June 12, 2022 Communication: Immaculate Heart of Mary Mass Schedule Change Announcement
July 3, 2022 Communication: Fr. Steve Introduction as BOL Begins
August 7, 2022 Communication: 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.
August 14, 2023 Communication: Deacon Preaching Schedule Change
Change is inevitable, whether in our personal or professional lives. Life just does not stay static, nor do institutions. Sometimes change is welcomed and other times change is viewed as challenging. Change can be seen as an opportunity to improve or to do things differently. This openness can help us through some very exciting changes as well as some difficult ones. Having a sense of openness and flexibility allows us to see another view and to hear bold new ideas, even if they might make us uncomfortable.
Change can also be challenging so remain focused on your own vision and goals; remain respectful despite any differences that may arise; maintain your integrity; and, at the end of the day, stand up for what you believe to be important. Having a vision includes having specific goals or outcomes that you are working to achieve. Oftentimes, on a day-to-day basis, it is easy to get caught up on operational details. During times of change, we may not always agree with decisions or directions. At these times it is important to remain respectful despite differences. In my view, good leaders model the notion that we can agree to disagree and that should be perfectly fine. In reality, this may not always be the case – people may have mixed feelings. During those times it is probably wise to keep an open mind and remain reflective. There will be times when you just have to take a leap of faith, believe in your peers and embrace the change.This weekend, our family of parishes will experience a change. Our deacons have preached at various times over the years. Beginning in August, deacons will preach the second weekend of the month in all the parishes of our family. This will be ongoing and give our congregations the ability to witness and hear from a variety of preachers. A change in our personal lives is that school begins this week for a lot of school districts. Immaculate Heart of Mary and Guardian Angel Schools both begin on Wednesday, August 17. One thing we can be assured of is that the one thing that doesn’t change is change. We pray for the grace to accept the changes in our lives.
September 4, 2022 Communication: Catholic Leadership Institute Liaison Assigned
In this weekend’s gospel reading, Jesus is teaching an important truth in that it doesn’t really matter how the building looks on the outside, it’s the foundation—it’s what most don’t see—that is what truly matters. A building will either stand or fall depending on the foundation it is built upon. We will either stand firm or fall depending upon the foundation that we believe. When we build on a firm foundation of Christ, we can withstand whatever comes our way. When a foundation is based on the true meaning and spirit of the word of God it produces steadfast faith and life.
Within the Beacons of Light process, we are beginning to build a firm foundation. Our assigned liaison from Catholic Leadership Institute is Linda Banecker. She has a firm foundation vocationally, educationally, professionally and parish wise. Vocationally, she is married to her husband, Joe, and is the mother of two sons. Educationally, she has a BS in Business from St. John’s University, an MA in Mathematics from Villanova University and an MA in Holistic Spirituality from Chestnut Hill College. Professionally, she is a leadership consultant for the Catholic Leadership Institute and the President of her own consulting company, LMB Leadership Solutions. She is a retired IT executive having worked in both Aerospace Engineering at Lockhead Martin and Financial Services at Vanguard managing multi million dollar projects. Parish wise, she has served as the Adult Faith Formation Director at St. Philip Neri Parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and teaches Bible studies while leading retreats and speaks at parish events. She is a Eucharistic minister as well as a minister for outreach ministries exemplifying a love for the elderly and hungry of the community. This fall she will be making an onsite visit to all parishes in our family to lead us through phase one of the Beacons of Light process. One of the first steps is to form a Pathways and Family Leadership Team.
Very important in this process is that we build a firm foundation in our lives. We can do that by:
With a firm foundation, we can face each new challenge and opportunity that comes our way.
September 18, 2022 Communication: BOL Liaison Visit to Form a Pathway Team
Next week, September 26-29, is the four-day priest convocation in West Virginia. Every five years, Archdiocesan priests gather for a four-day convocation to pray together and address pertinent topics to our ministry as priests. Next week, Dan Celucci, CEO of Catholic Leadership Institute, will present some of the week on transition and our Beacons of Light process. Fr. King was excused by the Archbishop from attending, as priests who are at retirement age or are retired may be excused. During that week, the Mass schedules in our family of parishes will be celebrated as usual. Fr. King will celebrate Mass daily at Guardian Angels at 7:30 am. The Comboni Fathers will be celebrating Mass daily at Immaculate Heart of Mary on Monday and Wednesday at 12:00 noon and on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:15 am and at St. John Fisher on Monday and Wednesday at 12:00 noon and on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00 am during that week. On Wednesday that week I have been asked to preside and preach at the Wednesday Mass at the Convocation honoring the late Archbishop Pilarczyk who died during the pandemic in 2020. I was his care giver for nine years prior to his death. As he has said numerous times to me, “The Lord is in this somewhere.” He must have had some premonition to this transition we are entering into with Beacons of Light. Your prayers would be appreciated during that week.
October 4, 5, and 6, Linda Bonecker, our Beacons of Light Liaison, will be here for an onsite visit to our family of parishes. She will be meeting with the priests, staff, parish pastoral councils as well as some active volunteers. We are proceeding forward with the Beacons Pathway Team formation. The Pathway Team will get pastoral planning started for the future until a Family Leadership Team and Family Pastoral Council are firmly in place. While there are many groups of people who participate in leadership and governance of a parish or Family of Parishes (e.g. pastoral council, full staff, finance council, commissions, etc.), the leadership team has the greatest potential to effectively assist the pastor in implementing the mission of the parish.
Forming a unified Pathway Team and Family Leadership Team (FLT) is one milestone of Phase 1 in the Leadership principle: “Form a unified Family Pastoral Council, Family Leadership Team and staff, each rooted in prayer and supported by healthy teamwork.” It will take time to discern the members of our Family Leadership Team. In the short run (at the beginning of Phase 1 of the Pastoral Planning Pathway), it will be difficult for our Family to have a unified Leadership Team for a variety of reasons:
Our liaison will guide us through this process. We pray for wisdom, guidance and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to lead us to where God wants us to be. Thanks for your understanding and patience.
October 2, 2022 Communication: CLI Reminder
October 16, 2022 Communication: Youth Ministry
Pope Francis began His 2019 Apostolic Exhortation “Christus Vivit” with the following words addressed to the youth of our universal Church:
“Christ is alive! He is in you, He is with you and He never abandons you. However far you may wander, He is always there, the Risen One. He calls you and He waits for you to return to Him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, He will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.”
In these words, we hear the God of yesterday, today, and forever speaking to the young people of our Family of Parishes. He proclaims to our youth that, though the world may dismiss them or mislead them, their lives are precious gifts to the Body of Christ. Many look to our young people to be the Church of the Future. In contrast, if we are to accept everything that Beacons of Light is preparing us for over the coming years, we must embrace them as the Church of the Now.
Over the last decade, different initiatives for the evangelization of our young people have been undertaken across the parishes that now make up our Family. These plans have taken the form of Bible studies, youth groups, Sacramental preparation, and more. One of the first needs that our parishes desired to address in the early stages of Beacons of Light was the focusing of our youth evangelization efforts across all of our parishes.
As you have likely seen in bulletins, emails, and other communication, we are gathering our efforts to reach students in grades 5 – 12 under the banner of “Eastside Catholic Youth Ministries.” Until we discern a cohesive name for our Family of Parishes, this moniker signifies that we are united in our commitment to young people. Led by Bradley Barnes, the Coordinator of Youth Ministries at Guardian Angels, this initiative pursues four goals for our students:
I ask that you remain in prayer for these efforts as we continue through the Beacons of Light process, and that you reach out to Bradley ([email protected]) for ways that you can assist through time, talent, or treasure. We will be hosting an open house for our newly re-dedicated student ministry space on Immaculate Heart of Mary’s campus next Saturday evening, October 22, following 5:00 p.m. Mass. I welcome you to join us in prayer, and to share in our vision for the youth of our Family as we move forward. In closing, I offer the words of St. Paul in his first letter to Timothy:
“Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
October 30, 2022 Communication: Pathway Team Announcement
The gospel story about Zacchaeus is a lot like the extremes young people will go through just to get near their favorite musician at a concert, or even how the crowds gather at Saint Peter’s square to see the pope. The musicians have bodyguards to protect them from the crowd and so does the pope. However, the pope makes provisions to stop and briefly have contact with those who have come to see him. He makes a point to acknowledge them and kiss their babies. Zacchaeus was hidden in the tree when Christ walked by. Jesus looked up, called him by name, and told him to “come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” Christ loved him, accepted Zacchaeus unconditionally, and personally included him in his life. This is what caused Zacchaeus’ change of heart.
Love is the only thing that causes conversion. If we just knew how to love more like Christ loves people, our world would change and become a better place. Just as Jesus was rooted in His Father’s love, our heart needs to be centered in God’s unconditional love for us, in order for us to be able to begin loving other people the way that Jesus did. How can we invite Jesus to enter into our homes a little more than what we have been doing lately, and truly make him the center of our lives?
As Jesus called Zacchaeus, twelve people have been called forth in our family of parishes to form and lead our family of parishes forth in the Beacons of Light process in Phase One. (There were twelve apostles so this is quite appropriate we have twelve Pathways Team members.) Linda Banecker, our liaison, has made her recommendations for the Pathways Team, which is a twelve-to-eighteen-month transitional team charged with creating a plan and vision for us moving forth in this process. The Pathways Team with the pastor assists with the planning process for the family of parishes and will prepare the family of parishes for the Disciple Maker Index which is a survey in which parishioners of the family of parishes will be invited to participate.
Maggie Leon-Guerrero has been appointed as the leader of the Pathways Team. The team Maggie will be leading is comprised of Mark Dulle, Rick Oberschmidt, Dan Frey, Bradley Barnes, Bill Neyer, John Elliot, Jennifer Tiettmeyer, Jay Mather, Mary Salvaggi, Joan Cardone, and Dave Auxier. The task of this team is monumental. I believe and have confidence that each member of this team can make the decisions necessary in Phase One. Please pray for them and their leadership in our family of parishes.
December 4, 2022 Communication: Guardian Angels Mass Change Announcement
On this Second Sunday of Advent, we are reminded of how we should be ready for the coming of the Lord. For some it might mean reaching out to those in need, mending family relationships or starting a new venture. Whatever it might be, we must be alert and vigilant. As the future of the family of parishes unfolds, we are ready for whatever comes. A few weeks ago at the Guardian Angels Parish Council Meeting, a member of the Council brought up the dropping of the noon Mass. With a unanimous consent of the Council, it was decided to move forward. Beginning January 1, 2023, the new Guardian Angels Mass schedule for Sunday will be: 5:00 pm Saturday Vigil and on Sunday Morning at 8:00 am and 10:00 am. It was discussed that prior to a new pastor arriving, each parish was to drop one Mass in June 2022. Immaculate Heart of Mary followed that advice and dropped the 7:30 am Sunday Mass. Many from that Mass have been attending the 8:00 am Mass at Guardian Angels. Within the family of parishes, the schedule for weekend liturgies beginning January 1, 2023 will be:
5:00 pm Saturday Vigil
8:00 am and 10:00 am Sunday Morning
Immaculate Heart of Mary
5:00 pm Saturday Vigil
9:30 am and 11:30 am on Sunday Morning and 5:30 pm on Sunday afternoon
St. John Fisher
4:30 pm Saturday Vigil
9:00 am and 11:00 am on Sunday Morning
This Thursday is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Heart of Mary Worship Commission in realizing there is a 6:15 pm and 7:00 pm Mass in the family of parishes will be dropping the 7:00 pm Mass on the Holyday. Masses that day will be at Guardian Angels at 7:30 am, 9:00 am (School Mass) and 7:00 pm. Immaculate Heart of Mary will have Masses at 6:30 am, 8:15 am (School Mass) and 12:00 noon. St. John Fisher will have Masses at 8:00 am and 6:15 pm.
The Pathways Team has been meeting. There are three subgroups of Eucharist, Church and Leadership. The Eucharist group looks at the Mass schedule assessing that the average attendance must be at least 50% of the church capacity and that there are a sufficient number of trained ministers for Eucharistic celebrations. A priest may not assume more than two Masses per day. The Church group is tasked with forming a name for the family and envisioning a coordinated ministry between the family of parishes. The leadership group helps to form a unified pastoral council for the family, enables finance councils to work together and recommending competent and qualified staff for the family of parishes. This envisioning process by the leadership team will span over a twelve to eighteen month period from which a unified leadership team for the family of parishes will commence. Changes will be inevitable. However, one can look at change in two ways: either waving to the past or embracing the future with open arms. We embrace our future with open arms whatever may come with positivity, grace and compassion.
December 11, 2022 Communication: Disciple Maker Index Details
There is a song in the musical, “Godspell,” that depicts Advent mixed in with the passion death and resurrection of Christ. The song is “Prepare Ye.”
“Prepare ye the Way of the Lord, Prepare ye the Way of the Lord. Long Live God, Long Live God.” With the Beacons of Light entering into full process with the Pathways Team and other preparations, we are in a sense preparing the way of the Lord in our family of parishes. One form of preparation that has been announced in the bulletin is the “Disciple Maker Index” which is encouraging all parishioners to participate. This is a survey that helps us navigate through the phases of Beacons of Light. This survey enables you to reflect on your spiritual growth and provide feedback on what efforts the parish is doing to help you grow. All responses are confidential. The results are invaluable to me , the staff and our many volunteers as we seek ways to support everyone in their discipleship journey. Please take a few minutes to help in this important project. If you need a paper copy and are challenged in how to navigate the online form, please contact the parish offices and they can assist you.
December 18, 2022 Communication: Disciple Maker Index Reminder
January 8, 2023 Communication: Pastoral Plan will be submitted by 9/2023
January 22, 2023 Communication: Participate in Naming our Family of Parishes
You may have read in last week’s bulletin that our Pathways Team for Beacons of Light is pursuing a name for our family of parishes. Your participation is encouraged. Please consider submitting a name. It will need to follow the guidelines set out in the bulletin of being a saint’s name, etc. The names for family of parishes in the Archdiocese cannot be duplicates. This is another step in our process. Instead of calling ourselves the S-3 family of parishes, we will have a proper name to refer to ourselves as a unit. The names of the Churches will not change just a joint name. Thank you for your participation.
January 29, 2023 Communication: Name our Family of Parishes | Reminder
February 5, 2023 Communication: Name submission Thank you & Pastoral Council Envisioning
February 26, 2023 & March 5, 2023 Communication: St. Gregory the Great Name Announcement
March 12, 2023 Communication: Forming a Pastoral Council Details
Our family of parishes, now newly named St. Gregory the Great, is forming a unified Pastoral Council! This council’s purpose is a strategic focus on the direction and spiritual growth of the family. Please consider whether you, or someone you know, would be interested in being a member of our inaugural, family level Pastoral Council.
The most important attributes team members will have are as follows:
All with a focus on the family of parishes and rather than just your individual parish.
Each parish will have three members on the new council. Terms will initially be between two and four years, followed by three-year terms after this phase-in cycle. You do not need prior experience on a parish council to become a member of this pastoral council.
At this phase of the Beacons of Light process, individual parish councils still serve an important role and will remain as is.
If you’re interested in being considered for our St. Gregory the Great Pastoral Council, please email [email protected] by March 31, 2023.
Also, individuals have asked me about the names of our churches. Even though we are now referred to as the St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes, the names of the Churches remain the same: St. John Fisher, Guardian Angels and Immaculate Heart of Mary. One could refer to a location as the St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes, Guardian Angels Church.
A lot of changes yet to come. The Church Subgroup of the Pathways Team has rolled our family name after a process of participation, our Eucharist subgroup will be rolling out a readjustment of daily, holyday and Saturday Mass schedules. As the Lenten song reminds us: Change our hearts this time, your word says it can be. Change our minds this time, your life could make us free. We are the people your call sets apart. Lord, this time change our hearts. Brought by your hand to the edge of our dreams, one foot leave behind. But … Drawn by your promises, still we are lured by the shadows and the chains we leave behind. We rely on the grace of God as we move forward in our family of parishes.
March 19, 2023 and March 26, 2023 Communication: Family Mass Schedule Announcement
The Pathways Team is moving us forward. Over the last few weeks, we have acquired a name moving forward, St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes. This is thanks to the hard work of the Church subgroup of the Pathways Team and your participation. The Leadership subgroup of the Pathways Team has met with all three parish pastoral Councils outlining the plan for a joint Family Pastoral Council to be effective in the summer of July 2023. Our Eucharist subgroup has now presented to the whole Pathways Team and myself the plan for moving forward with the daily, holyday and Saturday Mass schedules.
Effective Monday, April 17, 2023, the new daily Mass schedule will be:
Monday through Friday: Guardian Angels 7:30 am.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Immaculate Heart of Mary 12 noon
Tuesday, Thursday: St. John Fisher 12 noon
Saturday: Immaculate Heart of Mary 8:15 am
School Masses will remain the same at 8:15 am for GA and IHM. Effective with the 2023-2024 school year, School Masses will be GA at 8:15 am on Tuesdays and IHM at 8:15 am on Thursdays.
Effective Monday, April 17, 2023, the new holyday Mass schedule will be:
Vigil Mass 6:15 pm St. John Fisher
Day Mases: 7:30 Guardian Angels
Noon: Immaculate Heart of Mary
7:00 pm Guardian Angels
School Masses will remain the same for IHM at 8:15 am and GA at 9:00 am
Effective Monday, April 17, 2023, the Saturday Mass schedule for the family will be:
3:30 pm Guardian Angels Confessions: 2:00-3:00pm
5:00 pm Immaculate Heart of Mary Confessions: 3:30-4:30 pm
This in in conformity with the Archdiocesan guidelines which state:
If these guidelines are not being met, parishes are encouraged to look seriously at their weekend Mass schedules and make appropriate changes. The quality of Sunday Mass suffers when there are too many weekend Masses or smaller congregations. The liturgy is always enhanced by a church that is more full than empty, making it easier to have enough lay ministers to celebrate the liturgy well. Likewise, if priests are to be genuinely enthusiastic each time they preside, they normally should not be expected to regularly preside multiple times every weekend. According to Canon Law, a priest should normally celebrate one Mass per day. Bishops can permit priests to celebrate two Masses per day for a just cause, for example, on a Sunday or holyday of obligation, or on a weekday if there is a funeral. Bishops can also permit priests to celebrate three Masses per day on Sundays or holydays of obligation, if there is a genuine and serious pastoral need, for instance, if the priest is responsible for more than one parish.
Thank you for your prayers in this new endeavor.
April 2, 2023 Communication: Change in Our Family and the Universal Church
It is not only our family of parishes that are in a process of change but the universal Church is as well. As has been said, the only realities that do not change are change and God. With the grace of God, we move forward.
June 25, 2023 Communication: First member of the Leadership Team is hired!
In the gospel reading today, Jesus assures the twelve apostles that he cares for them. There are numerous ways we can care for others. We can visit someone who is recovering from surgery or elderly and confined to home. We can bring a bereaved individual who has lost someone close to them a meal. Simply, we can offer someone a smile, a kind word or an embrace. Each of us can make a difference.
This weekend, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in our St. Gregory Family of Parishes bids farewell to Dave Auxier after twenty-five years as Director of Liturgy and Music. In that time Dave has influenced and made a difference in many lives. We are grateful and wish him well. Dave will continue to serve on the Pathways Team for Beacons of Light in our family of parishes. He may be seeking a change of pace in life, but he is not leaving and will continue to worship in our family of parishes. For all you have done and for who you are, thanks Dave. May God bless you in your new endeavors.
The first member of the Leadership Team for the St. Gregory the Great Family ofnParishes has been hired. Michael Johnson will begin as the Director of Worshipnon July 1 for the family of parishes and the music director at Immaculate Heartnof Mary Parish. Michael comes to us from St. John the Baptist Parish in Harrison, Ohio as the Director of Worship and Music. We welcome him to our family of parishes.
These are signs to us that the Lord is looking out for us as he sends us what we need. Reach out and offer the Lord’s care to anyone you meet.
July 2, 2023 Communication: One Year of Beacon of Light, Thanks to all of you!
Volunteering can be an incredibly transformative experience. It is difficult to
find the words to describe just how impactful volunteering can have on one’s
personal and professional development. Volunteering is a way to do something
tangible and impactful. One has the opportunity to use the skills one has to
help make a difference in the lives of others. In volunteering, one can find a new
passion for life and a deep desire to use one’s energy and time to continue to
help create a positive and meaningful difference in the world.
