A message from Bishop Iffert
“And so it is right that all your creatures serve you, all the redeemed praise you, and all your saints with one heart bless you.” (The Roman Missal, Common Preface III; emphasis added)
September 30, 2022
My Brothers and Sisters,
It is with great joy that I share with you today the beginning of a key pastoral initiative in the Diocese of Covington — With One Heart. The goal of this initiative is to embolden and equip the faithful — priests and the entire Body of Christ — to engage the mission of Jesus with united and determined energy.
Let me be clear, this IS NOT a process of retrenchment! Our intention is to turn to the Holy Spirit of God for guidance and to make the best possible use of the gifts God has given to this local Church. We are setting out to develop a vision we can share, establish goals for promoting holiness in our communities, develop leaders and marshal people and resources to pursue this sacred work diligently.
We will be assisted on this journey by the Catholic Leadership Institute. CLI is built on the belief that everything we have been given is a gift from God to be used in service, praise, and blessing of God’s name and God’s people. Their services are available to the Diocese of Covington through the generosity of a small number of benefactors who are leaders in business, education, military service, and more. The desire of these Catholic philanthropists is to develop the leadership potential that is already so obvious and valuable in our priests, deacons, consecrated religious, and dedicated lay leaders; to magnify the gifts that are at the service of the Gospel. I thank God for their initiative.
This process is already underway. Twenty-one skilled leaders from across the diocese have accepted invitations to core and planning committees that will work hand-in-hand with me and CLI. Firstly, we will continue our work of listening that began in the Process for a Synodal Church. We will use the input we received to help us listen, in a systematic way, for what is feeding your spirit in our parishes and agencies, as well as the hungers of the heart that are going unfulfilled. We will focus on how we assist one another toward a fuller life of discipleship.
We will use the data from this grassroots process to develop a strategic pastoral plan for the Diocese of Covington:
— We will help priests listen to their own passion for ministry and the needs of our people and provide coaching and formation with the goal of maximizing their leadership capacity.
— We will accompany parishes in developing their own pastoral plans and strategies for implementation.
— We will enlist the assistance of faithful Catholics across the diocese who have benefited from leadership and skill development in their own professional lives and invite them to contribute their time and abilities to the living mission of Jesus.
— We will connect these most valuable resources with the priests and parish leaders who can benefit from their experience. We will do all this and more for love of God and love of neighbor.
Very often I am asked about my vision for our local Church. My vision includes:
— That together we search for the most prudent and charitable way to do what is right and holy for the People of God.
— That we acknowledge God’s gifts and use them boldly for love of God and neighbor.
— That we pour out our lives not for a special interest, but for the common good and the growth of MANY in the way of discipleship to Jesus.
— That we embrace the gifts God has poured out with a generous hand and accept his call to be Christian witnesses in the world.
— That those of us who exercise authority in the Church do so with humility, recognizing that we are not the only ones God has called to mission.
— That we wash one another’s feet, not because we are weak, but precisely because Jesus is strong in us and strengthening each one of us.
— That we respond to St. Paul’s (patron of our Diocese) challenge to be bold for Christ.
— That we are blessed enough to live with one heart — the heart of Jesus Christ opened for love of the world.
Please keep this effort and your diocesan Church in your daily prayers. Join me in praying that the Lord make us strong in faith and poor in spirit, disciples after His own heart. Participate. Believe that growth and strengthening of the Church can happen. Be generous with your time and giftedness.
With a heart filled with love for you, I remain…
Yours in Christ,
+Bishop John Iffert
Diocese of Covington
Beginning May 9, 2023
Post Disciple Maker Index webinars begin. By participating in three webinars, pastors and parish leaders are trained how to access, understand and take action on the data collected.
“Good Leaders, Good Shepherds,” a leadership development program for priests begins. Parishes are chosen to go deeper with Virtual Disciple Maker Index and Next Generation Parish programs.
July 30, 2022
Bishop Iffert announces that he has contracted with the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) to lead a four-year strategic plan process, paid for by an anonymous donor.
Aug. 16, 2022
Deacon Jim Fortner and Carla Molina, CLI, are introduced to the Curia as project leads for the CLI project and provide an overview.
Aug. 20, 2022
For the first time the Core Team and Planning Commission are gathered; Deacon Fortner and Ms. Molina provide an overview of the project and define roles.
Sept. 30, 2022
On his first anniversary as Bishop of Covington, Bishop Iffert, the Core Team and Planning Commission host a party at St. Mary’s Park launching the “With One Heart: Igniting Parishes. Empowering Priests. Enlivening the Faithful.” campaign. Many Catholic organizations, local businesses and individuals volunteer to provide food, refreshments and entertainment.
Priest, Deacon and lay leader Focus Groups and Deanery Strategy Sessions are held. The Strategy Sessions are open to the public.
Jan. 10 and 11, 2023
The Disciple Maker Index survey is launched diocesan-wide. Everyone in the Diocese is invited to participate. The survey opens Feb. 22, 2023 and closes March 30, 2023.
Survey Questions explore:
Attitude and Beliefs – Stage and pace of spiritual growth, personal beliefs, parish effectiveness in helping people connect with a community and helping them evangelize
Participation – Frequency of parishioners’ participation in various parish activities
Relationship/Satisfaction – Parishioners’ satisfaction with their parish, pastor and parish activities
Demographics – Gender, age, ethnicity, etc. to understand who is responding