Archbishop Schnurr addresses Summit attendees
October 3, 2012
By Steve Trosley
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr told those attending the Summit Tuesday that they had spent two days hearing of the urgent challenges facing the Catholic Church in Cincinnati.
“But we are all here because we recognize those challenges,” he said in comments during his homily at the closing Mass of the unprecedented assembly, held at the Dayton Convention Center this week.
More than 700 parish, archdiocesan and Catholic school leaders attended the two-day convocation, identifying issues and seeking solutions to the various challenges facing the church. “When we started discussing this event,” Archbishop Schnurr said, “we hoped we would get 250 to attend. We have three times that many here.”
Earlier Tuesday, the group had heard a discussion of the sacrament of marriage by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville. “We have an erosion of couples coming to the church for sacramental marriage,” Archbishop Kurtz said as he discussed statistics showing that the number of children born out of wedlock rose from 5 percent in 1955 to more than 40 percent in 2005.
After discussing the impact of an ever more secular culture on marriage and family life, Archbishop Kurtz, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, discussed five ways Catholics could help strengthen marriage.
“First, preach and teach about marriage,” he said using stories to illustrate how Catholics could witness the sanctity of marriage by calling attention to successful marriages.
He also stressed the important of marriage preparation programs in parishes and said Catholics needed to stop assuming that a marriage was a completed project. “We need continuous enrichment,” he said.
Archbishop Kurtz said there’s a need to help “hurting couples.” He urged Catholics to be ambassadors for marriage to couples having difficulties and stressed the wisdom of “marriage-friendly therapy.”
Finally, he urged Catholics to be public about their marriage, presenting their case for marriage and family with “courage, compassion and civility.”
Archbishop Schnurr picked up on those points in his homily.
“We have to focus on marriage as a vocation,” he said. “God has created each one of us for a purpose.” He said when we see marriage properly as a vocation, “ we recognize God’s purpose for us.”
Archbishop Schnurr said the church needs to make better use of its resources and change the perception of the marriage preparation program as a “waiting period.”
“Perhaps our marriage preparation program needs to be revamped,” he said as continued with his observations.
“Parents are the first of teachers and best of teachers. We tell them that at the baptism of their child.” But echoing Archbishop Kurtz, he said there’s a need to follow up on both marriage and baptism with some form of adult education.
He emphasized the importance of family involvement in Catholic education and parish life and recalled his experience of leading Pope John Pail II’s 1993 World Youth Day rally in Denver.
“I would refer to the young people as the church of the future but I was quickly put in my place,” he said. “They want to contribute now.” He said schools need to blend the student’s school life with family life and the life of the parish.
Archbishop Schnurr also asked those present to participate in the “Catholics Come Home” program that will be introduced during Advent. He said the program was more than television commercials and encouraged all to reach out and welcome families into parishes.