Ministry has distributed thousands of pocket crosses around the world

It was a simple idea; take some scraps of wood and craft them into small crosses that people could put in their pockets as a way to remind them of God’s presence. Make them small enough to put in your hand, but large enough to be noticed. That was the idea that Jerry Mueller and Tom Norrenberns had 12 years ago. Jerry Mueller was the father of our confrere, Fr. Gary Mueller, C.M.

Friends for many years, these two Catholic laymen often traveled together with their wives. While visiting a shrine gift shop somewhere they ran across a small wooden cross. The two men thought they could make something similar and put them in the back of their parish church for people to take with them. The first batch they made was quickly depleted, and they soon had requests for more. Out of this humble beginning, the “Share His Cross Ministries” was born. Father Gary said of this ministry: “It was a simple idea, but yet so lovely. They did nothing to cultivate this ministry, but people kept giving them wood and asked for crosses in return.”

The process of making the crosses is time-consuming, as each cross is made one at a time. The crosses are distributed at no charge; however, tax-deductible donations for wood are accepted to help keep the ministry going.

Both Jerry Mueller and Tom Norrenberns have gone to heaven—Tom in 2014 and Jerry just this past August. However, their sons and grandsons are working to make sure it continues. They still make crosses for anyone who asks for them.

Most of the requests are for one or perhaps a few crosses. But one huge order came in for distribution at a parish mission: over 800 crosses! Another parish requested crosses to be given out on Ash Wednesday with the idea of collecting them at the end of Lent for burning in the fire at the Easter Vigil. However, many parishioners didn’t want to give up their crosses or wanted replacements if they did!

Don Norrenberns, son of the co-founder, Tom Norrenberns, has this to say about his dad’s friend, Jerry Mueller: “We never really know exactly how many lives we touch in our lifetime, but in Jerry’s case, we do have at least one number. Jerry helped craft 36,885 pocket crosses—crosses that have touched people around the world…Share His Cross Ministries has provided a simple, tangible way to be reminded that we are never alone. A simple wooden cross to remind us that God is always with us!”

If you would like a cross from Share His Cross Ministries, you can contact Don Norrenberns by email: