Cross the Bridge for Life 2024

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A Message from Bishop Iffert

Graduation 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At every graduation and baccalaureate Mass I attend this year, someone reflects on what the pandemic meant for the early high school or college days of this graduating class. Four years ago, there were no in-person graduations. Many common experiences were cancelled or recast.

Here’s the question I have been asking these graduates. “Is your joy today any less substantial because you missed out on graduation four years ago?” The universal answer has been a resounding “NO.” In fact, most say that today’s joy is heightened and the celebrations more meaningful because people are so eager to rejoice in the Class of 2024’s entire academic accomplishment and to be thankful that the months and years of struggle have borne fruit.

Now some of you, like me, lost family members to the COVID virus. I never want to minimize the grief or loss that lingers when someone is taken from our lives. There is a permanent loss that is real and lasting. I encourage us all, though, to distinguish between that grief and passing discomfort.

It is a mistake to confuse what is temporary with what is lasting. So many times, we let ourselves believe that the failure, setback, obstacle, low-point, sadness, loss of freedom, or acute grief that we are now experiencing is a permanent condition of life and we cannot see a path forward that can lead to joy. I like to tell myself and others all the time, “God has a future in mind for you and God can be trusted.” Cling to that truth and let God lead you through low times and struggles.

Joy is not so much the fruit of a life without troubles, but a life with troubles well-faced. In 1963, at the National Prayer Breakfast, President John F. Kennedy quoted Reverend Phillips Brooks: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men (and women)! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.” (Some of you may have seen a similar sentiment attributed to Bruce Lee.) It is important, especially when challenged, to keep one’s eyes on the promises of Christ and to stand in faith. Rely on the Holy Spirit for the strengths and gifts necessary to live a life that is truly good.

Class of 2024, let this early lesson teach you that the good life, the joyful life, the successful life, the fully human life, flows from a life of virtuous self-giving — sacrifice. It is by living for the common good and bearing up with one another’s risks and burdens that we come to know our deepest selves and avoid the shallow life.

Jesus calls this way of living “taking up your cross.” During your formative years, we have had an opportunity, as a community, to share a once in a century public health crisis. It has been a shared cross. Many of us have grieved that your adolescence has been, in many ways, atypical. My prayer for you now is that this early experience will strengthen you, set you on the path of shared sacrifice, teach you to take up your cross and follow Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, help you to be atypically strong, compassionate, gentle souls who rediscover life lived for the common good.

Congratulations Class of 2024. Every generation hopes to shape the world for the better. May your dreams to build a better world than you found be fulfilled in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Bishop John Iffert

How do I …

In the Diocese of Covington, before contracting the services of an extern (from outside the diocese) priest or deacon, man or woman religious, or lay person a request for verification in good standing must be submitted to the Chancery. Click here and you will be directed to the Chancery’s webpage where you can download and submit the proper form.

You’re engaged — congratulations! Visit the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization page and click on the quick link “Programs for Engaged Couples” for answers to your questions.

The Office of Catechesis and Evangelization offers a variety of adult faith formation classes throughout the school year and during the summer. These classes are also required as part of the catechist certification process and formation for aspirants to the permanent diaconate. For information and the schedule of classes Click Here.

The Tribunal Office is available to help with the annulment process.

Employment opportunities for diocesan administrative positions, principals, teachers, and other parish and school positions can be found by clicking here.

The Archives of the Diocese of Covington offers assistance in obtaining sacramental records and other genealogical information.

New Beginnings is the diocese’s Separated and Divorced ministry. Click here for more information.

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