Students prepare hearts for Lent at Rice Bowl luncheon

By David Cooley.

Around 65 student representatives from five high schools and 12 elementary schools participated, Feb. 15, in the annual Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Operation Rice Bowl kickoff luncheon at Bishop Howard Memorial Auditorium, Covington. The local (CRS) Rice Bowl event is co-sponsored by Catholic Charities – Diocese of Covington and the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Mission Services. At the event the junior high and high school students learned about the popular CRS Rice Bowl Lenten project, local poverty and what local social service agencies are doing to face the challenges of the community.

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten program for families and faith communities in the United States who want to put faith into action. Through CRS Rice Bowl, participants hear stories about people in need around the world, and devote Lenten prayers, fasting and alms to change the lives of those who suffer in poverty.

As students and guests entered Bishop Howard Memorial Auditorium they were directed to three interactive displays created by students from St. Joseph Academy, Walton. The displays provided information about a few of the countries that CRS serves. The students who created the displays offered information about the countries and its greatest needs.

During lunch students were assigned to specific tables with leaders representing one of several local agencies that assist the poor and marginalized in the area. The table leaders were: Andy Brunsman, executive director, Be Concerned; Vicky Bauerle, institutional advancement manager, Catholic Charities; Brandy Mendaugh, case manager of Catholic Charities’ St. Joseph Apartments; Benedictine Sister Cathy Bauer; Connor Creaghead, assessment and resource coordinator, Welcome House; Gina Cornelius, housing counselor, HONK; Jill Hilgefort, executive director, Faith Community Pharmacy; Karen Zengel, executive director, Society of St. Vincent de Paul; and Kim Webb, executive director, Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky. Each leader explained to the students how his or her organization serves the community. The students reflected on what they heard and brainstormed ways they could bring the information back to their schools, inspire other students and make a positive impact in the world.

The CRS keynote speaker was Daniel Mumuni, program manager, McGovern-Dole Food for Education program, Sierra Leone. The McGovern-Dole Food for Education program provides food for children in school. In West Africa, many communities depend on agriculture for food and income. As a result, children commonly drop out of school to help parents farm the land to help make ends meet. While helping in the fields provides some support to the family, a child without an education faces long-term obstacles.

Offering meals to children doesn’t just keep them in school, it also encourages parents to become more engaged and committed to improving their children’s education. Mr. Mumuni has witnessed this firsthand — parents have volunteered to upgrade school facilities by providing and transporting building materials. This is their way to show they believe in the importance of education, and to prove that they have the power to build their own futures.

Mr. Mumuni shared his personal story of growing up in Ghana. He was lucky, he said, to have parents who believed in the value of a good education, who ensured that he and his siblings all had the best education possible despite the meager family resources. The fact that he was able to achieve a quality education in one of the most deprived regions of Ghana has shaped his worldview and is why he does what he does. As a father of two daughters he works hard to provide what is best for them and when he sees the poor and the most vulnerable, he always sees them through the eyes of his children and remembers from where he came.

Sierra Leone, where Mr. Mumuni works, is still recovering from the civil war that raged between 1991 and 2002, that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population). Sierra Leone remains among the least developed countries in the world, ranking 183 out of 186 countries. Life expectancy is 48 years and youth unemployment is 70 percent. Rates of child and maternal mortality are high, levels of education are low and, despite rich resource endowments and abundant land, more than 60 percent of Sierra Leoneans live on less than $1.25 a day.

“CRS has been working in the most remote parts of Sierra Leone” to make sure the people’s basic needs are met, Mr. Mumuni said. “CRS has been working in the communities (of Sierra Leone) to advocate for more children to be put in schools. Not only do we provide opportunities for children to obtain school and a hot lunch, we also provide transportation and infrastructure; we build classroom blocks, we provide teaching and learning materials, we provide water, sanitation and more.”

Mr. Mumuni asked the students why they thought it was important for them to learn about other people living in poverty in other places around the world? He asked them how these stories connected to them or why they mattered at all?

“Every day the children in Sierra Leone pray to God for support before they start school. They pray for better lives for their parents, for good health, for a good education, for a good future. But, what does that prayer mean? It is calling on God for help. How does God answer prayer? He answers through each of us. That is how God works. We are all vessels, instruments of God,” said Mr. Mumuni.

