Peace, Justice, and Human Development Commission

How we serve others

Ministering to the needs of others ...

Holy Cross is a parish community of faith, of action, and of hope. It is where the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated; where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth; a place where God's people meet Jesus in word and sacrament; and come in touch with the source of the Church's life.

As Catholics, we are called to be the "salt of the earth" and "light of the world" in word of Scriptures (Matthew 5:13-16). It is the task of every parishioner to answer their Baptismal call; the gospel's call to conversion; change our hearts and our lives; and to follow in the path of charity, justice, and peace.

The Peace, Justice, and Human Development Commission provides ongoing stewardship opportunites so that parishioners can answer the call to use their talents and express their faith in concrete acts of charity and justice. Below are some of the components of "Holy Cross Cares." Check this webpage often, as the lists of stewardship opportunities will be growing. For more information or questions contact Ava Thompson, coordinator, at

Canned/Packaged Foods Ministry

Holy Cross partners with Catholic Charities in Durham to provide canned and packaged goods, garden produce, and other household supplies for distribution to families in need in the Durham area. View the list in the column to the right to see what items are requested. Donations can be placed in the collection bins in the Gathering Space the first weekend of the month, Tuesdays through Fridays from 8 am to 3:30 pm, and before or after Mass. The Holy Cross Community Garden grows produce that is harvest ever Tuesday evening and donated to Catholic Charities; households with their own gardens are also welcome to donate a portion of their harvest to Catholic Charities.

Casserole Ministry

The first weekend of the month, this ministry provides a stack of new, empty aluminum roasting pans with recipes and leaves them on a table in the Gathering Space. Parishioners are invited to take one or more of the pans home, prepare the casserole using the attached recipe; then to return the cooked dish the following weekend and place it in the chest freezer in the Parish Kitchen. These prepared dishes are then donated to the Urban Ministry's Community Café.

Community Garden

The Community Garden contributes a steady supply of fresh produce for those receiving services from the Durham office of Catholic Charities.

  • The garden committee meets on the second Saturday throughout the growing season, following the 5 PM Vigil Mass. Those interested are welcome to join the Second Saturday sessions for discussion, a snack, and then help with garden tasks.
  • Crops are harvested every Tuesday throughout the growing season, then rinsed and packed for delivery to Catholic Charities in Durham by 9 AM Wednesday. Donations as of 8/23/17 for the 2017 growing season: 404 pounds, plus flowers for use in the church. Read this Raleigh Diocesan news article about the Holy Cross garden. 

All Holy Cross parishoners or those in the area are welcome to join in this ministry that provides exercise, a chance to be outdoors, and vital nutritious food for those in need. Everyone learns together. Households who have a garden at home are welcome to donate extra produce through the weekend collections for Catholic Charities. Individuals can also rent a garden plot for the season, for their own use.

Interested? Contact Anna Rzewnicki, the Holy Cross Community Garden coordinator. 

Quilting Ministry

Members of this ministry meet once a month to cut quilt squares, assemble and sew quilts using donated material, new and recycled from donated clothing. Completed quilts are blessed and distributed to those in need. Meeting times are posted in the bulletin and on this website. For details, contact Cherrie Siewert or Lorie Crump. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas Food/Gift Support

Holy Cross parishioners donate funds that allow this ministry to purchase scores of turkeys and fixings for Thanksgiving food boxes distributed to households in need identified by Catholic Charities. A similar collection occurs at Christmas, allowing for the purchase of gift cards for distribution to families in need. Art and Brenda LaPerre and their family coordinate this service. 



The Holy Cross Casserole Ministry typically provides 10 casseroles to Urban Ministries each month, serving 100-150 people. The parish's 2016 Thanksgiving initiative provided Thanksgiving meal packages to 65 Catholic Charities housesholds, and 120 $25 Walmart gift cards that enabled many families to experience a special Christmas.


The Durham office of Catholic Charities typically serves more than 700 famlies and nearly 5,000 individuals witih food. Donations of packaged food and household items are vital for helping to meet the needs of Durham's families. Parish donations, including produce harvested from the Holy Cross Community Garden, are distributed Wednesdays, 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM. 

The following items are suggested. Place donations in the bins in the Gathering Space the first weekend of the month.  At other times, bins are in the Multipurpose Room. Holy Cross donations are picked up Sundays after Mass and delivered to Catholic Charities Tuesday mornings.

Baby Items | Diapers

Baking Items| Cooking oil, flour, sugar

Breakfast Foods | Breakfast bars, cereal, complete pancake mix, pancake syrup

Canned Foods | Beans, no sugar added fruit, meats, soup, tuna and salmon, low sodium vegetables

Drinks | Nutritional drinks (100% juice)

Pasta, Rice, etc | Pasta, macaroni and cheese, pasta sauce, rice, stovetop stuffing mix

Personal Care | Deodorant, razors, shaving cream, soap, toilet paper, toothpaste

Snacks | Crackers, gelatin (jell-o), instant pudding, jelly, peanut butter

Produce is harvested and prepared for delivery by garden project members throughout the growing season. Volunteers are welcome to help. Contact Anna Rzewnicki, the parish's Community Garden coordinator, for details. 


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