TMU celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel

Laura Keener, Editor

On the feast of St. Juan Diego, Dec. 9, Bishop John Iffert joined the Thomas More University community in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the dedication of its Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel. Father Raymond Enzweiler and Father Gerald Twaddell, both faculty members at TMU, concelebrated, with Deacon Brian Cox assisting. Thomas More University President Joseph Chillo and Divine Providence Sister Margaret Stallmeyer, former president that oversaw the building of the chapel, served as lectors.

In his homily Bishop Iffert tied together the feast of the day — St. Juan Diego; the solemnity of the day before — the Immaculate Conception and the evening’s Gospel read-ing of Jesus meeting the woman at the well (John 4:19–24), to encourage those present to have faith in the Lord as they build up the Church in the cultural challenges of today.

In the recounting of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Bishop Iffert said, it may appear that Archbishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga had little faith when Juan Diego tells him that the Blessed Mother wants to build a church on the hill at Tepeyac. He wanted a sign.

“The truth is that the good bishop and his Franciscan brothers had been praying a long time for action on God’s part … they had come to know the situation of the indige-nous people of Mexico. They had come to know the devas-tation through the war and the introduction of disease. They had come to know the violence and plague that had led to the death of an estimated half of the indigenous pop-ulation. They had come to know that people, who were living in despair … The Christian religion was the religion of their oppressors and they were firmly determined to resist it.

“The good bishop needed a firm answer to his prayers. And so it came. Over the next months and years, millions of people came to see Our Lady of Guadalupe, who came with respect shown to the indigenous people and their culture … who served as a bridge to accept the gospel of Jesus; to know that this God, who they had learned of from foreigners who had brought disease, was also a God who loved them and respected them and had a future for them. Who helped them move from one way of life to another and to build up the temple of God.”

The woman at the well questions Jesus. Our people say you should worship on the mountain; your people say you should worship only in Jerusalem. So what’s your answer? Where do you think we should worship?

“Here’s what Christ comes to reveal to us, that there is a living water that bubbles up within us,” said Bishop Iffert. “That if we had known we would have asked for it from the beginning and the Holy Spirit would come and take up a dwelling in us … in our own being we would give good worship. Whenever that Spirit saw itself in another, greeted itself in another, accompany its own Spirit in another, wherever two or three are gathered in Christ’s name and the name of his Spirit, there will the Spirit be. Jesus says something new is happening right here in front of you.”

About the Immaculate Conception, Bishop Iffert said that from the moment of her conception, the Holy Spirit touched Mary and “she (Mary) had been prepared. She had received God’s grace because Christ gazed upon her from the very beginning. His loving gaze had changed and pre-pared her. Because of that, she was able to recognize something new that was promised, something that was being delivered into the world to be her salvation, and say, ‘yes. Yes, be it done to me according to your word.’ And the whole earth became a temple and she its tabernacle.”

Bishop Iffert said that we are also living in a time of cultural transition and that Catholic universities — priests, women religious, administrators, faculty and staff — are on the front lines of that change.

“We can no longer assume a shared cultural identity of Christ,” Bishop Iffert said. “We can no longer assume a shared knowledge of the Scriptures and tradition … we can no longer assume an intellectual tradition built from that wisdom and knowl-edge. There’s more diversity, less agreement.

“As a pastor of Christian people, I can’t help but notice that along with that loss of culture, along with that loss of the wisdom tradition, along with that shared knowledge, comes a growing sense of despair, a rise in rates of suicide, a sense of loss in direction … They’re (young people) not sure that their life is going to be as affluent as their parents life. They feel they’re bound to accomplish less, to have less, and since having is being in our culture, to be less. That leaves us wondering — like that good bishop to Juan Diego when he came with his tilma — how do we build the Church in this culture? How are we to facilitate true worship?”

“I’ll say to you, what we have witnessed in the life of Juan Diego, what we have witnessed in the life of the woman at the well, what we have witnessed in the life of Mary, herself, somehow, in some way that we may not see or recognize yet, God is working some new work in our midst. God is invoking that Spirit; that life-giving water dwells in our midst and he will raise up a living witness to the glory of God in a temple not made with human hands. That’s our confidence. That’s our faith, it is the virtue of Christian hope.” 

Image: Bishop John Iffert consecrates the Eucharist, assisted by Deacon Brian Cox. TMU faculty member, Father Gerald Twaddell (left) stands near. 

Diocese of Covington rings in the season with first diocesan Bambinelli blessing and Christmas tree blessing

Maura Baker, Staff Writer

On a cold Advent night, Dec. 10, families within the Diocese of Covington gathered at St. Mary’s Park, Cathedral Square, Covington, to witness the blessing and lighting of the diocesan Christmas tree, and to be a part of the diocese’s first ever Bambinelli blessing.

The Blessing of the Bambinelli was first introduced by St. John Paul II, and is still celebrated in Vatican City and around the world, especially in Europe. This tradition involves the blessing of figurines of the infant Jesus, or “Bambinellis,” commonly used in Nativity sets during the Christmas season.

Families in the diocese were encouraged to bring their Bambinellis from their home to be presented by them-selves or their children for Bishop Iffert to bless. During the blessing, Bishop Iffert prayed that the baby Jesus’s would be a sign of God’s “abiding presence and love” to all who attended.

In addition to this extra special blessing, youth choirs from diocesan schools including Covington Catholic High School, Covington Latin School and St. Augustine School, Covington, sang carols to accompany the event. Hot chocolate was served along with cookies baked by Curia staff.

The Christmas tree in St. Mary’s Park was also blessed by Bishop Iffert, who also would light up the tree for the first time this season. This tree is decorated with ornaments designed by various schools, organizations and parishes in the Diocese, and will remain in the park for the Christmas season.

At the event, Bishop Iffert emphasized the importance of comradery and coming together as a diocese. “Back in September, we had a gathering here in the park and a nice picnic celebration. We said, we want to get together more as a Church and have these kinds of events and be together, especially this place here at St. Mary’s Park.” 

Image: Bishop Iffert blesses a young boy’s Bambinelli, sprinkling it with Holy Water. (Photo by Cecilia Baker)

How to answer pro-choice arguments: Part 3 — Hard cases

By: Caitlin Shaughnessy Dwyer.

This is the conclusion of a three-part series about a simple strategy that can help make difficult conversations about abortion a little easier. The strategy is centered on asking one simple question: “If you were convinced that the unborn child is a human life, would you still support abortion?”

In Part 1, we explored how to converse about the science of fetal development. In Part 2, we outlined how to speak about the legal and philosophical concept of personhood. In this article, we address how to engage people who support their pro-choice position by citing certain “hard cases” like extreme poverty, rape or the endangerment of the mother’s life.

Many abortion proponents contend that a baby places too great a burden on mothers living in extreme poverty. A woman should not be “forced” to have a baby under these circumstances. The mother “needs” the abortion to survive.

One approach to this topic is what pro-life apologist Trent Horn calls TOAT: “trot out a toddler.” This technique demonstrates the illogic of the pro-choice argument by applying that illogic to a toddler, rather than to an unborn child.

In this case you could say, “I agree with you that many women find themselves pregnant in very difficult circumstances. In fact, many women are parenting in poverty. I think society has a duty to help these parents and children. But do you think that if the parents of a toddler do not have the financial resources to take care of their child they should be able to terminate that child’s life?”

The answer, of course, is no. You can then ask, “What is the difference between an unborn baby and a toddler?” The person will most likely point to an arbitrary distinction in size, development, location or degree of independence, and you can highlight the problems with those distinctions, as explained in Part 2.

Another method would be to cite the long-held principle from criminal law that necessity is not a defense to murder. Queen vs. Dudley and Stephens (1884), a classic case taught in law schools to illustrate this principle, concerns sailors lost at sea who cannibalized their cabin boy to stay alive. When rescued, they defended their misdeed as “necessary.” However, they were tried and convicted of murder. The key holding from the court was that one person’s subjective “need” can not negate another person’s objective, inherent and unchanging right to life.

Roe v Wade inexplicably departed from this principle by ignoring the personhood of the unborn (see Part 2). Politely invite your listener to consider whether the mother’s subjective needs are truly a valid reason to override the objective personhood rights of an innocent unborn child and validate ending her child’s life.

Another difficult objection concerns rape and incest. An essential starting point for discussion of this issue is sincere empathy for the wronged women involved and recognition of the horrific nature of the crimes committed against them.

After acknowledging this reality, you could explain that, in the immediate aftermath of rape, it is morally permissible in Catholic teaching to try to avoid pregnancy through the use of high dose progestin. A woman can (and should) go to a hospital after she is assaulted. As part of her exam, doctors can determine whether or not the woman has recently ovulated. If she has not ovulated (and therefore pregnancy is not yet possible), this hormone can be given to suppress ovulation in order to avoid pregnancy.

Nevertheless, there are some instances when rape or incest produces pregnancy. According to the Guttmacher Institute, about 1.5 percent of abortions each year is sought due to rape or incest. Notice that this is a very small percentage and it is highly questionable to legitimize all elective abortions in the name of the small number of abortions sought for these difficult reasons.

In addressing these instances, it may be helpful to first point out that nothing can undo the violence committed against these women. An abortion cannot erase the crime.

Second, you could ask: “If your father committed a violent crime, would it be permissible to punish you for his crime with the death penalty?” This would, of course, be completely unjust, which is the point: The question highlights the injustice of aborting the innocent child conceived in rape or incest.

The circumstances of a child’s conception do not alter the fact that he or she is a human being. As Trent Horn puts it, “Rape is a horrifying evil, but should our answer to the evil of rape be to commit further evil against an innocent person?”

Finally, let’s address cases in which abortion is sought to safeguard the life of the mother. First, you can note that cases in which a mother’s life is truly at risk are extremely rare.

Second, you can point out that, even when the mother’s life is at risk, there are still two patients present, both of whom are entitled to the highest standard of medical care. The Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm” applies to both. The physician should render every effort to preserve the life of each patient, and should never intentionally end the child’s life to protect the mother’s life.

Third, you can acknowledge that in certain instances it is morally permissible to allow the termination of the unborn child’s life, but only if that result is an unintended effect of administering life-saving treatment to the mother — also known as the principle of Double Effect.

In sum, there are many ways to discuss “hard cases” with an abortion proponent — ways that express empathy without sacrificing reason, logic or moral principle. While it is useful to have an answer to these tough questions ready at hand, it is important not to allow them to distract us from the fundamental question in the abortion debate, namely, “Who are the unborn?” Always direct the conversation back to that question, because the correct answer — living human beings with the inviolable rights of personhood — is the linchpin to the entire topic and the key to a persuasive defense of the right to life

Caitlin Shaughnessy Dwyer is an instructor of Theology at Thomas More University. She and her family are members of St. Pius X Parish, Edgewood.

The principle of Double Effect

The doctrine of “double effect” is rooted in the fundamental moral principle that one can never intentionally choose evil in order to try to achieve good. However, a person can choose a good action that has a bad effect if three factors are met:

(1) the person does not directly will (i.e. “intend”) the bad effect;

(2) the bad effect is not the direct means to the good achieved;

(3) the good achieved is proportionate to the bad effect.

For example, if a pregnant woman is dying of uterine cancer, a doctor could remove her cancerous uterus even if the unintended side effect is the death of the child. The chosen act (removing the diseased organ) is good; the bad effect (the death of the child) does not directly lead to the good effect (mother’s life saved); and the good achieved (a life saved) is proportionate to the bad effect (a life lost).

Serving at the altar grows youths’ relationship to the Eucharist

Maura Baker, Staff Writer St. Tarcisius, a Roman martyr celebrated as the patron saint of altar servers and as one of the first recorded instance of a youth fulfilling that role in the Church, held the special responsibility of carrying the Eucharist to the people. As the story goes, St. Tarcisius was a young acolyte charged to deliver […]

John Paul II

John Paul II and the Rhapsodic Theater

By David Cooley.

The Church recently celebrated the feast day of Pope St. John Paul II on Oct. 22, which is the anniversary of the liturgical inauguration of his papacy in 1978. There is a story about John Paul II from when he was young man that I have always found inspiring.

By the time he was 21 years’ old Karol Wojtyła’s entire immediate family was dead, and his country was occupied by Nazis. He and his people were exiled in their own land. Their home was transformed into something unrecognizable and, during that occupation and later the Communist occupation, the Polish people were forced to deny their values and their beloved culture completely.

Karol Wojtyła’s response to this was two-fold. He secretly (since it was against the law) entered the seminary, answering a burning call from the Lord to become a priest, and he helped establish an underground (secret) group called the Rhapsodic Theater. The focus of this group was a “cultural resistance” against those that occupied his homeland.

Through the celebration of beauty and identity, Karol, and his friends — the Rhapsodists — fought to keep Polish history, faith, and tradition alive. Under dire circumstances, they focused on the things that the occupiers couldn’t take away. If they had been caught, they would have been killed, but they were simply willing to risk everything for what they knew was good, true, and beautiful.

There is so much we can learn from that future pope and his Rhapsodic Theater.

It can be disheartening to be a Catholic in the 21st century. Our faith, and really our culture as a whole, is challenged at every turn. The tenants of our faith, the teachings of the Catholic Church, do not mesh well with today’s secular society. Catholics are essentially strangers in a strange land, sojourners away from their true home.

It is our responsibility to preserve our heritage and pass it on for those who come after us. So, what are a few practical things we can do, as Catholics, to keep our culture alive?

First and foremost — we must pray! We need to develop this habit and we need to form others in the habit as well. Make time to pray together as a family, at least before meals and before bedtime. Designate times for family rosaries and Scripture studies. Pray publicly and invite others to join you. Make Mass and the sacrament of penance a priority in your life.

Second, learn Church history. There are so many good resources out there — books, movies, documentaries. We have so much to be proud of and we need to make sure the next generation of Catholics know that. It is time for us to focus on how blessed we are, and how proud we should be to be Catholic.

Third, learn to view the world through the eyes of faith and teach young people this art form. For example, no matter what students are learning in school — literature, math, science, or history — it can be approached through a Catholic worldview. Even the news of the day can be viewed in the context of Salvation history.

Next, never miss the easy teaching moments, especially on holy days and feast days. Halloween is coming up, and I’ll bet a lot of children are excited about that. But do they know what “All Hallows Eve” means? Make sure they know about All Saints Day and All Souls Day and why we have Halloween in the first place. Don’t let the culture tell them that it is an ancient pagan holiday (they’ll do the same thing with Christmas and Easter if you let them). They are wrong — everything revolves around Christ, and we need to point that out again and again. If these celebrations and traditions were strictly pagan, they would have fallen into the dust pile of oblivion a long time ago.

Finally, take time to explore works by Catholic artists, whether visual arts, theater, music, literature, or movies. Here you will find the highest quality of expressions of mankind’s search for the transcendent. And, just as important, we need Catholics today to use their talents in all these fields to create new works for our contemporary and future generations.

These are just a few quick examples, and there are many more. We must focus more on what is in our control and less on what is out of our control.

We must not become discouraged. If young Karl Wojtyła and his friends were able to subvert a totalitarian regime with little more than righteous defiance and powerful words, think of what we can do in our own time and place today. Albeit on a smaller scale, the Rhapsodic Theater did the same thing that the Catholic monasteries did for Western civilization during the so-called dark ages — namely, keep the light of Christ alive. We are all called to do the same thing no matter in what situation we find ourselves. Even though the world will keep trying to snuff them out, people will always be attracted to goodness, truth, and beauty.

David Cooley is co-director and office manager of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization.

