Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today we celebrate the birth of our Lord’s Church and the fulfillment of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. The scene from the Acts of the Apostles is filled with drama, as “a noise like a strong driving wind” and “tongues as of fire” accompany the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. What was the effect of this outpouring? We read that the apostles went forth confidently, speaking in the many languages of the visitors to Jerusalem. In the words of St. Bede, “Now the Holy Spirit appeared in fire and in tongues because all those whom He fills He makes simultaneously to burn and to speak – to burn because of Him and to speak about Him.”
From the beginning of time, the Holy Spirit has been at work with the Father and the Son on the divine plan for our salvation. Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at our baptism, we are each called to be cooperators with that plan, not only for our own sanctification, but for the sanctification of the whole world. The Catholic Church is God’s sacramental presence on earth, imbued with the Holy Spirit, given to us as a means for our salvation. All the resources of the Church – human, physical, financial – must be ordered to Jesus’ great commission to proclaim the Good News of salvation and make disciples of all nations.
This is the purpose of Beacons of Light, to best enable the proclamation of the Gospel in our own archdiocese. On July 1, we will move on to the next major phase of Beacons of Light, implementation of the new Families of Parishes and the start of intentional pastoral planning within each of those Families. This planning will be rooted in sincere prayer and open collaboration as each Family together discerns the best and highest use of their shared resources to radiate the love of Christ and form a strong, vital community of evangelization and service centered on the Eucharist. There will undoubtedly be hard decisions involving sacrifice and loss, but which will bear great fruit in the future. This is the enduring Christian journey, one which needs to be offered up in prayer to God’s providence.
In a 2006 homily, Pope Benedict XVI said, “in Pentecost the Spirit, with the gift of tongues, demonstrates that His presence unites and transforms confusion into communion.” As we move forward into an unsure and sometimes confusing future, let us stay united as the Body of Christ, confident that the Holy Spirit is with us until the end of time. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your commitment to the flourishing of our local Church. May God bless and keep all of us as we journey together on the path of discipleship.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati
Be Who We Are
PAC Mass a Sacrifice and Loss
In Archbishop’s letter above about the beginning of Beacon’s of Light, he references “hard decisions involving sacrifice and loss….” Certainly, Mass time changes figure prominently in such decisions. Please see the bulletin insert for the new Mass times and for the rationale behind the changed times.
The heaviest dimension of the cross related to Mass time change is that the 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Masses are being eliminated.
The PAC Mass is unique in many ways and to cancel it is certainly as Archbishop says, “is a sacrifice and a loss.” It is unique because of the outstanding and upbeat contemporary music led by the Nearer to God Band. Those who attend the Mass seem to be a bit more patient with and welcoming to families with young children, particularly when children might fuss or have a bad day. There is an atmosphere which is more relaxed and at ease. Such a unique character is something to celebrate and give thanks for…and something to learn from. Let us do that in a special way for the next four weeks and bring that appreciation to its fullness on June 26, the last Sunday for the PAC 9:00 am Mass, where we will have a special celebration afterward.
Another example of the sacrifice of Jesus Cross related to Beacons of Light will be eliminating the 5:00 pm Sunday evening Mass. This Mass was an experimental one from its inception nearly two years ago. It met with wonderful support from a small group of dedicated parishioners who minister at the Mass. Also, the Incarnation School community has been a blessing once a month. Also of note is that the 5:00 pm Sunday Mass was supported by a high percentage of
non-parishioners who needed an evening Mass for an occasionally hectic schedule.
May we give thanks for parishioners who attend the 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Sunday Masses. May we pray for them with a special fervor, for they are leading us in Beacons of Light by bearing a bigger measure of the cross of sacrifice and loss.
Mass Times Evolution
As a new Mass schedule is announced in the bulletin insert, we are aware of the sacrifice and loss that will likely be experienced by all parishioners. However, another way of looking at the Beacons of Light changes at Incarnation is to see this as a powerful opportunity to be who we are!
Incarnating Jesus who suffers for love of us, we can choose to ”jump in with both feet” with hope into the awkwardness and messiness that will be a part is Beacons of Light. We can choose to “reach out with both hands” to the 9:00 am and 5:00 pm parishioners and all who might be disheartened by changes, but will be present with us at other Masses. We will “Incarnate Jesus” in our community when we lead other parishes in changes that will make the entire Catholic community more vital as the Body of Christ at Sunday Mass.
Sincerely and with Love in Christ,