Regardless of where you are in your career, giving time, energy, and skills to help
others can provide an unparalleled, transformative experience. From building
new skills in emerging markets, to practicing your leadership and management
abilities, to gaining perspective and direction, volunteering can provide the
momentum and opportunity needed to pursue professional and personal
This weekend in our family of parishes, we recognize our volunteers. It is hard to
believe it will be one year since we announced the Family of Guardian Angels,
Saint John Fisher, Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Chapel of St. Jerome now
known as St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes. This could only have been
done with the support and dedication of the hundreds of volunteers who have
given their time in getting the Family off to a great start. We couldn’t have done
it without you. On behalf of Fr. King, Fr. Alex, Fr. Thomas and myself, we simply
say, THANK YOU for all you do. We are truly blessed!
July 9, 2023 Communication: Next Generation Parish and Additional Mass Schedules Coming!
I hope that summer has been restful and relaxing and that everyone has been able to slow it down. It is hard to believe that school is out and in a little over a month it will begin again. Enjoy these quiet days of summer with ample sunshine and warm temperatures. Autumn and winter will be here before you know it.
Our Pathways Team continues to work hard and there is no summer break. Linda Banecker, our Catholic Leadership Liaison, has been meeting with us in person as we progress through Next Generation Parish. On July 1, we submitted our annual planning report to Archbishop Schnurr regarding our progress and move toward the unification of one canonical parish.
As was announced in April with the change of our weekend, holyday and weekday Mass schedule, there would be a future announcement of our Christmas, Easter Triduum and civic holiday schedules. The Pathways Team is putting final touches on those schedules, and they will be released within the next month or so.
I appreciate the understanding and support of our St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes as change and decisions are never easy. With God’s grace and prayer, we will proceed forward as we support each other and collaborate in all our endeavors.
August 6, 2023 Commuication: Family Pastoral Council Formed & Joint Staff Announced
From the Beacons of Light Process:
The Parish Pastoral Council for the St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes has been chosen. There are three members of the Council from St. John Fisher, Guardian Angels and Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Council members are: John Elliott, Dr. Gloria Parker-Martin, Chris Richard, Dan Frey, Jeff Zalar, Megan Roach, Pam Payne, Debbie Birck and Jim Moyer. Each member of the council has a term of office as there are bylaws for the operation of the council. This council oversees the family of parishes as a consultative body to the pastor.
In addition, there is now a joint staff until a leadership team is in place. The joint staff are the current staff members that are part of the Pathways Team. They are: Maggie Leon-Guerrero, Jay Mathers, Mary Selvaggi, Joan Cardone, Bradley Barnes, Mark Dulle, Jenifer Tiettmeyer and the Director of Worship for the St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes, Michael Johnson.
A much deeper collaboration and joint efforts are now moving forward. Please pray for the success of this endeavor as we move toward one canonical parish.
Also, this weekend, August 5-6, missionary priests from Rwanda will be preaching at all the Masses. The Mission Appeal Collection will go toward the missions in Rwanda. Thank you for your generosity.
August 20, 2023 Communication: Disciple Maker Index Results
At the end of 2022, parishioners within the St. Gregory the Great family of parishes were asked to complete the Disciple Maker Index (DMI) survey provided through Catholic Leadership Institute. The Pathways Team reviewed the survey results, completed by 1,134 parishioners within our St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes, and compiled the key findings. These include strengths and opportunities to ensure vibrant parishes, vibrant liturgies and an evangelical spirit as we build unity among us.
As we dive into these findings, we ask that you keep in mind that The Disciple Maker Index is set up knowing that individuals in the pews on Saturday and Sunday were likely to respond to the survey.
65% of respondents were over the age of 55 who have been members of our parishes for 20+ years with another 20% who have been members for over 10 years. These individuals mostly sent their children to Catholic schools and their current parish is their primary place of worship.
The key strengths and opportunities for our family of parishes are as follows:
1. 81% of respondents go to Mass weekly and 84% of respondents make time for individual prayer time on a weekly basis. It is encouraging that many of the respondents have a relationship with God and prioritize that relationship in community, through the Mass, as well as alone, through personal prayer. This is important because having a personal relationship with God is the beginning stage of developing as a Disciple, a follower of Jesus who shares the Good News.
a. However, only 61% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their parish is helping them grow spiritually by forming them as a Disciple of Jesus.
b. While the personal internal relationship with God is evident and strong, our parishes have the responsibility to teach and guide parishioners to expand their internal relationship outward, thus inspiring others in their community to form and grow their own personal relationship with God and in turn share it with others.
i.This can be done in many ways and additional data showed us that while we offer many programs, there is an opportunity to provide a more focused approach that inspires spiritual growth. This can be done through developing stronger relationships with our parishioners and learning what is important to them, rather than trying to achieve this result by simply doing what we have always done.
