March for Life and Day of Prayer and Penance, time to grieve lost generations

Laura Keener

Editor

With the beginning of a new year, the Pro-Life Office is making last minute plans for its annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. for the 48th annual March for Life. The March for Life will be held Jan. 21. Each year it is held near the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which made abortion legal, essentially on demand, in the United States.

This year Bishop John Iffert will join the pilgrims of the Diocese of Covington at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. The pilgrims include groups from several Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Covington, a contingent of about 50 adults traveling with the Pro-Life Office and individuals traveling on their own who have notified the Pro-Life Office of their plans to be there.

This will be Bishop Iffert’s first pilgrimage to the national March for Life and he will celebrate Mass at St. Dominic Church for the diocesan pilgrims the morning of the March.

“I’m looking forward to gathering with the people from the diocese and celebrating Mass in the morning,” said Bishop Iffert. “I’m looking forward to walking with those folks who want to give witness for the dignity of life and to call on our leaders to make policies that promote the dignity of human life and that respect and protect human life from conception to natural death … to give that witness and raise that voice.”

In the Diocese of Covington, for those who are not traveling to Washington D.C. for the March for Life, Bishop Iffert has declared Jan. 21 a Day of Prayer and Penance for Life.

“I invite everybody to be part of this day to, to mark this day as a day of penance for our country,”said Bishop Iffert. “Not in a punitive kind of way, but in really allowing ourselves to experience the grief of the wound of lost generations; really experience the grief and the wound that comes from aborting our children; really experience the grief and the wound that comes from the spreading of what John Paul II called the Culture of Death — to take that in and remember who we are called to be and let that change us.”

Legalized abortion, Bishop Iffert said, affects our basic mindset — both individually and collectively as a nation — into thinking that because something is legal it is also, somehow, moral.

“So it’s really important to take some time, to spend the day remembering that we really are grieved by what has been happening in our country,” Bishop Iffert said. “We are grieved every time somebody makes a decision against life — against the respect for life. We are grieved every time a woman feels like she has to make the decision for abortion. Take some time to rededicate ourselves to making other options available for those women, to make other options available for those children, so that we can be the witness to God’s gift of life.” On that day, all students in the diocese will pray a rosary for life during the school day, all parishes will set aside some time for Eucharistic adoration and a Holy Hour for Life will be held at 7 p.m. at 10 designated churches.

“In the diocese we have 10 churches where people can gather to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, where people can ask the Lord to change our hearts, to change the hearts of mothers and fathers who are making this decision — to help them know that they’re supported, to help them know that they’re loved, that they’re not going to be abandoned and to help our decision makers know that we want to be there to sacrifice for others. That’s really important,” Bishop Iffert said.

Many people participating in this year’s March for Life have been praying every day and marching every year since the 1973 Supreme Court decision that the law will be reversed and that the right to life will be restored as a basic human right in the United States. This year they are especially hopeful that those prayers will be answered.

Currently the Supreme Court is deciding the case Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The decision in this case could overturn Roe v Wade, returning the abortion decision to State governments.

In Kentucky, voters will decide whether or not the Kentucky Constitution supports the right to abortion. The “Kentucky No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment” is on the ballot, Nov. 8, as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. A “yes” vote supports amending the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion.

These upcoming legal and political decisions make it even more important for people to pray, reflect and be a voice for the unborn.

“It makes it all the more important that we participate in our local governments; that we make our values known to our neighbors; that people see the reasonableness of our faith,” said Bishop Iffert.

It’s important, he said, that “people see the thinking behind protecting life; that people understand that we believe that every life is a gift from God — given for the benefit of the common good — and that every time a life is cut short, every time a life is taken, that, somehow, we lose something that is necessary for life together. We lose a gift that God has given us.”

 

 

Day of Prayer and Penance for Life – Rosary for Life

The Diocese of Covington will once again observe a Diocesan Day of Prayer and Penance for Life, Jan. 21. Bishop John Iffert has directed that each parish in the diocese be open for adoration and payer for at least one hour at some time during the day (see schedule). Also, 10 parishes have been designated as host parishes for a Holy Hour for Life, 7–8 p.m., for all members of the diocese to gather in praying for an end to abortion in the United States.

Additionally, during the morning of Jan. 21, all of the Catholic schools in the diocese will observe this day with a prayer service developed by the Office of Worship. The prayer service begins at 9 a.m., which is the same time that Bishop Iffert will begin Mass in Washington, D.C. for diocesan pil- grims participating in the March for Life.

