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Holy Cross Parish in Durham to Move from Jesuit to Diocesan Pastoral Care


The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) will transfer its priestly pastoral ministry of Holy Cross Parish in Durham to the priestly pastoral care of the Diocese of Raleigh, effective July 1, 2014.

The Jesuits have served the parish, located at 2438 South Alston Avenue, since 1939. Then, the Most Reverend Eugene McGuiness, Bishop of Raleigh, invited the Society to establish a mission to serve African American Catholics in Durham. Today, Holy Cross Parish is a highly diverse community of 325 families attending to the pastoral and spiritual needs of African American Catholics and others who have joined this vibrant parish. The community completed a new church and hall in 2007 on a 20-acre property, providing ample room for the parish’s future growth.  

Jesuit priests will continue to serve in the Diocese of Raleigh at Saint Raphael Parish in Raleigh and in priestly pastoral ministry to the Hispanic community in eastern North Carolina. This continuing commitment in the Diocese of Raleigh is made as Jesuit provinces along the East Coast recently have undertaken a discernment process to assess how to best continue their missionary work in light of a reduction in the number of priests to serve in pastoral ministry within the Society.

Very Rev. James M. Shea, S.J., Provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, noted, “We are deeply grateful to the Diocese of Raleigh and Bishop Michael Burbidge for their collaboration and commitment for the well-being of the parishioners and continued vibrancy of Holy Cross parish, and to the people of Holy Cross, whose deep faith inspires us all.” 

Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, noted, “I express my gratitude to Father Shea and to all of the priests of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus for their priestly generosity in serving the faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh, especially at Holy Cross Parish in Durham.  The commitment of the Society to establishing the parish and forming such an active community in the Catholic faith is a great legacy on which the priests serving in the Diocese of Raleigh are committed to build, as we continue to work together with the faithful of Holy Cross, as Saint Ignatius reminds us, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of His People.”

The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus encompasses Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, DC, and West Virginia.