2. Data shows that most respondents agree or strongly agree with the Church’s basic teachings. For example, 90% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the Scripture is the Word of God and 89% agree or strongly agree the Eucharist really is the Body and Blood of Christ. Having a strong belief in the Catholic teaching is the beginning stage of having conversations about the Church’s teachings with others.
a. However, only 44% of respondents said they agreed or strongly agreed that our parishes are equipping individuals to have conversations about the Church’s teaching. Equipping parishioners with more knowledge about the church’s teachings will instill in them the confidence needed to talk about it with others, thereby enabling them to radiate Christ by sharing His Good News.
b. Our evangelization and formation ministries can establish individual relationships with parishioners, focusing on determining where each person is on their own faith journey and providing direction, education and encouragement so they can strengthen their relationship with Christ.
3. 80% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their parish makes them feel welcome and accepted. The time you spend with us is important as you are greeted and welcomed into community, but it’s also important to consider how you feel during the Mass through engagement with the music and homilies.
a. Only 61% of respondents feel their church offers vibrant and engaging Sunday Masses and homilies that connect their faith with their everyday life. Your weekend Mass experience within the St. Gregory the Great Family is a priority because we want you to continue to worship with us each week and deepen your own spiritual growth.
b. While a welcoming environment is a positive aspect of our parish communities, we can focus on making our Masses more vibrant and structuring homilies in a way that make it easier to understand the relationship between the Gospel Message and our everyday lives.
Thank you to each of you who spent time completing the survey. As we move forward through the phases of Beacons of Light, we are committed to using this data and future data to find opportunities to guide our parishioners Catholic Journey and form a unified community within the St. Gregory the Great Family.
This summary of the data was completed by the Pathways Team that consists of the following members:
Team Leader – Maggie Leon-Guerrero
Church Subgroup – Mark Dulle, Jay Mather, Mary Selvaggi, Jenifer Tiettmeyer
Leadership Subgroup – Joan Cardone, Dan Frey, Bill Neyer, Rick Oberschmidt
Eucharist Subgroup – Dave Auxier, Bradley Barnes, John Elliott
September 9, 2023 Communication: St. Gregory the Great Novena
Join us, together with our family, in praying a 9-day Novena beginning on his feast day, September 3, for our family, faith and generosity. Following the conclusion of the Novena, our family of parishes will come together at Mt. Saint Mary’s Seminary for a Mass and reception on September 12.
St. Gregory the Great, patron saint of teachers,
present our prayer of gratitude to our Heavenly Father.
Share our prayer of wisdom and guidance
as we continue on the path to unify our family of parishes.
Just as you led the faithful knowing “the proof of love is in the works”,
open our hearts to be dedicated disciples of Jesus
through prayer, teaching, sacraments and service.
May our works, inspired by Jesus,
guide us to unity within our family and love within our community.
Teach us humility and compassion, the cornerstones of generosity,
and the unwavering faith you demonstrated through times of change,
so that we come together in unity, rooted in Christ’s love.
September 10, 2023 Communication: St. Gregory the Great Mass and Reception at the Seminary
This coming Tuesday, September 12, is our first gathering as the St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes at 7:00 pm in the Chapel of St. Gregory the Great at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and School of Theology followed by a reception in the outdoor courtyard. This marks the first Mass in which members of all our family of parishes will be gathered into one chapel celebrating the Eucharist together. Each of our parishes is a Eucharistic Community with the Eucharist as the summit and source of all we are and do. The Mass itself will be celebrating the memorial of St. Gregory the Great whose feast day was September 3. This gathering culminates our nine-day prayer novena. Unity is very important as we move forward. Currently, we see Youth Ministry as a family of parishes collaboration. Health Ministries are beginning to unify. There is a St. Gregory the Great Staff and Pastoral Council. On Tuesday night, the logo for our St. Gregory the Great family of parishes will be revealed and soon a joint website will be launched. Eventually, bulletins will follow suit in the near future. With the Lord’s help and guidance, we continue to come together. Thank you for your prayers, understanding and support in this endeavor. We place ourselves under the love and protection of the Mother of God with the Beacons of Light Prayer: Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother, present our prayer of thanksgiving to your Son. Beg from Him the graces we need to be faithful disciples who follow Him with enthusiasm and joy. May our witness to the love of God bear fruit in our archdiocese, parishes, homes and hearts. Teach us to be God’s joyful witnesses, to radiate Christ in all we do, so that all people might know, love and follow your Son through this life and into the next. Amen.
