Contact information for the parish pastoral staff

Pastor, Rev Thomas H. Wheeland
Father Wheeland was born and grew up in Elmira, NY. Since his ordination on June 4, 1966, he has been assigned to four Churches in the Rochester area. He spent two years in Irondequoit and all the rest of the time he has ministered in churches in the northwest section of the city. Since June of 1982 he has been pastor of Holy Cross Parish. He has seen the great spirit of the parish and has been enriched by the commitment of the people and the parish staff.

He welcomes and embraces technology that will allow Holy Cross to touch as many people as possible and he plans carefully for the future while maintaining the present. And yet, his personal passion continues to be the direct interaction with parishioners in all of their joys and sorrows and healing, on each one's journey toward God.

Father Wheeland enjoys the goodness of the people of Holy Cross, and the natural beauty of the area. He enjoys celebrating Eucharist, preaching and teaching. He likes to serve the wider community by his involvment with Diocesan committees, his ministry as Chaplain to the Rochester Police Department and his involvement as a member of the Board of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. He has collections of Hess trucks, lighthouses, and paintings by Tom Lotta.

Parochial Vicar, Rev John T. Reif
Father Reif joined the parish staff in 1999. Born in Rochester, he grew up in the Maplewood-10th Ward area. Attendance at Sacred Heart School and Aquinas Institute preceded his years of study at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s Seminaries.

Father Reif was ordained to the priesthood on June 5, 1965. His assignments included three Monroe County parishes before serving as pastor at St. Rita’s in Webster through the 1980’s and 1990’s. His years in Webster included chaplainry at the Trinity Council of the Knights of Columbus. Before coming to Holy Cross and since then, he has become involved in several pro-life activities in the Rochester area.

He has enjoyed several European trips including sabbatical studies in Ireland in 2000. Closer to home he enjoys annual trips to Canada for the Shakespearian and Shaw festivals at Stratford, Ontario and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Weekend Assistant, Rev Frederick F. Eisemann
Upon retiring in June of 1990, Father Eisemann was sent to us at Holy Cross and has stayed ever since. Each weekend he drives in from naples to help out with Eucharist, Penance, and preaching. You can reach Fr. Eisemann through the parish office.

Deacon Joe Placious
For the last eight years he and his wife Natalie have been part of the Holy Name of Jesus Parish. Before that they were active at St. Andrew’s Parish. Deacon Joe was ordained a deacon from St. Andrew’s Parish and then assigned to Holy Name of Jesus.

Pastoral Administrator, Mary Jo DiNoto
I am what many people call a “Cradle Catholic”. I was born and baptized in Syracuse, but in 1965, my parents moved to Gates and joined St. Theodore Church. I attended St. Theodore’s school and completed all my Sacraments there. I joined the Folk Group and joined their Youth Group, taught CCD, (Faith Formation) and Vacation Bible School. Very early on, I knew I enjoyed participating at church.

In 1981, my parents moved from Gates to Webster and quickly became parishioners at St. Rita Church where I worked as a Young Adult leader in youth ministry. When I married and moved to New Jersey in 1985, I struggled to find a church where I felt comfortable, so my church attendance was minimal. In 1990, my husband (at the time) and I separated and I moved back to Webster to be with my family and raise my son. In 1991, I became a parishioner at St. Rita Church and joined the Contemporary Music group. I made friends at church and felt very welcomed and “home” there. In 2003 my career path came to a sudden end when I was laid off from a local bank. I applied for the Youth Minister position available at St. Rita Church. When the job was given to another person, I became a New York State certified Teaching Assistant and worked at Willink Middle School in Webster. In the summer of 2004 the Youth Minister position at St. Rita’s opened up again and I was hired part-time. The job became full-time in July of 2005 and I continued to work as Youth Minster until 2014.

In 2009 I received my certificate in Youth Ministry from St. Bernard School of Theology. In January 2013, when our Pastoral Associate retired, I was asked to take on some of those job functions. Thus began my education again at St. Bernard School of Theology and in May 2014, I received my certification in Pastoral Ministries.

The Pastoral Associate side of my position at St. Rita’s took most of my time, and at times I was not able to do both jobs whole-heartily and give 100%. In 2014, a new Youth Minister was hired full time and I could concentrate on Pastoral Associate work only.

The work I’ve done since 2014 has prepared me for taking the position of Pastoral Associate here at Holy Cross. The pastoral work of visiting the sick or homebound leaves me with a peaceful feeling. I feel God’s presence when planning a funeral Mass with loved ones. I see God at work through the Prayer Line and Prayer Shawl ministries. The joy of working with couples planning their wedding or the baptism of their child is so uplifting. I’m excited to continue the good work God has begun in me at Holy Cross.

I know I am truly in the right place and I know God has great plans for me so I can be a true disciple for Him. God is good - all the time! All the time - God is good!

Principal of Holy Cross School, Mary Martell
Mary and her family have been parishioners at Holy Cross over 20 years. She has three sons who all attended Holy Cross School.  She has served in a variety of roles at Holy Cross including teacher, preschool director, parish minister, CYO board member, school advisory committee member, religious education teacher and Holy Cross School parent volunteer. Mary has  New York State Permanent Certification to teach Grades N-6,  an MS in Education and a BS in English Literature from Nazareth College of Rochester and is currently attending  the State University of New York at Brockport. She is excited to begin her new role as principal by leading the learning and recognizing achievement and excellence in the teachers and students, and by being the facilitator of policies and practices that will improve our school.

Tween/Teen Ministry Facilitator,
Donna Jacobi
Donna is a life-long member of Holy Cross who has worked a great deal with youth from the time her girls were involved with Brownies. Now that her children are young ladies, she continues her interest and involvement through her work in Teen Ministry. She lives her belief that it is important for adults to allow, welcome, and encourage teens to minister as we minister to them.

Religious Education Coordinator, Mary Toot

Mary and her family have been members of Holy Cross parish community for many years. She has a Master’s in Education from Nazareth College, with a background as a Catholic School teacher and a mentor in the educational system. Mary directs the Religious Education program, the Sacramental preparation for children, Vacation Bible School and the children’s program for the Time of Renewal. Mary feels very blessed to help children and families strengthen their Catholic faith and learn more about Jesus.