Beginning Derby week, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre will celebrate a series of 11 regional welcome Masses in May and June at parishes around the Archdiocese of Louisville.
“I hope that people would come so that we can encounter Christ in the Eucharist and also encounter one another,” said Archbishop Fabre in a phone interview about the Masses. “It’s an opportunity to get to all the parts of the diocese I can in a short amount of time. I will get to all the parishes eventually.”
The new archbishop was formally installed to lead the Archdiocese of Louisville last week on March 30. The plan for the special liturgies, which will be celebrated on weekday evenings, is also an opportunity to enrich everyone’s prayer, including his own, he said.
“It gives people an opportunity to, I hope, encounter this man for whom I hope they’re praying, namely me, who is now in the Eucharistic Prayer,” he said.
After he was installed, Catholics around the archdiocese began praying for “Shelton, our bishop” during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The plan, he said, “also gives me an opportunity to see the names and faces of the people I am praying for, because I’m praying for the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville.”
“I want to go to see and to meet people and to celebrate the Eucharist with them,” he added. “My only desire is to give to people and myself an opportunity to encounter one another as I make my way around the diocese.”
Those who encounter the new archbishop are asked to call him Archbishop Shelton, a name he hopes is approachable, he said. It should also lessen
confusion, he noted, since the newly-appointed Bishop of Charleston, S.C., shares his last name. Bishop-elect Jacques E. Fabre will be ordained and installed on May 13.
Regional Masses will be hosted by one parish in each of the 11 regions of the archdiocese, which covers 24 central Kentucky counties. Each region has multiple parishes — ranging from six to 16 parishes, some covering multiple counties.
The regions of the archdiocese are a tool to encourage inter-parish support and collaboration, said Dr. Brian B. Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer of the archdiocese. Each region has representation on the Priests’ Council and the priests of each region meet regularly.