Archdiocese of Cincinnati celebrates 200 years


Cincinnati became the ninth Catholic diocese of the United States in 1821, encompassing Ohio, Michigan, and parts of Wisconsin. On Saturday June 19, the Archdiocese celebrates its 200th anniversary.

A bicentenary mass is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens cathedral basilica. It will end with the reconsecration of the Archdiocese by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr in a ceremony that will be broadcast live on Fountain Square.

The first parish was Christ Church, located at Liberty and Elm in Cincinnati, where St. Francis Seraph is now located. The gravestones of the cemetery are still visible in the crypt in the basement of the church. Old St. Mary’s in Over-the-Rhine is the oldest surviving place of worship, dating back to 1842.

The archdiocese has changed a lot in 200 years, according to Fr. David J. Endres, Ph.D., Dean of the Athenaeum of Ohio / Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and Chairman of the Archdiocese Bicentennial Committee.

“The most notable change for our local Catholic community is probably the shift from a very small border minority status to a much larger but also more diverse local Catholic church,” Endres said, pointing to waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy and Poland. “Like when we started, we’re becoming more diverse again with the arrival of immigrants from Asia, Africa, Latinos… so I think in a way it’s change but it’s also continuity in our local church.”

Endres identifies two milestone events during the past biennium. The first being the role of local Catholics during the Civil War era.

“Archbishop (John) Purcell … was anti-slavery. He used the Cincinnati Catholic Telegraph – the diocesan newspaper – to promote an end to slavery, and it sidelined him from many. discussions at the time, ”he said. remember. “There were people who canceled their subscriptions; there were fellow bishops who were angry because he was what they considered too political. I think the way the local church is going into civil war and coming out of the civil war era is definitely a turning point. “

The second is the proliferation of buildings and institutions that came out of the 1920s. He notes that many local Catholic high schools that still exist today came out of the 1920s. Parish schools existed before that time, he says, but now there was a concerted gathering, rather than each parish having its own school.

Saturday also marks the end of a 33-day pilgrimage across the archdiocese of 19 counties. Participants began walking and carrying a statue of Mary from Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Russells Point, Ohio on May 16. She made stops at various churches and sites along the way. The pilgrimage ends in Saint-Pierre-aux-Chains.

“We are very proud as Catholics to have been here in southwest Ohio for 200 years,” Endres concludes, adding that even non-Catholics have likely been linked to the church in some way. of another.

“Whether through educational, charitable or health care initiatives. At the very least, you have been neighbors of Catholics or co-workers and members of all kinds of civic associations. Catholic church is a big part of our history and so it will be in the future. “

Saturday’s re-dedication will be broadcast live on Fountain Square starting at noon. Afterwards, a family concert with multicultural performances, choirs and food trucks will keep people entertained until 4 p.m.

Cincinnati is the 44th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with more than 440,000 parishioners. It is also the fifth largest Catholic school system in the United States by enrollment with over 40,000 students.

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