How awesome is this shrine!
This is nothing else but an abode of God,
and the gateway to heaven!”
(Genesis, Chapter 28, Jacob´s dream at Bethel)
The dream began in 1956 when the first of many Masses for the Tucker community was celebrated at Cary Reynolds School. The mission was 200 families at its inception. In 1964, the Mission was granted status as a Parish of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, to be known as The Church of The Holy Cross. Within two years, the parish would consist of 1,000 households and 950 children. In 2006, that number would increase to 1700 households.
Property for a church structure was sought, and a house on David Road in Embry Hills was purchased to be used as the residence for the first pastor, Father Leonard Mayhew. Daily Mass was celebrated there, while Sunday Masses were celebrated at Cary Reynolds Elementary School. By 1967, a new parish center was constructed on the property on Hathaway Court consisting of a multi- purpose building which could accommodate worship space as well as a place for social functions. The first Mass was celebrated in what is now the Parish Hall by Father Eusebius J. Beltran, now Archbishop of Oklahoma City. After a brief time in the temporary residence, a new rectory was built in 1970.
The spirit of Vatican II was quickly adopted by the newly formed community. In 1968 Holy Cross Parish constructed a 16 classroom School of Religion across from the Parish Center. To assist in this important endeavor, three Immaculate Heart of Mary nuns from Monroe, Michigan to Holy Cross. In 1976 the priests of the Dominican Order assumed administration of Holy Cross Church until 1995. In 1988 construction of the present sanctuary was begun under the leadership of Father Daniel Shanahan O.P. In 1989 Archbishop Eugene Marino dedicated the new church and Father Edward Everitt O. P. became pastor. In 1995, administration of Holy Cross Parish was returned to priests of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and Monsignor Paul Fogarty was installed as pastor.
Fr. Richard Tibbetts served as pastor from 2009 to 2014. In September, 2014 Fr. Jude Michael Krill was assigned to Holy Cross as pastor, giving the administration to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. Fr. Abelardo Huanca was assigned at the same time as parochial vicar and with Fr. Gary Johnson, who replaced Fr. Joseph Dorniak as parochial vicar after a year, our clergy staff consists of three priests. Fr. Reto Davatz, in residence at Holy Cross, assists with Masses.
During the 1980s and 1990s approximately twenty men from Holy Cross were ordained to the Diaconate. Some of these Deacons continue to serve the Holy Cross. Beginning in the early 1990’s Holy cross grew to become a very diverse parish, which included a large Hispanic and Vietnamese population. Many outreach programs have evolved to meet the needs of the community and more are added each year. The Cursillo Movement was begun in the early 1970s; the Stephen Ministry in 1987; the St. Martin de Porres Food Ministry was begun by a lay person, Ruth (Bunny) Bohaczyk in 1983. St. Martin’s serves hundreds of needy and homeless people each year. A newly added ministry is the Holy Cross Theater Ministry whose mission is to annually provide the best musical production to financially support the St. Martin de Porres Food Pantry. Holy Cross also actively supports the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Thomas Silvestri, Deacon, began a Prison Ministry in 1989. Not only do the Holy Cross outreach programs serve the needs of our own community, Holy Cross also supports missions in Honduras. And, after Hurricane Katrina, $54,000 was pledged and donated from Holy Cross to help rebuild Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Slidell, LA. In the early days of Holy Cross, neighborhood circles were formed and every woman in the parish was assigned membership in a circle. A very active Woman’s Club has replaced the circles today and every woman in the church is considered a member. St. Francis, one of the original circles remains in existence today.The choirs at Holy Cross have a long tradition, beginning with Al Hogan as the first choir director. Today, the music ministry, under the direction of Gail Goodman, is vibrant with a Celebration Choir, Adoration Choir, and the Cross Fire Teen Mass Choir. Kaleidoscope, a summer program for children, and first called Summer Days, began in 1974. Reaching Out, a monthly newsletter, and the spectacular Holy Cross web site keep the community cognizant of the goings on in the parish.
These activities and ministries are what defines Holy Cross and include the AIDS ministry, the adult education program with weekly scripture study, the RCIA, The Knights of Columbus, the welcoming committee, the funeral luncheon ministry, and the recent aid to a sister parish in New Orleans. Holy Cross was described early in its history as a community of faith in action. The concept continues and most aptly describes Holy Cross today.