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Episode 1, St. Augustine, Covington

Episode 7 – Sr. Kimberly Porter OSB

Youth - NCYC Closing Mass

Together we THRIVE!

By Angie Poat.

Statistics reveal the trend that teenagers and young adults consider themselves spiritual, but not religious. Many recognize God as a creator, who set the world in motion, like a master clockmaker, distant and absent from daily life. Subsequently, a personal relationship with God and participation in a Church community is undesirable.

I am proud to give testimony that reveals a different picture. Since beginning the role of Diocesan Youth Minister in June, I have personally encountered hundreds of young people who are deeply religious, spiritual and seek relationships within the Catholic community.

They have raised thousands of dollars to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference, they arise early to attend Mass before school starts, they participate in works of mercy and service, lead music, retreats, attend Holy Hours, March for Life, use prayer APPS, mentor younger youth, pray rosaries and lead virtuous sporting events.

They attend youth ministry events sandwiched between school, homework, extra-curriculars, sports, jobs and family obligations. These young people, like the first Christians, are counter cultural.

Sometimes we do not “see” them because they do not want to bring attention to themselves. However, I assure you they exist. They are in parishes, schools and pockets around the diocese. They all need our help to THRIVE! It is hard to live a holy life in a secular culture.

THRIVE! is a diocesan Youth Ministry initiative to grow and support youth ministry that is unified, sustainable and rooted in the joy of the Gospel. A thriving ministry will be unique to each setting. There is no one model that works for every parish, school, retreat or ministry.

Comparing one ministry or location to another often leads to disunity and despair. Thus, THRIVE! provides support, networking and ministry tools, rooted in Christ and peer relationships, to keep both the minister and the ministry moving forward.

THRIVE! ministry events are held monthly, typically open to high school, college and adult leaders. The agenda includes prayer, praise and worship, networking, focus groups, and an applied ministry topic and experience.

A student from St. Henry District High School, said of the last THRIVE!, “It was exactly what I needed!”

An adult from St. Mary Parish noted, “Wow!! Another amazing THRIVE! night. I learn so much and I love getting to meet more of this faith-filled youth-loving community … so impactful.”

Join us and help diocesan teens THRIVE! through your prayer, financial sponsorship, and personal witness. “Planted in the house of the Lord we shall flourish and bear fruit!” cf. Ps 92:14-15.

Consult the youth ministry section of the diocesan ( for specific ideas and events.

“…although it is never easy to approach young people, two things have become increasingly evident: the realization that the entire community has to be involved in evangelizing them, and the urgent requirement that young people take on a greater role in pastoral outreach.” Pope Francis, “Christus Vivit,” (Christ Is Alive!”) 202.

Angie Poat is the diocesan Youth Minister for the Diocese of Covington, Ky.

Catholic Schools Week Mass celebrated united in ‘faith and love of Jesus’

The pews filled with diocesan students, teachers, administrators and supporters, Jan. 31, to celebrate a Mass commemorating Catholic Schools Week. The Mass was held in the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, and celebrated by Bishop John Iffert. Students representing every diocesan grade school and high school were present among their educators, processing in with banners decorated in school colors.

Read more on page 2.

‘Head up, feet moving,’ Bishop Iffert encourages consecrated religious

Women and men religious gathered with laity for Mass, Feb. 3, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. This special Mass celebrated World Day of Consecrated Life. Bishop John Iffert celebrated the Mass, joined by Father Ryan Maher, the Cathedral’s rector, with Deacons Barry Henry and Gerald Franzen assisting.

The World Day of Consecrated Life was established as a day of prayer for religious men and women in 1997 by Pope St. John Paul II. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on Feb. 2.

Read more on page 3.

Catholic Wedding Marriage

Matrimony, sacrament of service

By Isaak A. Isaak.

The Church has long talked about vocation and sacrament. The one sacrament referred to as a vocation, a calling, has been priesthood and religious life. The sacrament of matrimony was rarely referred to as vocation.

Today, it is! Our sacrament of matrimony is indeed a true sacrament. It is an outward sign of unity only achieved through years of letting go of self for the purpose of feeding the relationship. Those years couples share are years of adjustment, struggle, joy, peace and turmoil. They are years of happiness and sorrow, gain and loss. Slowly, two become one, sometimes despite the struggle each goes through to hold on to their own individual self.

The sacrament of matrimony has the same purpose as Holy Orders; to bring people to a deeper relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. It does so in a different format, relating to specified individuals as opposed to reaching out to masses of people at the same time. Both vocations rely on modeling, setting example and being consistent in one’s own relationship with God.

Couples are charged with bringing in new life, educating that new life and reaching out to those around them with the touch and love of Christ. They are to do all this with minimum training. Oftentimes, couples find themselves asking for the manual to being married and raising children.

