A ‘True’ 75th celebration

September 13, 2013

DICKINSON — Many make their pilgrimage to the Vatican in Rome or the Holy Land for a glimpse into the miraculous wonders of God. But more often than not, many don’t realize they just have to head south on Interstate 45 to Dickinson for a glimpse of holiness. 

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is home to a precious relic of the wood of the true cross of Lord Jesus Christ at the Shrine of the True Cross church. There, many making their pilgrimage are welcomed with “open arms” by Father Paul Felix, pastor.

Thousands have made their way to the Shrine over the years, and many are making plans to return as the parish prepares to celebrate their 75th anniversary of its dedication this month. 

“The Shrine has always been intended to be a place of pilgrimage, a pilgrimage for our lives. People are drawn to the shrine and look up to the cross, the mercy seat of God” Father Felix said.

The Shrine was dedicated by Bishop Christopher Byrne 75 years ago on the eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the titular feast day. 

A relic of the wood of the true cross, upon which Christ died, was received from Rome and enshrined in the Dickinson church. Bishop Byrne secured a special blessing from the Holy See and obtained for the Shrine a spiritual affiliation with the ancient Roman Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, where relics of Christ’s passion, including the wood of the true cross, have been venerated by countless pilgrims.

“The key element is the healing and saving power of God – to see the cross as an instrument to set us free,” said Father Felix. “It gives us all the opportunity to work out our own salvation and to then be an instrument to the world.” 

The parish’s anniversary celebration includes a novena in honor of the Our Lady of Sorrows that begins Sept. 8 and ends Sept. 16. The novena closes with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza. 

A Mass of Thanksgiving marking the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Shrine is set for Sept. 18, to be celebrated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. 

In November, Father Felix will serve as the spiritual director of a group pilgrimage to the sacred shrines of Italy and the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, where the Shrine was affiliated 75 years ago. 

“Faith can be expressed and explored, people can come to be touched, consoled, and healed,” said Father Felix. “The aspect of healing is very important and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a rediscovering. It is happening here at God’s cross and mercy. It’s been beautiful to see all of this; it brings us closer to the life of Christ.” 

For more information and a schedule of celebration events, visit www truecrosschurch.org. †