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Letter to the Faithful Regarding Beacons of Light – Church Principle

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June 19, 2024
Anniversary of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrate the 203rd anniversary of the establishment of our archdiocese (then diocese) by Pope Pius VII. For over two centuries, Catholics in these 19 counties of western and southwestern Ohio have celebrated and shared in our Lord’s presence and mission as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Throughout these many years, the Church has responded to the pastoral, spiritual, and temporal needs of people, proclaiming the Gospel through word and action. It is fitting, therefore, to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati by considering how we may continue to grow together as the Church in this time and place.

Beacons of Light highlights the call of every person to actively participate as “a member of a parish, the Universal Church, and our local Church” and to “continually deepen the bond of communion with other parishes.” Consistent with this principle, many Families of Parishes recognize the benefit of working together to serve the poor, reach out to those who are homebound, engage young people in the faith, and better use their resources to fulfill Christ’s great commission to share the Good News of salvation. Such collaboration in ministry is encouraging. Still, there is even more we can do to further Christ’s mission into the future through the parishes and ministries of the archdiocese.

This year, Catholics throughout the United States continue to participate in the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year movement to deepen understanding and devotion to this great mystery of our faith. As St. Augustine teaches us, the Church and the Eucharist are two facets of the same reality, the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. The Revival invites us to reflect on the gift and fruit of Christ’s enduring Eucharistic presence in the Church. Through prayer, reflection, catechesis and celebration, we are reminded of Christ’s great sacrifice and our responsibility to give freely and fully in order to share God’s love with others.

Our participation in the Eucharist draws us into metanoia – a fundamental and enduring change of mind and heart – in order to be more like the One whose Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity we receive in Holy Communion. Change typically is not easy, either for ourselves or for the Church. Yet change is necessary. The circumstances in which the Church operates now are different than they were two hundred years ago, or during any period of time in between. We therefore must consider whether all our resources and activities are properly oriented to helping people encounter Christ and grow more deeply in love with Him through His Church.

On this anniversary of the archdiocese, we pray for a deepening of devotion to our Lord in the Eucharist and that this devotion will foster a greater spirit of unity in our Families of Parishes, our archdiocese and the entire Catholic Church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati