Holy Cross Church Tour




On behalf of the entire parish family at Holy Cross, I want to welcome you to Holy Cross Church.  This is the Catholic faith community of Wendelin encompassing portions of Clay, Richland and Jasper Counties of Illinois from the time of our erection in 1871.


Under the protection of the Mother of God, we are a faith community called by the Father, energized by the Son, and moved by the Spirit to unit in witnessing and proclaiming the Good News.  We share in friendship, gather in worship, and do proclaim our desire to minister, welcome, celebrate and extend His Kingdom.


May your visit here restore, preserve, renew, and fill you with God’s compassion and love.




Very Rev. Mark D. Stec, V.F.

Parish Pastor






Between the 1830s and 1860s settlers began to arrive in this area.  Many of these settlers were German immigrants.


In 1861 St. Ignatius, the first Catholic Church was erected.  It was a small 20’x24’ log cabin church located 2 miles South of Wendelin. By 1863 the church has been renamed St. John’s in honor of St. John the Baptist.


With an increase in population especially toward the North the need for a larger church arose.  In 1870 a vote was taken and with Bishop Baltes casting the deciding vote it was decided to build a new church North at the present Holy Cross location.


In 1870 construction began and by 1871 the newly completed church was dedicated for divine worship.


The first permanent priest Rev. Henry Ader was appointed in 1882.


The Diocese of Belleville was founded in 1887 and Holy Cross, which had been part of the Diocese of Alton, became part of the newly formed Diocese.


In 1902 the community officially changed its name from St. Wendel to Wendelin to avoid confusion with St. Wendel, Indiana.


By 1930 the church had grown too small for the growing parish and a new church was erected.  Building a new church during the Great Depression required great fortitude.


On April 7, 1931 the new Holy Cross Church, fittingly designed in the shape of a cross, was dedicated.


The parish continued to grow and thrive and operated a convent until 1967 and a school until 1971.


The church underwent major interior renovations in 1966 [following the Second Vatican Council], in 1979, and most recently in 1993.








Northeast exterior of the Church, was laid in 1930.




The focal point of the Church is the tabernacle adorned on both sides by angel painted doors, these doors came from the original Holy Cross high altar.


Statue of the Virgin Mary

The statue of the Virgin Mother at Holy Cross depicts her with a crown (12 points), standing on the crescent moon, on a globe of stars, stepping on a snake (Satan).


"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." - Revelations 12:1


Stain Glass Windows

The entire Church is adorned with stain glass windows.  Nine of these windows (3 behind the altar, 3 to the East, and 3 to the West of the altar) are very detailed.  The remaining windows are simpler in style.  As a result of the Church being built during the depression, some excess had to be cut and this is most apparent in the contrasting detail of the stain glass windows.


Risen Christ

Located on the back wall of the Church, this statue once hung in the sanctuary behind the altar from 1979-1993.


Sanctuary of Holy Cross

During the 1993 renovation, the reredos, altar, ambo, tabernacle stand, and side statue stands were built using wood, from high altars, coming from the abandoned St. Augustine Church in South Chicago.  The altar was moved forward in line with the intersection of the Church's cross shape.


Holy Cross Altar

Front: Cor Jesu Caritatis Victimam

Meaning: Heart of Jesus Victim of Love


Back: Sancta Maria O.P.N.

Meaning: Holy Mary Pray for Us


The Altar Stone contains ashes/relics from St. Fulgens & St. Probus (1st & 2nd century martyrs).


Holy Cross Cemetery

Since the first burial in 1870, the cemetery has served as the final resting place for Holy Cross parishioners.  In the center stands a large crucifix with statues of the Sorrowful Mother Mary and St. John the Apostle on each side.





First Holy Cross Church

with Bell Tower.

Interior of First Holy Cross Church.

First Holy Cross Church

being torn down in 1930.

Altar from First Holy Cross Church in Present Church 1931-1966





Statue of the

Virgin Mary

Statue of the

Risen Christ

Stain Glass



Sanctuary of Holy Cross

Holy Cross Cemetery

2021 Holy Cross Parish - 5782 Ingraham Lane Newton, Illinois  62448 - Phone 618-752-5671 - Contact Us

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