September 14: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Every year on September 14, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The relic of the “True Cross,” the Cross on which Our Lord was crucified, is one of the most famous relics in all of Christendom. It is only before the “True Cross,” from among all other relics, that the Christian faithful are instructed to genuflect. In Macau , we also have the relic of the “True Cross” for veneration and the fragment is located at the altar of the Divine Mercy Chapel of the Sé Cathedral.
At the Procession of the Passion of Our Lord (Macao's Intangible Cultural Heritage) every year, the Bishop follows the procession by carrying the Relic of the True Cross. The Bishop brings the reliquary during the procession. There are two noteworthy details: the use of the canopy and the humeral veil. These two items are usually used only during a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. This shows that the veneration due to the Holy Cross is close to that of the Eucharist. Moreover, at the end of the procession, the Bishop gives the Blessing with the Relic of the True Cross, just as he gives the Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.
The Crucifix as the image of Christ
“He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Phi 2:8)
The Crucifix is a sign of Christ’s Passion and God’s great love for all mankind. The Holy Cross is most highly and perfectly united to the Person of Jesus in the plan of salvation – for it was through the wood of the Cross that our Savior redeemed us. This special and unique role of the Cross is proclaimed by the Church when she says: “We worship you O Christ and we bless you, for by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world” – the Holy Mother Church does not speak about any other relic in this manner. Therefore, it is worthy of a higher veneration and even of worship, over and above every other relic or icon. The True Cross is the only relic which is given a special feast in the calendar of the Roman Liturgy, that is the “Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross” on every September 14.
【Photography】2020 ©️ Macao Catholic Culture Association & Ivan Leong ©️ O Clarim