Letter from the Archbishop
My Dear Friends in Christ,
St. Peter, our first Pope, took care to impress upon us that we are charged individually, as well as collectively, with the responsibility of stewardship. In 1 Peter, Chapter 4, he teaches “as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
His present successor, Pope Francis, accords particular emphasis to the importance of such stewardship and sacrifice as we face our world’s current crossroads. “In this period of crisis today,” he said during one of his first addresses as pope, “it is important not to turn in on ourselves, burying our own talent, our spiritual intellectual, and material riches, everything that the Lord has given us; but, rather, to open ourselves, to be supportive, to be attentive to others.”
In this spirit, I ask all of you —as individuals and families —for your prayerful consideration concerning the historic opportunity for stewardship being offered by the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
I call it historic because no appeal involving our local needs has been offered on such a scale since Archbishop Karl Alter’s capital campaign more than a half-century ago. In scope, this represents a comprehensive, extraordinary, and exciting outreach to strengthen our parishes, our schools, our ministries, our very foundations for the future. These goals are about nothing less than building the Church as we are called by Christ to do.
All of us are commissioned at baptism to be God’s love, visible in the world. We know that the Catholic Church, as the very name “Catholic” signifies, is universal. But at the same time, we know that we experience our faith most directly through our parishes and archdiocese, where we live, worship, and provide for the spiritual growth and other needs of the people in our communities.
At this moment, with God’s guidance and your help, we are strengthening the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, giving support to specific priorities that need our attention while laying the groundwork for future growth.
As we approach its bicentennial in 2021, the local Church comprises 19 counties and is home to some 480,000 Catholics. We have the sixth largest system of Catholic schools in the country, serving more than 41,000 students in 113 schools. We are home to the third-oldest Catholic seminary in the United States, and are among the few dioceses with a local institution dedicated to the formation of priests, permanent deacons, and lay ministers. Our Catholic Charities agencies serve more than 131,000 people annually.
With these blessings come the challenge to sustain and grow missions whose diversity is reminiscent of what St. Peter called “God’s varied grace.” Catholic education is vital to our evangelizing mission and the future of our church. The need for additional funding, including expanded tuition assistance, remains acute. The same is true for our efforts to foster vocations. We are blessed that the number of seminarians has doubled in the past five years at The Athenaeum/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, the largest enrollment in over 25 years. But at the same time, this confronts us with the need for additional support as we build on our successes and hope to welcome an even larger number of seminarians in the future.
Elsewhere, demands upon our Catholic Charities and Social Services in serving the poor and vulnerable have never been greater, and continue to grow. Local parish needs remain varied and wide-ranging. Our obligation to care for our retired diocesan priests is also increasing; the current number of 87 priests receiving retirement benefits could rise to 140 in the next five years.
One Faith, One Hope, One Love provides an unprecedented opportunity for all of us to work together, to realize our vision for an even more vibrant Catholic Church in our archdiocese. This special initiative, involving all of our parishes over the coming months, is the result of much research, consultation, and prayer. I gratefully extend heartfelt thanks to the campaign’s pilot parishes for the outpouring of support in meeting and exceeding their goals. I am hopeful that those wonderful successes and sacrifices can be repeated in parishes across the archdiocese.
Since I have been Archbishop, I’ve been impressed by the commitment of our people, and I am convinced we are seeing a time of renewal of our Church. I humbly ask you to become a part of One Faith, One Hope, One Love and see what miracles God can work in His Church as we move forward . . . with one faith, one hope, one love.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati