TMU honors Bishop Foys with Bishop Wm. Hughes Award

Laura Keener, Editor.

Thomas More University hosted its 24th annual Bishop William A. Hughes Award dinner, Sept. 26, at the Drees Pavilion, Covington. Bishop Roger Foys was recognized as this year’s award recipient.

“The quality education that we provide today, and aspire to enhance in the future, would not and will not be possible without the leadership and support of our chancellor,” said President Joseph Chillo, Thomas More University. “As president, I am grateful for the mentorship and spiritual guidance that Bishop Foys provides for me, for our board of trustees, and for our community of learners.”

The Bishop William A. Hughes Award was established in 1996 to honor those who have made significant contributions to Catholic higher education. At the awards dinner, Father Ryan Maher and Father Daniel Schomaker, vicars general, praised Bishop Foys not only for his contributions to Catholic higher education but also for his role as father and shepherd of the Diocese of Covington.

Father Maher was a seminarian when Pope St. John Paul II appointed then Msgr. Foys as Bishop of Covington.

“I wanted to know who he was. What was he like? So, I did what most of you probably did — I Googled him,” Father Maher said.

Father Maher said he came upon an article about Msgr. Foys and he remembers three things that impressed him about his new bishop. First that he has a devotion to Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Archbishop Sheen was one of the great communicators of the faith in the 20th century, who for five years (1952–1957) was the host of the popular television program, “Life is Worth Living.”

“A priest must be able to communicate the truth, goodness and beauty of our beloved Catholic faith to others,” Father Maher said.

The second thing that impressed Father Maher was that Msgr. Foys had been a pastor for 29 years, with 22 of those years in the same parish.

“A pastor is always a shepherd of souls,” he said.

And the third quality was Msgr. Foys devotion to the Eucharist, making a daily Holy Hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

“A priest must always come to know Jesus in the Eucharist,” he said.

“I remember being excited about what I read, I remember feeling comforted by what I read, I remember feeling hopeful; as St. Paul says, hope does not disappoint,” Father Maher said.

Reflecting on his 17 years with Bishop Foys, 15 of those as a priest, Father Maher said that the “feeling of comfort” as grown.

“Bishop Foys is a man of great integrity, he is man of great principle, he is man of generosity, a man who works hard, a man of unwavering faith and trust in the Lord. Bishop Foys has the heart of a father who cares and loves his children and Bishop Foys has a great sense of humor. I have found Bishop Foys to not only be a great communicator of the faith, not only a true pastor of souls, not only a man of prayer but also for me he is a mentor, a constant support and guide and a trusted friend.”

Reflecting on a quote from St. Augustine — “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance, to seek him is the greatest adventure, to find him the greatest human achievement” — Father Schomaker shared how Bishop Foys’ parents — Martin and Theresa Foys — led him to faith in God and his profound appreciation for Catholic school education.

“Bishop Foys has experienced the greatest romance there can be because he was introduced to the Lord and came to fall in love with him because of his parents.

He learned to love — to seek the good of the other — from his parents as they provided for him and his three siblings … sacrificing so that they could have a thoroughly Catholic education. They also gave him the greatest adventure because they taught him to seek God,” Father Schomaker said.

Father Schomaker said that although tonight Bishop Foys is being honored with the Bishop Hughes Award, in truth Bishop Foys had “already gained the highest human achievement possible, because he has found the Lord and the Lord has found him. He has come to the realization of what St. Augustine said.”

In accepting the award, Bishop Foys shared how, as a young priest, he was moved by the witness of a priest celebrating his golden jubilee. As one after another praised the priest for his work, the priest stood up and with tears streaming down his face said in Latin, “Not to me O Lord, not to me, but to your name be the glory.”

“What everyone revered him for was having spent his life in the service of the Lord and those thoughts are mine this evening,” Bishop Foys said. “Everything we do, we do it for the glory of God … I am profoundly grateful for this honor and for your being here. I give the glory to God because I would be nothing, I would have nothing, I would do nothing, if it were not for God’s goodness … I thank God every day for having parents that loved each other, and whose love for each other brought my two brothers, my sister and myself into this world and who worked very, very hard in every way to provide us with a good solid Catholic school education.”



TMU installs 15th president; announces two initiatives to make education affordable

Laura Keener, Editor.

The installation of Thomas More University’s (TMU) 15th president — Joseph Chillo — was held Sept. 25. The ceremonies began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Roger Foys at Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel on the campus of TMU. Father Ronald Ketteler, chair, Department of Theology, TMU; Father Gerald Twadell, chaplain and professor of Philosophy, TMU; Father Daniel Schomaker, vicar general; and Father Jacob Straub, assistant professor of Theology, TMU; concelebrated, with Deacon Charles Melville assisting.

