At Memorial Day Mass — remember and pray for those who sacrificed their lives for freedom

Laura Keener, Editor.

On a beautiful Monday morning Bishop Roger Foys celebrated the annual Memorial Day Mass, May 31, at St. Stephen Cemetery, Ft. Thomas. As usual, Mass was held on Calvary Hill beneath the large stone crucifix. Special this year, Brood X (the 17-year cicadas) provided Cicadian chant, adding to the natural landscape and to the praise and glory of God.

“Today is Memorial Day, it’s a day to remember,” said Bishop Foys as he began his homily. “We say that we ought to be remembering those who died for us, those who died to preserve our freedom, those who died to preserve our way of life. Even though this is a day to remember, I think it is pretty safe to say that a large part of the population in this country have forgotten what we are to remember”

Drawing on the Gospel passage — the raising of Lazarus from the tomb — and the Biblical account of the Last Supper, Bishop Foys elaborated on the importance of remembering and how faith is foundational to remembering.

“Memories are important, remembering people and events is important,” Bishop Foys said. “At the Last Supper Jesus said to his apostles, ‘Do this in memory of me.’ Every time we celebrate Mass we are called to remember that Last Supper and the words that Jesus spoke to the apostles and the message that he had entrusted to them.”

In the Gospel passage, Bishop Foys said, that Martha had “temporarily forgotten that Jesus was the Lord,” when she chastises Jesus for not being there to prevent her brother’s death and cautions Jesus not to roll away the tomb stone for fear of a stench.

“She takes him to task for not being there when her brother died. She forgot what he told her, ‘I am the resurrection and I am the life,’” Bishop Foys said.

Bishop Foys shared a Chinese proverb: as long as someone remembers you, you will never really be dead.

“There’s something to that,” said Bishop Foys. “There’s a connection to what went before, what is now and what will be — we pass on those memories and traditions.”

Also important, Bishop Foys, is to remember what so many men and women sacrificed their lives for — to preserve our freedoms, especially religious freedom.

“It is important for us to pray for those who gave their very lives so that we could be here, so that we can worship, so that we could profess and live our faith,” Bishop Foys said. “We must not forget. For almost 200 years the state — the government — did not encroach on the Church, it respected our religious freedom, for which so many have died. But in the recent past — not so. Now we have governments telling us how we can live, what we can do and can’t do, even as it pertains to our faith — our beliefs. That’s frightening. What will the future be when we lose those freedoms? That’s why it is so very important for us to gather and to remember and to pray.”

As he ended his homily, Bishop Foys said, “As we continue Mass let us keep in our minds and hearts, first of all, those who gave their very lives so that we might have freedom. Let us also remember our family and friends who have gone before us, commend them to the Lord, pray for them, that one day where they have gone we will follow.”


For a limited time — exhibits on Cathedral campus celebrate façade dedication

Curated by Father Jordan Hainsey

In celebration of the dedication of St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica façade on Sunday, June 6, two temporary exhibits entitled “Speaking for Centuries” and “Maes: The Builder” will open on the Cathedral campus and remain on view through June 30. Additionally, following the façade dedication Stephen Enzweiler, Cathedral historian, will lead a guided tour of the Cathedral including the newly added statues and tympana.

“Speaking for Centuries” — St. Mary’s Park
A series of images and accompanying narrative will transform St. Mary’s Park into an outdoor gallery where visitors can journey through the construction of the Cathedral Basilica.

Using archival photos in vivid detail, visitors will be able to see the original 1845 Cathedral, the building process of the 1894 Cathedral and façade begun by Bishop Camillus Paul Maes, and the 1901 Cathedral interior.

Visitors will also be able to learn about the impetus for the completion of the façade by Bishop Roger J. Foys and the 24 statues and two tympana that now grace the exterior. A series of images will highlight the design phase and work of the new statues and tympana by Cathedral façade statuary artist Neilson Carlin. From gestural drawings, to sketches, to the clay model, and finally stone, visitors will be able to explore the artist’s creative process from start to finish.

Self-guide tour. St. Mary’s Park is located on Madison Ave., Covington, across the street from the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption and is open dawn to dusk.

“Maes: The Builder” — Cathedral Basilica
Displayed at the Maes Chapel inside the Cathedral Basilica, visitors will be able to view a collection of personal effects that belonged to Bishop Camillus Paul Maes.

From vesture, to his pectoral cross, ring and eye glasses, the awe-inspiring display will work to bring the cathedral visionary to life.

Visitors may also view the trowel used at the Cathedral’s cornerstone laying ceremony in 1910, and the formal wear of the young trainbearer to Bishop Maes worn during liturgical ceremonies.

For Cathedral hours and liturgy times, visit: