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Exaltation of the Holy Cross- 14 September
The herb, basil has long been associated with the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The word “basil” is related to basileios, from the Greek word for king.
According to the liturgical legend, the Empress Saint Helena found the location of the True Cross by digging for it under a colony of basil. Basil plants were reputed to have sprung up at the foot of the Cross where fell the Precious Blood of Christ and the tears of the Mother of Sorrows.
A sprig of basil was said to have been found growing from the wood of the True Cross. On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross it is customary in the East to rest the Holy Cross on a bed of basil before presenting it to the veneration of the faithful.
Also, from the practice in some areas of strewing branches of basil before church communion rails, it came to be known as Holy Communion Plant. Blessed basil leaf can be arranged in a bouquet at the foot of the crucifix; the dried leaves can also be used by the faithful as a sacramental.
Bring your sprigs of basil to be blessed the weekend of 12 & 13 September. Please place it on the table provided by the side altar before Mass and it will be blessed. You can then pick it up after Mass to use in your home or in a special recipe for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on 14 September!