People of the Diocese of Covington help seminarians to ‘persevere,’ says Deacon Michael Elmlinger at the 2022 Seminary Ball

Maura Baker, Staff Writer

 Supporters of seminarian education gathered the evening of Oct. 21 for the 2022 Seminary Ball. Since its resurgence 13 years ago by Bishop Emeritus Roger Foys, the Seminary Ball has become the Diocese of Covington’s biggest fundraising event for seminarian education. The ball is hosted by the diocesan Office for Stewardship and Mission in conjunction with the Seminary Ball Committee. 

A record crowd of over 630 attended the ball, which included a reception and drinks, dinner and dancing, with speeches from Bishop John Iffert of the Diocese of Covington, and seminarian Deacon Michael Elmlinger. Father Gregory Bach, assistant director of seminarians, was the master of ceremonies. 

“Throughout seminary there’s a lot of peaks, a lot of doubts,” said Deacon Elmlinger. “First you have the peaks. Those are the greatest moments, the moments when you say I absolutely love everything I’m doing. You’re growing in your love of God, you grow in your love of the people of God, we just always grow in that love of the ministry that we’re training to undertake,” he said. 

“Those are the peaks but with every peak there is a valley, and those valleys can be very low,” Deacon Elmlinger continued. “In those valleys, there were three things that helped all of us to persevere, that helped all of the seminarians get through. First, ultimately and supremely is God. He constantly calls us to grow in that love of him and to go deeper into our relationship with him, and he gives us the grace to persevere,” he said, citing his family and all the people of the Diocese of Covington as the other two inspirations for perseverance. “It’s you who helps us to persevere,” he said, “whether it’s your prayers, whether it’s the ways that you support us, whether it’s just sending a card or just taking a few minutes a day just thinking about us.” 

In his address, Bishop Iffert reflected on his time as a seminarian. “I came home and let them (his parents) know that I was going to be leaving my job and that I was going to be going away to seminary. I was very nervous about telling my parents this because when I decided that I would go to seminary, I hadn’t yet decided that I was going to be a priest. I thought God might be calling me to be a priest. I had a sense that this was something I might have gifts to be able to do, and I was willing to spend some time thinking and praying,” he said. 

“My parents were amazing,” said Bishop Iffert. “My dad said, John, we’re proud of you and your grandparents would be proud of you. I’m just proud that I have a son who is willing to think about this, who’s willing to consider whether God might be calling them to do something like this. I want every seminarian to have that kind of support.” 

Bishop Iffert, whose mother had passed away days before the ball, finished his speech thanking the people of the Diocese and those attending the ball, saying, “Thank you for your support tonight … this week I buried my mother and I was surrounded by four brother bishops and about 30-35 priests who came together to help me and my family through that time, along with many other folks from the diocese who actually surprised me and made that trip,” he said. 

“It was a great gift to me. And, what we’re doing here tonight is to try to do everything we can to continue to provide the Church with these priestly leaders who will be there for you when you need them. Thank you again. God bless you for your generosity.” 

Image: The diocese’s seminarians sang for attendees of the 2022 Seminary Ball.

Meet Blessed Carlo Acutis — a witness of Christ for all

Mike Krokos, Catholic News Service

Italian teenager Carlo Acutis was beatified Oct. 10, 2020, in Assisi, Italy. He is the first millennial to be declared “blessed.” His feast is celebrated Oct. 12. 

Carlo used his computer programming skills to spread devotion to the Eucharist, which he called his “highway to heaven.” On the website he created, Carlo told people that “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.” 

Although he grew up in Milan, Carlo requested to be buried in Assisi, because of his love for St. Francis of Assisi. 

Carlo’s faith was evident early in life. At age 7, he wrote, “To be always united with Jesus, this is my life program.” 

Before his death from leukemia at age 15 in 2006, Carlo was an average teen with an above-average knack for computers. He put that knowledge to use by creating an online database of Eucharistic miracles around the world. ( 

Carlo’s life centered around his faith: He attended daily Mass, prayed the rosary each day, received the sacrament of reconciliation weekly and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. 

In his apostolic exhortation on young people, “Christus Vivit” (“Christ Lives”), Pope Francis said Carlo was a role model for young people today who are often tempted by the traps of “self-absorption, isolation and empty pleasure.” 

“Carlo was well-aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising and social networking can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity,” the pope wrote. 

“Yet he knew how to use the new communications technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty,” the pope added (#105). 

There was fruit born from Carlo’s devotion. His witness of faith led to a deep conversion in his mom, because, according to the priest promoting his cause for sainthood, he “managed to drag his relatives, his parents to Mass every day. It was not the other way around; it was not his parents bringing the little boy to Mass, but it was he who managed to get himself to Mass and to convince others to receive Communion daily.” 

Carlo also was known for defending kids at school who were picked on, especially students with disabilities. 

Pope Francis called Blessed Carlo a witness of Christ for younger generations. But Carlo’s words and actions are worth all people emulating. 

“The only thing we have to ask God for, in prayer, is the desire to be holy,” Blessed Carlo once said. 

As we celebrate his life and continue our journey of faith, together we say: Blessed Carlo Acutis, pray for us. 

Mike Krokos is editor of The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. 

Going deeper 

Carlo Acutis used his talents in digital media and devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist to create a website dedicated to sharing Eucharistic miracles that have occurred around the world. The website offers an especially useful digital “museum” where all of the Eucharistic miracles are beautifully organized and displayed. Visit his website at 

St. Henry Parish, Elsmere, has created 41 Eucharistic Miracle panels, including two panels that introduce Carlo Acutis and his miracles project, that schools and parishes are welcome to borrow. Contact St. Henry Parish, (859) 727-2035.

Thomas Murrin ordained to the Order of Deacon

Maura Baker, Staff Writer

 A congregation of family and friends gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Oct. 15, for the ordination of Deacon Thomas (Tom) John Murrin to the Order of Deacon for the Diocese of Covington. Bishop John Iffert was the celebrant and ordaining prelate. Concelebrating were Father Mark Keene, vicar general and pastor of St. Agnes Parish, Ft. Wright, and Father David Sunberg, director of the Permanent Deacon Formation Program at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. 

While expected to be ordained with the rest of his class in April, an injury as result of a fall and subsequential months of recovery led to a delay of Tom Murrin’s ordination, which was celebrated last weekend. In attendance to this celebration was much of Deacon Murrin’s family, including his wife, Mary Murrin, and children, who spent “long hours in the hospital and long hours in Also attending the ordination Mass were many of the diocese’s deacons, including those who were ordained from Deacon Murrin’s class earlier this year and from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and members of Deacon Murrin’s home parish, St. Philip, Melbourne. 

During his homily, Bishop Iffert recalled the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles, describing the formation of the Order of Deacon. In this reading, the minority population, Greek-speaking Jews, believed their widows were being treated unfairly. As a solution, the apostles “call upon the assembled Church to select the leaders who will attend to the collection and distribution of food so that the apostles can attend to the prayer and ministry of the world,” said Bishop Iffert. “Notice that the community and the apostles are generous in their solution. All the men, all seven of them chosen for this diaconal ministry, all seven of them have Greek names. Presumably, they’re all from among the minority, who have raised this complaint. There’s no bickering about representation or fairness, these men are chosen from among the minority community that feels aggrieved, and they are entrusted to share the authority of the apostles.” 

Bishop Iffert then addresses Deacon Murrin directly, saying, “This is an extraordinary example for us. You can’t help but be struck by the generosity of this sharing of authority. There is no self interest in the call of these men, who we will come to think of as the first deacons … the only ambition that is properly Christian is the ambition to serve, to serve after the example of Jesus Christ,” he said. 

Following the homily, Bishop Iffert prays the Prayer of Ordination and lays his hands over top Deacon Murrin’s head, conferring the Holy Spirit to him and officially ordaining him as a deacon. Following, Deacon Murrin is vested for the first time by his brother, Deacon Kevin Murrin of the Diocese of Columbus. 