“We are commissioned by our humanity and by our Christian faith to be each other’s keeper. This quote from Matthew’s Gospel has always touched me deeply: ‘Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers you do unto me.’ … This is why we should all be interested in what happens in another country and what happens to people. Because the world is connected.”

Through CRS Rice Bowl, faith communities throughout the United States put their faith into action. Lenten alms donated through CRS Rice Bowl support the work of CRS in roughly 45 different countries each year. Twenty-five percent of all donations to CRS Rice Bowl stay in the local diocese, supporting hunger and poverty alleviation efforts. Since its inception in 1975, CRS Rice Bowl has raised nearly $300 million. More information and resources can be found at https://www.crsricebowl.org.

Care Net implements same day ultrasound services, hopes to save more lives

By David Cooley.

Care Net, a Christ-centered organization whose mission is to educate, support and empower men and women before, during and after an unplanned pregnancy while uplifting the sanctity of human life, has expanded its medical services to include same-day ultrasound appointments. According to Lyndi Zembrodt, executive director, this new initiative may result in 41 percent more lives saved in 2019.

While Care Net began offering ultrasounds at no cost to clients in 2006, they were only able to do so once a week. After adding a second pregnancy service center, they began rotating the weekly ultrasounds between their two medical facilities — Cold Spring and Florence (Care Net also has a third pregnancy service center in Williamstown, but it is not a medical clinic).

“We were offering ultrasounds one day a week in Florence and one day a week in Cold Spring. We were trying to get clients to come in on the days we were open for ultrasounds,” Mrs. Zembrodt said. “What we noticed was that we would have a drop off of clients not returning for their second appointment [to get an ultrasound]. It is crucial that we get them here. Ninety to 98 percent of our clients will choose life for their unborn baby if they make it to Care Net to have an ultrasound.”

Last month, January 2019, Care Net launched the new initiative, offering ultrasounds four days a week — each day they are open. There was a 110 percent increase in the number of ultrasounds they performed this year over last.

“We are attracting more clients because they can get in for a same-day ultrasound. We have revamped our client website, to include a phone number for our 24-hour helpline they can call or they can book their appointment right there online. We have been able to get these women in here immediately,” said Mrs. Zembrodt.

“This initiative has also increased the amount of abortion-minded clients that have come to our clinic — these are women who are seeking abortion information or had tried to schedule an appointment at an abortion facility,” she said. “We have also had an increase in the number of undecided women who are still exploring their options with their pregnancy.”

The reason these clients end up at Care Net, according to Mrs. Zembrodt, is because their website contains information about abortion and so it comes up in their online search.

“We don’t provide referrals for abortion but if they seek us out we are going to be able to provide them with a pregnancy confirmation through ultrasound, which is basically what they are going to need,” she said. “When they come to us at no cost for the ultrasound, we are able to provide them with information about fetal development and a picture of their baby. We work on connecting them with their baby right away. We give them truthful information right then and there.”

Mrs. Zembrodt said that the majority of Care Net’s clients are women who are considered abortion-vulnerable — women who may otherwise want to carry their baby to term but their circumstances, whether it be their job, an unstable relationship with the father of the baby or housing issues, lead them to believe that they are in a position where they can’t choose life.

“We do everything we can think of that we feel will be meaningful for these young people to connect to these babies,” Mrs. Zembrodt said.

“For example, we’ve implemented in the last two years something called ‘MOMentum.’ MOMentum is an application that enables us to send the images of the ultrasound to the client’s phone or e-mail. We give them a physical copy of their picture but we also send it to their phone — we believe that has also increased the number of lives saved because people are so visual. They have their phone with them all the time and if that image is there, where they can see it and save it, it becomes very real to them.”

Mrs. Zembrodt said that they track, to the best of their ability, the final decisions made by the people who come to see them.

“Some of them we may know that they’ve have changed their mind during the ultrasound. We also follow up with a doctor’s report of the ultrasound findings with them, and we also, at that time, would like to know what their decision is in case it is our last contact with them,” she said.

It has taken a giant leap of faith for Care Net to begin offering same-day ultrasounds.

“It is a big deal. We are kind of stepping out in faith that God is going to carry us through this,” Mrs. Zembrodt said. “We are offering a small stipend to medical RNs who want to come onboard at Care Net and train to facilitate ultrasound services in the first and second trimester. We have made this decision and, so far, God has opened the gate for us.”

According to Mrs. Zembrodt, having a place like Care Net and supporting grass root pregnancy care centers is a crucial component of the pro-life movement.

