Interpretation

Interpretation

Sisters of Charity saying Grace before a Meal | Joseph Bail, 1895

Sisters of Charity saying Grace before a Meal | Joseph Bail, 1895

saint_mark“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9: 24-25). The human condition is such that our faith is never perfect: doubt is its companion. To that extent, the struggle between belief and unbelief is found in all our breasts. Faith seeking understanding.

The constant awareness that we now live in a secular world leads us to imagine that the faith and devotion of our forebears in the 19th century was somehow pure and clear, unlike the interior life we struggle to maintain and build in the present. Mark’s Gospel tells us, though, that whatever else separates the churched and the unchurched, they both struggle alike with questions of faith and meaning.

It is in this way that Holy Cross may offer a space for a profound dialogue within the New Evangelization. The site occupies a prominent location within the central core of the city, is not proximate to a parish church, and is widely appreciated as a sacred place. Given these features, its true potential may be as a space which mediates between the believer and the unbeliever and supports a conversation about transcendent meaning.

A program of historical and cultural interpretation illuminates the past for those in the present, but the story of Holy Cross is also a religious history, a story about commitment to a particular moral view and understanding of God’s presence in this world. The site cannot, therefore, be neutral about the Christian tradition which formed the matrix of understanding for the lives of those who are buried there. It can be neutral, though, in the sense of being open to all visitors and all faiths. The site could provide glimpses of transcendence that will support a dialogue among all those who come about ultimate values and meaning and, in doing so, to awaken interior lives again.