Transitional diaconate ordination of A.J. Gedney

By the laying on of hands and through the power of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Roger Foys ordained A.J. Gedney a deacon for the Diocese of Covington.

Laura Keener, Editor.

Compared to last year’s ordinations with no congregation, the reduced capacity congregation at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, March 28, felt like a full house as Bishop Roger Foys ordained Alexander (A.J.) Gedney to the transitional diaconate.

Family and friends, including educators from Deacon Gedney’s alma mater, St. Henry District High School, showed their prayerful support as he made the diaconate promises of celibacy, prayer and obedience. Deacon Gedney is a seminarian for the Diocese of Covington and his diaconate ordination is a step on his formation to the priesthood.

In his homily, Bishop Foys reminded the congregation that even during those early days of the pandemic, when the public celebration of the Mass was suspended — the life of the Church continued.

“We still celebrated Mass and live-streamed it on the internet. We still celebrated the Eucharist. We still baptize, we still anoint people who are near death, couples still get married, I still confirm and administer the sacrament of confirmation and I still ordain,” Bishop Foys said. “The essence of our faith and the sacramental life of the Church has not changed; that should give us great comfort and consolation, that there is something in our life that does not change, that is constant upon which we can rely.”

The readings for today’s ordination Mass, Bishop Foys said, were chosen specifically for the celebration. The first reading is from the book of the prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 61:1–3)

“‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me … to bring glad tidings to the lowly and to heal the broken hearted.’ The minister of God’s word is to bring glad tidings and to heal the brokenhearted,” Bishop Foys said.

The second reading, from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 4:1–7), instructs God’s ministers not to be discouraged.

“During this year there was more than enough discouragement to go around, but Paul says this ministry is given to us through the mercy of God and so we are not discouraged,” said Bishop Foys. “The ministry we have, the ministry into which A.J. will be ordained today, is given to us through the mercy of God, he is its author and therefore we are not to be discouraged. ‘For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord.’ That is key. Every minister indeed preaches Jesus Christ as Lord and master of us all, then the words he says are the words of the Lord.”

St. Paul also talks about the paradox of ministry, that “this treasure is held in earthen vessels.”

“Earthen vessels — I think that’s a wonderful image that Paul uses,” said Bishop Foys. “This treasure that we preach and teach in Jesus’ name … the Gospel message, the good news … we hold it in earthen vessels and so we must be so careful … it can shatter. We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, why? So that the surpassing power may be from God, not from us, it’s not about us … it’s all about Jesus and bringing the message of Jesus to his people.”

In the Gospel reading from St. Matthew, Jesus tells his apostles that they are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” (Matt 5:13–16)

“Then Jesus says, and this is very dear to me because it is the motto I chose, ‘your light must shine before others,’ he said, ‘that they might see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.’ Again, not for oneself, no, but so that others may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. It is all about giving the Lord the glory, giving the Lord the praise,” Bishop Foys said.

These readings, Bishop Foys said, offer good meditations for every ordained minister. “Today, it is for A. J. Gedney to thing about and to pray about.”

Bishop Foys ended his homily with words of congratulations and gratitude.

“We give thanks to God that A.J. heard the Lord’s call and then answered it … I can safely say that we are all here to pledge to you our prayers and our support, that you live day by day, year by year, decade by decade, the ministry entrusted to you.”

St. Joseph: images, signs and symbols

“The Presentation of Christ,” 5th century, Triumphal Arch, Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.

Father Jordan Hainsey, Messenger contributor.
Christianity has used symbols from its very beginnings. Think of the fish (ichthys) made by two intersecting arcs. It stood for Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Aside from the theological overtones of the Eucharist and the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, it was a secret symbol used to identify one’s self as a Christian. The fish pointed to a deeper reality — an identity.
The same is true of saints in artwork. How they look, what they hold, how they are dressed and even the colors they are shown in are highly symbolic, revealing their identity. Much of the information that comes down to the Church in this regard comes from her Hagiography, the body of literature that describes the lives of saints and their cult tradition.