Part of the school prayer service includes pray- ing the rosary using the Joyful Mysteries for reflec- tion. The Joyful Mysteries are especially instruc- tive on this day dedicated to praying for the protec- tion and defense of life, for they focus on Jesus’ conception, life in the womb, birth and early child- hood.

Featured here are the Joyful Mysteries along with the reflection as it will be prayed in schools on the Day of Prayer and Penance for Life.

First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation of Our Lord (Scriptural reading: Luke 1:26-33, 38)

As an angel proclaimed the conception of Christ in Mary’s virginal womb, so do mothers and fathers learn to cherish the gift of their child. Let us pray to the Mother of all the Living that every child be treasured and protected from the first moment of conception as a great and wondrous gift of God.

Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation (Scriptural reading: Luke 1:39-45)

As the child in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy when the Blessed Virgin, pregnant with the Son of God, came to meet her, so may our hearts leap with joy at the wonders of new life promised in every expectant mother.

Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity of the Lord Jesus (Scriptural reading: Luke 2:6-12)

In the birth of every child, we see the birth of Christ Jesus in the Bethlehem stable. Let us commend all new mothers and fathers and every newborn child to the protection and intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of all Christians.

Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Scriptural reading: Luke 2:25-32)
As Christ was consecrated to God at his presentation in the temple, so may we consecrate all children to that holiness, purity, and innocence by which they lead us to God. “A little child shall lead them.”

Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Scriptural reading: Luke 2:41-50)

As the Christ Child was found in the temple by the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, so we pray for all children, especially those lost and forgotten. May the Gospel of Life impel us to find them when they are most in need and to lead them home to a place where they are treasured, protected, and loved.

After 19 years of faithful service, Bishop Foys to retire; announces Father John Iffert has been appointed next bishop

Laura Keener, Editor.

Bishop-elect John Iffert

The Diocese of Covington Curia was buzzing with excitement, July 13, as Bishop Roger Foys announced that, after 342 days, Pope Francis has accepted his letter of resignation and has appointed as the diocese’s 11th bishop Father John C. Iffert, a priest of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. Bishop-elect Iffert currently serves as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Belleville.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 13, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Additionally, Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Foys apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Covington to oversee its operations until the installation of Bishop-elect Iffert. The consecration and installation is scheduled for Sept. 30, 3 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington.

Last year, on July 27, 2020, Bishop Foys celebrated his 75th birthday — the retire-

ment age of bishops — and, as required, submitted his letter of resignation to the Holy Father. In his 19 years as Bishop of Covington, Bishop Foys has ordained 42 priests for the Diocese of Covington and has revitalized Covington’s Cathedral Square. He has been a faithful

and resolute proponent of Catholic school education, especially for vulnerable families in the urban core.

“It is with gratitude to Almighty God that I welcome Very Rev. John C. Iffert as my successor as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Covington,” said Bishop Foys. “I am grateful also to our Holy Father Pope Francis for providing for the pastoral care of our diocese by this appointment. Bishop-elect Iffert brings a wealth of pastoral and administrative experience to his episcopal ministry. He comes well-prepared to provide for the needs of our diocese as a pastor with the heart of a shepherd.”

Father Iffert was born Nov. 23, 1967. He received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois (1988). He attended Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Il., where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1996 and a Master of Divinity in 1997. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Belleville on June 7, 1997.

Bishop-elect Iffert’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville (1997-2000); administrator and pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Columbia (2000-2003). During that time, he served as a member of the diocesan personnel board, Defender of the Bond for the Tribunal, Spiritual Moderator for both the Belleville deanery CYO and the Diocesan Teens Encounter Christ movement. In August 2003, he entered the novitiate of the Order of Preachers, Province of St. Albert the Great, USA (Dominican, Central Province). He professed simple vows as a Dominican in 2004 which he renewed in 2006. From 2007-2008, he served as parochial vicar of St. Thomas Catholic Center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Father Iffert left the Dominicans in 2008 and returned to the Diocese of Belleville.

Father Iffert has served as administrator of St. Mary Parish in Mount Vernon (2008-2010); administrator of St. Theresa Parish in Salem and at St. Elizabeth in Kinmundy (2009-2010); pastor of St. Mary Parish (2010-2020); and pastor of St. Barbara Parish in Scheller (2014-2020). He has served as vicar forane of the North Central Vicarate (2013-2020); diocesan co-vicar for priests (2014-2020); member of the Diocesan Finance Council (2010-present); and as a member of the College of Consultors (2016-present). Since 2020, Father Iffert has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Belleville, and since January 2021 he has served as pastor of St. Stephen in Caseyville.

