12/17/2020 – Our Parish as a Beacon of Light
Our Parish as a Beacon of Light
Advent is an important season for any parish, and this is particularly true given all we have experienced in 2020. Advent invites our parish community to “reset,” to turn to the Lord, that we might ever more faithfully live out our Christian lives. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once wrote, “The parish is a beacon that radiates the light of the faith and thus responds to the deepest and truest desires of the human heart, giving meaning and hope to the lives of individuals and families.” This insight gives clarity to the identity and mission of the parish, an insight that has been embraced by Archbishop Schnurr and other leaders in our Archdiocese. I want to introduce the parish to an initiative of the Archdiocese entitled “Beacons of Light.” Below are pertinent excerpts from a recent publication provided to priests in the Archdiocese: Beacons of Light is a pastoral planning process through which the parishes of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will come together in new ways, forming communities of faith that are united as members of Christ’s Body, the Church. The beacon shines in the midst of darkness and points the way toward a bright future filled with hope. Over the next few years, Beacons of Light will result in stronger parishes that will form us to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in our homes, workplaces and schools, local communities and cities and in the world. Through Beacons of Light, parish groupings will be identified, and parish leaders will come together to discern the shape of parish life for their grouping. People will be invited to share their hopes and dreams for the future as their parishes are drawn together as a community of faith. Beacons of Light will be a unique experience of pastoral planning for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. There are two essential elements of the process, which will take place simultaneously and will lead us to move from maintenance to mission, from surviving to thriving. Strategic Planning: involves data gathering, analysis, and the identification of the best possible parish groupings throughout the Archdiocese. Pastoral Planning: includes meetings and processes through which parish leaders will discern the shape of parish life for their grouping and create a pastoral plan for the future. Work in this process has begun as staff members provide requested data. The parish priests have participated in deanery meetings and an all-afternoon virtual convocation that introduced and outlined the process. More information will be forthcoming to the parish as I receive it. This process is an opportunity for us to examine the vitality of our parish and explore ways of expanding our mission of welcoming new members to our community; and forming and sending disciples of Jesus out to our local community to radiate the love, mercy and light of Christ. This process needs prayerful support and participation. Pray for a new Pentecost in our parish and in our Archdiocese. Only with the Holy Spirit’s power can we live as the dynamic, faith filled parish we are called to be!
(Any spelling or punctuation errors are the fault of the transcriber)