Bishop Foys honors graduates at baccalaureate

Laura Keener, Editor.

As the 2019-2020 school year comes to a close, it is safe to say that the Class of 2020 will have experienced the end of their senior year and graduation in ways that no one could have predicted. The COVID-19 pandemic had leaders around the world enacting sweeping regulations in desperate attempts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and to save lives. With each passing day churches, schools, businesses were told to close their doors to in-person interaction and to find new ways — virtual or contact-less ways — to conduct business, to learn and to worship.

As the seniors packed their school bags March 13, for what was anticipated to be two weeks of Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI), they undoubtedly could not have known or even imagined that this was going to be their “last time” — their last time in their school, their last time with their teachers, their last time with each other.

But it was also a time for some firsts. Students and teachers, together, with little time to prepare, for the first time moved in-classroom instruction to a variety of digital platforms. In the Diocese of Covington, teachers reported that students remained engaged and completed their assignments, indicative of the teachers, students and parents determination and dedication to their education.

The Class of 2020 is the first to have caps and gowns distributed and diplomas picked up in a parade-like caravan or delivered directly to their door with their teachers cheering from sidewalks. They are the first class to experience a virtual graduation, with each school imagining what that would look like. Then realizing what was imagined through the cooperation of administrators, parents and students, all working together, sharing photos and videos and, most of all, heartfelt sentiments that were pieced together and shared online.

And, in many ways, the virus that threatened to keep people apart has brought the seniors together. The Class of 2020 is the first class in the diocese to begin its graduations together with one Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by the bishop.

“Your graduation this year is not what you imagined and not what I imagined for you but that doesn’t diminish you and it doesn’t diminish your accomplishments,” said Bishop Roger Foys in his homily, May 18, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption.

For the Baccalaureate Mass the cathedral church was empty except for Bishop Foys, Father Daniel Schomaker, vicar general, Father Joseph Shelton, administrative assistant to the Bishop and the seven high school pastoral administrators concelebrating. The seniors, their teachers, parents, families and friends participated by watching the live stream on the Cathedral’s website.

“You have been in a Catholic school and you have heard me say many, many, many times that there are alternatives to Catholic schools but there are no substitutes … A Catholic school is about developing a way of life. If we are going to develop a way of life that is going to be meaningful, although challenging, then we have to hear, receive and act upon the word of God.”

Reflecting on the second reading, Bishop Foys encouraged the graduates to be agents of change.

“Paul says to the early Christians, ‘Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.’ It’s easy to conform ourselves to any age of the world, it’s easy to go along with the flow, there is absolutely no challenge in that,” Bishop Foys said. “Our faith challenges us and it calls us to challenge others … You can transform the world, you can make a difference … You can be that agent of transformation in a world that has lost its way.”

Bishop Foys acknowledged that life isn’t always easy; the end of their senior year has surely taught them that. But he encouraged the graduates to heed the words of St. Paul.

“Paul says, rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. I could not give you seniors any better advice than that,” he said.

Bishop Foys acknowledged that due to the pandemic many people have had to sacrifice in many ways — healthcare workers risking their lives in caring for the sick, workers whose work was deemed non-essential have lost income in order to protect others and family members were unable to care for their loved ones as they died.

“You, yourself, have looked forward to your graduation and have had such great enthusiasm for your final days of your high school career — prom night, senior night, awards banquets, graduation, baccalaureate Mass — we are aware of your pain and your sacrifice. We’ve all had affliction and sacrifice, but we can endure because we rejoice in hope. In the final analysis what matters most is Jesus Christ, our salvation.

“So as you celebrate this accomplishment, the end of your high school career and the beginning of whatever is to come next, be young men and young women who rejoice in hope, who can endure affliction because you have hope, and who never stop praying. God will bless you for that,” he said.

Bishop Foys ended his homily with words of congratulations.

“My congratulations to all of you. I wish you well and pray that you will have a bright future,” he said.

The baccalaureate Mass as well as the virtual graduations of all nine high schools are available for viewing here.

Public celebration of the Mass resumes, Alleluia

Laura Keener, Editor.

After 62 days (since March 20), public celebration of the Mass resumed, May 20, in the Diocese of Covington. It was a day long anticipated by Bishop Roger Foys, the priests of the diocese and the lay faithful.

“I’ve heard from the priests that there is anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent of their normal congregations,” said Bishop Foys, May 27, in an interview about the first weekday and weekend Masses. “The people who are there are very happy that the Mass is available. There are still some people who are nervous and I certainly understand that, especially people who are at high risk.”

For anyone who has underlying health conditions or falls into the high risk categories of developing complications from the coronavirus or anyone who feels nervous about venturing out in public, Bishop Foys has extended the dispensation from the Sunday obligation of attending Mass. Many parishes, including the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, are still live streaming Mass so that those at home can join spiritually with their parish.

Bishop Foys did caution, as did Pope Francis, that people not get the misconception that the live stream somehow replaces the in-person, public celebration of the Mass, especially in the long term.

