The Resurrection and Beacons of Light…

More Than 2x

Happy Easter to our Family of Parishes!

Blessed Easter to Incarnation and St. Francis Parishioners, as Beacons of Light unites St. Francis and Incarnation in a parish family beginning July 1! What do the Resurrection of Jesus and Beacons of Light have in common?

What is Beacons of Light?

Initially, especially for visitors and “homecomers” please be aware that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is in the midst of a major reorganization to meet the future with increased faith and vigor. This reorganization offers us a new understanding of Church itself, a massive paradigm shift. We are most familiar with a parish and the way faith grows in parish life. This includes the foundation of the Christian life, Sunday Mass, and extends to all lifelong faith formation and ministries, such as PREP and day school. We are also familiar with the fact that we are an archdiocese, a gathering of parishes throughout the Cincinnati, Dayton and northern counties under the leadership of an Archbishop. What is new?

Massive Mindset Change

Parish families are a new understanding of what it means to be Catholic. This mindset change sees two or more parishes working to become one parish over the next five years. This means two basic things 1) big crosses 1) huge benefits and new life. Isn’t this the Easter story itself?! First, let’s talk about crosses.

Just as in the Easter story Jesus enters into suffering and death, so too, Beacons of Light is a share in the first parts of the Paschal Mystery: suffering and death. We will have one pastor, Fr. Brian. Aside from my own sadness at leaving Incarnation, Fr. Brian’s appointment as the pastor of our sister parishes means change for both parishes and a difficult job for Fr. Brian. Truly, most everything will change for him and for the people of our parishes. What do I mean here?

The Old Father Brian…and More

Sure, it’s the same dynamic Fr. Brian we knew as our associate pastor for four years. Sure, it is the same outstanding Fr. Brian that St. Francis Parishioners know and love as their pastor.

However, as pastor of two parishes, some of those past dynamics will change. Helping the new Fr. Brian to become all that Jesus wants him to become won’t be easy for Fr. Brian or for us!

While it might often be true that what is good for one parish will be good for both, he will be asking all to consider the good of all, and in some ways, suffer change from the way things have always been done. He will have added responsibilities and be working to unite the blessings of each parish in our family, while at the same time continuing to challenge our weaknesses and eliminate our shortcomings. What is an example of the change to which we are called?

A Couple of Practical Examples

At Incarnation, one of the practical examples of change we can expect is the elimination of two more Mass times, even as we already did that two years ago.

In a related example, it is quite possible that all Mass times at both parishes will flex, which might require me to ask another question: “Will I go to St. Francis for the Mass time I like most, or will I change my favorite Mass time?”  In light of a pandemic we hope is past and war in our world, such questions and responses seem rather insignificant!

New Life, Exponential Growth

As we endure a measure of suffering and as we die to dimensions of what we once were as individual parishes, staffs and parishioners, we will notice not just a doubling of parish vitality, ministry and outreach. More than just doubling, the future has the potential to hold exponential growth in dynamic faith, individual holiness and multiplication of ministries.

Examples of such growth includes increasing the size, dynamism and scope of RCIA for both parishes. Shared ministries means that Incarnation will now have a divorce care ministry. Parishioners of both parishes will have expanded lifelong faith formation opportunities. Use of best practices of each parish offers the opportunity for improvement for all. Indeed, the potential for resurrection and new life due to Beacons of Light extends to every dimension of parish life!

An Easter Season Like No Other

Indeed, this Easter Season will be like no other in our lives. As we stay connected to what will be happening in the future of our parish family and as we are ready to suffer, make sacrifices and experience transformation, we will see and experience grand glimpses of the Risen Jesus!

More than just Jesus x 2, his resurrection is a whole new way of being. So also for Beacons of Light. It is much more than just parish x 2.

As we unpack the experiences of this Easter Season, we also unpack the awesome potential of Beacons of Light. Following Jesus in his appearances to his disciples; watching him break bread and the boundaries of locked doors and minds; changing doubt into belief and even great faith; and experiencing the thrill of newness and new life, may we dream dreams and see visions of what the future of our parish family can become!!

Sincerely and with Love in Christ,

Fr. Pat