Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
At this point, you have probably heard that the Holy Father has taken the step to establish the Cincinnati Oratory. We are very grateful to him for this action, and also to the Archbishop who has been so supportive of us all of these years. We are grateful to each of you, and all of our donors and benefactors (material and spiritual) who have been so supportive of us. Without everyone doing this together, we could not have brought St. Philip Neri to Cincinnati.
What does this mean? Practically speaking, nothing changes in how we operate or care for the parishes. We continue to be the same people as before, and we have the same structure. It does, however, give to the new Cincinnati Oratory greater stability in carrying out its work. This effectively also gives great stability to our parishes and apostolates. The priests you know now will continue to be the priests who baptize you, marry you, hear your confessions, anoint you, and offer your Funeral Masses. There will never be a concern as to if there will be a priest to send here, especially as the Oratory continues to grow and ordain new members.
This is very comforting to us, knowing that we can grow together as a large family, just as St. Philip would have envisioned. We hope this also brings you comfort, knowing that our parishes and apostolates will exist for generations to come, if we each continue to be generous with God and the Church.
The Oratory is a Congregation of Apostolic Life, under the law of the Church. It is similar to Religious Life, but Oratorians do not take vows. So we are not religious priests, but we are not diocesan priests either. We are rather a community of secular priests, living together under one roof and one rule, seeking to grow in greater charity in our work with you. We are certainly far from perfect, so we continue to need your prayers and your support.
I would like to invite everyone to a special Mass to be held on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:00 p.m. at Old St. Mary’s with Archbishop Schnurr. The Procurator General and Apostolic Delegate of the Oratory will also travel from Rome to be with us on this day. The decree of the Holy Father will be delivered to the local Church on this day. There will be a social afterwards. Everyone is welcome, and I strongly encourage you to attend, to show the Archbishop and Oratory officials our gratitude for what has been accomplished here. It would be very nice to have a full Church for this celebration. So please set aside the time now to make the effort to be with us in celebration. More details will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.
Lastly, today is Palm Sunday. Please check the Holy Week schedule in the bulletin. Set aside time now to come to the Holy Week Masses and liturgies, to reflect upon the Passion of Christ and to comfort our Lord in His sacrifice. Holy Week is the week that changed the entire world. May it also change us to love God more perfectly and faithfully. Have a blessed Holy Week!