“The Mass is more than just a church service. We have the Eucharist and the Eucharist is what sustains us,” said Bishop Foys. “Part of the Eucharist is coming together as a community — our faith calls us to that. Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper with his apostles; he didn’t just do it on his own somewhere. The whole notion of a parish and parish life is bringing people together because, certainly, the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ but the gathered community is also the body of Christ. It’s very important for us to come together and worship together — the Eucharist is what binds us together.”

Before public Masses resumed, a list of protocols developed by Bishop Foys and a task force of about ten Curia members was shared and discussed with diocesan consultors, deans and priests. After the discussions, adjustments to the protocols were made. On May 12, Bishop Foys promulgated the protocols, making them particular law for the Diocese of Covington. The complete list protocols is available on the diocesan website, As pastors opened the church doors, parishioners were asked to assist their priests in implementing the protocols.

Some highlights of the protocols are:
— Those that are sick should refrain from attending for 14 days from when symptoms began.
— Masses will be celebrated with a 33 percent capacity reduction.
— Social distancing is required; pews are marked so that parishioners maintain six-feet spacing from each other.
— Face coverings are encouraged for all and required for ushers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
— Distribution of Holy Communion will be under one species, the Body of Christ.
— Churches will be cleaned and sanitized after every Mass.

“The people have been very cooperative, especially in terms of sanitizing the pews after Mass and not gathering in groups after Mass. I haven’t heard any glaring complaints,” said Bishop Foys. “I wish more people would wear masks at Mass; we advise that but do not mandate that.”

When asked what celebrating Mass under the new protocols looks like from the celebrant’s point of view Bishop Foys said, “It’s strange to see very small crowds spread out over the entire church.” But, he said, it looks to him like the social distancing protocols should offer parishioners a safe place to worship.

Bishop Foys and the priests are hopeful that in the coming days, as more is learned on how effective the protocols are working, more of the lay faithful will physically make their way back to Mass.

“I don’t fault people (for being cautious). I think it is going to take awhile,” Bishop Foys said. “For eight weeks we have been cautioned to be careful and we know the virus is very contagious, so it will take awhile for us to get used to that. There is a hesitancy, which we can appreciate and we have to support.”

Bishop Foys said that after one more week of experience in celebrating both weekday and weekend Masses, he, his staff and the priests will review the protocols in light of that experience.

“If we need to change any of the protocols, we will do that,” he said.

Sisters assemble care packages for Latino community

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Religious communities in the Diocese of Covington are uniting to bring relief to local Latino communities through outreach. Sisters from five congregations are assembling care packages to give out to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Divine Providence Sister Kay Kramer served as the bridge to unite the goals of the various congregations and St. Elizabeth Healthcare into this project. Sister Kay, a nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner at St. Elizabeth, reached out to her provincial superior, Divine Providence Sister Barbara Roe. Sister Barbara in turn contacted the superiors of the Sisters of Notre Dame, the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery, the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker and the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.

“At St. Elizabeth we have created a Latino COVID-19 Crisis Team to try to improve outreach to Latinos in our area who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus,” said Sister Kay. “So one of the things we thought might be helpful was these care packages.”

The packages include supplies both bought by the sisters and provided by the hospital: Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, bars of soap, masks, gloves, dish soap, an instruction sheet in Spanish and a prayer card in Spanish. The various religious orders are listed on the back of the prayer card to remind recipients that the sisters are praying for them.

“It’s a way to be in solidarity with them and remind them that we are united with them in prayer,” Sister Kay said.

She said the response from the congregations was wonderful. “It was an issue of who was going to do this, and I thought, well this is definitely something the sisters can do. … They all were right away willing to help in any way.”

Any extra money raised in the process of making the care packages will be used toward helping to provide groceries to Latino families who are impacted by the virus.

Sister Kay said that the COVID-19 virus is impacting Guatemalan and Mexican families in the Covington, Newport and Florence communities especially harshly.

“We have such long standing social and health inequities for the immigrant community, so the virus impacting them is not really a surprise,” she said. “This is just bringing it all to a head, these issues that we’ve been trying to work with for so long.”

St. Elizabeth is also reaching out to communities with large Latino populations, such as St. Anthony Parish, Taylor Mill, and Cristo Rey Parish, Florence, to get information about the virus to them in brochures, as well as donations of soap and household items from Matthew 25 Ministries.

“I think it’s something that our local Church needs to know about,” said Sister Kay.

She’s also grateful for the opportunity to give her fellow religious communities a chance to express their faith through actions.

“For us as religious communities, it’s really a way of living out not just the missions of our religious orders but also living out Catholic social teaching in a very direct and concrete way,” she said. “Catholic social teaching is built on a foundation of respect and belief in the dignity of the human person, so by providing these care packages, it’s a very concrete way to express our commitment to that teaching.”

Ordination is a sign that the Church goes on

Laura Keener, Editor.

Sacrifice, silence, stability — these three words might not usually come to mind if a person were asked to describe an ordination to the sacred priesthood. They were, however, prominent in ways both visible and hidden, May 16, at the ordination of Father Jordan Hainsey and his Mass of Thanksgiving, May 17.

