Two schools celebrate 2017 Blue Ribbon designation

Messenger Staff Report

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos announced, Sept. 28, that 342 schools, including St. Joseph School, Crescent Springs and Villa Madonna Academy Elementary, Villa Hills, have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017.

“Congratulations to the St. Joseph Elementary School, Crescent Springs and Villa Madonna Academy school communities on achieving the highest national recognition bestowed upon a school,” said Michael Clines, superintendent for Catholic Schools.

This is the second time that both local schools have received Blue Ribbons — St. Joseph School in 2006 and Villa Madonna Elementary in 2007 — and is two of the 15 Blue Ribbon Schools in the Diocese of Covington.

“I am very grateful to Cathy Stover (former principal), the teachers, students, parents and staff members who worked hard to achieve the 2017 National Blue Ribbon School Award,” said Sally Zeck, principal, St. Joseph School. Ms. Zeck, a longtime teacher at the school, was appointed to the leadership position this year. “St. Joseph School is a high achieving elementary school and we are excited to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. I am thrilled to be a part of this St. Joseph community!”

“We are proud to once again be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School,” said Soshana Bosley, principal, Villa Madonna Academy Elementary. “This recognition is an honor for our entire school community including our faculty, staff, students, families, and community supporters, as it validates our commitment to academic excellence.”

Bishop Foys: Draw closer to the heart of Mary and Jesus at Rosary Congress and consecration

By: Messenger Staff Report

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, the Diocese of Covington will hold a diocesan Rosary Congress the week of Oct. 9–13. This congress culminates with the consecration of the Diocese of Covington, Oct. 13, to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A Rosary Congress is a period of time dedicated with continuous rosaries said in response to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s call for conversion and consecration. Various Rosary Congresses are being planned across the United States and the Philippines.

“My gratitude to those who have promoted the Rosary Congress and to all who will participate in it — what a blessing this is to our diocese,” said Bishop Foys. “The rosary is a time honored prayer and one to which every Catholic has access to in any given situation at any given time. It is a beautiful prayer, calling to mind the mysteries of the life of our Lord and of His Blessed Mother. It provides us with wonderful meditation as we pray its 20 mysteries in its 20 decades.”

In the Diocese of Covington exposition of the Holy Eucharist and a continuous recitation of the rosary will be held at five designated parishes from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. (with exception of the Cathedral which will end at 8:15 p.m.). (See below for schedule.)

During the course of this five-day congress, all are urged to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at one or all of these churches to pray and recite the rosary specifically for the intentions of conversions and peace.

With music performed by the Diocesan Choir, the congress will end Oct. 13, 7 p.m., at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. To demonstrate the universality of the Catholic Church, the congregation will join the Bishop Roger Foys in an international rosary, led by representatives from different countries reciting the “Hail Mary” in multiple languages. Meditations on the four mysteries are taken from John Paul II’s apostolic letter, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae.”

Following the diocesan rosary, Bishop Foys will complete the event with a prayer of consecration of the diocese to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Individuals and groups have also planned to make their personal consecrations during this time. It is the hope that many will join in this effort, which requires a small sacrifice of time and the gift of prayer to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“May our Lady of the Rosary bless the Rosary Congress and may it bring us all closer to the hearts of Our Lord and Our Lady,” said Bishop Foys.

For information call (859) 344-1427.

Local family says be not afraid to serve the homeless

By: David Cooley

There is slogan of a popular athletic apparel company that has, for numerous years, encouraged the many people glued to their TV sets not to hesitate but to “Just Do It.” If the “it” in that phrase is open to the limits of imagination, it makes one wonder how many people across the country apply that simple demand to the call of the Gospel.

One local family, parishioners at Mary, Queen of Heaven Parish, Erlanger, decided, as they watched TV the day after Thanksgiving a few years back, that there was work to be done and that they needed to just get to it. This work had nothing to do with dishes or raking leaves — it was feeding the hungry.

William (Bill) Croyle, his wife, Debra, and their three sons, Nick, Dominic and Vincent, were visiting relatives in Cleveland, Ohio, when they decided to put an idea they had tossed around into action, and it changed them forever. They went to the store, made 30 paper bag lunches, went downtown and handed them out.

“It’s one of those things that you always want to do, but you don’t know how to go about doing it,” Mr. Croyle said.

Those meals were gone in no time, and so when the Croyles were back in Cleveland around Christmastime that same year they decided to do it again, this time feeding 300 men staying at a homeless shelter.

“We continued to do it sparingly, but then we stopped for a while,” Mr. Croyle said. “We let the business of life get in the way.”

Then, this past summer when Mr. and Mrs. Croyle were walking through downtown Cincinnati one evening with friends, they encountered many homeless people on Third Street.

“It got us wondering why we stopped making the meals. To say, ‘we are too busy’ was not an excuse. We decided to ask our children if they would like to start it up again and they were in favor of it, so we did,” he said.

At first it was just the Croyle family going downtown and handing out dinnertime meals, mostly on Third Street and Fountain Square, but then other families started going along with them. Now, a new family goes with them each time they go out.

“We felt that we needed to get other people involved with the hope that they would continue to do it on their own. They go with us and see how easy it is and it’s a great experience for them,” Mr. Croyle said.

Each time they head out they bring about 40 meals with them, each one costing anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50.

“We started out with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but now make turkey sandwiches, because they love it,” said Mr. Croyle.

Also, included in the lunches are chips, a piece of fruit, beef jerky, cookies and two bottles of water.

“They love beef jerky — it is such a luxury to them,” he said. “Since learning that we try to put a piece in every bag.”

Mr. Croyle said that the best part of all of this is the people that they meet. They are always so grateful and happy to see them. Sometimes they just want to share their story.

“Really, all they want is someone to listen to them. So, that’s what we do,” he said. “The homeless are some of the kindest people I’ve met. Most of them are very good people, very grateful, just down on their luck. We have yet to run into anyone who has given us any trouble.”

Mr. Croyle has also learned that the homeless are a community of folks who really care for and look out for each other. For example, one man turned down the food they were offering because he had just eaten and knew that there was someone else nearby that needed it.

“They really look out for each other,” Mr. Croyle said, “and when you are there with them and they get to know you they start to look out for you, too.”

Mr. Croyle said that this ministry has changed him and his family a great deal, opening their eyes to many things. What has struck Mr. Croyle profoundly, though, is the heightened sense of awareness he has seen in his children.

“One time, after we had handed out the last of the meals and were walking to our car, a woman came up to us and asked if we could help her. She said she was homeless and needed $15 to stay somewhere for a month. Well, my 17-year-old son pulled his wallet out and said, ‘Dad, I have $5 if you have the other $10.’ And so we gave her the money. To see my son, without hesitation, pull his wallet out … I don’t think he would have done that without the experiences we have had,” he said.

He recently had another touching experience.

“The last time we went out and were down to our last lunch we were sitting at Fountain Square just looking around because the homeless are not always easy to find. We spotted a guy, probably in his mid-20s, digging through a trashcan like he hadn’t eaten in days. He didn’t find any food, so he literally ran over to the next can. Nothing again. He started running toward another but we cut him off before he got there. I told him, ‘We are handing out meals tonight and have one left, would you like it?’ His eyes lit up and he said, ‘Oh my God, are you kidding? I’m starving.’ He was just so grateful and started eating as fast as he could.”

Mr. Croyle said that he and his family go out only once every few weeks. He hopes people learn about what they are doing, not because they desire credit or praise but because they want people to realize there are simple things like this they can do, too, to help those in need.

“This is really grassroots. It is a matter of buying the food, putting the meals together and taking them downtown.”

Mr. Croyle said it is important to be safe and cautious when doing this kind of thing, though, stay out in the open.

“You don’t want to be walking down dark streets at night anywhere,” he said. “We never go under bridges or down alleys or anything like that.”

Still, Mr. Croyle encourages everyone to overcome any fears.

“Once you deliver meals to the homeless you just can’t wait to do it again,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting over that initial fear, that fear of the unknown. We see homeless on the street and it can make us nervous. They are dirty and some of them are mentally ill. But, I think a lot of that fear comes from not understanding why these people are out on the street. It’s not necessarily because of something they did wrong — it could be the economy, health or bad luck. Most of the people we run into are not alcoholics, and a lot of them have families; it’s just that, for one reason or another, they end up homeless. I think we all have a hard time understanding why they are out there and that it really could happen to people we know or to us.”

Mr. Croyle said that anyone who wants to help or has questions is free to contact him any time.

The poor are with us, and so is Christ. We are all called to act. Jesus told his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matt 25:40) Also, the book of Isaiah reminds us to be not afraid: “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Is 41:10)

Wedding Anniversary Vespers

A corsage for the women. A proud smile from the men. Couples came together Sunday Sept. 10 to celebrate wedding anniversary vespers with Bishop Roger Foys. The prayer service was held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. Married couples celebrating one, 25, 50 and 50 plus years of marriage filled the cathedral.

The couple in attendance celebrating the most years of marriage was Leo and Dot Arlinghaus. Their 72nd wedding anniversary was earlier this year (see story page 6). A total of X486 couples were in attendance to honor their wedding anniversary.

During the homily Bishop Foys said, “In our world today, in our society particularly, many dreams go unfulfilled, many promises broken. We celebrate today the anniversary of people who stood before a priest, their family and friends, looked each other in the eyes and said, “I do.” Not only did they say, “I do”, but they did it. We celebrate that today.” He went on to say, “We thank God for that commitment, for that example. All of us gathered, give thanks to God. We give thanks to God for the grace of the sacrament of marriage.”

After the homily, the couples had a chance to join hands and renew their wedding vows. Bishop Foys began, “We have come together to celebrate the anniversaries of the marriages of our brothers and sisters. As we join them in their joy, we join them also in their gratitude. God has set them among us as a sign of love and through the years they have remained faithful.”

After renewing their vows, Bishop Foys blessed the couples, “I do affirm the vows you have renewed. You are a sign of God’s creative, faithful love.” Following the renewal, each couple were announced, along with their years of marriage. Couples were then presented with a certificate by Bishop Foys, recognizing their years of marriage.

By: Jennifer Jenicke

Cemetery Visitation Schedule 2017

September 24

St. Mary Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, Infant Loss Memorial Service, 2 p.m. – in the St. Elizabeth Infant Lot

Mother of God Cemetery, Latonia, 1:30 p.m.

St. Stephen Cemetery, Fort Thomas, 2 p.m.

October 1

St. Edward Cemetery, Cynthiana, 12 p.m.

St. Joseph Cemetery, Camp Springs, 2 p.m.

October 8

Holy Guardian Angels Cemetery, Sandfordtown, 2 p.m.

St. Mary Cemetery, Alexandria, 12:15 p.m.

October 14

Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Stepstone, 11 a.m.

October 15

St. Cecilia Cemetery, Independence, 2 p.m.

St. James Cemetery, Brooksville, 2 p.m.

St. John Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, 2 p.m.

St. Mary Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, 1 p.m.

Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, California, 12:30 p.m.

October 22

St. Augustine Cemetery, Augusta, 2 p.m.

November 5

St. Francis Xavier, Falmouth, 6:30 p.m.

St John Cemetery, Carrollton, after 9:30 a.m. Mass

Diocese celebrates first new school in 55 years

Five dollars and forty-six cents — that was the amount of the first gift to the capital campaign to build St. Timothy School, Union. The donor was five-year-old Noah Casson. Six million dollars in donations from 700 families later, Mr. Casson entered the new St. Timothy School, Aug. 16, as a fifth grader.

“St. Timothy School is the fruition of the blood, sweat and tears of so many, for so many years and months and sitting through all of the meetings and all the fundraising efforts and here it is,” said Jennifer Casson, business manager for St. Timothy Parish and Noah’s mom. Mrs. Casson also served on the school committee, the fundraising committee and the building committee.

Three days before the first day of school, Aug. 13, Bishop Roger Foys blessed and dedicated the new school building. The dedication was held after Sunday Mass at St. Timothy Church. It is the first new school in 55 years to open in the Diocese of Covington (the last was Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Burlington, in 1962).

“This is a significant day in the life of the diocese and in the life of St. Timothy Parish,” said Bishop Foys in his homily. “Schools all over the country are closing, people’s lives are disrupted, people are angry. So for us in the Diocese of Covington to open what is now our 30th grade school makes this a significant day and it makes it a day that is marked with faith — the faith of God’s people, the faith of their pastor and faith in Catholic education.”

Father Richard Bolte, pastor, said that since the creation of St. Timothy Parish 28 years ago it was expected that someday there would be a St. Timothy School. “St. Paul Parish, Florence, generously allows the students from St. Timothy to attend their school with each parish supporting the school proportionately,” he said.

And while 200 children from St. Timothy Parish attended St. Paul School, that only represented a quarter of the children in the parish. “We realized that parishes that had their own school had between two-thirds and three-fourths of their children in their school,” Father Bolte said. “An in depth study found a strong majority would support the school if their questions were answered.”

When the first bell rang at St. Timothy School on Wednesday, 125 students are enrolled in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. They join the famed St. Timothy Preschool that boasts an enrollment of 191 students. The kindergarten and first and second grades are already at capacity; the upper classes — fifth and sixth; seventh and eighth — are combined.

The theme for the school is “Living, Learning and Serving in the Light of Christ.” “It’s the basis of our Catholic identity as a school and parish,” said Deb Thomas, principal.

Mrs. Thomas said that St. Timothy Parish has always been a social outreach parish and the school will adopt that commitment to living the faith by incorporating service-learning at every grade level. “We want to teach these children to love their faith and live their faith and serve through their faith,” she said.

After consultation with Bishop Foys and Don Knochelmann, diocesan director for the Office of Buildings and Properties, the parish hired Robert Ehmet Hayes and Associates to develop plans for the new St. Timothy School building. Radius Construction was hired as the general contractor. The building includes nine classrooms, an art and music room, a science lab, a resource room, a STREAM (science, technology, religion, electronics, art and math) room, offices for the school and Parish School of Religion, a full kitchen and cafeteria. The building is designed in such a way that it can be expanded to accommodate 600 students.

Jerry Daugherty, a parishioner who served on the building committee, said that transportation safety was also incorporated in the design — parent drop-offs and school buses are on opposite sides of the building. The Boone County Transportation system is providing 15 school buses to service the new school. And traffic flows to the building so that the passenger side of the vehicles is directly in front of the school doors.

Mr. Daugherty said that the school is replete with an impressive amount of technology utilizing Cincinnati Bell’s high-speed fiber optic network. Nor-Com, a local technology integration company, provides connectivity for all of the phones, intercoms and computers on the parish campus.

“The amount of modern technology we were able to incorporate into this building in a very cost effective manner is a real act of God as far as I’m concerned,” Mr. Daugherty said.

Everyone involved in the project said they were excited what the opening of St. Timothy School will bring to the community and to current and future students.

“We are excited about the opening of the new St. Timothy School in Union,” said Mr. Knochelmann. “With this much-needed addition, our St. Timothy community is better able to fulfill the mission of providing a quality Catholic education for the families in the Boone County area.”

“I am excited that the families of St. Timothy Parish will experience the Catholic communal involvement that comes with having a school,” said Mr. Clines. “Accordingly, the students will learn values that last a lifetime.”

Bishop Foys offered congratulations to Father Bolte and the parish and school community.

“Today we lay a solid foundation which the children of today can build their Catholic lives. It is a day to celebrate and I thank you for your faith, for your belief in your children and for wanting to provide the best for them,” said Bishop Foys. “I also thank our superintendent of schools, Michael Clines, and his staff who have been intimately involved in this project from the beginning. And to Donald Knochelmann, our director of buildings and property, likewise who worked alongside parishioners here so that this building stands as a witness of our faith. A special thanks to your pastor, Father Bolte — I am grateful to him for his leadership, I am grateful to him for his priesthood, for his dedication to the Church and to the Lord and to this parish. It is a wonderful thing we do today. Future generations will not only benefit from what we do but, please God, will remember us in their prayers as we remember all those who came before us.”

Also that day, Bishop Foys blessed and dedicated a tabernacle for the church’s sanctuary. It is the church’s second tabernacle. The church’s first tabernacle is located in the Blessed Sacrament chapel.

“We got Jesus out of the low-rent district,” Bishop Foys quipped to applause.

Through his connections with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Deacon David Profitt learned that the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Cincinnati, were looking for a home for a tabernacle. An altar of repose, on which the tabernacle sits, matching the church’s existing altar and ambo was designed by Wendy Fleury and crafted by Don Lecander, both parishioners. The parish motto, “Stir Into Flame the Gift of God” is carved on its front.

“With the creative energy of a few parishioners, we now have a tabernacle in the church that looks like it is made to be there,” said Father Bolte.

By: Laura Keener; the Messenger Editor

Catholic HEART: the pulse of faith for many


Service. Fellowship. A vibrant Catholic faith on display. Nearly 300 youth and youth ministers from across the country came to the diocese to serve in the community July 17–21. Bishop Brossart High School in Alexandria served as the host site for an organization called Catholic HEART WorkCamp. Each summer more than 14,000 youth perform mission trips through the international organization and for the first time it was brought to the Diocese of Covington.

For the week, 288 youth and youth ministers camped in the school facility at Bishop Brossart. They began each day with Mass and then broke into teams working at 45 different sites throughout the region. The group collectively worked more than 5,750 hours during the week. They served in soup kitchens, food pantries and worked for organizations like HONK (Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky) and People Working Cooperatively. Groups weeded cemeteries, scrubbed headstones, helped with minor construction projects and cleaned properties.

A group of volunteers cleared brush, trees and shrubbery from an encased home in Melbourne, affectionately nicknamed “the jungle house.” Through their efforts, the elderly homebound resident was then eligible for home insurance and was able to receive cable to his property.

Volunteers at Be Concerned in Covington spent two days helping the needy shop in the food pantry as well as performing cleaning projects on site. The youth involved were from Ill, Minn., Ohio and Texas. Julia Robinson traveled 14 hours from Austin, Texas to take part in the week. Ms. Robinson said, “The fact that the people are grateful for us talking and just smiling at them, means a lot.” Ben Capella from Cleveland was on his first mission trip after hearing from friends about the life-changing experience. “I’ve really felt God’s presence this week,” he said.

In addition to service projects each day, the evenings were filled with music, games and spiritual enrichment. Bishop Brossart religion teacher, Donna Heim, managed the work camp. “This isn’t only about serving the community. This is about filling up on Christ,” Mrs. Heim said.

Students from Bishop Brossart also took part in the week. Several students participated in work sites, but a larger percentage, from the campus ministry program served on a hospitality committee for those visiting and living at the school.

Father Robert Rottgers, pastor, St. Philip Parish, Melbourne, served as the chaplain for the camp and also worked each day, serving alongside the youth. In addition, three other priests took part in assisting with sacraments through the week — Father Joseph Gallenstein, pastor, and Father Edward Brodnick, parochial vicar, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Alexandria; and Vincentian Father Jacob Varghese, parochial administrator, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, California.

As part of the experience, adoration was offered as well as reconciliation during evening ceremonies. According to Catholic HEART director Myrna Leonard, the opportunity to receive the sacraments has been an important part of the week. “There are 288 campers here and I really feel like 288 campers went to confession,” she said. “And some of them were saying ‘this is the first time I have gone to confession since the second grade.’”

The well-received week of service was enriching for the community but also inspiring for those taking part. According to Mrs. Heim, the youth were taking what they learn in the classroom, or in church, and putting it into practice. “The youth see that the Church is alive, alive in the sacraments, and it’s not just you go and listen, but you receive and then you go out and give back.”

By Jennifer Jenicke – the Messenger, New Media/Coorespondant