“Laws can change in a minute — we’ve seen that recently with the state of New York — and it’s important to have pregnancy resource centers that are impacting the lives of the people they see on a daily basis. We are changing the culture and having an impact because we are meeting people at a grass roots level and educating them on the sanctity of all human life,” she said.

“Someone can be pro-life until they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy and then they may choose abortion. It is important that someone is there on the frontlines that can intercede on behalf of that child, to introduce them to their parents through ultrasound.”

Care Net began operations in July 1999. All services are free and confidential. To find out more visit https://www.choselifenky.org or https://carenetnky.org.

 

Care Net upcoming events:

Annual Banquet, featuring David Bereit, Thursday, May 9, Receptions, Erlanger

Golf Scramble, Friday, Aug. 16, Aston Oaks, North Bend, Ohio

5K Run/Walk, Saturday, Sept. 28, Pioneer Park, Independence

Parish Secretary

St. Augustine Parish in Covington, KY is seeking to identify qualified, actively practicing Roman Catholic candidates for the full-time position of Parish Office Secretary. The responsibilities of this position will include management of the parish calendar and the database of 375 families, sacramental record keeping, tracking of Mass offerings, bulletin editor, parish bookkeeping (deposits, payables, tracking specified gifts, bank reconciliations), word processing, and telephones. Requirements include strong organizational skills and attention to detail, a practiced familiarity with general bookkeeping and computers, comfort with a small office environment, and flexibility. Interested candidates should send a letter of interest, simple resume including references with email addresses, and compensation history to Stephen Koplyay at [email protected] or fax to 859/392-1589. EOE

Cafeteria Assistants

Three cafeterias in our Diocesan elementary schools are in immediate need of paid part-time help. Holy Cross Elementary in Latonia has an opening for a food preparation and serving line worker Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Holy Trinity Elementary in Bellevue has an opening for a food preparation and serving line worker Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and St. Augustine Elementary in Covington has an opening for a cashier, food preparation, and serving line worker Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. If you might be interested in one, two, or all three openings contact Jacking Kaiser at [email protected], or call her at 859/392-1536.

Director of Music Ministry

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church (330 Lebanon Street, Monroe, OH) is seeking a part time Director of Music Ministry to serve our parish of 700 families. The Director of Music Ministry plans & leads music for 3 weekend liturgies, all holy day liturgies, and special liturgies as needed (including All Souls evening prayer & First Communion). When requested will provide music for funerals and weddings for additional compensation. The Director of Music Ministry will hold choir rehearsal outside of Mass times and conduct the choir during weekend liturgies and on holy days. Will attend staff meetings for liturgical planning. Will be responsible for scheduling maintenance of sound equipment and music equipment when needed. Successful candidates will be proficient in piano/keyboard & have strong vocal skills. Must be a practicing Catholic with a strong liturgical knowledge as evidenced by experience in liturgical music ministry and/or formal training credentials. Must have the ability to lead the congregation in praise through music and direct & recruit volunteer musicians (choir, cantors & other musicians). Will be familiar with the operation of professional sound equipment. Must pass a background, reference and criminal check & be VIRTUS trained or successfully complete VIRTUS training prior to employment. Application deadline is April 1, 2019. Position start date is flexible between June 1st & July 31st 2019. Please submit resume and cover letter to Ava Bertsch, Business Manager at [email protected]

Parish Kitchen Associate

The Parish Kitchen ministry of the Diocese of Covington’s Catholic Charities is seeking a full-time Associate. The normal work week is Monday through Friday from 7:00 am-2:00 pm but some evening or weekend coverage will occasionally be necessary. Parish Kitchen is a Catholic ministry in a welcoming environment, feeding a nutritious mid-day meal seven days a week to everyone who comes through our door, including the poor and homeless in our area. The Associate serves a key support role for an effective and well run operation for all our guests and volunteers. Responsibilities include assisting with meal preparation, which may involve purchasing, planning, preparing, and cooking; maintaining cleanliness of the facilities, involving sweeping, mopping, and storage and freezer organization; receiving and recording donations; assisting with ordering, recording, and reporting government commodities inventory; and coordinating and communicating with weekend staff, cooks, and volunteers. The work environment requires the ability to lift up to fifty pounds, to stand for extended periods of time, and to work both independently and collaboratively. Other desirable requirements include at least an Associate’s Degree in a human service field and prior experience, especially working with the poor and homeless, including those with addiction or mental health issues. Interested individuals should email a brief letter of interest, along with a resume that includes compensation history and at least three references with contact email addresses, to Stephen Koplyay at [email protected], or mail to 1125 Madison Avenue, Covington KY 41011-3115, or fax to 859/392-1589.

