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On March 15, Archbishop Schnurr sent the following letter to the faithful of the archdiocese.


March 15, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Peace be with you this Lenten season. 

This has been a most unusual and difficult year for all of us.  A year ago at this time, none of us envisioned the anxiety, illnesses, deaths and other losses that were coming as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  We likewise could not have anticipated that the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation put in place last spring would still be in effect a full year later.

From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, in the interest of the common good, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio have voluntarily cooperated with the guidance of public health authorities.  As you know, last March we temporarily suspended the public celebration of Mass for the safety of our parishioners and to help slow the spread of the virus.  In May, we reinstated the public celebration of Mass with strong health and hygiene protocols in place.  We have been able to keep churches safely open for public worship since that time thanks to the vigilance of parish leaders and parishioners alike.

As good news in overcoming the pandemic continues to develop each day – and as we together approach the Paschal Triduum, the center of the liturgical year – please prayerfully consider returning to in-person celebration of the Mass this Easter season.  As more and more of the social aspects of our lives approach normalcy, so should our communal worship of God, who “so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life (Lumen Gentium, 11).  At Mass our souls are nourished by both God’s Word and the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  We recall Christ’s own words as he foretold the salvific gift of the Holy Eucharist: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6: 54-56).  This unmediated connection with Our Lord is only possible in person.  Moreover, the Mass is where we come together in communion as God’s holy people.  Christ brought us together as Church because we need each other.  We cannot return to the God who created us out of love without the help and support of other Catholics.  This is why God gives us the Church, and this is what we share in most completely at Mass.

Nothing can adequately replace gathering together in person for the live celebration of the Mass.  Because the commandment to keep holy the Lord’s Day is never suspended, I am very grateful for the efforts of our pastors and parish leaders to offer remote access to the Mass through livestreaming, and for the many other creative ways in which they have tirelessly continued to minister over these trying months.  Many resources for keeping the Lord’s Day holy are available online for those of you who are still unable to participate in person.

The coronavirus pandemic, despite positive trends and widespread vaccination, is not yet over.  For that reason, the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation will remain in place at least for now to not unduly burden the consciences of those who have serious health concerns, either for themselves or for someone in their immediate care.  Likewise, please maintain vigilance when it comes to wearing masks, social distancing and using hand sanitizer in church.  The health and safety of our communities continues to be of paramount importance.  However, for those who are able safely to return, our priests, deacons and I wholeheartedly look forward to worshipping with you in person once more.

During this Lenten season, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ and we trust in the glorious hope of His Resurrection.  May God bless you and your loved ones.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr

Archbishop of Cincinnati

Notice of Death of Archdiocesan Deacon 

Deacon Ralph Gutman, a Deacon of the Archdiocese, died on Saturday, December 5, 2020. He was 76 years old. 

Deacon Gutman was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on April 27, 2013.  He was assigned to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Dayton, upon ordination. He transferred to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Centerville in 2019. He served the Archdiocese as a permanent deacon for seven years.

Deacon Gutman is survived by his wife, Mary, and their children.     

Visitation and funeral arrangements are being limited to family because of current COVID concerns. The Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Saturday, December 12, 2020. Presider will be Rev. Lawrence Mierenfeld and the concelebrant will be Rev. Brian Phelps. The deacon community will be represented by Deacon Chris Rauch and Deacon Roger Duffy. 

The family gratefully acknowledges the many warm condolences of his brother deacons, the extended parish and Archdiocesan communities and many friends. 

Please keep the repose of the soul of Deacon Gutman in your prayers, as well as peace and comfort for his wife, Mary, and their family.

On December 3, Archbishop Schnurr sent the following letter to priests and deacons of the archdiocese.


December 3, 2020

Dear Brothers in Holy Orders,

In recent days, we seem to have entered another stage in addressing the global pandemic.  While cases rise to new levels, there is also the promise of a vaccine.  Both of these issues raise questions and concerns.  Of particular concern to many Catholics are various issues related to application of the Church’s moral teaching to the development, distribution, and reception of vaccines.  I take this opportunity to outline the most important principles.