Following Mass, Bishop Iffert announced Deacon Murrin’s first official assignment — to his home parish of St. Philip, Melbourne.prayer accompanying Tom through those dark days,” said Bishop Iffert during his homily, thanking the family for their generosity of supporting Deacon Murrin and his pursuit of his “ordained ministry in the Church.” 

Image: Laying his hands over the head of Deacon Murrin, Bishop Iffert confers to him the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Let the ‘Soul of Christ’ lead you on the Eucharistic Revival

Laura Keener, Editor

On the Feast of Corpus Christi in June 2022, the Diocese of Covington, along with dioceses across the United States and in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, launched a three-year Eucharistic Revival. The mission of the revival is to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The key to achieving that mission is to restore understanding and devotion to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharistic. 

The revival will be implemented in three phases. Year 1 — June 2022 thru June 2023, is the Year of Diocesan Revival. Each Diocese is tasked to encourage the faithful to grow in their understanding and devotion to Christ in the Eucharist. 

In the Diocese of Covington, Father Daniel Schomaker, director, Office of Worship and Liturgy, will be leading the diocese’s efforts. To start, the diocese will be including Eucharistic adoration and benediction as a part of already scheduled diocesan celebrations. An example was the most recent Pro-Life Mass, which ended with a few minutes of adoration and benediction. 

In collaboration with the Messenger, the Office of Worship and Liturgy begins with this edition a yearlong, weekly series of brief articles to engage “the head and the heart;” to increase the understanding of and love for Jesus in the Eucharist. The series will introduce or re-introduce Eucharistic prayers; Eucharistic art and music, which are seen and heard in parish churches; praying the Mass, the source and summit of our Eucharistic life; and sharing personal witnesses, both local and historical. 

The series begins by introducing a prayer — the “Anima Christi” (“Soul of Christ”). The Anima Christi is an ancient prayer. It is typically referred to as the prayer After Communion, since many people pray the Anima Christi after receiving holy Communion. It is often associated with 16th century St. Ignatius of Loyola, although historians have found the prayer in documents dating back to the 14th century. St. Ignatius uses the prayer as an opening to his Spiritual Exercises. 

Adding the Anima Christi to your prayer toolbox, especially after receiving holy Communion, is a blessed way to start a personal Eucharistic revival. 

Anima Christi 

Soul of Christ, sanctify me. 

Body of Christ, save me. 

Blood of Christ, inebriate me. 

Water from the side of Christ, wash me. 

Passion of Christ, strengthen me. 

O good Jesus, hear me. 

Within your wounds, hide me. 

Let me never be separated from you. 

From the malignant enemy, defend me. 

In the hour of my death, call me, 

And bid me come to you, 

That with your saints I may praise you 

Forever and ever. Amen. 

Digging deeper: 

Franciscan Media offers a line-by-line breakdown of the Anima Christi: 

Ignatian Spirituality offers “An Ignatian Prayer Adventure,” an online, eight-week, modified version of the St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises: 

Eucharistic Revival Timeline 

The Year of Diocesan Revival — June 2022 thru June 2023. Each Diocese will encourage the faithful to grow in their understanding and devotion to Christ in the Eucharist, to raise up Eucharistic missionaries at all levels of the Church. 

The Year of Parish Revival — June 2023 thru June 2024. During this year parishes are tasked to foster Eucharistic devotion at the parish level, strengthening liturgical life through Eucharistic adoration, missions, resources, preaching, and organic movements of the Holy Spirit. 

The National Eucharistic Congress — July 17–21, 2024. This five-day historic event will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, where over 80,000 Catholics are expected to gather and be reconsecrated to the Catholic faith as missionary disciples. 

The National Year of Mission— July 2024 thru July 2025. The entire American Church will be sent on mission to share the gift of the Eucharistic Lord with their local communities and beyond.

Like pieces on a chess board, the cause for life is ‘a symphony’

Laura Keener, Editor

 Respect Life month kicked off in prayer, Oct. 4, with the celebration of the annual diocesan Pro-Life Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. Bishop John Iffert was the celebrant and Father Conor Kunath the homilist. Over 300 people attended the Mass, which began with praying the rosary, included a moment of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction and ended with the distribution of “Vote Yes on 2” yard signs outside of the church. 