Clinical Director of Counseling Programs

The Diocese of Covington’s Catholic Charities is seeking to hire a Clinical Director for our faith- based Counseling Programs. The position is full-time, Monday through Friday, with some evening hours. The Director is responsible for the administrative and clinical supervision of Counseling Program staff, including, but not limited to coaching, training, accountability, evaluation, and some direct counseling service. Approximately 75% of time is spent on management and administrative duties in roles such as Clinical Director of Counseling Services, Agency/Pregnancy/Adoption Programs Supervisor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Supervisor, and Clinical Supervisor of independently-licensed staff. The remaining 25% of time is spent providing direct individual and family counseling services. Required qualifications include being a practicing Roman Catholic with a Master’s degree, five years of clinical counseling experience, Kentucky LCSW-S certification (preferred) or supervisor certification-eligible, a minimum of three years of management or supervisory experience, and experience with DSM 5. Interested candidates may submit a letter of interest by email, along with a resume or C-V including compensation history, and at least five references with contact email addresses to Stephen Koplyay, SPHR, at [email protected], or mail to 1125 Madison Avenue, Covington, KY 41011-3115, or fax to 859/392-1589. EOE

Bishop Foys addresses Covington Catholic community — ‘I stand with you … together we will work it out’

By Laura Keener.

You could literally hear a pin drop as the faculty, staff and student body of Covington Catholic High School waited in the gym, Jan. 23, for the arrival of Bishop Roger Foys. As Bishop Foys entered the gymnasium the entire assembly stood up, waited for Bishop Foys to take his seat and then in unison took their seats. He was there to address the students about the events that took place Jan. 18, after the March for Life in Washington, D.C., where a student standing face-to-face with an elder Native American was captured on video and ignited a firestorm on social media — making headlines around the world

Bob Rowe, principal, opened with a prayer, then introduced Bishop Foys.

“These last four days have been a living hell for many of you, for your parents, for your relatives, for your friends and it certainly has been for me,” Bishop Foys said as he began to address the assembly. “We are under all kinds of pressure from a lot of different people, for a lot of different reasons.”

Bishop Foys began by sharing how impressive the March for Life had been, especially the Mass celebrated at St. Dominic Church just before the march.

“I know many of you couldn’t be at the Mass because you had a problem with your buses. It was really a moving time,” said Bishop Foys. “Over 1,000 people gathered for that Mass and there’s a real reverence about it.

“I told the students before we dismissed that … when they left that church and when they marched on the streets of Washington, D.C. for life, like we’ve done for the last 46 years, that they represented what was best about the Church and what was best about the Diocese of Covington; that we were sending out our best to stand up for life. It was a wonderful day, filled with real grace. That night I slept peacefully. It was the last night I’ve slept peacefully.”

Bishop Foys explained that by Saturday morning he and Curia staff were beginning to receive calls and e-mails from news stations and people from all over the world commenting about the confrontation in Washington. By Sunday morning the diocesan website was receiving over 200 thousand hits per hour and e-mails were coming in at a rate of over 10,000 an hour — crashing servers. Staff phones rang persistently for days — cell phones and office phones — until voicemail boxes were full; calls from media seeking a statement, or comments from individuals all over the world criticizing either the students for their behavior or the diocese for their lack of support.

“Soon, my brother bishops began to text me worrying about my welfare and yours. People care about you. People love and care and are concerned about the Church and they are concerned about you.”

Bishop Foys went on to summarize the situation that he, Mr. Rowe, the students, the Covington Catholic community and the diocese are now facing and about the investigation being done.

“This is a no-win situation. We are not going to win. No matter what we say, one way or another, there are going to be people who are going to argue about it, people who will try to get into people’s heads and say, ‘This is what he meant. This is what they meant when they were doing this and doing that.’ The best we can do is, first of all, to find out the truth, to find out what really went on, what really happened. So we do have investigators who are here today, a third-party who are not associated with our diocese, not associated with me or with the school, who are working on this investigation to find out what happened.

