Albany Parish Celebrates, Witnesses the Cross
Crucifix at St. Patrick Parish stands as a symbol of faith
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
September 23, 2021
ALBANY—St. Patrick Parish, across Hwy. 84 from the Mississippi River on the western edge of the Diocese of Rockford, dedicated a larger-than-life crucifix erected outside and slightly up the hill from the church.
The parish Knights of Columbus Council #9972, under the leadership of Knight Jon Kavanaugh, harvested the cross’s wood and the rocks placed before it from the hills around the parish. It was a project several years in the making.
The result is a  prominent symbol of faith visible from the highway and possibly, once leaves have fallen, from the river itself.
Bishop David Malloy celebrated Mass at St. Patrick Church on Sept. 18 before processing over to the new crucifix with parishioners and Father Slawomir Zimodro, parochial administrator, Father Matthew Camaioni, parochial vicar, and Father James Keenan, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Sterling.
In his homily, the bishop reflected on the symbol of the cross, noting that all crosses are “a sacred reminder of that first and holy cross—the Cross of Jesus.”
The chant as a crucifix is unveiled on Good Friday “reminds us that even that first cross was only several pieces of wood until it came into contact with Christ. The wood … was transformed into an instrument of God’s plan.”
The cross made possible Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and Bishop Malloy reminded onlookers of its ties to the Mass, which re-presents “the very sacrifice of Christ on the cross 2,000 years ago, offering Himself to the Father for our sins.”
The bishop also reflected on “What can we hope to accomplish by the presence of the large cross outside?”
He noted that it will be “a reminder to ourselves ... that the first cross was real; it really did hold the body of Jesus in His agony. (The story) is real and earthly and is filled with reality as you and I are ... it is a story of reality that saves us.”
He said the new crucifix will call “people who are passing by, driving by, walking by, to think about the cross.” 
Some, he said, might be angry at the sight, but for those searching, “the cross reminds them of hope in Jesus Christ. For some who are in sin, it’s a reminder the cross is the power of forgiveness.”
For others who have left their faith, “it is perhaps a reminder of what they knew as a kid in catechism class,” he said. “The cross is a reminder (and) an instrument of salvation ... it reminds us again that only one thing matters – that is, getting to heaven.”
The cross, Bishop Malloy added, “is a reminder that in a world of distraction and temptations, thank God for the cross because it is hope, it is victory, and the cross speaks to the part of life in our society (that) likes to ignore or deny the meaning of suffering.”
That deep meaning includes that “we are also joined to Christ’s own suffering, to His own cross, by our sufferings.”
Bishop Malloy concluded his homily simply, with the “beautiful refrain each Lent: ‘We adore Thee O Christ and we praise Thee, because by Thy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.’”
At the foot of the new, outdoor cross with its white corpus that brightly stands out against the dark wood, Bishop Malloy blessed and incensed the crucifix and prayed with all who gathered to celebrate their parish’s newest witness to faith to all who pass by.
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