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To Know Christ, To Love Christ, To Bring Others to Christ.
New Mass Schedule - Family of Parishes
From the Pastor
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is now one month since I arrived from Reading to begin my assignment as the pastor of the best five parishes on the west side… and I am still unpacking and trying to get settled. Needless to say, I couldn’t have scripted a more inauspicious beginning. A/C failure in Saint Antoninus church (which I am praying will be fixed soon) is not exactly what a new pastor wants to hear, but I guess that was better than the bout with the dreaded Covid virus after only the first six days. These issues, however, couldn’t damper the welcoming spirit I have encountered as I have made my first appearance at each Sunday liturgy. Unfortunately, it takes four weeks to make the rounds to all the Masses. Thankfully, I will have celebrated at all the parishes by the end of next weekend.
Just as I have launched into a new assignment as your pastor, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati launched into Beacons of Light. After many questions, circulating emails, and Facebook posts, it is clear to me that there is a broad lack of knowledge and understanding of this initiative. Beacons of Light is a culmination of nearly thirty-eight years of pastoral planning in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that has moved us through three stages of planning to a place where we are now prepared to implement a major reorganization of the archdiocese. The purpose of this journey is to move with strength and purpose from a place of maintenance to mission; from just trying to merely hold onto our Catholic life and culture into a dynamic evangelizing missionary life that invites others into the life and love of Jesus Christ.
On June 19, 2022 we celebrated the 201st anniversary of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, a long and storied history of dynamic Catholic presence in our nineteen counties of south and western Ohio. In that journey of years, the archdiocese has experienced the establishment of 306 parishes within its present territory. Circumstances over the years have caused the closure and merging of many, bringing us to our present 208 parishes. In 2005, those 208 parishes had been grouped into 109 regions which were pastored by 109 pastors. Between 2014 and 2019, through a survey of priests and actuarial work, it was recognized that this mode of operation was not sustainable. The conclusion was reached that, at best, we would have 60-70 men able to serve as pastors by 2026.
Over the past twelve years under Archbishop Schnurr, we have been blessed to ordain 50+ men to the priesthood and the number of seminarians portend well for our future. However, there are substantial numbers of priests (approximately 28%) who have and will reach retirement age by 2026. Over recent years the archdiocese has learned that younger priests need more time (a minimum of six years but more for most) before becoming pastors to protect their physical and spiritual health. While our total number of active priests will continue to trend downwards over the next few years, our future looks very bright as we have a top-notch seminary turning out good young priests. We must continue to pray for vocations for our archdiocese and to the Church. As a result, we will be praying the vocation prayer at the conclusion of the Prayers of the Faithful at every Mass to encourage more young men to answer the call to service as priests in the Church of Cincinnati.
Beacons of Light is an effort in bringing missionary zeal and new life to our archdiocese. The Beacons of Light initiative has taken us from 109 pastored regions comprised of 208 parishes to 57 pastored Families of Parishes still containing the 208 parishes for the foreseeable future. This scenario allows us to assign additional priests along with the pastors to each Family.
Which allows for shared and hopefully dynamic ministry to the members of our various Families of Parishes. Over the ensuing five years the 208 parishes will close and merge with one another in their Families becoming 57 canonical parishes. This will result with most of the new parishes having multiple church locations and many having multiple schools within their canonical boundaries. The family, however, has the responsibility to determine the best use of the Family’s resources for the proclamation of the Gospel. The bottom line, so as to ease everyone’s angst, is that if your current parish is healthy, Masses are well attended and there is a lively presence of people and ministry, then it is likely there will be no closure of the church. However, as the number of priests declines, capacity could determine Sunday locations for Mass. If the opposite exists and the parish is fundamentally not healthy, it is time to become the evangelizers they are called to be and bring new life to their parishes – if not - there should be consideration as to the viability of the parish and likewise the schools that presently exist.
Loss is never an easy emotion to deal with, but it is a reality in these situations, and we must be honest with ourselves. Faithful people have moved, as their economic condition in life have improved, they go off to college, graduate and move from home, they retire, etc. In the early years of this changing scenario the moves were from more centralized-close to the urban core neighborhoods to the suburbs and then in recent years to far off places in warmer areas of the country as businesses moved, jobs went elsewhere, and people retired, leaving us with too many church buildings, too few people and fewer priests. We have an important journey in rebuilding our Church in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and you are invited to join in and be involved. Firstly, prayer is the most important element of this endeavor and without it we will not succeed. Secondly, you must get involved in your parish. Not to protect the status- quo but to build up life in your parish, to evangelize, to work towards improving your liturgy if that is needed and to be welcoming and hospitable to all who come your way. Thirdly, support your priests and those in your parish who are leading these efforts. The fourth element, more prayer!
Through the month of August, I will begin meeting with Parish and Finance Councils. Several parishes need new councils formed and if asked, I hope you will consider joining the Council during this crucial time. Plans are also in the works to set up information nights to learn about Beacons of Light and the six key principles of Eucharist, Church, Leadership, Stewardship, Evangelization, and Love In Action. Watch the bulletin for articles and details.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
Fr Matt Robben
New PSR information for the the 2022-2023 year is now available. Click HERE to learn more.
Farewell Father Mike!
Thank you Father Mike for your 14 years at St. Aloysius. We will miss you!!!!
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Suspended until further notice.
Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:00 am
Saturday 3:30 pm
Sunday 10:00 am
First Saturday of month: 3:00pm
First Sunday of month: After 10:00am Mass
Thursdays 8:30-9:30 am
Tuesday 8:30-9:00 am
Saturday 2:30-3:00 pm