DPAA celebrates 2023 campaign with reception; distributes service grants

Supporters of the Diocesan Parish Annual Appeal (DPAA) gathered for a reception in the Bishop Howard Memorial Auditorium, Covington, Aug. 24, to celebrate the success of the 2023 campaign.

Read more on page 1: https://covdio.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/9329MESSENGERSEPTEMBER12023.pdf

Diocesan Directory

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Seminarians grow in love of Spanish language and culture

Hank Bischoff, Joshua Heskamp, and Michael Schulte share photos and stories of their summer Spanish immersion experience in San Antonio, Texas and Antiqua, Guatemala. Read more on page 3: https://covdio.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/9328Messenger25Aug2023-1.pdf

Jesus Christ

Christ-centered: at school, and at home

By Kendra McGuire.

Another summer has come and gone and we find ourselves quickly settling back into the school year routines. As we begin this new school year, our school communities share similar hopes and expectations.

Our faculty, staff, parents, and students all long for a successful year with great growth in learning. We hope for positive relationships that are cooperative and share common goals. But above all, we long to be part of a school community where everyone is welcome, everyone is loved, and everyone feels that they are an important part of the school.

In order for our school communities to meet these hopes and expectations, we have to recognize that Jesus Christ must be the center of all we do. In the book of James 1:17, we learn that “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above.” Together, we must put our faith first and be willing to serve where God calls us. By serving Him, we will become instruments through which God’s gifts of peace, love and joy will flow and fill our schools.

In early August, the teachers in our Catholic schools gathered together to focus on putting our faith first.  We learned about the importance of prayer in our lives and discussed new ways to increase prayer in our classrooms and in our schools. We studied Sacred Scripture through the lens of a teacher to learn how Jesus, the Master Teacher, models great teaching. And we learned how we are all called to invite others to choose a relationship with Jesus Christ.

As I reflect upon the learning our teachers experienced, I believe it is helpful to think about this as parents too.  We should stop and think about how we pray in our homes.  Is it only before meals?  Do we pray together as we head to school? This year, resolve to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) in your home and with your children.

Our homes should also include the study of Sacred Scripture.  We are called to live as Jesus lived, to model our actions after Him. Reading a Bible passage together daily or in preparation for Sunday Masses would be a great way to learn about Jesus and open the door to conversations about God and how He works in our lives.

As parents, the primary teachers of our children, we have a responsibility to call them into communion with Jesus. How often does Jesus come up in our conversations? When our children are struggling with the daily challenges of life, do we invite them to pray, visit with Jesus in Adoration, or go to Mass?  Do we take them to Mass every Sunday where we can remind them that we go to give glory and praise to God for all the good gifts He has given to us?

This school year, let’s keep our expectations high and hold on to hope for great things. The faculty and staff in our schools are already working hard to help their students learn. We know they will lead our children in prayer and worship and create Christ-centered classrooms.

As parents, let us also make a commitment to strengthen our school communities further by making our homes Christ-centered too. When our communities are united in Jesus Christ, both at home and school, then they will reflect the love of Jesus Christ and become places where all will be welcomed, loved, and filled with great joy!

Kendra McGuire is superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Covington, Ky.

Back to School 1

Prayer and Gratitude will get you through school and life

By David Cooley.

It’s that time of the year again that’s filled with both excitement and anxiety for students, teachers, and parents alike. For most of us the summer is already out of reach, but a new school year brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start and new adventures.

Still, August and everything that comes after can be a little overwhelming. There is always so much to do and lots of pressure to get the school year off to a good start. With all the paperwork, school rules, bus routes, uniforms, practices, homework, etc., it’s important that we find balance each day. And there is only one way to ensure balance. Prayer, our ongoing conversation with God, must be our anchor in our day-to-day life if we are going to have any sense of peace.

The best way we can help our young people navigate through this life is to teach them the art of daily prayer — the importance of finding a place to be quiet and shut out all the noise — and to challenge them to find things to be grateful for every day. Prayer and gratitude, these are treasures of a Catholic school.

I don’t have to tell you that childhood today is very different than when we were growing up. But remember, it was a lot different for us than it was for our grandparents. Yet, it seems that many young people in our time are struggling with finding joy. Perhaps without all this technology it was easier to find the simple joys of life. The antidote to this problem is prayer and gratitude.

Children always have and will always need the same things. They need love and family, they need structure and recreation, they need friendship and a sense of understanding who they are in the eyes of God. They need to be humble, but also recognize they have a great purpose in life.

If we are to teach our children to be grateful, then we need to be grateful ourselves. Our gratitude and positive attitudes must be visible to young eyes. Teachers are, after all, witnesses. It is very fitting that in the Diocese of Covington, Bishop Iffert’s episcopal motto is “In all things give thanks,” (Thes 5:18). It is not easy, but it is life changing.

I want to begin this year by expressing how grateful I am for Catholic schools.

First and foremost, Catholic schools provide opportunities every day for students and faculty to encounter Christ. Our schools are at their best when they are providing the opportunity to receive Jesus in the sacrament of His Most Holy Body and Blood — what a gift!

Catholic schools are a place where we find an extended family, people who understand that we are all on this journey together to get to heaven. As the culture becomes more and more secular, Catholic schools are safe havens and beacons of light in the growing darkness. There aren’t many places left where we can trust our young people aren’t being bombarded with all kinds of unhealthy messages.

Catholic schools help our young people prioritize what is really important in life. By orienting their lives toward Christ and to serving others, things begin to make more sense. Sports, art, academics, video games, etc., all have a place, but a good school teaches children that God comes first. If a child learns early to put God first in everything they do everything else will fall into place.

Catholic schools teach children that we are all made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore every individual is unique and has an undeniable dignity as a child of God. This is important because it helps them understand more profoundly why things like bullying is wrong, why we need to respect our bodies and the bodies of others. It isn’t just, “This is wrong because the teacher said so;” it’s a lot deeper than that. Seeing the world this way, helps people learn to love themselves and others.

I could go on and on about why I am grateful for Catholic schools. I am so thankful for the many years I spent in Catholic schools myself and that I am now able to send my own children to Catholic schools.

I think if I had to sum it all up I would say that Catholic schools are a blessing because they minister to the whole person — mind, body and soul. There is a lot to unpack in that statement, and there are a lot of happy accidents in the results when you minister to children this way. Graduating from our schools we see good citizens, we see artists, we see doctors, we see famers, we see firefighters, teachers, the list can go on and on. But most importantly, graduating from our schools we see disciples of Christ, who are going to go out and make this world a better place.

Catholic schools teach us to be grateful to God for our life, for His love, and for His mercy, and they teach us to treat other people accordingly.

David Cooley is co-director of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization in the Diocese of Covington.


Parishes create unique Eucharistic encounters through 40 hour devotions

Laura Keener, Editor

In a recent Sunday Gospel, Peter and the other disciples are in a boat on the sea as the wind and waves are kicking up. Jesus, on the shore, proceeds to walk on the water towards them. Peter asks Jesus to call him to him. Jesus does, and Peter leaves the boat and walks on the water towards Jesus. 

“Peter wanted to have a unique encounter with Jesus,” said Father Daniel Schomaker, diocesan director, Worship and Liturgy Office. “He had to get out of the boat in order to do that. He had to get out of the safety of the boat — his comfort area — in order to have an encounter with Jesus.” 

Today, Jesus still invites his disciples — you — to a unique encounter with him in the Eucharist — communally at Mass but also individually at adoration. The Catholic Church in the United States is in the middle of a three-year Eucharistic Revival. 

This year, on the feast of Corpus Christi in June, the Eucharistic Revival transitioned from the diocesan phase to the parish phase. To help unite the parishes around the Eucharist, Bishop John Iffert, at the request of the diocesan Worship Committee, has asked pastors to host 40 Hours of continual Eucharistic adoration. (See related article page 4.) 

These 40 Hours will be scheduled sometime during the year, from now until July 2024, when the revival culminates with a Eucharistic Congress, July 17–21, 2024, at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis. Discounted tickets for the Congress are available through the diocesan Office of Worship and Liturgy; an application is online at covdio.org. 

St. Augustine Parish, Covington, is the second parish to honor Bishop Iffert’s request to host the 40 Hours devotion. The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, who held 40 Hours on the feast of Corpus Christi, was the first. St. Augustine’s 40 Hours will begin Friday, August 5, 7 p.m. continuing until Sunday, Aug. 27, 5 p.m. 

Father Schomaker said that at least two people need to be present during Adoration. This, he said, can be difficult for small parishes. To help accommodate parishes, adorers from all parishes in the diocese are welcome and encouraged to volunteer for a half hour or more of adoration at as many parishes as their time allows. Adorers can reserve their time at St. Augustine’s 40 Hours by visiting the parish website, https://www.staugustines.net. 

“40 Hours devotions are being held throughout this Parish Eucharistic Revival year at different times so that the faithful will have the opportunity in their parish and at other parishes to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration,” said Father Schomaker. “This way, it’s a parochial celebration but it’s also a diocesan celebration, because we recognize that there is one local Church, which is the Diocese of Covington.” 

Spending time in adoration may be new to some. The good news is there is no specific ritual to know, so it’s hard to do Adoration wrong. The only requirement is to come prayerfully and reverently to gaze at and listen to Jesus. 

“The beauty of the Church is that her treasure trove of prayer is vast, and there’s not one way to pray,” said Father Schomaker. “In fact, most of the time, we need to remember that prayer requires listening. Prayer is not a monologue. It is a conversation. We have to be able to hear the Lord speak back to us.” 

For anyone who likes a little structure in their prayer they are welcome to pray the rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours, or they can bring along some spiritual reading — a book of the saints or a saint, or bring a Bible. 

“St. Augustine says that the Sacred Scriptures are love letters from home. Well, let’s read the love letters from the one who loves us,” said Father Schomaker. 

The best part of Adoration is taking the time, putting oneself in the presence of the Eucharist, to have that unique encounter with Jesus. 

“Peter had to get out of the boat. Sometimes we have to do that too, to get out of our comfort zone,” said Father Schomaker. “Today, the wind and the waves are oftentimes our culture that make quiet difficult. Silence is hard because we’re surrounded by all forms of noise. Get out of the boat. Enter into the silence. Go have an encounter with Jesus.”


Teaching in Catholic schools is a vocation, preaches Father Kidaagen at diocesan teacher Mass

Maura Baker, Staff Writer

Early August means the beginning of the school year, with teachers and school administrators preparing to re-open their doors to the hundreds of diocesan students who will be returning for 2023-2024 school year. 

Educators gathered for Mass, Aug. 7, just days before the first schools were to return to session on Aug. 9. The Mass was celebrated at St. Pius X Parish, Edgewood, and celebrated by the parish’s pastor Father Baiju Kidaagen. Chaplains from schools across the Diocese of Covington concelebrated the Mass, as well. 

“Some students will be excited, others may be anxious and some might not want to come at all,” said Kendra McGuire, superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Covington as she gave opening remarks before Mass. “Our job is to invite them all with great joy and to welcome them and instill in them a wonder and curiosity about the learning that will take place in your classroom this year.” 

Mrs. McGuire continued, “Our job is to help nurture their gifts and to help them realize that God created each and every one of your students for a purpose. We have a responsibility to show them the beauty of God’s creation — to seek the truth.” 

In his homily, Father Kidaagen spoke of teaching in a Catholic school as a vocation, because “we know we cannot make it to Heaven alone and Catholic education involves all parties being united by God to a common goal, eternal life … your job is a vocation because what you are doing has not only a temporal, but also a supernatural dimension to it,” he added. 

“In your work as Catholic educators, you are asked to form young people not simply to be a successful person in this world, but to be prepared to take their place in the Kingdom of God as God’s sons and daughters. If your job is a vocation, then you proclaim in a definitive way that Jesus must be at the heartbeat of everything you teach,” he said. 

Before the closing of the Mass, the teachers in attendance rose for a commissioning by Father Kidaagen on behalf of Bishop Iffert, “No matter which subject you will teach, remember that your task as a Catholic school teacher is to teach our students love of God and love of neighbor.”

Photo: Various school teachers sing along during the Mass service.