work and commitment of the parish community and its leaders, Holy Cross has truly borne witness to the Miracle of Tepeyac Hill in its own way by utilizing funds from its annual Guadalupano Festival to help materially build a new temple in honor of the Blessed Mother. The next step, according to Lasso and Fr. Osorio, will be the restoration of the new pastoral center, which is currently being reviewed by the Diocese of Palm Beach. The plan is to have a place where people can gather, commemorate, and welcome large groups for celebrations throughout the year, including the Feast of the Holy Cross and its anniversary, the Festival of Barriletes, and the Day of All the Faithful Deceased (All Souls’ Day), the Festivities of San Miguel, San Rafael, San Pedro Soloma, the anniversaries of the 27 community ministries housed within Holy Cross Parish, and of course, the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
By Wendy Dwyer, Florida Catholic correspondent