This year as members of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we are celebrating our Bicentennial, marking its establishment two hundred years ago by Edward Fenwick, our founding bishop. In doing so, we are given the opportunity to not only review how the Holy Spirit has guided us over the years, but it also calls us to look ahead to the future.
To commemorate this important milestone, Archbishop Schnurr has issued a Pastoral Letter entitled “RADIATE CHRIST.” In the spirit of that mission, the Archdiocese is embarking on an extensive planning process called “BEACONS OF LIGHT.” This process is designed to foster vital parish life throughout the Archdiocese, leading us to radiate Christ in our homes, places of work, schools, parishes and the wider world.
As you may know, a number of planning processes have taken place within the Archdiocese over the last forty years, each attempting to address pastoral care and the declining number of priests. Although successful to some extent, we now have to take our planning and action to a much deeper and more comprehensive level.
This past Fall, the first preliminary stages of BEACONS OF LIGHT began under the guidance of several consulting firms contracted by the Archdiocese. Each parish was requested to compile an extensive file of documentation that included information about location and demographics, Mass attendance and sacramental celebrations, school data, finances and a multitude of other areas. Our parish staff spent several weeks putting all of this together and submitted it shortly before Christmas. During the winter months this data is being analyzed by the consultants and from that a current vitality report about the Archdiocese will be formulated. This will be presented to the Archbishop and the Deans of the Archdiocese in mid-April. This is just the initial part of the process. No decisions will be made at this point, but rather we will just begin to see what resources and ministerial blessings we have at this time and what we are lacking. The summer months will lead us into widespread consultation and study at the parish level with full involvement of parishioners, parish councils and parish staffs.
Enclosed is an insert that gives an overview of the BEACONS OF LIGHT process and offers some sobering statistics about the current availability of priests in our Archdiocese. With a commitment of keeping the faithful well informed about the planning process, the archdiocesan Communications Department has developed the Beacon of Light e-newsletter. To sign up, please visit https://catholicaoc.org/beacons-of-light.
As we move into a new chapter of our history as an Archdiocese, may we pray for the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit, doing our best to RADIATE CHRIST.
Rev. Terence J. Hamilton
3720 St. Martins Place • Cincinnati, Ohio 45211-4711 • (513) 661-2000 • saintmartin.org