The Cathedral was empty except for the ordinand’s parents — Raymond and Denise Hainsey — the celebrant, Bishop Roger Foys, and those concelebrating or assisting: Father Stephen Bankemper, Father Aron Maghsoudi, Father Ryan Maher, Father Daniel Schomaker, Deacon Joseph Rielage and Devin Heffernan. The ordination was taking place during a pandemic — a time when people could not gather — not even the Bishop’s Choir. And it was raining. Yet, still, the atmosphere inside the Cathedral was one of anticipation and joy.

“This is not an ordinary day and this is not an ordinary time. What matters is that the Church goes on,” said Bishop Foys in his homily. “Deacon Jordan’s ordination is not diminished by the times in which we live. The fact of the matter is no matter the weather, no matter what the situation is, no matter the guidelines and the restrictions, no matter what is going on outside of us, what is important is what’s going on inside of us — inside our hearts and especially inside Deacon Jordan’s heart. What is going on is that this young man is committing himself for the rest of his life to serve the Lord and the Lord’s people as a priest. It is not only significant — it is sacred.”

Reflecting on the Gospel passage where Jesus tells his disciples “you are the salt of the earth,” and “you are the light of the world,” Bishop Foys said that these are two powerful images.

“To be salt is to be a preservative, to be that which keeps things — people —from going bad. You are the light of the world to be seen by people, to be a guide, to be a warning,” he said.

Bishop Foys said that all Christians are called to be salt and light but the call especially pertains to those who are called to take up the vocation of priesthood.

“Deacon Jordan has been called to be salt and to be light, to do everything he can to preserve God’s people and to preserve everything that is in them that is good. To be their light, to be a guide,” Bishop Foys said.

Bishop Foys thanked Deacon Jordan for listening to the Lord and answering the Lord’s call to priesthood. He was also grateful for Deacon Jordan’s commitment in the face of the sacrifices demanded by the pandemic’s restrictions on gatherings.

“His willingness to be ordained during this time and in this manner is a willingness to embrace his vocation and to begin by sacrifice,” Bishop Foys said. “We are all called, but especially those called to priesthood, to live lives of sacrifice.”

Bishop Foys ended his homily thanking God and asking for his grace. “Deacon Jordan, we pray for you today as we welcome you to the order of presbyter of this holy Church. We pray that this beginning will be a time of new grace for you and that this grace will carry you throughout your entire life as a priest.”

At his Mass of Thanksgiving, Father Hainsey shared that underneath the grandeur of the ordination ceremony, the seeds of his vocation to the priesthood can be found in the faithful witness of a simple man — Mick Marvich. Mr. Marvich was Father Hainsey’s uncle and sponsor when he came into the Church in 2006.

Father Aron Maghsoudi, pastor, Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish, Central City, and All Saints Parish, Boswell, Penn., was the homilist at Father Hainsey’s first Mass. He was also the pastor at St. Joseph Parish, Williamsburg, Penn., where Mr. Marvich was a member. Even in his late years Mr. Marvich’s faith and dedication to his parish — performing routine custodial duties — helped form Father Hainsey, Father Maghsoudi said.
“He lived a very simple life,” Father Maghsoudi said about Mr. Marvich. “There will never probably be a monument dedicated to him and very few accolades afforded him. But it is a simplicity that goes beyond the complexities of life; that in simple faith I offer my best,” he said.

Father Maghsoudi also suggested that the unusual quietness of Father Hainsey’s ordination and the silent works of his uncle offer a catechesis on the power of silence.

“In the silence there are great and profound things that happen. Things that are eternally significant take place even when others fail to notice,” he said. “When Father Jordan was conformed to Christ in a unique and powerful way in the sacrament of Holy Orders yesterday, that act that defines the sacrament — that most ancient of gestures, the laying on of hands — an eschatological change was given, but it was given in silence … In the silence and simplicity of what we celebrate today and what we saw transpire yesterday there is a silent, powerful, life-changing reality, a configuring to Christ.”

Father Maghsoudi encouraged Father Hainsey to “look to the Cross” as he faces the challenges of priesthood.
“Our stability comes from that of the Cross. As the world turns the Cross stands still, that’s where we find our stability, that’s where we find our assurance, that’s where life makes sense,” he said.

In his ordination program Father Hainsey thanked the people who have supported him and recognized the sacrifice that everyone is making in not being able to gather for Mass and the sacraments by offering encouragement.

“Amidst these days of the coronavirus, it has been particularly painful for me and fellow clergy not to greet and be with so many of you for liturgies and Holy Mass,” Father Hainsey wrote. “The same sort of void is felt today as I am ordained to the priesthood in the absence of you and so many family and friends. But for us to sorrow in this reality would be to let the evil one win. Rather, we must ‘run the race,’ as St. Paul would say, and celebrate with great joy, as one family, the fact that the Line of Melchizedek — the priesthood of Jesus Christ — is continuing today despite the hardships that have been thrown at the Church in these past many weeks. This is how we can continue to keep our eyes fixed on Him.

“So many men and women, too numerous to count, have spurred on my vocation throughout my life by their example, helping to till the soil in which God plants the vocation. For that, I will be forever grateful,” he said.

Father Damian Hils: the road to the altar and 25 years since

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

With the jubilee celebration of 25 years of priesthood, Father Damian Hils is coming full circle by returning to his childhood parish as pastor. On June 10, he will take up leading Blessed Sacrament Parish, Ft. Mitchell, which is where his vocation began.

Father Hils remembers fondly his days at Blessed Sacrament School, serving at Mass and gazing up at the altar where he came to understand that Jesus Christ was truly present. By seventh grade, he knew he had a vocation to the priesthood.

Before finding his way to the seminary, however, Father Hils went on to college and graduate school, eventually studying medieval history and architecture at Thomas More College (now University) and the University of Notre Dame. His studies indirectly eventually led him to the altar, though he didn’t see it at the time.

For his senior thesis as a history major in August 1984, he studied the life of William T. Mulloy, Bishop of Covington 1945–1959. As part of his research, he traveled to North Dakota to study Bishop Mulloy’s life, conducting interviews and consulting diocesan records. During these three weeks, he lived with the Bishop of Fargo, the Most Rev. Justin A. Driscoll. Bishop Driscoll was very kind to him, Father Hils remembered, and asked him to sign up for seminary for the Diocese of Fargo.

Father Hils was ordained in 1995, and spent 11 years in that diocese. Nine of those years were as pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish, Warsaw, North Dakota. While there, he founded St. Gianna’s Maternity Home, a pro-life home of formation for pregnant women and their children.

Since 2003, the home has offered a safe and peaceful place to help redirect women and provide for their newborn children, giving access to medical, educational and professional services.

Father Hils didn’t just found the idea, however; he literally founded the building from an abandoned site and designed the home, using his architectural skills. The home includes a chapel with a shrine to St. Gianna Mola, its patron. The shrine features relics of the saint, and is dedicated to the Visitation.

“One of the best things I have ever done in my priesthood was to design two chapels,” he said. “It was really a privilege to design the chapel for that home.”

The other chapel bearing Father Hils’ touch is a chapel for a women’s dormitory for Catholic women at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. It is dedicated to the seven women of the first Eucharistic prayer, and includes six paintings depicting them on the side walls.

“The highlights of my priesthood were when I could design something beautiful for God,” said Father Hils. “It was an absolute blast to use architectural skills during priesthood.”

In 2005, Father Hils knew he had done enough work in North Dakota and it was time to come home. “I wanted to come home and work with people around here whom I’d gone to work with and gone to school with,” he said.

Bishop Roger Foys welcomed Father Hils back into the Diocese of Covington and assigned him to the Cathedral Basilica as a priest upon his return in 2005. He also served as chaplain and faculty member at Covington Latin School.

“I want to thank Bishop Foys for welcoming me into the diocese,” he said. “He’s been very gracious and kind to me.”

“I congratulate Father Damian Hils on 25 years of dedicated ministry in the priesthood,” said Bishop Foys. “His ministry these 25 years has been marked by a true zeal for souls and by a spirit of cooperation with God’s will. He has carried out every assignment with trust in God and with compassion and care for those he serves. He is an accomplished homilist who touches the hearts of his listeners and makes the Gospel message come alive.”

During his time as a priest, Father Hils said his parishioners have taught him sincerity and love for Jesus Christ. “They are fervent in the faith … When you interact with them, you see that all that is motivating them is love for Jesus and Mary,” he said. “They are deeply in love with God, and that just lifts up my own soul and inspires me to try to be a good priest.”

After two years back in the diocese, Father Hils traveled to Rome to study dogma at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas at the assignment of Bishop Foys. He said the opportunity to return to intensive study was “life-changing.”

Since then, he has also served as parochial administrator at St. Matthew Parish and Mission, Kenton, and pastor at Divine Mercy Parish, Bellevue and the adjoining St. Bernard Parish, Dayton.

The last six years Father Hils has greatly enjoyed at St. William Parish and St. John Mission in Williamstown.

“The people of Williamstown are wonderful and this has been a wonderful assignment. It’s a great place to be a priest,” he said. “The talent and the charity of the people here is exceptional. They can fix anything and at the same time, they’re so very kind and welcoming. I will miss the people greatly.”

After nearly 50 years away from his home parish, Father Hils was thrilled when Bishop Foys assigned him to Blessed Sacrament Parish this June.

“I was happiest there as a Catholic,” he said fondly. “Every stone of that place has a memory for me, and they’re all happy memories. The sisters at the grade school loved me and I loved them and I’m looking forward to going back home where I belong.”

One of his best memories is learning the Angelus with the sisters after recess in third grade. “Now I’m going to be the pastor at Blessed Sacrament and I’m going to teach the children the Angelus … that’s special.”

