ARCHBISHOP DENNIS M. SCHNURR
Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Catholic Telegraph magazine! I am delighted to introduce this old friend in an attractive new format. In the 189 years since Bishop Edward Fenwick founded this publication as the voice of the local Church, it has taken many forms – weekly, bi-weekly and monthly; broadsheet and tabloid; newspaper and now magazine. After months of planning and refining, the CT team has produced an exciting new periodical that beautifully fulfills its mission to inform, to educate, and especially to evangelize.
This change comes at an important moment in the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Next year we celebrate the two centuries of faith since the diocese was established on June 19, 1821. Our bicentennial as a local Church affords us an opportunity to look back with gratitude to God and to those who built the parishes, schools, religious communities, fraternal organizations and charitable institutions which have served so long and so well, and to those who have generously supported them. The Catholic Telegraph will feature some of these instrumental entities and individuals in its pages over the next 12 months.
It is equally critical that we reflect anew on our mission as Christian disciples to radiate Christ. That image of reflecting the light of Christ to others has been used by several recent popes. Pope Benedict XVI, for example, said in a weekly audience, “The Church is not light but receives the light of Christ, receives it to be illuminated by it and to radiate it in its full splendor.” And the Church is all of us.
This issue of The Catholic Telegraph includes a bicentennial pastoral letter, “Radiate Christ,” in which I invite you to rediscover the joy of knowing Christ deeply and following Him, thereby becoming a witness to the world. I encourage you to prayerfully read this letter and engage with its contents, including 12 questions to help you reflect on your relationship with the Lord. It is also my hope that parish and school staffs, parish councils and committees, prayer groups, families and others across the archdiocese will reflect upon and discuss this document together over the coming weeks and months.
Christ promises us peace, joy and the fullness of life, but not necessarily an easy or pain-free life. The COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented extraordinary steps that have been necessary to fight it have made this spring difficult for everyone. Most especially, my heart goes out to those of you directly touched by the illness and those who have suffered loss of vital employment. You remain in my prayers. For Catholics it has been particularly painful to be deprived of the Eucharist – especially at Easter, the “feast of feasts.” As the weeks went on, many of us prayed along with King David, “How long, Lord?” (Ps 13:1). Even now we are still affected; we are still hurting. However, amidst all of this, we know that God loves us and has not abandoned us.
St. Augustine of Hippo, a bishop in Roman Africa during the fall of the Roman Empire, wrote: “Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well and the times shall be good. We are the times: such as we are, such are the times.” To radiate Christ to others is to live well and to change the world. Please join me in the year ahead in reflecting on how God calls each of us to do that.