The Fort Recovery Catholic Cluster is located in rural Midwest Ohio consisting of four churches: Mary Help of Christians, St. Joseph, St. Peter and St. Paul. The Catholic Community of Fort Recovery, just like other areas in the Catholic Church today, is facing some difficult changes and adjustments, especially in light of the clustering of our four parishes in July 2004. Fewer available priests and diminished pastoral services, mass schedules lacking the element of “convenience,” the need for ever-greater involvement of the laity and surrendering our emotional attachment to specific buildings or places of worship are just some of the adjustments impacting the spiritual lives of our Catholic people today. Given these developments, the Spirit of God may be inviting us individually and collectively to begin “thinking outside the box,” in order to find creative and effective responses to these timely issues.

While our cluster is comprised of four distinct and unique parishes, we do know and believe that the Catholic Church is much bigger than St. Joseph Parish, St. Paul Parish, St. Peter Parish or Mary Help of Christians Parish. The essence and true vitality of the Catholic Church is not found in beautiful buildings. According to the mind of the Apostle Paul, the Church is the Body of Christ. The Church is, first and foremost, a community of people united with Christ through faith and committed to the mission of bringing the wealth of Christ’s love to others through our everyday lives. In the New Testament, the term “church” referred not to a building, but to the People of God gathered together for prayer and worship. Becoming a strong and vibrant community of faith “across parish boundaries” is one of the goals for the Fort Recovery Cluster and will definitely require us to “think outside the box!” May the Holy Spirit of God show us the way and assist us with His divine grace!