ST Gregory

August 7, 2022

Beacons of Light Overview

The Beacons of Light initiative has taken us in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati 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 has allowed the Archbishop to assign additional priests along with the pastors to each Family allowing 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 as not every church building can be closed due to capacity issues that presently exist.

People of the families of parishes need to kick it in and 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 – decisions to be made on the local level and not from on high.

Loss is never an easy emotion to deal with, but it is a reality in these situations, and we have to 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 to be on 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!

Each family of parishes has the opportunity to work with a Beacon’s Liaison. Our liaison is assigned from Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI). The liaison will help us prepare through an assessment of the parishes health, culture and effectiveness. Then develop a plan for the family with priorities and goals for the future. Finally, implementing that plan and train all in leadership and evangelization. CLI has informed us of phase one which is to prepare. There will be a two day orientation and training for the pastor in September. A three day visit will be planned by the liaison from CLI to the family of parishes. That will be followed up by a one day orientation for the staff and key volunteers of the family of parishes.

We have begun this journey and much collaboration is already taking place. Remember more prayer is essential as we enter phase one. Thank you for your understanding and support in the midst of this journey.