“He has kept the promises he made at his ordination 25 years ago and is an example and a witness for all priests, especially the young,” shared Bishop Foys. “As Father Damian celebrates 25 years of ministry and of grace, and as he is poised now to take on the pastorate of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Fort Mitchell, I wish him many more graces and every blessing. Ad multos annos!”

“I can’t tell you how excited I am that Bishop Foys gave me the opportunity to serve the people there,” he said. “This assignment is the biggest highlight of my priesthood.”

Meet the cathedral videographers

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Those who watch Mass from the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption might recognize the familiar faces of the Cathedral rector, diocesan priests and Cathedral servers — but there’s one face they won’t recognize; one whose ministry is at the altar but nearly 180 feet away from the altar of every recorded Mass — the face behind the camera.

Recording Mass at the Cathedral has been the ministry of the Broering family for around eight years now. It began when Tim Broering, of St. Thomas Parish, Ft. Thomas, was helping re-wire the sound and video system at the Cathedral. An experienced video director, his skills were well known to Msgr. William Neuhaus, his former pastor at St. Thomas and rector of the Cathedral at the time, and associate rector Father Raymond Enzweiler, a childhood friend.

“I’d go over for the occasional thing and the first thing I directed for them was when they had the Diocesan Synod in 2006,” said Mr. Broering. At the time, the Cathedral staff was looking for a new video director. “They asked me to show my sons how to do it.”

From then on, a Broering son has been behind the camera at the Cathedral for every Saturday vigil Mass. John Paul and Joseph Broering served at the post for several years each before going to college and starting a new job, respectively. Mr. Broering’s youngest son, William, is currently working the ministry. Mr. Broering comes in as backup or for complicated ceremonies or concerts such as midnight Mass or ordinations.

The philosophy behind the work is simple: “To give the audience the best seat in the house for whatever is happening at that point in time,” said Mr. Broering.

Mr. Broering has simplified manning the cameras by establishing pre-set shots for particular times during Mass.

“So we pick the camera that’s going to get the best angle that we can and there’s times that you want to frame tighter because that’s what you want the audience to focus on, and there’s times you want a wider shot for more context,” he said.

“I’ve saved a lot of pre-set shots with the camera remote control. You have one person controlling all three cameras, the switcher and the audio, which can be a lot to juggle. It helps to have the controller already memorized with the shots.”

From there, the Broerings can fine-tune the views however they want.

William Broering, a 2020 graduate of Newport Central Catholic High School, Newport, has been recording for about three years now. He appreciates having inherited the family job.

“When (my brothers) went off to college I went in to help pay for my high school tuition,” he said. “Dad taught me on the job and I find it kind of fun.”

He enjoys getting different and beautiful shots, especially to encapsulate special liturgies during Advent and Lent. He’s also filmed ordinations and weddings.

“I arrive early to set up, and I stay later after Mass to pad things out for channel 5,” he said. At this point, he’s got more experience than most 18-year-olds with videography.

The reason? “I like being able to send it to people who can’t make it, like if they’re hospitalized or sick, or can’t leave their house,” he said.

The Cathedral Basilica staff started recording Mass after the 2000–2002 renovations. When they remodeled, they put in remote control cameras and a small studio rack for switching and directing those. They also purchased time on MeTV WLWT, which broadcasts the Mass to channel 5. Funding for the weekly broadcast is underwritten through the generosity of St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

In May 2018, Father Ryan Maher, vicar general and Cathedral rector, made the decision to upgrade the system to HD, which includes the ability to live stream. Now, the Broerings’ ministry includes a computer-based studio with video and audio and transmitting the video directly to channel 5. It also streams on Vimeo and can be found anytime on the Cathedral or diocesan websites.

“We had no idea of course at the time when we upgraded the cameras and equipment and installed high speed internet for live streaming that we would need to rely on the new technology so much during this current pandemic,” said Father Maher. “It is a true blessing that we can not only live stream and broadcast the Sunday Mass but also other celebrations including ordinations, holy hours and the Holy Week services.”

“I think that upgrading the system to HD this last year really put them in a much better position for what they’re doing now and the needs they’re trying to fill with that,” said Mr. Broering. “When this all started happening they had everything in place.”

The Mass broadcast usually assists 30-40 families per weekend who are unable to physically attend Mass.

“In the course of the year we receive a number of notes from people who are so grateful to be able to participate in Mass through the television broadcast especially,” shared Father Maher. “Sometimes we forget that not everyone has internet access or the ability to watch online.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent suspension of public participation in Masses, views shot up to over 1,000.

“You really see that the capability of having the better system and the ability to stream have really put them in a position to try to help make sure people can attend Mass remotely and keep connected to the faith,” said Mr. Broering. “We’ve got 1000 people watching, and we don’t know how many more are watching on channel 5, as well as on Vimeo replays.”

“I’ve often thought wouldn’t it be great if our Catholic faith took advantage of the media more often to try to help spread the faith,” he said. With COVID-19, the media is more useful than ever, and Mr. Broering has enjoyed seeing the Church rise to the occasion of using media to serve others.