“Bishop-elect Iffert has been an excellent priest and a dedicated pastor, and he is widely respected in our diocese,” said Bishop McGovern, Diocese of Belleville. “With his strong faith and many talents, I believe Bishop-elect Iffert will be an excellent shepherd for the people of Northern Kentucky.”

At a press conference, July 13 at Bishop Howard Memorial Auditorium at the Diocese of Covington Curia building, Bishop Foys introduced Bishop-elect Iffert to the Curia staff and the local community. Also attending the press conference were Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archdiocese of Louisville; Bishop William Medley, Diocese of Owensboro; and Bishop John Stowe, Diocese of Lexington.

“This is an announcement we have been waiting for a long time,” said Bishop Foys acknowledging that together he and the staff have been waiting almost a year for the Holy Father to accept his retirement.

Reflecting on his thoughts after Archbishop Pierre

called with the news as he was about to call to congratulate Bishop-elect Iffert, Bishop Foys said, “I felt sort of like John the Baptist, when he was waiting, like everyone else, for the Messiah who would set him free. I was reminded of Matthew, chapter 11, verse 3, ‘Are you who is to come or do we have to wait for another?’ Well, he is the one who is to come,” Bishop Foys said to the laughter of the staff.

“Knowing Father Iffert these last several days, I am confident that he will make a wonderful shepherd — he is a pastor with the heart of a shepherd,” Bishop Foys said. “I know that you, along with me, will not only welcome him but also pledge him our support and most importantly our prayers as he begins to take the reins of the diocese.”

At the press conference, Bishop-elect Iffert received a standing ovation as he approached the podium to address the staff and people of the Diocese of Covington.

“I am astounded and deeply grateful that Pope Francis has elected me to serve as the 11th Bishop of Covington, Kentucky, and called me to share in apostolic ministry,” Bishop-elect Iffert said. “I thank the Holy Father with all my heart for this election and call. I am inspired by his vision of a Church so deeply rooted in relationship with Christ that we accompany the outcast, tend the wounded, mourn with the brokenhearted, rejoice and give thanks in every

circumstance, and so carry out Jesus’ mission of evangelization. It is with joy that I dedicate myself anew to this happy labor, now with you in the Diocese of Covington.”

Bishop-elect Iffert praised and thanked Bishop Foys for his 19 years as shepherd of the Diocese of Covington.

“I am also grateful to Bishop Roger Foys. For 19 years he has served the people of the Diocese of Covington faithfully, diligently, and with a pastor’s heart for those who are hurting,” he said. “Since my election, he has been most

welcoming and gracious — a true Christian gentlemen. I look forward to the opportunity to know Bishop Foys, to be his brother bishop and friend in Christ.”

Bishop-elect Iffert gave heartfelt and tender words of gratitude to his parents, John and Mary Iffert, and his two sisters, Kim and Kathy, six nieces and nephews and 14 great nieces and nephews.

“The only lottery in this world that counts is the family that you are born into, and I am a winner in that lottery. I am most grateful,” Bishop-elect Iffert said.

Bishop-elect Iffert indicated that he has only three agenda items as he comes to lead the Diocese of Covington — to get to know its priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful, to invite young men to consider priestly vocations and to beg for prayers.

“To the priests, deacons, lay faithful of the Diocese of Covington, I can’t wait to get to know you and pray with you,” he said. “From the moment that I learned that I would be the bishop-elect, I have been praying for you. Every time I pause and turn toward God you are the people who come to my mind the most. My agenda as I come to the Diocese of Covington is just that, to get to know you. I want to visit with you in our parishes and schools, to celebrate Mass with you, to hear from you why you love our faith and what burdens you carry … You, and being Church with you, are the stuff of my hopes, prayers and dreams these days. Please — once I am consecrated and on the ground here in Covington — invite me. I want to be asked.”

About priestly vocations, Bishop-elect Iffert made a plea to the young men of the diocese.

“I want to take this moment to invite every active, prayerful, Catholic young man to spend some significant time — maybe six months — learning about the life of a priest and discerning whether God might be calling you to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. … Let me witness to you today, this is a joyful and fulfilling life in the midst of loving and dedicated people in community. If God is offering you life as a priest or religious, you do not want to miss this. It is an adventure and it is a joy. So please, please every Catholic young man consider life as a priest and if God is calling you.”

Bishop-elect Iffert said he is begging the people of the diocese to pray for him, as he is praying for them, sharing a prayer he has prayed most every day of his life since his confirmation when he was 12 years old.

