Our Art

Art Reflects our Roots

Art reflects who we are as individuals and as a community. Religious art goes beyond that, to both tell the story of our faith and provide a point of focus for our prayer and reflection. At Holy Cross, religious art reflects our history as a parish that was originally established to provide a place of worship and spiritual growth for African American Catholics in Durham. The art at Holy Cross represents the strength that comes from living lives rooted in deep faith in God. 

The stained glass window at the entrance to the church depicts the Acacia Tree, a tree that is native to Africa. It has deep roots and survives through drought and famine. It is a strong tree that provides shelter, food and nourishment. Since Biblical times, the Acacia Tree has been a symbol of stability and resilience. The Acacia was chosen to depict the mission and spirit of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Durham, N.C. The Holy Cross logo includes a graphic depiction of the Acacia Tree together with the cross.

The 14 Stations of the Cross represent 14 points in Christ's final hours, from the time he was condemned to death by Pilate to his death on the cross. Artistic renderings of each station are displayed on the walls of Catholic churches. During Lent, it is common for Catholics to gather at church on Friday evenings, to walk prayerfully from one station to the next, reflecting on Christ's final hours and how his sacrifice relates to our lives today. The stations in Holy Cross church were cast in France and donated to the parish by a member in honor of his wife. This rendition of the Stations of the Cross includes modern scenes in the background, such as an image of a young man playing basketball. These background images serve to remind us that Christ walks with us each moment of our lives. 

The Crucifix behind the altar at the current Holy Cross Catholic Church was created by an artist in Tanzania, Africa, incorporating features that are representative of people in that country. A visitor to Holy Cross from Tanzania said that he could recognize in the crucifix features of one of the country's tribes. The dimensions of the cross and Christ figure were sized to fit the lofty space behind the altar created by the church's architect. The wall on which the crucifix hangs was constructed of bricks from the original Holy Cross church building (shown below) on the North Carolina Central University campus. 

The architecture of churches has been a major art form for centuries, providing prayerful environments for personal and community worship. This photo shows the original Holy Cross Catholic Church. It was located at 1400 S. Alston Avenue in Durham, N.C., now the site of NC Central University. Read about the start of the Holy Cross Catholic Church in the brief history below.

Music contributes to the liturgy of the Church through songs and hymns that both praise God and uplift the spirit of those gathered for prayer and worship. 

A traditional spirit choir leads singing during Holy Cross's Saturday Vigil Masses. The parish's Sunday morning choir draws on the tradition of African American gospel hymns. Additional cultural influences are added for special Masses at Holy Cross during the year, including Caribbean rhythms for the Caribbean Mass. The parish's musicians collaborate with other churches for special Masses when hosted at Holy Cross, including the African Diaspora Mass and and Philipino Mass. Members of the Gospel Choir also sing with the diocesan AAMEN choir. 

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