Dear Friends in Christ,
At times throughout our nation’s history, certain events take place that animate the public and force us to ask who we are as an American people. As a community of believers in Christ Jesus, who commanded us to build His Kingdom of love on Earth as it exists in Heaven, we are called to turn to our Catholic values in such moments and play an active role in shaping our culture and civic life. We do so tirelessly on such social concerns as abortion, racism, poverty, religious freedom and more.
Events of this past week provided a galvanizing moment for Catholic Social Teaching. I echo my brother bishops, and Pope Francis himself, in condemning the practices of family separation that were taking place at an unprecedented rate on our nation’s southern border. The human family is the most fundamental building block of society. The bonds between parents and children are God’s gift for how we begin to experience love itself and God’s very presence within humanity. In fact, the family is where we first learn to be human. This is a universal truth that applies to families who have U.S. citizenship, those who were born in other places, and even those who have crossed our borders without permission. Governments at any level exist to serve the structure of the family, not the other way around.
These recent events tested our Catholic Social Teaching on the dignity of the human family and each human person. Thank you for your recent prayers and actions in defense of this principle. We still have grave concerns about what happened and what still may take place. But the public outcry, which included the voices of so many of the Catholic faithful, seems to have halted the immediate crisis of the separation of these families. I am grateful for the strong, united witness of our Catholic faith.
Moving forward, I reiterate the call, one which the U.S. Catholic bishops have proclaimed for decades, for a comprehensive reform of our immigration laws. There is undeniably a need for a greater balance among national security, legal means of entry and humane enforcement of our laws. Congress is currently debating legislation now which the U.S. Catholic bishops oppose, as it would further encumber our immigration system rather than improve it. I encourage all the faithful to urge Congress to fix these problems once and for all through a bipartisan effort of fundamental immigration reform. To learn more, please visit the U.S. bishops’ website, www.justiceforimmigrants.org. Direct assistance can be offered through our Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio at www.ccswoh.org.
May we continue to respond to God’s call to protect human life, dignity and families everywhere.
Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati
You could be as wealthy as a king — yet miserable — if you have no friends. Or you could be as poor as dirt — yet happy — because you’re surrounded by loved ones.
A recent study of human happiness by the distinguished British economist Richard Layard concludes that the most significant factor for personal happiness is relationships with other people. And what personal relationship could be more important than the relationship with God?
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Dear Saints Peter and Paul and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parishioners,
I can’t explain how excited I am to be your new pastor. I look forward to working with you and growing in the Lord together. Many have asked what I would like to be called. You may call me Father, Father Matt, Father Matthew, or Fr. Robben…I’m flexible! With that said, here are a few details about my history.
On February 17, 1972, I was born the 13th of 14 alphabetically named children. As a child, I grew up on a working holstein dairy farm milking as many as 250 animals. I attended St John the Baptist Church and grade school in Harrison, Ohio. I graduated from Elder High School and attended 1 year at the University of Cincinnati. Starting when I was 16, I worked in the restaurant business. First, with LaRosa’s and then as general manager for Pizza Hut for 3 years. At that point, I switched to managing at several Jersey Mike’s locations. I returned to UC in 1999 and graduated with a BA with honors in History with the intention of teaching high school. Lacking the funds to pay for graduate school I was able to get a job at Thomas More College in Northern Kentucky working in the maintenance department and taking education classes at the same time. It was at Thomas More that my vocational call was reawakened. I entered Mount Saint Mary Seminary where I earned a Master of Divinity and was ordained a priest on May 19, 2012. My 1st assignment was as chaplain and teacher at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton Ohio where I taught Scripture (I am currently working on my thesis for a Masters of Biblical Studies). My weekend assignment was to St Peter Parish in Huber Heights, Ohio. Earlier this year, due to the medical retirement of the pastor, I was named co-administrator of Region 12 (St Peter, Holy Cross, Our Lady of the Rosary, St Stephen’s, and St Adalberts). Other ministries I have been involved with include Project Rachel and the Respect Life Office. In my spare time, I like to play most any sport, especially basketball, ping pong, golf bowling or just walking in the woods. I also like to play cards (Pinochle with Euchre a close second), watch movies, and cook (baking in particular). I love volunteering each year for the FAM OHIO convention usually held in Columbus dedicated to helping educate people with bleeding disorders. I also like volunteering for the Over the Rhine and Walnut Hills Soup Kitchens as an active board member. Finally, I like to spend time with family and friends. I hope this gives you a snapshot of who I am, the rest you will learn in time.
God’s blessings to all,
Fr Matthew J Robben
I was ordained a deacon April 30, 2016. I am a family man, married to Linda for 48 years (July 2016); she has been very supportive-an important requirement. We have two children and two grandchildren. As a lay person I was involved in numerous ministries-visiting the sick, Eucharistic minister, lector, RCIA catechist, adult formation, etc.
I graduated from The Ohio College of Applied Sciences, Xavier University, and The Athenaeum of Ohio. I served six years with the US Army reserves. During my working career I was employed by several foundries and manufacturing plants in the Cincinnati area. I retired from manufacturing after 48 years, as a Quality Assurance Manager, to concentrate on my deacon formation studies.
Deacons are called to serve in a special way but I have always felt called to serve in many other ways – service to family, the Catholic Church, my country, and the community have all been part of my life’s work. I look forward to serving the priests and parishioners of Sts. Peter and Paul and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Mrs. Beth Pettigrew has been on the parish staff since July, 2012. Starting in September, 1998, she served Sts. Peter and Paul parish for 6 years as the part-time coordinator of Youth Ministry, receiving the Archdiocesan certification in Youth Ministry in 2002. In 2005 Beth became the full time Pastoral Associate for Youth and Religious Education at SsPP, and then for OLSH when our collaborative region was established in 2012. In 2008 she completed the two year Lay Pastoral Ministry program at the Athenaeum of Ohio, and has since earned a Certificate in Sacred Scripture from Catholic University.
Beth’s duties include: Sacrament preparation for 1st Holy Communion and Confirmation, Coordinator of the Parish Religious Education Program (PREP), and Safe Environment Coordinator. As a volunteer, she also runs the Youth Ministry program for youth from Jr. High through 12th grade.