Today, society is struggling to maintain its balance. Marriages are breaking up at unreasonable rates, couples living together imitating marriage, society striving to redefine marriage and its purpose, attempting to eliminate God and his purpose for humankind. If society is to rebound from where it finds itself at this point, it will have to be through strong, God–centered couples intent on living out their vocation.

The basic cell of society is the family. The family has conquered difficult environments, overcome strife and deprivation, but in the midst is still able to teach new life of God and God’s ways. It is the faith and families we celebrate. It is the vocation of matrimony which holds hope for society.

It is time to regain society as God intended for us, one family at a time. Therefore, “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.” (Heb. 13:4)

Isaak A. Isaak is co-director of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization.

catechist classroom

Teachers and catechists — agents of Good News

By Isaak A. Isaak.

Again, this year, the Diocese of Covington and dioceses across the United States celebrated Catholic Schools Week a week ago.

This annual observance usually begins the last Sunday in January and runs throughout the Week, which this year was Jan. 28 through Feb. 3.

Each year, the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) selects a theme and every Catholic school across the country plans activities around this theme. In addition to special school activities for students, families, and the community at large, students also attend Mass at local parishes and sending student and teacher representatives to the local Mother Church, in our case the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption.

This year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week is “United in Faith and Community.”

This is a vital and appropriate theme for all our teachers and catechists because this is what they do daily. They teach the faith in our communities. It is truly a beautiful theme. Teachers and catechists are indeed agents of teaching the faith.

When I think of Catholic Schools Week, I immediately think of our schoolteachers and catechists who teach the faith in our Catholic schools and parishes. They are the ones who stand as witnesses to the person of Jesus Christ in their classrooms. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” (Romans 10:15)

Our teachers and catechists are agents of good news. They bring good news to our students in the classrooms. Christ becomes present in the classrooms. They touch the lives of all the young people who come to our schools and parish religious education programs by teaching the Word of God. They are great examples and evangelizers of the faith. And we are truly grateful for what they do on behalf of the parents, who are the first catechists of their children.

Every year, I look forward to seeing our students in their school uniforms when they come to the Cathedral to attend Mass. I especially like seeing them as they approach the altar, lining up to receive Holy Communion. They stand up and make a statement of faith by receiving the Bread of Life. Indeed, this is great statement of faith, believing that the author of life, Jesus, is truly present in the Eucharist. Of course, they make statements of faith every day in learning the faith, in serving the community, in leading and succeeding in the Catholic way of life.

To further strengthen these great and beautiful institutions of learning, the Diocese of Covington has developed a unique partnership with the Franciscan University’s Catechetical Institute. This partnership with the Institute will enable the Office Catechesis and Evangelization along with the Catholic Schools Office to provide workshop tracks at no charge, and with unlimited access to over 200 courses, to our parish and school catechetical leaders, catechists, and schoolteachers.

For anyone who lives, serves, and worships in the Diocese of Covington, Bishop John Iffert is generously providing these workshops to all at no cost. Detailed information about this will be coming soon.

It is our hope that teachers and catechists will immerse and engage themselves in these workshops so that through their own formation they will form others in our beautiful faith.

Our teachers and catechists are sowers of the seed — the Word of God (Romans 10:17). These resources will assist in doing just that. It is my hope and prayer that whenever they sow the seeds of faith, these seeds will take root in the lives and experiences of all the youth of our Diocese.

Teachers and catechists are ordinary people who perform an extraordinary duty because they teach as Jesus teaches and teach in his name. They are faithful to the author of life by dedicating themselves to deepening the faith of the present generation. They teach and live the faith just like Jesus.

Jesus — Teacher of teachers and Catechist of catechists — bless our teachers and catechists throughout this year and beyond. Amen!

Isaak A. Isaak is co-director of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization.

‘Love Them Both’ – 2024 March for Life Ky.

The clouds were gray, and the rain was pouring as hundreds gathered in Frankfort for the first Kentucky march for life. The day started with Mass celebrated by Father John Lijana, pastor, Good Shepard Church, Frankfort.

“Life is good because it comes from God … do with it what he wills.” This was the message that rang throughout Father Lijana’s homily on Jan. 23.

The words hung over the congregation of about 500 as they took in the message that what they will be marching for is the sanctity of life and the dignity of mother and child. The latter of which being the theme of this year’s march, “Love Them Both.”

Read more on page 1.

Upcoming Cursillo weekends offer tools to enrich the Catholic faith for a lifetime

A new year means a new year of Cursillo retreats, with the next scheduled as soon as this month.

Cursillo is named for a Spanish word meaning short course. A Cursillo (pronounced “kur-see-yo”),therefore, is a short course in Christianity. Originating in Spain in the 1940s, today Cursillos are given in more than 50 nations on 5 Continents. It is estimated that more than 2 million men and women of various races and languages have participated. Locally, all Cursillo weekends are held at the Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Center in Milford, Ohio.

Read more on page 2.