Bishop Maes funeral Mass is an historic event

Messenger staff report.

An historic event will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 26. On that day the funeral Mass and entombment of the diocese’s third bishop, Bishop Camillus Paul Maes, will be held.

Bishop Roger Foys will be the celebrant. A walking historical tour of the Cathedral will be given following the Mass. Invitations went out last week to all the people of the diocese.

It was through the vision and vigor of Bishop Maes that the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption was built. Records show that Bishop Maes built Covington’s Mother Church as gift to the city of Covington as a token of his affection and as a monument to speak for centuries to come of the love of Christ, for “indeed, the message of the Cathedral is the message of Christ himself.”

Bringing Bishop Maes home to the church he loved and built is a “monument of gratitude” for his contributions to the Church in Northern Kentucky.

The former baptistery — now a prayer space located under the choir loft — has been transformed into a mausoleum. Bishop Maes, who last month was exhumed from St. Mary Cemetery, Ft. Mitchell, will be entombed in the mausoleum. The new tomb of Bishop Maes features a sarcophagus of white and green marble, similar to the cathedral’s marble work. The lid features a hand carved white marble effigy depicting Bishop Maes lying in repose.

Bishop Maes was the longest serving bishop of the Diocese of Covington (1885–­1915).


BBHS Mustang Athletic Complex dedication

Messenger Staff Report.

Bishop Roger Foys blessed and dedicated, Oct. 4, the Bishop Brossart High School Mustang Athletic Complex (MAC). The complex is the realization of a $5.2 million project that includes an athletic stadium, a building with locker rooms, concessions, an athletic training room and offices and parking. The field features a synthetic turf that will allow the stadium to be used year round.

The MAC is Bishop Brossart High School’s outdoor athletic facility and will also provide the local community with more venue options for athletics and other events. The complex can be used for concerts, receptions, class reunions, retreats and other social and spiritual gatherings for the local community.

“All can say is it is about time. You’ve been working on this a long time,” said Bishop Foys at the dedication. “I know it was a dream and sometimes it was a nightmare but it has all came out well. That’s because of faith — faith in God, faith in each other, faith in our students and faith in the future.”

The dedication was held Friday afternoon during the school day. Father Gerald Reinersman, pastoral administrator, gave the invocation. Daniel Ridder, principal, and Michael Clines, superintendent of Catholic Schools, addressed the crowd. All of the BBHS students attended giving Bishop Foys an opportunity to speak directly to the students.

“Remember that all of this is for you,” he told the students. “In choosing Bishop Brossart High School your parents have chosen one of the 9 Catholic high schools in our school system. These facilities will enhance your education and will also enhance in its own way the transmission of the faith. What you see today is an act of faith and for that all of us need to thank God.”

<<More information about the Mustang Athletic Complex will be featured in a special section of an upcoming edition of the Messenger.>>

TMU honors Bishop Foys with Bishop Wm. Hughes Award

Laura Keener, Editor.

Thomas More University hosted its 24th annual Bishop William A. Hughes Award dinner, Sept. 26, at the Drees Pavilion, Covington. Bishop Roger Foys was recognized as this year’s award recipient.

“The quality education that we provide today, and aspire to enhance in the future, would not and will not be possible without the leadership and support of our chancellor,” said President Joseph Chillo, Thomas More University. “As president, I am grateful for the mentorship and spiritual guidance that Bishop Foys provides for me, for our board of trustees, and for our community of learners.”

The Bishop William A. Hughes Award was established in 1996 to honor those who have made significant contributions to Catholic higher education. At the awards dinner, Father Ryan Maher and Father Daniel Schomaker, vicars general, praised Bishop Foys not only for his contributions to Catholic higher education but also for his role as father and shepherd of the Diocese of Covington.

Father Maher was a seminarian when Pope St. John Paul II appointed then Msgr. Foys as Bishop of Covington.

“I wanted to know who he was. What was he like? So, I did what most of you probably did — I Googled him,” Father Maher said.

Father Maher said he came upon an article about Msgr. Foys and he remembers three things that impressed him about his new bishop. First that he has a devotion to Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Archbishop Sheen was one of the great communicators of the faith in the 20th century, who for five years (1952–1957) was the host of the popular television program, “Life is Worth Living.”

“A priest must be able to communicate the truth, goodness and beauty of our beloved Catholic faith to others,” Father Maher said.

The second thing that impressed Father Maher was that Msgr. Foys had been a pastor for 29 years, with 22 of those years in the same parish.

“A pastor is always a shepherd of souls,” he said.

And the third quality was Msgr. Foys devotion to the Eucharist, making a daily Holy Hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

“A priest must always come to know Jesus in the Eucharist,” he said.

“I remember being excited about what I read, I remember feeling comforted by what I read, I remember feeling hopeful; as St. Paul says, hope does not disappoint,” Father Maher said.

Reflecting on his 17 years with Bishop Foys, 15 of those as a priest, Father Maher said that the “feeling of comfort” as grown.

“Bishop Foys is a man of great integrity, he is man of great principle, he is man of generosity, a man who works hard, a man of unwavering faith and trust in the Lord. Bishop Foys has the heart of a father who cares and loves his children and Bishop Foys has a great sense of humor. I have found Bishop Foys to not only be a great communicator of the faith, not only a true pastor of souls, not only a man of prayer but also for me he is a mentor, a constant support and guide and a trusted friend.”

Reflecting on a quote from St. Augustine — “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance, to seek him is the greatest adventure, to find him the greatest human achievement” — Father Schomaker shared how Bishop Foys’ parents — Martin and Theresa Foys — led him to faith in God and his profound appreciation for Catholic school education.

“Bishop Foys has experienced the greatest romance there can be because he was introduced to the Lord and came to fall in love with him because of his parents.

He learned to love — to seek the good of the other — from his parents as they provided for him and his three siblings … sacrificing so that they could have a thoroughly Catholic education. They also gave him the greatest adventure because they taught him to seek God,” Father Schomaker said.

Father Schomaker said that although tonight Bishop Foys is being honored with the Bishop Hughes Award, in truth Bishop Foys had “already gained the highest human achievement possible, because he has found the Lord and the Lord has found him. He has come to the realization of what St. Augustine said.”

In accepting the award, Bishop Foys shared how, as a young priest, he was moved by the witness of a priest celebrating his golden jubilee. As one after another praised the priest for his work, the priest stood up and with tears streaming down his face said in Latin, “Not to me O Lord, not to me, but to your name be the glory.”

“What everyone revered him for was having spent his life in the service of the Lord and those thoughts are mine this evening,” Bishop Foys said. “Everything we do, we do it for the glory of God … I am profoundly grateful for this honor and for your being here. I give the glory to God because I would be nothing, I would have nothing, I would do nothing, if it were not for God’s goodness … I thank God every day for having parents that loved each other, and whose love for each other brought my two brothers, my sister and myself into this world and who worked very, very hard in every way to provide us with a good solid Catholic school education.”



TMU installs 15th president; announces two initiatives to make education affordable

Laura Keener, Editor.

The installation of Thomas More University’s (TMU) 15th president — Joseph Chillo — was held Sept. 25. The ceremonies began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Roger Foys at Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel on the campus of TMU. Father Ronald Ketteler, chair, Department of Theology, TMU; Father Gerald Twadell, chaplain and professor of Philosophy, TMU; Father Daniel Schomaker, vicar general; and Father Jacob Straub, assistant professor of Theology, TMU; concelebrated, with Deacon Charles Melville assisting.

Whenever any institution or government installs a new president there is usually an inaugural address, Bishop Foys said as he began his homily. In the Gospel reading for the day’s Mass, Bishop Foys said, Jesus gives his inaugural address.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord … He said to them, ‘Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:16-22)

“He (Jesus) made the words of the prophecy by Isaiah his own. That was his inaugural address and that’s what he calls everyone to do — to follow in his footsteps,” said Bishop Foys.

Congratulating President Chillo, Bishop Foys ended his homily saying, “Today we install our 15th president who is going to be the leader of this community of faith, who is going to uphold the Catholic faith — the Catholic tradition — who is not going to be ashamed to stand up for that truth and who will be proud to be Catholic.”

At the inauguration ceremony later that afternoon, President Chillo, in his inauguration address, affirmed his commitment to enhance the student experience, celebrate the importance of a Catholic, liberal arts education, and share his bold vision for positioning TMU as a regional and national leader. He also announced two new initiatives designed to boost affordability, accessibility and entrepreneurship: the Diocese of Covington Guarantee, which will financially assist graduates of high schools within the Diocese of Covington, and the formation of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which will provide a new program and physical space that allows TMU students and faculty to collaboratively develop initiatives to better serve the future of the northern Kentucky region.

“In the United States, now more than ever, students and their families are feeling the burden of rising college costs. We are combatting this issue. The Diocese of Covington Guarantee ensures that all diocesan graduates starting with this year’s high school graduating seniors who meet our admission criteria will be awarded $20,000 in institutional aid. Every diocesan student that wants to gain a Catholic higher education deserves the assistance to do so. Creating opportunity for our diocesan high schools to effectively position the values and significance of a Catholic higher education begins with our responsibility of being the diocesan University.”

The ceremony also officially launched the University’s new fundraising initiative focused on student scholarships called 1221: A gift for every student, because every student is a gift. The initiative seeks 1221 donors to support the 1221 traditional current students at TMU and is a response to President Chillo’s dedication to affordability and accessibility. The support ensures each student at TMU receives the mentorship and financial support needed to make an impact in an evolving world and workforce.

“Each student here at the University is a gift. I’m committed to ensuring that every student — all 1221 of our traditional students and almost 1000 adult, online, dual credit, and graduate students — receives the mentorship and financial support they need to make an impact in an evolving world and workforce,” President Chillo said.

As a first-generation college graduate and product of a liberal arts education, President Chillo expressed the importance of providing each student with a holistic and transformational college experience.

“A college education isn’t supposed to be a hoop to jump through or a box to check in order to get a good job. Education is a transformative endeavor, not a transactional exchange. It is a community, not a commodity.”



How sweet it is — two schools awarded 2019 Blue Ribbons

Messenger Staff Report.

Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, announced, Sept. 26, the 2019 Blue Ribbon Schools. Across the nation, 362 were awarded the designation including two schools in the Diocese of Covington — Notre Dame Academy, Park Hills, and St. Thomas Elementary, Ft. Thomas.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a part of the U.S. Department of Education that recognizes outstanding public and non-public schools. In identifying several hundred outstanding schools annually, the program celebrates some of the most skilled and effective educators in the country.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of Notre Dame Academy, Park Hills, and St. Thomas School, Ft. Thomas, on being recognized as 2019 Blue Ribbon Schools,” said Michael Clines, superintendent of Schools, Diocese of Covington. “Congratulations to Jack Vonhandorf, principal, Notre Dame Academy and Deborah Flamm, principal, St. Thomas School, their faculties, staff, students and school communities for their hard work and dedication that made this achievement possible.”

This is the second Blue Ribbon for St. Thomas School having achieved its first Blue Ribbon in 2006 and the third Blue Ribbon for Notre Dame Academy which was recognized in 1996 and 2012.

The Diocese of Covington is home to 16 schools with the Blue Ribbon designation:

Bishop Brossart High School, Alexandria (2018)

Blessed Sacrament School, Ft. Mitchell (1994, 2007, 2015)

Covington Catholic High School, Park Hills (2007, 2016)

Covington Latin School, Covington (2003)

Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Burlington (2006, 2018)

Notre Dame Academy, Ft. Wright (1996, 2012, 2019)

St. Agnes School, Ft. Wright (2009)

St. Cecilia School, Independence (2018)

St. Henry District High School, Erlanger (2012)

St. Henry Elementary School, Elsmere (2016)

St. Joseph School, Cold Spring (2018)

St. Joseph School, Crescent Springs (2006, 2017)

St. Mary School, Alexandria, (2016)

St. Paul School, Florence (2014)

St. Pius X School, Edgewood (2001, 2015)

St. Thomas School, Ft. Thomas (2006, 2019)

Villa Madonna Academy Elementary, Villa Hills (2007, 2017)

Villa Madonna Academy High School, Villa Hills (2002, 2003)

The interior of St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1888, just three years after Maes became Bishop of Covington. Archives of the Diocese of Covington.

Part I: From the beginning, Camillus P. Maes seemed destined to become Covington’s shepherd

Father Ryan was ‘consummate gentleman’

By Laura Keener, Editor.

Father James Ryan, a beloved priest of the Diocese of Covington for 44 years, died Sept. 7. He was 75 years old.

Father Ryan was the oldest of four children — Barbara, Robert and Kathleen — of James and Lois (Vaught) Ryan. When he was six years old his parents died in a tragic accident. His father had touched a live wire while adjusting the TV antenna on the rooftop of their home. Mrs. Ryan ran to his assistance and grabbed the ladder — neither survived. The children went to live and attended school at St. Joseph Orphanage, Cold Spring, and their uncle, Father Robert Ryan, who was still in seminary at the time, became their legal guardian.

Following graduation from Covington Latin School, Father Ryan attended college at St. Pius X Seminary, Erlanger. After graduation Father Ryan went to Catholic University to continue his seminary studies. After a semester there he chose to take some time off and worked at the Enquirer for a year. He attended Xavier University, Cincinnati, and earned a master’s degree in education. He taught Latin and history for four years at St. Thomas High School, Ft. Thomas. He returned to the seminary at Mount St. Mary Seminary, Cincinnati, and in 1971 received a maser’s degree in theology.

Bishop Richard Ackerman ordained him a priest for the diocese May 17, 1975 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington.

His first assignment following ordination was teaching at Covington Latin School. He became headmaster of Covington Latin School in 1983. In the spring of 1987, Bishop William Hughes accepted his resignation from that position and he resumed teaching full-time at the school that Fall.

Mark Guilfoyle, partner, DBL Law and a former Covington Latin School student, said that Father Ryan was a favorite among the students.

“He was an academic but he also had a great sense of humor and he was great teacher. What he did a Latin School was really special, he impacted and changed a lot of lives and I count myself among those,” Mr. Guilfoyle said.

As headmaster, Father Ryan established the development office at Covington Latin School and the formation of a long-range planning group and expanded the Religious Formation and Fine Arts requirements.

“He was everything you want to see in a priest,” Mr. Guilfoyle said. “He was erudite but yet he could speak a common language that everyone could understand. He was a great homilist, very devoted to his vocation and a real model for people in how to live their lives.”

What was most impressive about Father Ryan, Mr. Guilfoyle said, was his depth of knowledge on almost any subject. “You could ask him about any subject and he would have a depth of knowledge that would take your breath away … He was just an extraordinary person who heard the call, answered the call and lived the call; that’s the kind of example Catholics need to have and he gave it to us in spades.”

In 1990 Father Ryan attended Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and earned a master’s degree in canon law. In 1992 he served full-time as judge at the diocesan Tribunal Office; and a few years later part-time, after becoming pastor in 1994 at St. Philip Parish, Melbourne, taking up the pastorate from his late uncle, Father Robert Ryan.

Other pastorates included St. Joseph Parish, Camp Springs (1998–1999), and St. Henry Parish, Elsmere (1999–2015).

In 2002 Father Ryan was appointed to the Diocese of Covington College of Consultors.

He retired in 2015, taking up residence at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Ft. Mitchell, where Father Daniel Vogelpohl, also a member of the ordination class of 1975, is pastor.

“We were ordained together and have been close friends ever since. We taught high school together, we have traveled extensively together, and, in his retirement, we have ministered together at Blessed Sacrament,” Father Vogelpohl said.

Father Vogelpohl shared some of his fondest memories of Father Ryan in his parish bulletin the Sunday after Father Ryan’s death.

“Father Ryan was more intellectual than physical. On his first bicycle trip to Europe with the Latin School in 1977, it only took three days for him to shove his bicycle over a cliff and replace it with a moped,” Father Vogelpohl wrote.

“Father Ryan thoroughly enjoyed classical music. WGUC is the only station his car radio was ever tuned to. He subscribed to the Cincinnati Symphony for years … when listening to classical music on the radio he would often hum along with the score. He could identify nearly every musical piece in the standard classical repertoire,” he said.

“Father Ryan loved the Church,” Father Vogelpohl wrote. “He particularly loved the liturgy and ceremonies of the Church. When he celebrated Mass he was always attentive to what he was doing and had a deep appreciation of what the ritual meant … He always tried to engender that same appreciation for the liturgy in the hearts of all the participants. He particularly loved major liturgies of the Church. He thrived on ‘smells and bells’ and ‘pomp and circumstance.’”

In 2016 Father Ryan was appointed chaplain at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Over the years he was also chaplain to the Notre Dame Sisters, Covington, and the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery, Villa Hills. In a 2015 article celebrating his 40 years as a priest, Father Ryan said, “The happiest thing a priest does is celebrate the Mass … I’ve been very blessed to be able to do that at the places I’ve lived, but also, with the Sisters…”

In 2017 he returned part-time to the diocesan Tribunal, being appointed Judicial Vicar pro-tempore.

“When he came in he came in cheerful; he would stop at every door and greet everyone,” said Sister Margaret Stallmeyer, director, Tribunal Office.

Sister Margaret said that whenever she called Father Ryan she always found a welcome ear and she enjoyed his thoughtful and wise counsel.

“You knew he loved being a priest and doing what he did. When you think of all the different volunteer things that he did he never seemed overburdened. I feel very privileged that I have had these two years working with him. He was a good priest … He’s the kind of person that you think when I retire I want to do it like he did.”

Bishop Daniel Conlon, of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, a friend of Father Ryan’s, was the homilist at his funeral Mass, Sept. 17, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington.

“Father Ryan was a faithful priest, serving the Lord by serving his people. He was also authentic,” Bishop Conlon said. “His priestly ministry came from the heart. He truly enjoyed being with people. His beliefs coincided with those of the Church. He respected the bishops and pastors he served under.”

Father Ryan is survived by his sisters Barbara Gregory and Kathleen Ealy (Lee) and sister-in-law, Mary Beth Feldhake Ryan.

“Jim’s years of priestly service to the Diocese of Covington were marked with dedication and blessed with much success,” his sisters wrote. “What Jim wrote following our Uncle Father Bob Ryan’s funeral applies equally to him. ‘His fondest wish and most ardent prayer would be that the Church always be blessed with an abundance of dedicated priests and religious. To which we can only add Amen!’ Jim would say, whether it be to a religious, married or single life, your call is a gift. Thank you to him and to each of you who are called, chosen and faithful to your vocation. Don’t we all hope, when our time comes, to hear the voice of God say, ‘Alleluia, welcome home good and faithful servant!’”

Father Ryan is interred at St. Stephen Cemetery, Ft. Thomas.

“The death of Father James Ryan leaves a void in our presbyterate that will not soon be filled,” said Bishop Roger Foys. “Father Ryan was the consummate gentleman, exhibiting kindness and compassion toward all he met. Whether as teacher, administrator or pastor, he took up each assignment with enthusiasm and grace. His sharp mind and quick wit were obvious even in a casual conversation. He was a witness and example to all priests — young and old — of what a good priest should be. As we mourn his loss to us on earth we rejoice that he will be received now by the Lord he loved and served so well.”


Scholarship Tax Credits

Cemetery visitation schedule

The Diocese of Covington’s parish and diocesan cemeteries annually hold prayer services at each of the cemeteries. Below is the current list of services for 2019. Watch this space for additional service dates, times and locations.

Sept. 22
Mother of God Cemetery
Covington, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 28
Immaculate Conception Cemetery,
Stepstone, 11 a.m.

Sept. 29
Sts Peter & Paul Cemetery,
California, 12 p.m.

Oct. 6
Holy Guardian Angels Cemetery,
Sanfordtown, 2 p.m.

St. Joseph Cemetery,
Camp Springs, 2:00 p.m.

Oct. 13
St. Mary Cemetery,
Alexandria, 12:15 p.m.

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

St. John Cemetery,
Ft. Mitchell, 1:30 p.m.

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