Vote Yes on 2 refers to amendment 2, which will be on the ballot this Nov. 8. The amendment is clear, concise and would amend the Bill of Rights of the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution protects or secures a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion. Voting “Yes” is a vote for life. 

In his closing remarks, Bishop Iffert encouraged everyone to vote this November and in particular, vote “yes” on amendment 2 and to “do it joyfully and to do it with thanksgiving to God for giving us this opportunity,” he said. The trick, he said, is that amendment 2 will be the last item on the ballot and that some voters may have to turn over their ballot to see the amendment. Also, anyone voting a straight party ticket will need to be sure that they also mark their vote for amendment 2. Amendment 2 is a non-partisan piece of legislation, and like all non-partisan seats (for example judges, city council members and others) is not automatically picked up in a straight party vote. Each non-partisan item must be marked individually. 

“It begins with this phrase, ‘For the protection of human life…’ If you are for the protection of human life, then vote yes on that amendment. Encourage your neighbors and your friends to do the same,” said Bishop Iffert. “It’s very, very important. Please become a little group of recruiters that will go out into the world to recruit other people to vote yes on amendment 2. It’s an important thing that we can do to help assure the protection life from the moment of conception.” 

In his homily, Father Kunath used the great 1972 World Chess Championship between Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer of the United States as an analogy for the pro-life movement. 

“The date is July 23, 1972. After five back and forth games with a surprising forfeit in the second, the match is equaled up. People don’t quite know what to expect at this point. There’s already been a lot of history made up to this point and in just the last five days, things that had never happened before have happened. The world is on edge because this is one of those great confrontations between the two great powers of the Cold War — the United States and Russia,” Father Kunath said. 

The sixth game, a seminal game that would break the tie and determine the momentum of the match, begins with an open that plays to the strengths of the grandmaster. Yet, Mr. Fischer dominates his opponent in way that not only impresses those watching the game, but also the grandmaster himself. In an interview, a friend of Mr. Fischer described the game as “a symphony of classic beauty.” 

“That phrase always struck me,” said Father Kunath. “What exactly is he seeing that we are not seeing? What exactly is going on over those 64 squares that the rest of us don’t see?” By understanding the foundations of chess, a person begins to understand the achievements of that day and what Bobby Fischer accomplished, Father Kunath said. 

To be able to see so deeply into the game of chess to be able to describe it as a symphony of classic beauty, “I think that this sort of sentiment, this fact, is something we, especially as pro-lifers, have to be very keen to observe for ourselves, because while certainly our life, our mission, as pro-lifers is primarily and rightly centered on abortion, our cause as pro-lifers encompasses a great deal more than that,” Father Kunath said. “Our cause as pro-lifers encompasses all that is good, true and beautiful. Our cause as pro-lifers encompasses everything that is.” 

Father Kunath encouraged those in the pro-life movement to understand more deeply what is the cause for life. 

“You and I aren’t just standing here praising God this evening in hopes that he will give us an abundant victory,” Father Kunath said. “You and I are here tonight celebrating the very fact of our existence. We’re not just fighting against a terrible scourge on our culture. We’re not just fighting against abortion and its attendant vices. You and I are arguing by the way we live our life, that life is fundamentally good. That life is beautiful. That everything that is around us is in one sentence or another a love letter from God himself.” 

The annual diocesan Pro-Life Mass is organized by the diocesan Pro-Life Office. For more information on the pro-life efforts in the Diocese of Covington and how you or your parish can get involved visit

Image: Vote “Yes on 2” yard signs were distributed after Mass. Raising their sign, from left, are: Father Mark Keene, vicar general and pastor, St. Agnes Parish, Ft. Wright; Addia Wuchner, executive director, Kentucky Right to Life; Bishop Iffert; Peggy Piccola, assistant director, diocesan Pro-Life Office and Julie Gallenstein, parishioner, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Burlington.