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The Exaltation of the Holy Cross: How to Celebrate

This year on September 14th, we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This beautiful tradition and feast day originated when St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, traveled to the Holy Land to find the locations of Christ’s life and death. She followed sacred tradition and founded the location for the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, where the tomb of Christ is located. While excavating the basilica grounds, workers found crosses and the legend says that the one on which Jesus died was determined by laying it on a dying woman, who was instantly healed by its touch.

Immediately, the cross became an object that was venerated. Today, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. An object that was full of death and disgust has now become a source of hope and life in Christ’s Salvation.

While many may be familiar with venerating the cross at their parish on Good Friday by genuflecting or kissing the cross, this feast day is a beautiful day to venerate the cross, again! Here are a few ways you and your family can incorporate this feast day into your liturgical living. 

You can easily do this in your home by having the head of the household carry the cross and each family member bends down to kiss Jesus’ feet or hands.

Another way to celebrate this day is to coordinate a procession with the Crucifix leading the group. This can be done as a family, parish community, or homeschool group.

‌Download and print one of our free cross coloring pages and reflect on what Jesus dying on the cross means for you. 

Attend Mass and after Mass, spend a few moments after Mass has ended, getting as close to the cross as permitted, and tell Jesus that you love Him and adore Him.