“There is a little prayer that I have always attributed to my confirmation patron, St. Isaac Jogues. I have moved into that prayer, stretched it a bit, and made it my own. I offer it this way: ‘Wherever I go from here, Lord, let me be strong in faith and poor in spirit. Make me a man after your own heart.’ I have always prayed it for myself, my parishioners, my coworkers, my bishop, our pope and now I will pray it for the people of the Diocese of Covington.

“The Rite of Ordination and Installation of a Bishop is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at 3 p.m., in the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington. At that hour, please pray that prayer with me and for me. Pray that I can be strong when strength is needed and weak when I am tempted to be full of myself. Know that I will be carrying you in my heart that day, and asking God to make us all men and women after his own heart.”

Archbishop Kurtz congratulated both Bishop Foys and Bishop-elect Iffert.

“It is with great joy that I welcome the news that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed Father John Iffert as the next bishop of the Diocese of Covington. He is known to have a great pastoral heart as well as excellent pastoral experience in his more than two decades of service in the Diocese of Belleville,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “Bishop-elect

Iffert is succeeding my friend and brother bishop, Bishop Roger Foys. Bishop Foys has served Northern Kentucky with great distinction, and I join with the bishops of the province in thanking him for his leadership and collaboration. The bishops of the Province of Louisville have a great fraternity and together we welcome Bishop-elect Iffert. We promise him and Bishop Foys our prayerful support.”

The 2021–22 school year opens to in-person instruction with protocols and prayer

Laura Keener, Editor.

Kendra McGuire, superintendent of Schools

Before the last school bell rang, closing the 2020–21 school year, teachers, parents and even news reporters were already asking, “What are the COVID-19 protocols going to be for next year?”
It has taken awhile for the necessary information to come forward so that Kendra McGuire, superintendent of Schools and the diocesan COVID Task Force could answer that question. First, in May, nobody could readily predict how, in August, the virus might be moving in communities. Also, information on how effective vaccines would be, especially against variants of the virus, was just beginning to be collected and continues to develop. Most importantly, guidance from the Kentucky Department of Health (KDH) and the Northern Kentucky Health Department (NKHD) had not yet been released for the upcoming school year.
But now August is upon us, schools are about to open and protocols have been developed. In a letter to parents, that was emailed to principals July 27, Mrs. McGuire released the COVID-19 Return to School Requirements 2021–2022. These protocols were developed based on the guidance released July 14 from the KDH and after communication with the NKHD.
“We have put in place safety protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as this virus continues to be present in our local community,” Mrs. McGuire said in the letter. “All our school operations and activities will return to normal with these safety protocols in place.”
The new protocols also incorporate the diocese’s own experience from providing in-person instruction throughout the entire school year last year — when COVID cases were high, vaccines were a hope and the entire world was learning together how to maintain those things in life which are a priority while mitigating the spread of the virus.
“While we are again starting the year with some uncertainties, we remain confident with what we have learned so far in mitigating the spread of the virus,” Mrs. McGuire said.
Highlights from this year’s protocols include:
— Non-traditional instruction or remote learning will only be available to students that are in quarantine. All other students will return to the classroom for in-person instruction.
“What we learned last year is that the best we can do virtually is not really good enough; it’s not the best we could offer,” Mrs. McGuire said in an interview about the 2020–2021 school year. “So the goal had to be getting the students in school; it had to be in person. School is so much more than just studying by yourself and reading a book or completing a paper online — there’s so much more in the interactions in school, which are all part of that big educational piece.”
— Masks will be optional, except on buses where the state of Kentucky requires masks to be worn. Those who choose to wear a mask will be supported and encouraged to do so.
— Families are encouraged to discuss with their doctor if getting the COVID-19 vaccine is best for them and their child(ren); the COVID-19 vaccine will not be required for students, faculty or staff.
It’s important to note that, in collaborating with St. Elizabeth Healthcare in February 2021, it is estimated that over 90 percent of the administration, faculty and staff in diocesan schools are fully vaccinated. Additionally, unlike unvaccinated persons, vaccinated persons are not required to quarantine when exposed to the virus and are determined to be a close contact if they are symptom-free.
— Three-feet spacing between students is recommended in classrooms and the cafeteria.
— High schools and high school athletes must follow the KHSAA guidelines.
— Employees, students and volunteers should complete a daily personal health assessment before leaving for school each day. Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to school and should contact their doctor.
“As parents, your support will be one of the most important factors in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses in our schools,” Mrs. McGuire said in the letter to parents. “If your child is exhibiting illness symptoms, you must keep them home and work with your doctor to determine what the illness is and when it will be safe to return to school.”
Mrs. McGuire said that schools will continue to track COVID-19 cases and principals will report cases to the diocese. Right now, the NKHD and KDH are not requiring that schools or the diocese report individual cases. Cases of five or more that are linked by interaction or an event are required to be reported to the NKHD.
“This will help us to determine whether or not additional measures need to be taken to further prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Mrs. McGuire. “In order to do this, parents must report COVID-19 positive cases to the school immediately.”
A large part of last year’s success in keeping children in school while also mitigating the spread of the virus can be attributed to the overwhelming cooperation of parents, even when it meant that their child would miss out on important personal milestones.
“Throughout the 2020–21 school year, we made changes to procedures based on our data,” Mrs. McGuire said. “We will continue to monitor this again and make changes as necessary to maintain inperson learning.”
As the school year begins, “In all things we place our trust in God,” Mrs. McGuire said. “I ask you to pray for another successful school year and ask God’s protection for the health and safety of our students, staff, families and volunteers who will be part of our school communities this year.”
Mrs. McGuire’s letter and the COVID-19 Return to School Requirements 2021–2022 School Year are available online at www.covdio.org.

