Living the Liturgical Year: Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14

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Lift High the Cross!


We celebrate Jesus’ cross with a feast? How can anyone be happy about the way our Savior died? It’s true that Jesus died a painful death on the cross. We remember this in sorrow and penance for our sins, especially on Good Friday. But we can’t look at the cross without thinking of love, too: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him … might have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead to make it possible for us to live forever with him in peace and joy. As Christians, we honor and, yes, celebrate Jesus’ cross because of everything it means: faith, hope, love, and life!

But have you ever wondered what happened to Jesus’ actual cross? Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, wondered too. He sent his mom, Helena, to Jerusalem to search for it. It’s said that there on September 14, 320, Helena found three wooden crosses buried beneath a Roman temple. One by one, she placed them next to a dying woman. At the touch of the third cross, the woman was instantly healed. Helena knew she’d found Jesus’ cross. She had a church built on the spot, and you can still find tiny fragments of this cross in many churches today

You don’t have to see the true cross to know Jesus loves you, but you can keep a cross or crucifix close to you as a reminder. Wearing a cross around your neck or putting a crucifix in a place of honor is known as a sacramental, because it helps you get ready to receive Jesus’ grace in the sacraments. Sacramentals can be objects such as rosaries, blessings and devotions such as the Sign of the Cross, or actions such as visiting a holy shrine.  Consider how sacramentals can help you receive Jesus’ grace on the Feast of the Holy Cross.

BONUS: Download this page in a PDF format with activities to help celebrate this feast day. Click here: CAT.September_LivingtheLiturgicalYear

Click here for the answers: Sept answers


Connie Clark is editor of Living Faith Kids, a quarterly magazine of daily Catholic devotions for children. To learn more, visit

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