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Catholic Parishes across the United States are struggling as priestly vocations are dwindling and parish funds are disappearing. Many prelates are facing this crisis with an unorthodox solution. Church Militant's Aidan O'Connor takes a closer look at how one archbishop is amalgamating his flock.
Catholics in southwest Ohio are bracing for change this winter as prelates plot to reconfigure faithful communities. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of the archdiocese of Cincinnati shared a message with his flock on Sunday.
Abp. Dennis Schnurr: "I am pleased to announce the final Families of Parishes configurations as part of Beacons of Light. The word of Beacons of Light will have a powerful and positive impact on the future of this archdiocese."
The ambitious "Beacons of Light" initiative involves splitting the archdiocese into six separate regions. The parishes in each region will be conglomerated into so-called families of parishes where a handful of priests will be stretched out among multiple parishes. And 208 parishes in the archdiocese will become a mere 57 "families," sharing priests, staff, faculties and funds.
Abp. Schnurr: "Please pray for me and all the priests and laypeople who will have leadership roles in Beacons of Light. The Church exists in the stream of time, and to want to stay where we are means to be left behind."
Ohio Catholics don't have to look far to see the same orchestrated cessation at work.
Chicago's Cdl. Blase Cupich and Detroit's Abp. Allen Vigneron are leading the way in their communities, giving power to lay administrators and leaving beloved parishes empty. In time, a wave of Cincinnati's parishes — built by the faithful — will be closed, sold or destroyed at the hand of their shepherd.
Church Militant investigated the archdiocese of Detroit's so-called Family of Parishes movement, unveiling a large-scale money grab and power play to control clergy.