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: covcathedral.com.

Pentecost is a defining moment in the Church and the lives of all Christ’s followers

Laura Keener, Editor:
Bishop Roger Foys conferred the sacrament of confirmation on 21 candidates from parishes across the Diocese of Covington, May 23, the solemnity of Pentecost, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. The solemnity of Pentecost celebrates the time that, as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles filling them with the gifts of the Spirit.
“Today we are celebrating the solemnity of Pentecost which is known and celebrated as the birthday of the Church,” said Bishop Foys as he began his homily.
Bishop Foys encouraged those present to think about “defining moments” in their life.
“In all our lives we have defining moments, something or someone impresses us so that it makes a difference in our lives, for the rest of our lives,” Bishop Foys said. “It can be something positive and joyful or unfortunately it can be something difficult or sad. It can also be something as simple as a sunrise or a sunset. It can be meeting someone, being married, answering a call to a religious vocation, getting a job you have always dreamed of — defining moments that changed our lives.”
In Jesus, Bishop Foys said, the apostles experienced many defining moments.
“Certainly a defining a moment in their lives was when Jesus called them to be his followers — he handpicked them, he called them by name — so much so they left everything behind and embarked on a whole new life.”
The apostles experienced unfortunate defining moments too: when Jesus was arrested, beaten, bloodied, crucified and died on the cross and buried.
“Buried with him were their hopes and their dreams, everything came to a crashing halt. Jesus was no more,” said Bishop Foys. “Then another defining moment, Jesus appears to them in his glorified, risen body three days after his death. They were overjoyed but not quite sure. Even though they saw him they, were still, St. Luke says in his Gospel, ‘incredulous.’”
Jesus’ ascension to heaven was another defining moment for the apostles. Jesus told them that he had to go back to the Father, but promised that he and the Father would send them the Spirit, “and the Spirit is going to be with you until the end of the world; and there is nothing, no one, not even the gates of hell, that will prevail against you.”
“How did the apostles react to these defining moments?” Bishop Foys said. “They went and hid. They were afraid and didn’t know what to do. They didn’t quite understand who Jesus was and the message that Jesus entrusted to them. That’s significant, he entrusted his Father’s message to them — to carry that message to the ends of the world.”
When the Holy Spirit came to the apostles, “That was the ultimate defining moment in the lives of the apostles,” said Bishop Foys. “Once they received the gifts of the Holy Spirit they finally understood the message that Jesus had entrusted to them and they carried that message out unto the ends of the earth. They go out and begin to preach and teach to the very same people they were hiding from … Nothing would stop them from proclaiming Christ and bringing the message that God loves us with a love that we do not have to earn and a love that we can never lose. And the Church was born on Pentecost.”
“Today I will administer the sacrament of confirmation and the Holy Spirit will come down and fill the hearts of those to be confirmed with the seven gifts that the Holy Spirit possesses and that he distributes among God’s people … Every gift, every talent he gives us, is to build up the kingdom of God. We, in our own time, are called to be apostles — to carry this message to the ends of the world by what we say, yes, but more importantly by what we do and how we live. We are entrusted, all of us, with that message that Jesus entrusted to the apostles and to make that message known.”

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.”

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.”