October 15, 2023 Communication: Parish Vitality Report in the Catholic Telegraph
In the November issue of The Catholic Telegraph, a Parish Vitality Report will appear concerning Beacons of Light over the past year and moving forward. The report will give a first year snapshot. There are 57 family of parishes in which ten are staffed by religious order priests. Families range from households of 206 to a high of 6035. The St. Gregory the Great Family of Parishes has close to 6000 households and is the second largest family of parishes in the Archdiocese.
Most notably, more than 1 in 5 Archdiocesan priests are eligible to retire in the next five years. Half of the families of parishes moving forward will have one less parochial vicar compared to their current number of priests. There will be percentages on those families of parishes that have a family leadership team (we
are moving there), a unified staff (we do) and unified family pastoral council (we do). Many family of parishes have adopted a name such as we have adopted St. Gregory the Great. There has been great progress in the Archdiocese but more notably in our family of parishes.
Some have wondered about this reality of “one canonical parish.” One canonical parish simply means we are one parish but may have three campuses. Thus, we would be St. Gregory the Great Parish and St. John Fisher Church, Guardian Angels Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Coming together
strengthens our numbers, our liturgies and our ministries. Currently, youth ministry, RCIA and Health Ministries are collaborating across all three parishes which enables us to serve in a stronger way a wider group of individuals. There is movement toward a joining of Social Action which is a strong suit in all three
locations. Recently, they came together to support and minister to the race track employees.
We have come a long way in a little over a year thanks to your support, prayer and willingness to get involved with a positive thrust. With all of our cooperation, we can make ourselves a strong, vibrant, faith filled and unified family of parishes. Thank you for your assistance over the past year and in moving forward.
November 12, 2023 Communication: Mental Wellness Ministry in St. Gregory the Great
As Catholics, we are called to care for our own physical, spiritual, and mental health while supporting others in our parish family to do the same. To support this calling, parishes across the country are initiating Mental Wellness Ministries through the help of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers. Our Saint Gregory the Great Family of Parishes will join this effort after agreeing to be a pilot parish for Mental Wellness Ministry in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The Archdiocesan Office of Persons with Disabilities and Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio will be aiding our parish family in this endeavor. Through this decision, we have made a commitment to become a faith community that both understands mental illness and can provide compassionate support to those living with mental health conditions. Being a licensed mental health counselor in the State of Ohio, I believe this ministry can assist individuals struggling with very difficult issues in their lives and help them to find the resources they need.
In our parish family, our Mental Health Ministry will consist of a Mental Wellness Team in each parish (IHM, Guardian Angels, and Saint John Fisher) that will work to provide a space where people struggling with mental health can share their experiences within the context of their Catholic faith to grow spiritually closer in their relationship with God. The Mental Wellness Team will strive to break the stigma associated with mental illness by providing education, guidance, and resources to mental health treatment options in the community. They will also offer support groups to individuals and families facing mental health challenges. These teams will work as liturgical planners, administrators, education planners, and support group leaders trained by the Archdiocesan Office for Persons with Disabilities and Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio. Retreats, special Masses, and other prayer experiences and opportunities will also be given to parishioners to nourish their spiritual well-being and to recognize the presence of God in their lives.
An informational session for those wishing to join a Mental Wellness Team in our parish family will be held in the Saint Matthew Room (located in IHM Parish Office) on Tuesday, November 21st from 7-8 pm. Contact Mary Selvaggi, Parish Nurse at 513-388-4184 to RSVP. For additional information, contact Lisa Averion, the Associate Director for the Office of Persons with Disabilities at [email protected]. Thanks for your prayers and support in this vital ministry.