The Broerings service doesn’t go unnoticed by those at the Cathedral.

“I am extremely grateful to the Broering family for their generosity in providing the live streaming and recording of our Sunday Masses,” said Bishop Roger Foys. “Without them we would not be able to provide this much-needed and much-appreciated service to our faithful. I cannot thank them enough.”

“I am very grateful to Tim and his sons for their dedicated and faithful service over these years to ministry of the Mass broadcast,” said Father Maher. “For them, I know that it is a labor of love that flows from their faith in the Lord. They are able to use their gifts and talents to serve behind the scenes, as it were, in this most important ministry.”

“Directing shows is something I’ve done for a while and when it comes together well and Mass looked good on air, it’s something that you take pride in,” said Mr. Broering.

Bishop consecrates diocese to Mary, Mother of the Church

Laura Keener, Editor.

May is Mary’s month. In the Catholic Church, Mary has rightfully been understood to be a great intercessor for God’s people as Mother of the Church. On May 1, Bishop Roger Foys consecrated the Diocese of Covington to Mary, Mother of the Church pleading for her protection during and intercession to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. The local consecration was a part of a North American initiative started by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and supported by Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Several other bishops across the United States also that day consecrated their diocese to Mary, Mother of the Church.

At the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, the celebration included the praying of the decade of the rosary and a traditional May Crowning — absent of a congregation. The event was live streamed and is available for viewing on the Cathedral’s website

The reading, which was recommended by the USCCB, was John’s account of the crucifixion, where from the cross Jesus entrusts Mary to the disciple John and John to Mary — in turn entrusting the Church to the loving care of his mother.

“Mary stood at the foot of that cross because she loved her son with a love that only a mother can give,” said Bishop Foys in his reflection. “She needed to be there so that she could see her son and that he could see her, so that even in the midst of his agony, suffering and pain he derived consolation in that he was not alone — that he would not die alone.”

Bishop Foys said that a mother’s love is so necessary that God sent his son to born of a woman.

“God could have sent his son in any number of ways but he chose that his son, who would be our Savior, would be born of a woman — one of us — who would know a mother’s love. How empty Jesus’ life would have been without the love of a mother — a love that is so great that she stood along the path to Calvary … How painful her hurt must have been as she saw her son beaten, bloodied, spit upon, bearing the weight his cross on the way to Calvary. What went through her mind as she stood at the foot of the cross with the beloved disciple and watched her son in his agony? It is a pain only a mother could imagine,” he said.

During this time of pandemic, it is right that the Church turn to Mary, her mother, asking for her protection and intercession, Bishop Foys said.

“Mary the Mother of God, the mother of Jesus, our mother, she is the mother of the Church, the mother of us all and she will intercede for us with her son. She will not abandon us,” Bishop Foys said. “There is no love, at one in the same time, as gentle and as strong as the love of a mother. So we gather today, the bishops across our country, to dedicate our nation and our dioceses, to consecrate ourselves, to Mary, Mother of the Church and we ask her to intercede for us — to make us strong during this time of testing, during this time of pain, this time of fear and anxiety. We ask her to take our collective hands into hers and comfort us. Mary is our mother. She will not disappoint us. She will care for us because she loves us.

“Mary, Mother of God, mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church — pray for us.”

Deacon Hainsey to be ordained to priesthood, looks to serve faithful

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Deacon Jordan Hainsey, the Diocese of Covington’s candidate for the ordination to the sacred priesthood this year, certainly didn’t imagine receiving the sacrament of holy orders in an empty church. Yet for him, it’s an opportunity to recognize God’s continuing grace.

“It’s not the full church and ceremony that you look forward to and expect, but at the same time, I’m always reminded of the great saints throughout the Church’s history,” he said. “I think of clergy who have been ordained and ministered to people in similar situations but yet they’ve been given grace to accept those challenges and they led really heroic lives amidst that.”

During his year as a deacon at St. Augustine Parish, Covington, Deacon Hainsey has enjoyed preaching more than anything. Every homily, he said, ought to be geared toward the faithful in the pews.

“For me, writing and praying about homilies has been about listening to what the parishioners need to hear and what the Lord’s asking for me to communicate to them.”

Deacon Hainsey has also served as deacon at a parish in Pennsylvania near St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe. He has attended both the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, and St. Vincent Seminary. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2017. Before entering the seminary Mr. Hainsey earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design at St. Vincent College.

Jordan HainseyRather than focusing on what he enjoys, however, Deacon Hainsey is anticipating the needs of others in his role as a priest. Looking forward to the priesthood, he is eager to celebrate Mass and hear confessions, calling them both “life-giving things.”

“The Lord gives of himself in the Eucharist but also of his grace and mercy through the sacrament of confession — both things that we need now more than ever in the world,” he said. “I’m always moved by priests in the confessional who are there to give that grace and mercy that the Lord is desirous to give to us.”

