Each year during Advent, Holy Cross families look forward to the Stars for Jesus posters in the church vestibule. Each colorful star portrays a child’s or adult’s name with a short Christmas wish list. Families may take as few or as many as they feel they can provide. The families buy and wrap the gifts and then return them to the church with the star attached. To keep the gift wrap intact, and to maintain Santa-level secrecy, every gift is then wrapped in a black sack.
During the second week of Advent, students in the Rumson parish school carry the many bags up from the church basement to awaiting cars, which transport the gifts to agencies all over Monmouth County. In all, more than 600 gifts were collected by Holy Cross parishioners, including 14 bicycles in all sizes and colors.
The Stars for Jesus program has been in effect for 20 years at the Catholic church, and it all started with Janet Wood, former principal of Holy Cross School. Along with her team, she contacts area agencies, creates either a paper or an online star for each Christmas wish, and ensures each wish is both fulfilled and delivered in time. It is a labor of love, joyfully carried out. “This is my baby,” she humbly says of the program.
Father Michael Manning, pastor of Holy Cross Church, is delighted by the generosity of his flock, saying, “It’s an amazing outpouring of anonymous generosity in the true spirit of St. Nicholas.”[[In-content Ad]]