Whenever any institution or government installs a new president there is usually an inaugural address, Bishop Foys said as he began his homily. In the Gospel reading for the day’s Mass, Bishop Foys said, Jesus gives his inaugural address.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord … He said to them, ‘Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:16-22)

“He (Jesus) made the words of the prophecy by Isaiah his own. That was his inaugural address and that’s what he calls everyone to do — to follow in his footsteps,” said Bishop Foys.

Congratulating President Chillo, Bishop Foys ended his homily saying, “Today we install our 15th president who is going to be the leader of this community of faith, who is going to uphold the Catholic faith — the Catholic tradition — who is not going to be ashamed to stand up for that truth and who will be proud to be Catholic.”

At the inauguration ceremony later that afternoon, President Chillo, in his inauguration address, affirmed his commitment to enhance the student experience, celebrate the importance of a Catholic, liberal arts education, and share his bold vision for positioning TMU as a regional and national leader. He also announced two new initiatives designed to boost affordability, accessibility and entrepreneurship: the Diocese of Covington Guarantee, which will financially assist graduates of high schools within the Diocese of Covington, and the formation of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which will provide a new program and physical space that allows TMU students and faculty to collaboratively develop initiatives to better serve the future of the northern Kentucky region.

“In the United States, now more than ever, students and their families are feeling the burden of rising college costs. We are combatting this issue. The Diocese of Covington Guarantee ensures that all diocesan graduates starting with this year’s high school graduating seniors who meet our admission criteria will be awarded $20,000 in institutional aid. Every diocesan student that wants to gain a Catholic higher education deserves the assistance to do so. Creating opportunity for our diocesan high schools to effectively position the values and significance of a Catholic higher education begins with our responsibility of being the diocesan University.”

The ceremony also officially launched the University’s new fundraising initiative focused on student scholarships called 1221: A gift for every student, because every student is a gift. The initiative seeks 1221 donors to support the 1221 traditional current students at TMU and is a response to President Chillo’s dedication to affordability and accessibility. The support ensures each student at TMU receives the mentorship and financial support needed to make an impact in an evolving world and workforce.

“Each student here at the University is a gift. I’m committed to ensuring that every student — all 1221 of our traditional students and almost 1000 adult, online, dual credit, and graduate students — receives the mentorship and financial support they need to make an impact in an evolving world and workforce,” President Chillo said.

As a first-generation college graduate and product of a liberal arts education, President Chillo expressed the importance of providing each student with a holistic and transformational college experience.

“A college education isn’t supposed to be a hoop to jump through or a box to check in order to get a good job. Education is a transformative endeavor, not a transactional exchange. It is a community, not a commodity.”



How sweet it is — two schools awarded 2019 Blue Ribbons

Messenger Staff Report.

Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, announced, Sept. 26, the 2019 Blue Ribbon Schools. Across the nation, 362 were awarded the designation including two schools in the Diocese of Covington — Notre Dame Academy, Park Hills, and St. Thomas Elementary, Ft. Thomas.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a part of the U.S. Department of Education that recognizes outstanding public and non-public schools. In identifying several hundred outstanding schools annually, the program celebrates some of the most skilled and effective educators in the country.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of Notre Dame Academy, Park Hills, and St. Thomas School, Ft. Thomas, on being recognized as 2019 Blue Ribbon Schools,” said Michael Clines, superintendent of Schools, Diocese of Covington. “Congratulations to Jack Vonhandorf, principal, Notre Dame Academy and Deborah Flamm, principal, St. Thomas School, their faculties, staff, students and school communities for their hard work and dedication that made this achievement possible.”

This is the second Blue Ribbon for St. Thomas School having achieved its first Blue Ribbon in 2006 and the third Blue Ribbon for Notre Dame Academy which was recognized in 1996 and 2012.

The Diocese of Covington is home to 16 schools with the Blue Ribbon designation:

Bishop Brossart High School, Alexandria (2018)

Blessed Sacrament School, Ft. Mitchell (1994, 2007, 2015)

Covington Catholic High School, Park Hills (2007, 2016)

Covington Latin School, Covington (2003)

Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Burlington (2006, 2018)

Notre Dame Academy, Ft. Wright (1996, 2012, 2019)

St. Agnes School, Ft. Wright (2009)

St. Cecilia School, Independence (2018)

St. Henry District High School, Erlanger (2012)

St. Henry Elementary School, Elsmere (2016)

St. Joseph School, Cold Spring (2018)

St. Joseph School, Crescent Springs (2006, 2017)

St. Mary School, Alexandria, (2016)

St. Paul School, Florence (2014)

St. Pius X School, Edgewood (2001, 2015)

St. Thomas School, Ft. Thomas (2006, 2019)

Villa Madonna Academy Elementary, Villa Hills (2007, 2017)

Villa Madonna Academy High School, Villa Hills (2002, 2003)