“I am the shepherd of this Church. I have to present not only to the people of our diocese but also to the world the facts. Not the facts that someone has imagined or the facts that someone thinks or facts that people might determine from seeing a video. I encourage all of you, especially the students who were there at the march, to cooperate with the investigators. This is with the permission of your parents. We’re not going to have you do anything without the permission of your parents. And the teachers and chaperones who were there, I am asking you, too, to be cooperative with this.

“Father Michael Hennigen (school chaplain) has said that ‘The truth will set us free.’ That’s true. It is my fond hope, it is my prayer, that when the truth comes out you and I and the diocese will be exonerated. But I need something to present to God’s people and say, ‘Look! Here are the objective facts.’ This investigation isn’t going to be over overnight — it can’t be if it’s going to be thorough.

“Some people’s lives, as you know, have been affected for the rest of their lives and the honor of our school has been tainted. We have received, and probably you have received, horrible, vile e-mails. This brings out the worst in people.

“We have to ask ourselves, what are we going to learn from this? One of the things I hope we’ve learned, I hope you’ve learned, is that perception can become reality. A person can be doing something that is absolutely innocent but if he gives the slightest hint, the slightest perception, that this is something wrong that is what people are going to remember, and then for them that becomes their reality.

“I’m going to ask you, as your bishop, to stay off social media in regards to this situation at least until it is resolved. Because the more you say — pro or con — the more you exacerbate the situation. You have to help, especially yourself, by getting off social media. Right now anything we say — you or I — anything we say is questioned. The devil is real; trust me. He has taken this good thing, this March for Life, and turned it into a media circus.”

Bishop Foys then talked to the students about the statements that have been released by the diocese and the school, which have been criticized.

“Some people think our first statement was too strong, but in my mind with what we saw and what we heard at the time, we had to say what we said and we meant it. If that behavior is genuine then we have to condemn it.

“We issued a second statement yesterday. Regardless of what you heard or what you’ve read or what you think— I am on your side. I want you to come out of this in a positive light.

“In our second statement I asked people to pray that we will arrive at the truth. The only way we can do that in an objective way is through a thorough and in-depth investigation. It is my hope and my prayer that, in the end, it will show exactly what happened and that we will be able to stand tall and proud. People will still criticize us one way or the other — people will believe it or not believe it — but at least we can say we’ve taken the time to talk to all the parties involved and to get all the footage we can that was taken that day and say, ‘Here, this is not what we think happened or what we would like to believe happened, but this is what in fact happened. If there was some wrongdoing we have to own up to that, too. Father Michael is right, it is the truth that will set us free.”

In closing he reminded the students how much he supports Catholic education and CCHS in particular.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I support Catholic education. Over the last 17 years I have come to Covington Catholic a number of times each year. I always open your school year with Mass and I celebrate with you your successes. It pains me, more than you can imagine, having to be here today; but we can get over this. I’m 73 years old, I have faced a lot of struggles and hardships — we will get over this, there will be time to heal, it will be all right. But in the meantime preserve the integrity of the school, be the best that you can be and lay off the social media for a while.

“Know that I stand with you, that I join with you in that ‘Spirit that will not die’ and that together we will work through this. Thank you and God bless you.”

As Bishop Foys turned the podium over to Mr. Rowe, he expressed his confidence in the principal. “Mr. Rowe has done a wonderful job here in his leadership. I have full confidence in him and he will continue to lead you,” he said.

In his final remarks before dismissing the assembly Mr. Rowe said, “Bishop Foys supports us — now we need to support him.”

Principal – St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence School is searching for a full-time principal. The school is located in the urban center of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Lawrenceburg is a small city found in the greater western Cincinnati area just inside the Indiana border. While the schools lies within the city of Lawrenceburg, our demographics are mostly suburban and some rural. We have 165 students enrolled from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. We also have a growing preschool. We have one class per grade K-8, as well as Art Enrichment, music, computer and physical education. The school has served this area for over 150 years making it a fixture in the community and for many of our families it is a generational institution. Under the leadership of our pastor Father Ben Syberg, we are committed to authentic Catholic Formation, that our young people may grow as Christ “grew in age, wisdom and favor before God and man.”

To learn more about our parish and our school, click here: https://stlawrencechurch.us. Applicants must be practicing Roman Catholics in good standing with the Church, and possess a valid administrator’s license for the state of Indiana. St. Lawrence is a school within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Application information found here:
http://oce.archindy.org/office-of-catholic-education/employment/job-postings/1445/principal-st-lawrence-lawrenceburg-in.aspx.