In these last few weeks leading up to the ordination during the COVID-19 pandemic, Deacon Hainsey said he’s sustained by Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens.” He spoke about the responsibility the faithful have as the body of Christ to each other. “In this difficult time and all the different influences in the world today, it’s important to remember that we have a duty to bring others to Christ, to walk with them on the journey,” he said.

Deacon Hainsey’s own journey to the priesthood is one very influenced by the faithful example of others. Growing up in the ELCA Lutheran church, he converted to Catholicism as a senior in high school. As he matured and was heavily involved in his Lutheran church, Deacon Hainsey said there was just always something more that wasn’t being satiated. He found that in Catholicism.

“I think I have the best parents in the world,” said Deacon Hainsey. “I know everyone says that, but they’ve always been open and supportive of me and my vocation. My mother would take me in my teens to Fatima devotions at the local Franciscan monastery, she bought me a rosary, she really did anything and everything possible to fuel the Lord’s call in my life.”

After attending St. Vincent College for graphic design, he worked in public relations at St. Vincent Archabbey and Seminary, where his friendships with seminarians and clergy drew him to consider priesthood even more seriously.

“One of my parish priests met me for dinner and he was the first person who said, ‘Have you thought about being a priest?’ For me, it took that person simply asking the question, acknowledging that they saw something in me,” he said.

“I think in terms of vocations, we have to remind each other that the Lord is calling but you have to be open and listening for it,” said Deacon Hainsey. He emphasized the need for silence as well as support in discernment.

“There’s so much noise in the world today and it can be so hard to hear the Lord’s voice … It’s difficult to discern what I want to hear, but … that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord is calling us. … You also need a good support system: friends, family, people to walk with you on the journey, people who will understand what you’re going through, what your vocation is, and be there every step of the way with you,” he said.

Each candidate for the priesthood chooses particular saints to walk with him on the road to ordination. Mr. Hainsey has chosen St. Wolfgang of Regensburg and Blessed Karl of Austria. St. Wolfgang, a bishop of Regensburg, Bavaria, inspires Deacon Hainsey because his life serves as a reminder that in priestly ministry, “it’s not what we desire or want but what God calls us to, because he knows us best and how our skills and talents will be used for his benefit and glory,” he said. “St. Wolfgang felt called to the hermitage but the people liked him so much that they came and carried him back to be their bishop,” he laughed.

Blessed Karl of Austria (Kaiser Karl Gebetsliga) was last emperor of Austria-Hungary, and Deacon Hainsey is involved in his cause for canonization. Blessed Karl never stopped trusting in God even throughout illness, being maligned by his closest collaborators and exiled, Deacon Hainsey said. “He always remained firm and resolute in God, and for me that’s always been a beautiful thing to see ourselves reflected in, following that example.”

Since 2015, Deacon Hainsey has been the webmaster and graphic designer for Blessed Karl’s website,, and develops the holy reminders that they sell on its online store, things like prayer books, devotional books, statues, rosaries and anything that promotes his cause in the United States and Canada.

In his spare time Deacon Hainsey enjoys hiking, kayaking and traveling, though there has certainly been less of that because of the pandemic. Lately, he has been supplementing his extra prayer and reading time with assisting in the church renovations at St. Augustine Parish.

“It’s afforded me the ability to be more hands on with some of the details in the church, working with the site contractor, in plan operations (deciding what gets painted) and lots of little things. I love details.” He said the physical work augments his prayer and study as he finishes up his final class work.

For his vesting at his ceremony, Deacon Hainsey has chosen his friend and mentor, Father Stef Bankemper, pastor, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Ft. Thomas. When Deacon Hainsey was assigned to St. Catherine about four years ago, Father Bankemper “was a great example of the priesthood.”

“He has a heart for God’s people and he’s a true shepherd,” he said. “As I thought of ordination day, and the person who would give me the symbol of service and sacrifice (the chasuble), my mind kept coming back to him as a great example during my formation.”

Deacon Hainsey will be ordained May 16, 2020 at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington. The Mass will be live streamed through the cathedral website, The link can also be found through the diocesan website, All are invited to watch. Deacon Hainsey will celebrate his first Mass — the Mass of Thanksgiving — the following day at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral Basilica.

He is excited for the day and grateful for the hand of God at work through it all. “As I look forward to priestly ordination, certainly it’s a difficult time in the Church, but it’s also one that I know that with God’s grace, he’s going to do amazing things.”

Curia building

Bishop Foys freezes tuition, fees for Catholic schools

Laura Keener, Editor.

Bishop Roger Foys doesn’t want financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic to dissuade parents from choosing a Catholic school education for their children this fall. In his Friday briefing to priests, April 24, Bishop Foys said that, for the upcoming fiscal year July 1, 2020–June 30, 2021, salaries will be frozen for all priests, teachers and employees and that all schools — high schools and elementary — will freeze tuition and fees. The decision was made in collaboration with the consultors, deans and a team of Curia staff members.

“In these difficult times we cannot expect our parents to bear this heavy burden,” Bishop Foys said in his briefing to priests. “I realize that this will impact budgets but the need to assist our parents is paramount.”

Principals were made aware of the decision in a letter Monday, April 27.

