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By David Cooley
Casey Guilfoyle, general chair of 2018 Diocesan Parish Annual Appeal (DPAA), and Matthew Zeck, leadership gifts chair, hope to keep the momentum going after a very successful start to this year’s DPAA. The first phase of the appeal, the leadership gifts phase, brought in $375,900 from 81 donors. That number was announced at two kick-off dinners, one in Cynthiana and the other in Erlanger, on Feb. 20 and 22, respectively, which began the public phase of the appeal. Last weekend, March 3–4, the DPAA video, which featured individuals giving testimonies on how ministries in the diocese have helped them in their time of need, was shown in parishes throughout the Diocese of Covington. Next weekend, March 17–18, is commitment weekend, or the “in-pew” phase of the DPAA, where parishioners will have the opportunity to make their gift or pledge to the DPAA at Mass. The theme for this year’s appeal is “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17), and the goal is $2.5 million.
According to Mr. Zeck, what makes the DPAA so special is how it helps so many different people in so many different ways.
“Each of these ministries [served by the DPAA] are catering to or trying to solve the need that they focus on, but if we only focused on one thing there would be so many other folks not being served,” said Mr. Zeck. “What I think is really special about the DPAA is the wide variety of ministries that it supports, ministries that are trying to help, collectively, a lot of the different situations that our people are in.”
Mr. Zeck believes that this year’s theme is very fitting.
“In Scripture, the word ‘zeal’ spoke about Jesus’ passion for the House of the Lord, but it can also be used for the passion we have for all these ministries and all the work that has to be done to take care of God’s people,” he said.
Mrs. Guilfoyle agreed.
“The theme has been awesome to work with. I think Bishop [Roger] Foys truly captured the depth of the zeal Jesus felt for the Lord’s house. In short, we are called to have the same sort of zeal, the same energy and whole hearted enthusiasm, for the ‘community of believers’ — the House of God in our day, right here in the Diocese of Covington. Supporting this year’s appeal is a clear opportunity for us to all to show our own zeal,” she said.
“Since I have been involved with this year’s appeal and have the benefit of working as leadership gifts chair on the 2016-2017 appeal, I’ve realized how much the DPAA supports our diocese. I’ve also had a chance to see up close and personal all the awesome work done in our diocese,” she said. “It truly unites us as a diocese in faith and service. It helps us all ‘keep the faith’ and also keep our service ministries so strong. … In short the DPAA gives us an opportunity to support the heart of our mission as ‘church’ with one appeal that sustains so many good works.”
A popular aspect of the annual appeal is the parish rebate program. One hundred percent of all gifts collected over a parish’s goal are returned as rebates to that parish for projects and ministry. This has been a very successful incentive for parishes. The Office of Stewardship and Mission Services reported that, as of February 2018, $778,965 has been returned to parishes through the 2017 DPAA rebate program. That number will continue to rise as donors fulfill their pledges.
One of the different aspects of the 2018 appeal has to do with gifts given by credit card. The Diocese of Covington is working with a third-party vendor to take credit card gifts. This is done through a safe and secure website that can be accessed through the “donate button” on the diocesan website, www.covdio.org.
According to Michael Murray, director, Office of Stewardship and Mission Services, this will be a safer procedure but also beneficial to benefactors of the DPAA.
“Once our diocesan faithful register one time through the third-party vendor, a company called VanCo, they will be able to conveniently give online whenever they wish, not just for the DPAA but for other collections, as well,” Mr. Murray said.
As the appeal moves forward Mr. Zeck said that the leadership gifts phase of the appeal went very well and that they are “ahead of the game.”
“One of the general ideas behind the leadership gifts phase is to give us great momentum going into the kick-off dinners. From that standpoint it feels like we are doing really, really well,” said Mr. Zeck.
“Most importantly, I would like to give an incredible expression of gratitude to those who have already given and to those who are considering it. … The generosity of our diocese has been fantastic in the past and we are relying on them to help support us again this year,” he said.
Mrs. Guilfoyle is hoping that everyone in the diocese will contribute something — no matter how large or small.
“Because the DPAA is an opportunity to unite us all as a community of faith to support the work of the diocese, I’d like to encourage everyone to give this year even if they haven’t given regularly in the past,” she said. “Even a small pledge and sacrifice, if given with the spirit and intention of supporting all the great things that make us Catholic here in the diocese, will be returned in abundance. It will be a way for you to connect with the entirety of God’s people here. The great works being done now will continue and grow and thrive and you will be a part of that.”
By Laura Keener
At 22 weeks gestation William was stillborn. He had suffered from a condition known as hydrops syndrome — a condition that causes fluid buildup and William’s heart to stop. As he entered the world, family surrounded him, including his grandmother, Jackie Vezina, who held her third grandchild in her hand. Her heart was aching
Mrs. Vezina’s son and daughter-in-law were trying to start a family. The first two grandchildren were miscarried. Mrs. Vezina knows neither their name nor their sex. The couple went on to conceive and give birth to a baby girl who is now 18 months old. Mrs. Vezina is thankful to God for the gift of her granddaughter. She is also grateful for the gift of William and the other two babies in heaven. And, last year when she saw the notice for the Memorial Mass for the Loss of a Child in the St. Timothy Church bulletin, she knew she and her husband needed to go.
