The Diocese of Toledo commences its centenary celebration with a live, televised broadcast of the opening liturgy Oct. 7 at noon on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, patroness of the diocese.
The Mass celebrated at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral kicks off a Season of Preparation for the 100th anniversary year of the diocese, which was established April 15, 1910.
A number of other special centenary events are to follow during an 18-month period that also includes a Season of Celebration from April 15, 2010, to Oct. 7, 2010, and a Season of Recommitment from Oct. 8, 2010, to April 15, 2011.
The anniversary is a good time to look back and give thanks for all that has been, as well as to look forward and ask God’s help for the future, according to Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo.
“I hope that every parish and every parishioner will really take this to heart in a prayerful and thoughtful way,” said Bishop Blair.
He suggested that might include participating in some of the centenary events and taking the occasion to read and reflect on the history of the diocese, which has been compiled into a new book available through parishes this fall.
“And as always, I hope that people will have a deeper appreciation of the diocese itself — that all of our 128 parishes together constitute a family of faith in the universal Catholic Church,” added Bishop Blair.
In addition to the opening liturgy, a Mass commemorating the Foundation Day of the diocese is to be celebrated at the cathedral April 15, 2010.
Because of limited seating, both the opening liturgy and the Foundation Day Mass are to be ticketed events.
Tickets for the Oct. 7 Mass at the cathedral are being distributed to diocesan and parish staff members and representatives from the Catholic high schools, most of whom will be students.
“Between those two groups, it will fill the cathedral,” said Father Michael Billian, Episcopal Vicar and Moderator of the Curia.
He noted those without tickets can still participate by watching the liturgy live on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), which will also re-air the Mass later that day.
Tickets to the Foundation Day Mass in April are to be reserved for delegations of the faithful from all of the parishes, representatives from religious orders and their sponsored institutions, ecumenical and interreligous figures and bishops from dioceses in the surrounding region.
Priests and deacons of the diocese are encouraged to participate in both centenary liturgies at the cathedral.
As part of the anniversary celebration, Bishop Blair is also celebrating a series of “stational vespers” services around the diocese. Seven churches of historical significance were chosen to host these Sunday afternoon services: Toledo St. Francis de Sales, Sandusky Holy Angels, Glandorf St. John, Tiffin St. Mary, Peru St. Alphonsus, Defiance St. John and Bethlehem Sacred Heart.
The first vespers service is to be ecumenical and is slated for Jan. 17, 2010, at St. Francis de Sales, the original cathedral of the Diocese of Toledo.
Other events planned for the centenary include a Diversity Day Mass and festival July 18, 2010, at Carey Our Lady of Consolation Basilica and National Shrine and a Prayer Service for Healing of Experiences and Memories Feb. 28, 2010, at Findlay St. Michael.
Fr. Billian explained the latter event is intended to assist the faithful with any hurt the church has caused and “pray for healing of those experiences and those memories.”
Another effort connected to the centenary is “The Spirit of Jesus Alive Today: Pentecost in Our Time” home visitation process that parishes are conducting this fall to evangelize to all within their boundaries.
“There’s so many unchurched people in the world today, or people who have maybe fallen away from the practice of their faith, and the centenary is a good time to do something like we’re doing this October,” Bishop Blair observed.
“The only true sign of life is growth,” he added, citing the saying as a favorite of the Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman. “As a church we can’t rest on what has been, but we also have to share the light of our faith and reach out for the future to other people — to be an inviting community of faith.”