Any vaccine must be developed in a morally acceptable manner.  This means that the development must respect all human life, created in the image and likeness of God, from conception to natural death.  We know that cell lines derived from babies aborted many decades ago have been used and, in some cases, continue to be used at various stages of development of some vaccines. Taking innocent human life to harvest such cells and create cell lines which can be scientifically propagated over time is morally unacceptable. However, “as for the question of the vaccines that used or may have used cells coming from voluntarily aborted fetuses in their preparation, it must be specified that the ‘wrong’ in the moral sense lies in the actions, not in the vaccines or the material itself” (Note on Italian Vaccine Issue of the Pontifical Academy for Life, July 31, 2017). The Academy concludes, “The technical characteristics of the production of the vaccines most commonly used in childhood lead us to exclude that there is a morally relevant cooperation between those who use these vaccines today and the practice of voluntary abortion. Hence, we believe that all clinically recommended vaccinations can be used with a clear conscience and that the use of such vaccines does not signify some sort of cooperation with voluntary abortion.” 

Catholics are obliged to advocate for vaccine development to be done in a morally acceptable manner throughout every stage.  This remains true even when, for the common good and lack of an available alternative, we feel compelled to receive a vaccine, the production of which is in some way linked to morally unacceptable means.

The vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer to combat COVID-19 may be taken without moral reservations.  The Chairmen of the US Bishops’ doctrine and pro-life committees said in a November 23, 2020, statement that it is not immoral to be vaccinated with the vaccines being developed by Moderna and Pfizer. They went on to say in the statement, “Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production…They are not completely free from any connection to abortion, however, as both Pfizer and Moderna made use of a tainted cell line for one of the confirmatory lab tests of their products.  

There is thus a connection, but it is relatively remote.” The statement goes on to reference Vatican documents relevant to this issue from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Academy for Life. They conclude by stating, “These documents all point to the immorality of using tissue taken from an aborted child for creating cell lines. They also make distinctions in terms of the moral responsibility of the various actors involved, from those involved in designing and producing a vaccine to those receiving the vaccine. Most importantly they all make it clear that, at the level of the recipient, it is morally permissible to accept vaccination when there are no alternatives and there is a serious health risk.”

Catholics are also obliged to advocate for the just distribution of a vaccine so that those most vulnerable may have access.  It is often the communities which are poor and without adequate resources that are hit hardest by disease due to lack of financial wherewithal (including insurance) or medical resources.  Any distribution plan must take this disparity into account and correct for it. 

As the situation continues to unfold and more information becomes available the bishops and Catholic medical ethics experts will continue to monitor and evaluate the morality of options available to us.  We pray that the Lord will guide us as we strive for the common good of all in limiting the spread of serious disease.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr

Archbishop of Cincinnati

Further information can be found in the monthly column by Father Tad Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center titled Making Sense of Bioethics. Father Pacholczyk led our archdiocesan priest convocation a couple years ago. His column can be found at this link: https://www.fathertad.com/writings/making-sense-bioethics/ 

On Giving Tuesday, December 1, over 130 organizations took part in the annual #GIVECatholicAOC giving day initiative here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. A collective total of $1.4 million was raised from over 3,000 donors!

The Giving Tuesday results can be found at www.GIVECatholicAOC.org.

The Stewardship Department at the Archdiocese partnered with GiveCentral, an online giving provider, to implement the giving day where parishes, schools, ministries and Catholic non-profit organizations had the opportunity to raise funds for their own local needs.

The Giving Tuesday initiative was especially important this year as many organizations have experienced a decrease in donations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Giving Tuesday occurs every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It is a world-wide day of giving that kicks off Advent and the charitable season by inviting people to give thanks and give back.

This was the third year that the Archdiocese organized a Giving Tuesday initiative. In 2018, $220,000 was raised. In 2019, $376,000 was raised.


The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 44th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with more than 450,000 Catholics, and has the fifth largest Catholic school system in terms of enrollment with more than 40,000 students.  The 19-county territory includes 211 parishes and 111 Catholic primary and secondary schools.

Jennifer Schack
Director of Media Relations
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Office | 513.263.6618
Cell | 859.512.5626
[email protected]

Release Date: Jan. 17, 2020

Yearly appeal expected to raise around $5 million for local ministries

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will kick off the annual Catholic Ministries
Appeal (CMA) in parishes the weekend of Jan. 18-19. This year’s theme is “Together for the Faith of the
Gospel” (Phil.1:27). The CMA is a chance to support six local ministries that teach, feed and heal in the
Archdiocese of Cincinnati. It is one example of the generous ways that local Catholics give back to the

The collection goal for 2020 is $5 million, the same as last year. Every parish in the Archdiocese
participates in this yearly appeal. All donations to the CMA remain within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
helping local ministries.

