Family and Parish Life

Building up the Body of Christ through education, service, fellowship, support

The heart of a parish is the Eucharist, but individuals working together in various parish ministries form the body that makes each parish a unique, vibrant and enriching community of faith. Holy Cross offers a wide range of ministries that provide many opportunities to help others, to grow in our personal understanding of the Catholic faith and to celebrate as a faith community. This includes celebrating the achievements of our youth and providing scholarship support to encourage collegiate studies. 

Volunteers are always welcome to serve in our various ministries - and all are welcome to participate in parish events. Those who serve others often remark about how much they themselves have grown through that service. Those who participate enjoy the fellowship and personal growth they experience. 

Where to begin? 

Our annual Ministry Fair enables parishioners to meet and talk with the leaders and members of our various ministries. These web pages present a brief overview of each. You are invited to read about them and to prayerfully consider joining one or more. If you find one that interests you - for a one-time project or for ongoing service - contact the coordinator for that ministry or complete this Volunteer Interest Form. Use the form also if you would like to suggest a new ministry.

Our ministries are organized around the following types of service. Family and Parish Life ministries are described on this page. Click the other links to learn more those ministries.   

Family and Parish Life

This group of ministries supports our efforts to live out the Church's mission through spiritual growth, parish-wide celebrations, family-strengthening activities, and health and wellness activities. Several of the ministries in this group also provide specific services to the church and support other ministries in their activities. Representatives of the various ministries and organizations that support parish life at Holy Cross also meet periodically for coordination as the Parish Life Committee. For more information about any of these ministries, contact: 

Altar Society | Communications | Fellowship | Funeral Receptions | Health & Wellness | Hospitality/Greeeters | Kitchen | Men's SocietySenior Crusaders | Spirituality | Women's Gatherings | More 

Altar Society

The Holy Cross Altar Society serves primarily as a liturgical ministry but also serves as hostess for many parish functions. Read more about the Altar Society on our Liturgical Ministries page. 


The parish's communications projects - this website, our e-newsletter, posters and fliers, and much more - reflect the combined efforts of the Communications Committee. Volunteers are always welcome. Contact the communications chair if you are interested in sharing your skills or learning new ones.


The various ministries at Holy Cross take turns hosting First Sunday Fellowship, providing refreshments, an opportunity for conversation and an occasional program. These receptions are held after the 5:00 PM Saturday Vigil Mass and the 10:00 AM Sunday Mass.

Receptions are also held following the Easter Vigil as we welcome new members into the Church, as well as on Easter Sunday, Pentecost, Student Recognition Sunday, the parish's anniversary and Christmas Eve. 

St. Francis's feast day (October 4) is cause for celebrating the patron saint of the Franciscan Conventual order of our pastor, Fr. Bart Karwacki and his fellow pastors in the region.

Funeral Receptions

Repasts are held for bereaved family members and friends after a funeral Mass or memorial held at Holy Cross. The  Funeral Reception Ministry coordinates the purchase, preparation and serving of meals. Volunteers are needed for this much-appreciated service. 

Health & Wellness

The Health and Wellness Ministry hosts presentations by registered nurses to help keep parishioners informed of health issues and healthy practices. Meetings are held on the last Sunday of each month, following the 10 AM mass. Contacts are Ogo Udemadu, RN, and Karen Johnson, RN.

Related to this is the parish’s annual Lisa B. Mitchell Pink Tea, held in October. This reception for women celebrates those who have survived cancer, remembers those who have succumbed to it, and provides an informational program to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. Contact if interested in helping. 

Hospitality | Greeters

The Hospitality Ministry is open to teens and adults who enjoy meeting and welcoming people to the parish for prayer and special evensts. Greeters arrive at church 20 minutes before the start of Mass on the days that they are scheduled to serve. They greet people at the front doors, distribute bulletins and programs for special liturgies, and alert ushers of any special needs of those attending Mass or parish events. 

Kitchen Ministry

Hosting receptions requires a properly functioning kitchen. Volunteers helping with the Kitchen Ministry assure the kitchen is properly stocked and functioning to support parish activities. This includes informing the pastor of maintenance and other needs, assuring the facility and the various kitchen tools and equipment are clean and that is it is properly stocked with the inventory needed for receptions. Not much different from managing a household kitchen, except that you work as a team here. 

Men's Society 

This organization was established to provide opportunities for purposeful fellowship among men in the area and the community, and to help with various parish events and needs. This has included hosting an annual Mother's Day Brunch and annual Martin Luther King presentation, grilled rib fundraisers, and helping with construction projects related to the parish community garden. All men of the parish or the Durham community are welcome to join. Read more about the Men's Society. 

Senior Crusaders

The Senior Crusaders is an ecumenical group for adults age 50 and above that organizes and promotes activities to maintain close social relations among members, and to create a sharing and caring climate at Holy Cross and in the Durham Community. Activities include benevolence, outreach, charitable giving, local and long distance trips and special projects. Membership is open to members of the Durham Community who are willing to share a spirit of love and friendliness with others of similar interest. Senior Crusaders meet every second Wednesday from September to June at 12:00 PM for a luncheon. Watch the bulletin for announcements.

Women's Gathering

Women of Holy Cross gather to attend local cultural events, participate in spiritual enriching activities, and for fellowship at least four times a year. Women are encouraged to invite family members, friends, and neighbors to join us. Events are posted in the parish bulletin and calendar, and announced in the parish electronic newsletter.

Other Activities and Ministries

There are many ways to participate in the life of the Holy Cross parish. Watch the parish calendar on this web site for scheduled events. Sign up for our e-newsletter for updates and occasional special announcements, and follow Holy Cross on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates throughout the week. View photos that chronicle the life of our parish family and read our parish blogs. If you are not typically online, let us know and we will assure that you receive updates via regular mail. 



Family and Parish Life serves the entire Holy Cross community, at every stage of life. 

> Couples preparing for marriage
> Parents preparing for the baptism of their children ... and then helping their children to mature in their faith
> Adults entering the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
> Youth preparing for the Sacraments
> Young adults learning to navigate an often less than spiritual world
> Those interested in travel and fellowship
> Those interested in social action
> Seniors exploring the spiritualitiy of aging 


Holy Cross celebrates the achievements of our youth with a special celebration each spring. Check back for details. 


Holy Cross encourages the youth of our parish to aspire to higher education. Applications are accepted each spring for two college scholarships based in the parish, available for our college-bound high school graduates.

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