We hope you enjoyed your summer! We have several exciting events coming up! Please join us! Email us with any questions!
The Holy Cross Social Concerns Committee was formed over 30 years ago. The mission of the Committee is to help those in need in our parish and in our community. We have also responded to National and International needs, especially when requested by a parishioner. Our Committee is also committed to Social Justice issues.
In order to fulfill our mission, various subcommittees have been formed and descriptions of these follow, along with contact information. If you are interested in finding out more about our committee, please feel free to attend one of our meetings, generally the third Wednesday of the month in the basement of the rectory. We will also include upcoming events on our website, or you can email us! We welcome both regular and occasional support with our projects and subcommittees.
We invite you to attend the 2013 Christian Unity Service at Trinity Lutheran Church in North Bethesda on Sunday, January 27 at 3pm.
Ecumenical Prayer Service Celebrating the Annual Worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
In 1994, Fran Kleinhenz, a transplant from Ohio, encouraged fellow Social Concerns Committee members to organize a Christian unity prayer service in the North Bethesda area. Still facilitated by the committee, the prayer service highlights homilies by representatives of the various Christian denominations, a combined choir, and shared refreshments and fellowship. The spiritual event has led to discussions of how our participating congregations can help our surrounding community, such as the Rebuilding Together project and Habitat for Humanity.
Visiting the elderly, the sick, homebound parishioners, and those in assisted living and nursing home care is another mission of the Social Concerns Committee, with guidance from Sr. Veronica who is in charge of Holy Cross's Ministry to the Sick. Visits are made year-round, but especially on Christmas and Easter, to brighten up their days with cookies, flowers, prayers, and good company. If you know anyone who may enjoy a visitor or if you would like to participate in this mission, please call Pat Tellish at 301-230-2428.
For 20+ years, the Social Concerns Committee had sponsored the annual “Giving Tree” to provide Christmas gifts to those in our community who might not otherwise be remembered at Christmas. It gives the entire parish a chance to bring the spirit of Christ to those less fortunate and lets recipients know that others care about them.
Social Concerns receives lists of recipients from various agencies, such as ARC, Catholic Charities, health clinics, and shelters. Each name supplied by an agency has the person’s name (first only), age, gender, and requested gift. These lists are used to make individual tags to decorate the tree. We usually have 500-1000 tags.
Parishioners are given 2-3 weeks to select a tag and provide the requested gift or an item appropriate to the age & gender listed. Parishioners have always been very generous and return a truly huge supply of wrapped gifts to place beneath the tree. If any tags remain on the tree, a committee from Social Concerns gathers these and, using funds from the Social Concerns treasury, buys and wraps a gift to go with each tag. In this way we ensure that no potential recipient is without a gift. On the designated Sunday in December we again call for parishioner assistance – this time to sort and deliver the gifts to the agencies for final distribution. The members of Holy Cross parish always respond so generously and joyfully with their time that the gifts are sorted, bagged, and on their way in 1-2 hours.
If you would like to help us with our next Giving Tree project in December, please let us know by emailing us!
The Holy Cross Social Concerns Committee sponsors a Driver Program. Volunteers are matched with parishioners who request rides to Mass and medical appointments. Please contact Dick Schreitmueller at 301-929-8066 if you need a ride or if you can be a volunteer driver.
The environmental initiative of Holy Cross Church and School seeks to increase our awareness and action in caring for the Earth's God-given natural resources. Our actions begin with ourselves and our homes, and spread to our churches, schools, archdiocese, workplaces, and communities.
We arranged a free energy audit of the parish buildings conducted by the Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light. This helped promote installing energy efficient compact fluorescent lighting in Holy Cross Church and energy efficient features in Holy Cross School's renovated auditorium and social hall (Lewis Hall). We have promoted environmental awareness and action through items and tips in the church's bulletins. We also have a representative on a new Environmental Oversight Committee for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and have been involved in planning and conducting two workshops and other activities to increase environmental awareness and action in parishes of the Archdiocese. If you would like to participate in the Holy Cross environmental initiatve and/or wish to help with environmental projects in the parish or school, please contact or email a Social Concerns member!
Since the late 1990s, the Social Concerns committee has participated in an annual project under the auspices of Rebuilding Together for Montgomery County, a non-profit organization. Partnering with St. Mark Presbyterian Church and Bethesda United Church of Christ, the committee restores homes in need of repairs to enable county residents of limited means, usually senior citizens, to remain in their homes with safety and dignity. This is usually scheduled on the last (one or two) Saturdays in April. Enjoy pictures from Rebuilding Together 2011. Please let us know if you would like to help out with our next Rebuilding Together project in any way by emailing us.
The Legislative Action committee advocates for social justice on behalf of the poor and vulnerable in our community. We are involved at the county, state and federal government levels. As members of the Justice & Advocacy Council of Montgomery County, we lobby county and local officials to provide housing, health and other support services for the poor. As members of the Legislative Network of the Maryland Catholic Conference, we advocate for social justice issues to the Maryland Assembly. If you are interested in participating in our advocacy work, please email us!
Food and Clothing
Almost since its inception, the Social Concerns committee has conducted Food and Clothing Drives. Formerly, they were on an annual or semi-annual basis. In more recent times, the Food and Clothing Drives are held on the first weekend of the month, fall through spring. Non-perishable food and seasonal clothing are gathered in Lewis Hall after all Masses. We also accept household goods and small appliances. Purchasing merchandise certificates for grocery stores is most appreciated. These are distributed to those in need for buying food and over-the-counter medicine.
Items collected are distributed to Catholic Charities, the Interfaith Works Clothing Center, and Area Shelters, especially, Shepherd's Table. We also have an association with Assumption Parish in Keyser, WV and send donations to that area on a regular basis. Occasionally we have requests from parishioners or referrals of families in need in our community. Looking for places to donate? Check out a list of Donation sites.
In November and April, the food collected is used to make Thanksgiving and Easter Baskets. We fill the baskets with non-perishable items and include a Grocery Store Certificate for the Turkey or Ham and other perishable item. The baskets are then decorated and delivered to families in our area.
Once again during Lent, we will have a plastic bin at the back of the Church to collect food for our food drive in addition to our monthly drive. We welcome food donations through either method throughout Lent.
Please watch our website for the dates of our monthly food and clothing drives. Items are collected after Sunday masses in Lewis Hall at Holy Cross Parish. We ask that you please label the bag with the gender and size of the clothing (e.g. "Women's, Size 6" or "Kid's, Size 5"). Thank you so much for your generosity!
One of our more recent projects is the Sacrificial Cross. Each year during Lent, a large cross is placed near the Altar. On a table nearby, there are small crosses and commitment cards, along with a list of suggested Lenten commitments. When a commitment is chosen, parishioners place their card in a box and place a small cross on the large cross as a sign of their commitment. It is our hope, that during Lent, parishioners will give of their time, talents and treasures to assist those in need.