The six ministries that will receive funds from the CMA are St. Rita School for the Deaf; Seminary and
Vocations; Office for New Evangelization; Retired Archdiocesan Priests; Hospital, Campus and Prison
Ministries; and Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio and Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley.
“We are so grateful to the many donors to the Catholic Ministries Appeal who are supporting the work
and mission of the ministries that teach, feed, and heal right here in our communities. Without this
support thousands would be without food, shelter, education, and the Sacraments. As we look to this
year’s campaign, we hope many more will join us to stand “Together for the Faith of the Gospel” (Phil.
1:27).” – Matt Reinkemeyer, Director of Development Operations.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 44th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with more
than 450,000 Catholics, and has the fifth largest Catholic school system in terms of enrollment with more
than 40,000 students. The 19-county territory includes 211 parishes and 111 Catholic primary and
secondary schools.

Emeritus Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk died on March 22, 2020 at Archbishop Leibold Home for the Aged (a.k.a. Little Sisters of the Poor.). He was born August 12, 1934 in Dayton, Ohio. His studies included five years at St. Gregory Seminary in Cincinnati, three years of philosophy and four years of theology at the Pontifical Urban College “de Propaganda Fide” receiving his Licentiate in Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 20, 1959, at the Pontifical Urban College “de Propaganda Fide” in Rome by Cardinal Gregorio Agagianain. After his ordination, he continued as a graduate student in theology for one year earning his Doctorate, while also serving as the first prefect of the College. Effective August 24, 1961, Father Pilarczyk was appointed Assistant Chancellor and assistant at St. Louis Church in Cincinnati. On October 20, 1961, Father was appointed to teach at St. Gregory Seminary for the 1960-1961 scholastic year while continuing in residence at St. Louis Church and in the other offices at the parish and Chancery. On October 23, 1962, he was appointed Administrator of St. Michael Parish in Ripley, Ohio, taking up residence there, but continuing with his other assignments. In June 1963, he was advised to take whatever courses were helpful and available in preparation for his appointment on August 20, 1963, as a member of the Faculty of St. Gregory Seminary and as Assistant Pastor at St. Andrew Church in Milford, with residence at the Seminary.

Father Pilarczyk also served as Rector of St. Gregory Seminary (1968-1974), Synodal Judge for the Archdiocesan Tribunal (1971-1982), and Vicar for Education (1974-1978). In 1969, Father Pilarczyk received his Ph.D. in “Classics” from the University of Cincinnati. On November 12, 1974, Pope Paul VI appointed Father Pilarczyk to Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati and Titular Bishop of Hodelm. On December 20, 1974 he was ordained as Bishop at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains by Archbishop Joseph L. Bernardin as Consecrator and Bishops Nicholas Elko and James Malone as Co-consecrators. On January 2, 1975, Bishop Pilarczyk was appointed Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and on April 24, 1978 he was appointed Director of Educational Services for the Archdiocese. Bishop Pilarczyk served in both of these capacities until 1982. On August 23, 1982, he was elected Administrator of the Archdiocese by the College of Consultors. Bishop Pilarczyk was named Archbishop of Cincinnati in Rome on October 30, 1982 and it was announced in the Archdiocese on November 2, 1982. He was installed as Archbishop of Cincinnati on December 20, 1982 by the Most Reverend Pio Laghi, Apostolic Delegate in the United States. In addition to the previous appointments, Archbishop Pilarczyk also served on numerous committees for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) from 1975 – 2009, Member & Chairman for the International Commission on English in the and Member and Chairman of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative (1996-2011). He served on the Board of Trustees for the Catholic Health Association, Pontifical College Josephinum and Catholic University of America and was Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Athenaeum of Ohio. Archbishop Pilarczyk retired on December 21, 2009, serving the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for 50 years as a Priest, 25 years as a Bishop and 17 years as an Archbishop – faithful and humble Servant!

Burial Service: Reverend Breaker’s body was cremated. Per his wishes, a graveside service will be held at St. Joseph Cemetery, Cincinnati, later this summer.
Associates of the Marian Pact are asked to offer, as soon as possible, one Mass for the repose of the soul of Father Breaker, and when convenient, to provide for the celebration of two other Masses.

Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains, Cincinnati. Celebrant: Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. The clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese are encouraged to join in prayer for Archbishop Pilarczyk by following the Mass via live streaming from the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains.

In light of current restrictions, and in lieu of their presence at the Mass of Christian Burial, priests of the Archdiocese are encouraged to offer Mass for the repose of Archbishop Pilarczyk’s soul, using the orations of the Mass for the Dead: IV. Various Prayers for the Dead, 2. For a Bishop, A. For a Diocesan Bishop. The Office of the Dead may also be prayed for him.

A memorial Mass with the presence of the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese will be celebrated at a later date.

Download this announcement as a PDF.

Reverend Raymond C. Kammerer died on Saturday, January 4, 2020 in Waynesville, Ohio. He was born on June 15, 1938 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He did his preparatory studies at St. Gregory Seminary and studied theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Norwood, Ohio.

Father Kammerer also received a Master’s degree in history from Xavier University, Cincinnati. He was ordained on May 30, 1964 at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati by Archbishop Karl J. Alter.

Father Kammerer received his first assignment on June 17, 1964, as Assistant pro-tem at St. Leo Parish, Cincinnati. On August 25, 1964, he was appointed Assistant at St. Peter Parish, Huber Heights (Dayton) and to the faculty of Carroll High School, Dayton. On June 9, 1971, he was appointed Assistant Chaplain and member of the teaching staff of Mount Saint Joseph College, Cincinnati. On May 15, 1978, Father Kammerer was appointed Pastor of St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus Parish, Covington, Ohio. He was appointed Pastor of Resurrection Parish, Cincinnati on July 5, 1988 for a term of six years and re-appointed on July 5, 1994 as Pastor for another six-year term.

On July 6, 1995, Father Kammerer was appointed Pastor of St. Augustine Parish, Waynesville for a period of six years and re-appointed on July 7, 2001 as Pastor for an additional six years. Father Kammerer remained Pastor of St. Augustine Parish until he retired from active ministry on June 30, 2017. During his years of ministry, he also served on the faculty of the now-closed St. Pius X Seminary, Erlanger, and Chatfield College, Cincinnati.

Reception of the Body: Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at St. Augustine Church, 5715 Lytle Road, Waynesville, Ohio 45068; (513-897-0545). Celebrant: Reverend James J. Manning. Visitation: 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, January 10, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Augustine Church. Celebrant: Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr. Homilist: Reverend James J. Manning. A luncheon follows Mass at the parish.

Burial: Friday, January 10, 2020 following the luncheon (approximately 2:00 p.m.) at St. John the Baptist Cemetery, 5361 Dry Ridge Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45252. Celebrant: Reverend James J. Manning.

Dear Friends in Christ,

You have likely seen the news that Father Geoff Drew, former pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Parish (Monfort Heights), was placed on a leave of absence effective July 23. We have made mistakes
in our handling of this matter, and for that I am deeply sorry. This week, I have made changes in both
personnel and allegation-handling procedures to ensure that these mistakes never happen again.

The decision to remove Fr. Drew as pastor of St. Ignatius was taken because of reports that he had
engaged in a pattern of “grooming” behavior in violation of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Decree on
Child Protection. Although the archdiocesan chancery office has received no allegations or evidence
of criminal behavior relative to Father Drew, consistent with archdiocesan standard procedure in such matters, all information we received was promptly reported to the civil authorities. Naturally, there have been many questions surrounding this incident. In an effort to address these questions, we have created an online resource where you can read the full timeline of events that led to the decision to place Father Drew on a leave of absence.

You can also find additional information about where Father Drew has served in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the next steps for Father Drew moving forward, and information on what will occur regarding new pastoral leadership for St. Ignatius Parish. Please visit: www.catholiccincinnati.org/ministries-offices/communication-office/

As your archbishop, I want you to know that I am acutely aware of the pain and distressthat you rightfully feel due to the events of these past weeks. The protection of young people is of
paramount importance and cannot be compromised. If you suspect abuse on the part of any agent of
the Archdiocese, please report it to the appropriate civil authorities, as well as to the Coordinator of
Ministry to Survivors of Abuse in the Archdiocese at 513-263-6623 or 1-800-686-2724, ext. 6623. If you
see something, please say something.

In this very difficult and stressful time, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary for her intercession
and to the Holy Spirit for guidance and consolation. May God bless and keep you.