“It’s apparent that a lot of people are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, not just from the illness itself but also from the ramifications of the pandemic,” Bishop Foys said in an interview with the Messenger, April 27. “In many cases that means their job — their income. I think that we have to be sensitive to that. Many people already sacrifice a great deal to send their children to Catholic schools and if there is anything we can do to help we, need to do that, especially at this time.”

Bishop Foys acknowledged that some parishes and schools might already be operating on a tight budget and that freezing tuition and fees will affect budgets. The salary freeze, he said, will help offset the freeze on income. And, he said, as government leaders grapple with the economic downturn from the pandemic there might still be financial assistance available to schools from the government.

“We are also freezing salaries for all priests and all diocesan employees so that should be of some help,” he said. “We don’t know yet what kind of stimulus packages will be available for schools. We are hoping there will be some kind of relief for parents who choose a Catholic education for their children,” referencing an April 26 article from Crux, that detailed a recent conference call with President Donald Trump and Catholic school educators and Catholic leaders. Crux is an online news source that focuses on matters concerning the Vatican and the Catholic Church.

Parents whose incomes have been negatively impacted during the pandemic are encouraged to not give in to despair or to allow current financial stress to pressure them into quietly transitioning their children from Catholic schools. Bishop Foys said that the diocese already provides high schools with secondary school funds that are used exclusively for tuition assistance and that many of the high schools have their own tuition assistance scholarships and funds.

“Talk to your high school principal, or talk to your pastor if its elementary school, to see if there is anything we can do to help,” Bishop Foys said. “Anything we can do in that way, we will do. I don’t want any parents to think that they can’t send their children to Catholic schools because of tuition.”

General Assembly stalls pro-life bills due to coronavirus and opposition

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Note: SB 9 has been vetoed by Governor Andy Beshear since the publishing of this article. 

The Kentucky General Assembly ended its 2020 session April 15, with many pro-life and pro-Catholic social teaching bills put off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some bills simply ran out of time, others were intentionally stalled by opponents.

Jason Hall, executive director of the CCK, said the House and the Senate both spent the first chunk of time passing their own bills and they were only a couple weeks into dealing with the other chamber’s bills when they had to start eliminating days. They eventually lost nearly 10 days of assembly.

“We did get a few things that we supported across the finish line, but as with everything else, when the coronavirus hit, the days that they met got greatly reduced… that was a lot of bills that would have made it over the final step in that final week or two, and that never happened,” he said.

House Bill 67, the constitutional amendment clarifying that there is no right to an abortion in the state constitution, had passed the House before the pandemic hit, but with the shortened schedule never received a hearing in the Senate.

“This very likely would have made it through under normal conditions, and will likely be proposed again,” said Mr. Hall. “I believe it would likely have gotten a hearing in the Senate if they had more time.” 2022 is the next time this bill can be on the ballot.

Senate Bill 9, the born-alive infant protection bill, did pass both chambers on the last day, with the language of House Bill 451 attached. This would give authority to the Attorney General to enforce abortion regulation.

“A clean SB 9 would have probably been more likely to escape a gubernatorial veto, but we have created an advocacy campaign to urge the governor to sign the bill that passed,” said Mr. Hall.

Yet while some bills simply didn’t get any floor time, others were intentionally stalled. The highly contended HB 350 — Scholarship Tax Credits — ran into trouble before the coronavirus shut everything down, said Mr. Hall.

Senate Bill 154 was the severe mental illness exclusion from the death penalty. “Once again, it was reported out of committee and then behind-the-scenes efforts were made to stall it, which were successful. It was early in the session and they could have gotten it to the House, but opponents behind the scenes stalled,” said Mr. Hall.

“Issues like Scholarship Tax Credits and the Death Penalty bill, with those it was a problem with opposition within the legislature … House Republicans who publicly said they were for it simply did not want to take the vote and prevented it from happening,” he said. “We’ll have to get with our allies and determine what the best path forward is.”

Since the Scholarship Tax Credits bill has to be addressed in a budget year, it’s possible it might be addressed in 2021 or 2022, since this year the committee only planned for one fiscal year rather than two.

According to Mr. Hall, this was a more positive session on criminal justice issues than Kentucky has seen in a while. House Bill 424, which would have raised the threshold for when a theft becomes a felony from $500 to $1000, passed the House with a vote of 73-17. Without the shortening of session, this bill very well might have also passed the Senate.

Other bills on the CCK’s radar include:

SB 1, the “sanctuary cities” bill, did not receive a hearing in the House, but this was largely due to COVID-19.

HB 284, which expands the incentives that are currently available for parolees to those on probation, was passed and signed by the governor. Up until now, parole time could be reduced by meeting various conditions, but probation had no similar system.

HB 327, which creates a system of automatic expungement for dismissals and acquittals, passed. If someone is charged with a crime but is never prosecuted or is acquitted, the charge will be expunged from their record.

SB 62, which restores voting rights for felons. It ran out of time, but there was more energy around this than the CCK has seen in a while.”