“I went specifically for William but the other two were also in my heart,” said Mrs. Vezina. “I think it brought me peace and made me feel closer to them. I didn’t get to know these children but they are dear to me.”
This year the diocesan Pro-Life Office is once again sponsoring a Memorial Mass for the Loss of a Child. The Mass will be held Thursday, March 15, 7 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Burlington. Father Jeffrey VonLehmen, pastor, St. Patrick Parish, Taylor Mill, will be the celebrant. The Mass is for parents, grandparents, family members and friends of those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, early infant death, illness, suicide, accident or any other reason.
Faye Roch, director, Pro-Life Office, said that the Mass has a two-fold purpose — to seek God’s healing embrace and to ask God to relieve the burden of grief for those who are suffering.
“It’s a beautiful Mass,” said Mrs. Roch. “It does touch people in different ways. I hope people feel they are welcome to come to be with others who are also suffering grief and that they will feel embraced by God.”
Feeling God’s embrace and the comfort of being in community with other people who share the same loss is exactly what Mrs. Vezina experienced.
“There were so many people there. You think its only affecting you, but its not. We were all together like a family,” said Mrs. Vezina. “I may not know what sex the babies were but they are my grandchildren. Being at the Mass is time set aside to be with them. I know they are in God’s hands and I felt his hands were there at the Mass holding all of us.”
At the Mass, participants are invited to enroll the name, if known, of the child that they lost into the book of the dead. The book is kept from year to year. Participants are also welcome to take a lighted candle and place it before the statue of the Pietà — an image of Mary holding the body of her dead son.
“That’s symbolic of Mary suffering great grief at Jesus’ death,” said Mrs. Roch. Mrs. Roch acknowledged that the Mass is taking place during the season of Lent — leading to the time when Mary was suffering the great loss of her son. “So, we look at Mary, our mother,” she said.
Mrs. Vezina said she was glad she attended last year’s Mass and is looking forward to attending the Mass again this year. “I felt peace and I felt closeness; it was an emotional and moving experience, but not in a bad way,” she said.
She also has found another way to keep her first three grandchildren close to her. “I wear three little precious feet pins, they are always with me, near my heart,” she said.
Memorial Mass for the Loss of a Child
Thursday, March 15, 7 p.m., Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Burlington
Father Jeffrey VonLehmen will be the celebrant.
The Mass is for parents, grandparents, family members and friends of those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, early infant death, illness, suicide, accident or any other reason.
No registration required.
Sponsored by the diocesan Pro-Life Office.
By David Cooley
“The world looks to the priest because it looks to Jesus! No one can see Christ; but everyone sees the priest, and through him they wish to catch a glimpse of the Lord! Immense is the grandeur and dignity of the priest.
“Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest, that he send harvesters into his harvest… Considering that the Eucharist is the greatest gift our Lord gives to his Church, we must ask for priests, since the priesthood is a gift for the Church. We must pray insistently for this gift. We must ask for it on our knees.”
These are the words of Pope St. John Paul II, often called a champion of priestly vocations, and, according to Father Andrew Young, vocations promoter, are great words to reflect on as the Diocese of Covington prepares for its second deanery event for the Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations. The Holy Hour for Vocations and vespers is scheduled to take place Monday, March 19, 5:30 p.m., at St. Joseph Parish, Cold Spring. Everyone is encouraged to attend the Holy Hour to pray for an increase in priestly vocations, especially the faithful of the Campbell County Deanery.
“The idea is to try and pull those parish communities from that particular deanery together in a central location to pray for vocations,” said Father Young. “Vocations are a gift and we need to be actively praying for them.”
Father Young said that most, if not all, of the priest from that deanery will be present.
“One of the things that I have emphasized to our priests is that us, as priests, coming together to pray for the future of the diocese and leading our people in that movement of prayer can’t help but be effective, especially if there is a young man at that Holy Hour who is on the fence and thinking about entering the seminary,” Father Young said. “The visual of 20 or so priests praying for him as well as, hopefully, a large group of lay people is a visible witness of support. That is huge for somebody who is thinking about the priesthood and might encourage him to take that next step.”
Following the Holy Hour that will bring people together for Eucharistic adoration and evening prayer, men who are interested in learning more about the priesthood are invited to a dinner with Bishop Roger Foys and the priests. The Serra Club for Vocations, Northern Kentucky is providing the meal.
“This will be a relaxed atmosphere but I am asking a couple of the priests who are going to be there to give a short reflection on their ministry and their experience in priesthood,” he said.
“I hope these events keep growing. I thought the first one we held in Northern Kenton County was a good success, but I would love to see a bigger presence of our faithful at the Holy Hour.”
Father Young said that he hopes many will come to pray at this special event and also encourage those they know that seem like they may have a calling or would be good priests to come as well.
In the words of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, “It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration and to enable them to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond ‘yes’ to God and the Church.”
St. Henry Catholic School in Elsmere, KY is seeking a Part Time Art Teacher for grades K-8 for the 2018-2019 school year. Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Principal Susan Pastor Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org
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