“St. Joseph and the Christ Child,” 1620s, Guido Reni.

In the early days of the Church, St. Joseph appeared only in images related to the Nativity, drawing on scriptural references. In the 5th-century arch mosaic at Rome’s church of Santa Maria Maggiore, St. Joseph is young, bearded and garbed as a Roman.
Other depictions came to be derived from the “Protoevangelium of James” — a 2nd-century work, not part of the Christian biblical canon. Artists following this tradition depicted St. Joseph as an old man, grey and balding. By the 16th century though, artists were returning to more youthful depictions.
Joannes Molanus, a Catholic theologian during the Counter Reformation, worked to make the Council of Trent’s “decrees on sacred images” the marching orders for a generation of artists to follow. Molanus advocated that it was far more appropriate to show St. Joseph as a young man — one capable of restraining his carnal urges, one fit enough to take his wife and child into Egypt, and one strong enough to support them with his labor as a craftsman.
Neither visual tradition has remained a constant though. St. Joseph continues to be shown old and young, from statues to holy cards. He is almost always shown though carrying a flowering staff of lilies. It alludes to the flowering rod of Aron (Numbers 17) and a miraculous account from a 13th century hagiographical work titled “The Golden Legend.” Garbed in brown, the color of earth, and green, the color of new life, the robes of St. Joseph evoke the ideas of humility and hope.

“The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph,” 2013, Giovanni Gasparro.

The Diocese of Covington has chosen “The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph” by Giovanni Gasparro as its image for the Year of St. Joseph. Born in 1983, Gasparro is a young artist from Bari, Italy. Gasparro draws on the traditional iconography of St. Joseph while offering a contemporary depiction that is accessible to the faithful of today. The strength of St. Joseph’s character extended to all aspects of his life and person — including his heart.
With his whole being illumined by God, Gasparro depicts St. Joseph’s heart on fire with the love of God, and a flowering staff points to his purity. Together the heart and staff remind the viewer that purity of heart lies within reach, thanks to the grace of God and the intercession of Joseph.
However an artist depicts St. Joseph, the point is the same: to draw the faithful into contemplation of the man at the heart of the Incarnation story, the man Pope Francis has called a “minister of salvation.”

On the solemnity of St. Joseph, bishop encourages all to be ‘doers’ of God’s will

On the solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, Bishop Roger Foys incenses the newly erected St. Joseph altar at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. This statue of St. Joseph is significant to the Cathedral and the Diocese of Covington because it stood in the diocese’s first Cathedral, built by the diocese’s first bishop, Bishop George Carrell, S.J., in 1854.

Laura Keener, Editor.

This year’s solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, carried a particularly celebratory tone in the Diocese of Covington as the Year of St. Joseph begins to unfold like an Easter lily — a common symbol for the saint. With his apostolic letter “Patris corde” (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis declared Dec. 8, 2020 through Dec. 8, 2021 the Year of St. Joseph, in honor of the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaring St. Joseph patron of the Universal Church. Pope Pius IX also has a special tie to the diocese — he established the Diocese of Covington in 1853.

“St. Joseph is an interesting personage in our salvation history and in the establishment of the Church,” Bishop Roger Foys said in his homily during Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption on the solemnity.

St. Joseph is mentioned in only two of the four Gospels — Matthew and Luke — and not one word is recorded in all of Scriptures attributed to St. Joseph, Bishop Foys noted.

“Where do we find a place for St. Joseph? He wasn’t a prophet or a patriarch or an apostle or the Blessed Mother. Where is his place?” Bishop Foys asked.

To find the answer, Bishop Foys said, one needs to look at what Scripture says St. Joseph does.

“St. Joseph was, we are told, a just man, a humble man, a compassionate man and deeply religious man. He was obedient to God’s will for him,” said Bishop Foys, highlighting the three times that an angel instructed St. Joseph in his dreams to care for the Holy Family.

The first was to assure Joseph of Mary’s chastity, instructing him to take Mary and the baby she was carrying into his home. In a second dream, the angel instructs Joseph to take Mary and the baby Jesus and flee to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Harrod. In the third dream, the angel assures Joseph that King Harrod has died and it is now safe to return to Nazareth. On all three occasions, Joseph does as he is instructed.

“Joseph is always in the background but he is there,” Bishop Foys said, “Two thousand years later we celebrate in a solemn way this man who was chosen to be the foster father of Jesus, who was chosen to care for the Holy Family, to look after their needs, to protect them.”

In addition to patron of the Universal Church, St. Joseph is also patron of many circumstances and causes. One of those titles, highlighted in a jeweled glass window in the Cathedral Basilica, is patron of a Happy Death.

“We have a window here with Mary and Jesus standing at his death bed. Joseph is therefore referred to as the patron of a Happy Death — to have died with Jesus and the Mother of God at his side,” Bishop Foys said.

In his apostolic letter, Pope Francis said that his desire to declare a year honoring St. Joseph grew during this time of pandemic. Bishop Foys read an excerpt from “Patris corde”: “My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic, when we experienced, amid the crisis, how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history. Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone … How many people, daily, exercise patience and offer hope, taking care to spread not panic, but shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday ways, how to accept and deal with a crisis by adjusting their routines, looking ahead and encouraging the practice of prayer. How many are praying, making sacrifices and interceding for the good of all. Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all.”

“That’s how our Holy Father introduces this year of St. Joseph, a man who led a hidden life but who was so much a part of the lives of Mary and Jesus and who is so much a part of our life,” Bishop Foys said. “It also tells us that no one — no one — is insignificant … God gives each of us our own role to play in this world, in this Church, in our community. We don’t have to have our name up in lights, or be on the front cover of a tabloid or the lead story on a news show — no! St. Joseph led a hidden life, most of us will lead hidden lives — it is what we are called to do.

“Do – ahah!” exclaimed Bishop Foys. “Joseph … he wasn’t a talker, he was a doer. So we celebrate today the Solemnity of St. Joseph, we thank God for giving us the gift of St. Joseph who took care of the Blessed Mother and the Son of God and who takes care of us.”


Q&A: Indulgences in the Year of St. Joseph

Father Jordan Hainsey, Messenger Contributor.

The “Year of St. Joseph” was proclaimed by Pope Francis on Dec. 8, 2020 and extends to December 8, 2021. It honors the 150th anniversary of Pope Blessed Pius IX’s proclamation of St. Joseph as the “Patron of the Universal Church” (“Quemadmodum Deus”). Special plenary indulgences have been granted “to perpetuate the entrustment of the whole Church to the powerful patronage of the “Custodian of Jesus.”

Q: What is an indulgence?

A: An indulgence is the remission, in the eyes of God, of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. The English form of the word indulgence comes from the Latin word <<indulgentia>>, meaning an act of kindness or tenderness.

Q: Who can get it and how is it used?

A: A person seeking an indulgence must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace when performing the work of the indulgence. A person must formulate a sincere intention of gaining the indulgence before doing the work associated with it.

An indulgence can be applied to oneself or a deceased person (but not another living person). Gaining a plenary indulgence on behalf of a deceased person is a great act of mercy because it makes atonement for the punishment they are experiencing in purgatory, allowing them to be more quickly ushered into heaven. The atonement is only possible because of the merits of Christ’s salvific work of the Cross; in an indulgence, we are simply asking that those merits be applied to a loved one in need of them.

If the indulgence is for yourself, you are working toward the remission of the temporal punishment for sins that, if left unremitted in this life, you will have to work toward in purgatory.

Q: What are the Conditions required for an indulgence, particularly in the Year of St. Joseph?

A: A plenary indulgence is granted under these usual conditions: 1) sacramental confession; 2) Eucharistic communion; 3) praying for the intentions of the Holy Father.

In the Year of St. Joseph, the Apostolic Penitentiary (the Vatican tribunal responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in the Church) directs the faithful to participate in one of the devotions to St. Joseph in order to obtain the plenary indulgence:

— Meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Our Father.

— Participate in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph.

— Perform a corporal or spiritual work of mercy.

— Recite the holy rosary in families (engaged couples can also receive an indulgence from praying the rosary together).

— Entrustment of daily work to the protection of St. Joseph and to all believers who invoke, with their prayers, the intercession of St. Joseph.

— Pray the Litany of St. Joseph or some other prayer to St. Joseph, particularly for the persecuted Church and for the relief of all persecuted Christians.

— Pray any approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph especially on:

– March 19, Solemnity of St. Joseph;

– May 1, Feast of St. Joseph the Worker;

– Dec. 26, Feast of the Holy Family;

– The Sunday of St. Joseph (according to the Byzantine tradition);

– The 19th day of every month;

– Every Wednesday (the day dedicated to the memory of St. Joseph in the Latin tradition).

The elderly, the sick and the dying who are unable to leave their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic also have special permission to receive an indulgence by “offering with trust in God the pains and discomforts” of their lives with a prayer to St. Joseph, hope of the sick and patron of a happy death.

Q: What is the time frame for the indulgence requirements?

A: The three requirements of confession, Eucharist, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father must be met several days before or after the particular St. Joseph devotion is completed.


Tangible reminders: The relics of St. Joseph

Reliquary of the cloak of Saint Joseph and the Veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sant’Anastasia, Rome.

Father Jordan Hainsey, Messenger Contributor

Holy relics are the physical objects that have a direct association with the saints or with our Lord. First class relics are the body or fragments of the body of a saint, such as pieces of bone or flesh. Second class relics are something that a saint personally owned, such as a shirt or book. Third class relics are those items that have been touched to a first, second or another third class relic. Relics are meant to be honored and venerated, never worshipped. By honoring the memory of the saints and martyrs, their bodies, and their belongings, we give thanks to God for their holy witness.

Of all the Church’s saints, the only two of whom the Church possesses no first class relics of are the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. The Church attributes the lack of bodily relics of the Virgin Mary to her Assumption into heaven, both body and soul — a dogma pronounced by Ven. Pope Pius XII in his 1950 apostolic constitution “Munificentissimus Deus.” Regarding St. Joseph, while there is no dogmatic proclamation about him being assumed into heaven after his death, many saints piously believed that the Lord did for him just as he had done for the Virgin Mary (Cf. the writings of St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Francis de Sales, and Pope St. John XXIII).

The Church and her tradition venerate several relics related to St. Joseph: the wedding ring given by him to the Virgin Mary (Perugia, Italy); his belt (Joinville, France); his staff (Camaldoli, Italy); and his cloak (Rome, Italy). The cloak relic of St. Joseph traveling to the parishes of the Diocese of Covington was obtained by Bishop William T. Mulloy, 6th Bishop of Covington, in 1950 and taken from Rome’s principal cloak relic.

Tradition holds that the cloak of St. Joseph was brought from Jerusalem to Rome by St. Jerome at the end of the 4th century. It was deposited in an altar niche in the Basilica of Sant’Anastasia where it has remained and been guarded for veneration.

Whether a relic is first, second, or third class, the purpose is the same: to be physical, tangible, concrete reminder that heaven is obtainable for us. In the presence of holy relics, and particularly the one of St. Joseph, we recall the saints’ holy lives and pray for the grace to achieve what they’ve achieved — eternity with God in heaven.

Volunteer Coordinator – Catholic Charities

The Diocese of Covington’s Catholic Charities is seeking to hire a full time (40 hours a week, M-F) Volunteer Coordinator. The Volunteer Coordinator is involved with all aspects of volunteer recruitment, training, appreciation, and retention. The Coordinator identifies, engages, cultivates, and maintains volunteer relationships so that volunteers have positive and meaningful experiences. Our ideal candidate will be a practicing Roman Catholic in good standing with the Church, with a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in a business or human services field, plus prior experience in program management. Other desired qualifications include experience with community outreach; demonstrated communication, organization, and human relations skills; and a familiarity with MS Office and general database software. Salary and benefits are competitive. To apply, or to nominate a candidate, email or fax a letter of interest, C-V or comprehensive resume with compensation history, and a minimum of five references with their contact email addresses to Stephen Koplyay, SPHR at [email protected], fax 859/392-1589.

Third Grade Teacher – Blessed Sacrament

Blessed Sacrament School is seeking a third grade teacher for the 2021 – 2022 school year.  The individual should be motivated to meet the needs of all students by using data to tier and differentiate their lessons.  This teacher is responsible for supervising students within the classroom and other assigned areas, developing high-level lesson plans and delivering group and individual student instruction within established curriculum guidelines, integrating innovative technology collaborating with other teachers, professional staff, and administrators, and responding to a wide range of inquiries from parents or guardians regarding student progress and feedback. Catholic candidates are preferred but not required.  Interested candidates should send their résumé, including an introduction, and resources to Principal Dan Steffen at [email protected].

Middle School Teachers – Saint Anthony School

St. Anthony School in Taylor Mill, Kentucky is seeking a part-time teacher and a full-time teacher for Grades 5-8. Candidates must have a desire to teach Reading/Language Arts and Math; additionally, Science or Social Studies.  Roles will be designed depending on interested candidates.  Interested candidates should possess necessary licensure to teach in the state of Kentucky.  Candidates must be Virtus certified upon hiring.  Any interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume with references to Veronica Schweitzer at [email protected]

First Grade Teacher – Saint Anthony

St. Anthony School in Taylor Mill, Kentucky is seeking a part-time teacher for Reading/Language Arts and Math for First Grade and possibly, for the right candidate, also Reading/Language Arts for Third and Fourth grade for the 2021-2022 school year.  Interested candidates should possess necessary licensure to teach in the state of Kentucky.  Candidates must be Virtus certified upon hiring.  Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume with references to Veronica Schweitzer at [email protected].


Technology Coordinator – Saint Timothy School

Saint Timothy School has an opening for a full-time Technology Coordinator. The primary responsibilities of this position are to provide technical support for and input in the integration of technology, as well as provide information on current best practices, innovations and emerging trends. General responsibilities include:

  • Identify technology needs, barriers and weaknesses; develop, organize and implement solutions for students, teachers, staff and administrators in both school and office environments.
  • Research and maintain awareness in advances in academic and instructional technologies.
  • Create and facilitate school-based, high-quality professional development, working with teachers to refine their knowledge and skills in using technology to support and enhance teaching and learning. Training may include in-class instruction, one-on-one meetings and facilitated group workshops.
  • Act as a technical mentor and guide to faculty in the development and maintenance of new technology-based curricula and in applying technology to instructional processes.
  • Actively engage in new educational technology development activities, including conferences and workshops.
  • Work with student clubs and activities to support educational technology outside of the classroom.
  • Provide onsite end user support when able and liaison with hardware and software vendors to resolve technical issues.
  • Lead in the design and implementation of active learning spaces.
  • Assist in maintaining and updating the school’s webpage, internet and social media outlets.
  • Manage hardware and software contracts/purchasing and budget

Qualified candidates will be practicing Roman Catholics who have experience working in educational environments. Job requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree required.
  • 2 years of experience in educational technology in private school setting preferred.
  • Strong communication, interpersonal, technology, customer service and presentation skills.
  • Broad general knowledge of curriculum, curriculum development and instructional best practices.
  • Experience delivering professional development to educators and knowledge of best practices in adult learning.
  • Extensive knowledge of Google Apps for Education.
  • Extensive knowledge of Microsoft Office products.
  • Knowledge of current and popular educational technology tools.
  • Facility with Windows, MacOS, ChromeOS and mobile devices.
  • Ability to quickly adapt to new systems and applications.

This position reports to the Principal. Interested applicants should send a resume with a minimum of three references to [email protected].