Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood

By Laura Keener

Bishop Roger Foys ordained two men — Benton Clift and Joseph Shelton — to the holy Order of Priest, May 19, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. It was an historic day and Bishop Foys could not resist the opportunity to acknowledge the serendipity.

“After today the lives of two people will be forever changed,” Bishop Foys said as he began his homily. “They will no longer belong to themselves. Their lives and the lives of family and friends and everyone they meet, every life they touch will change. They will give themselves totally to someone else. But enough about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle,” he said as attendees of the ordination erupted in laughter.

Earlier that same day, across the pond, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, United Kingdom. And while most of the world fixated on the royal nuptials, the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption was filled with diocesan priests and the family and friends of the two men about to be ordained.

“Actually, though,” Bishop Foys continued, “the lives of two people in our midst, after today, will be forever changed. They, too, will no longer belong to themselves. They have been called, they have been chosen, by the Lord to follow him in holy orders, to proclaim his name and his love in the midst of God’s people.”

Bishop Foys encouraged the candidates to embrace their mission — to be light to the world.

“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are the salt of the earth’ and ‘you are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.’ It’s nothing that we do for ourselves; what we do, what we say, how we live, is meant to give glory to God. This is our call, this is our mission,” Bishop Foys said.

“It is true, after today Deacon Benton and Deacon Joey will not be the same. They will have answered the call of the Lord and given themselves over to the Lord without reservation, unconditionally. With God’s help and the support of the people they are sent to serve, they will fulfill the promises they make today until the end of their lives.”

The following day, Father Clift and Father Shelton each celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving. Father Shelton’s first Mass was held at St. Timothy Church, Union, and Father Clift’s at St. Philip Church, Melbourne.

On June 11 the newly ordained will begin their first assignments. Bishop Foys has assigned Father Clift parochial vicar, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Ft. Mitchell, and Father Shelton administrative assistant to the bishop, episcopal master of ceremonies and assistant to the chancellor.

Cross the Bridge for Life, a celebration that continues to inspire hope

By David Cooley

Summer is right around the corner and that means it’s time to, once again, Cross the Bridge for Life! This is the 13th year for the annual life-affirming event and thousands of tri-state residents are expected to gather at Newport’s Riverfront Row festival area Sunday, June 3, to celebrate the beautiful gift of human life regardless of age or stage, ability or disability.

Festivities begin at 1 p.m. and include music by the popular band Easter Rising; free face painting; balloon artists; fruit and water; and purple t-shirts while supplies last. Several food trucks will also have treats available for purchase. Parking is available at several lots near the Levy.

The walk will begin after a brief program at 2 p.m., featuring emcee Anna Mitchell, producer/host, Sacred Heart Radio; Bobby Schindler, president, Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network (receiving the Defender of Life award); Bishop Roger Foys; Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis Schnurr; vocalist Allison Riegler; and American Heritage Girls color guard.

As they do each year, bagpipers from the Ancient Order of Hibernians will lead walkers across the bridge. The event will end back at Riverfront Row with more music by Easter Rising and various food trucks.

“When you see the amount of people that come to this, it gives you hope that there are many people out there who support life at every stage,” said Faye Roch, director, diocesan Pro-Life Office. “We live in a culture where sometimes it is overwhelming, thinking that people just don’t care about the dignity of the human person or care less about that than they do about everything else. When you get together at something like this I think you see that there is hope.”

A coalition of more than 20 area pro-life organizations presents the Cross the Bridge for Life, and several will have informational booths at the event.

“I think anytime you have an opportunity to share the importance of the sanctity of life and showcase the different agencies and the resources available in the area, that’s a good thing,” said Peggy Piccola, assistant, Pro-Life Office. “It is amazing, the amount of people that come — old and young — and that it is such a peaceful family-oriented event.”

Mrs. Piccola said that her favorite part is listening to the bagpipes.

“Just hearing that music gives you goose bumps,” she said.

Mrs. Roch said that she is busy each year monitoring the event and making sure that everything is running smoothly, but this gives her a unique perspective as she watches all the people going across the bridge.

“Standing there, watching the crowd flow onto the bridge is very moving for me,” Mrs. Roch said. “I see the magnitude of people — people from different parishes, different congregations and different faiths. Everyone is so joyful — it’s a joyful walk.”

Mrs. Roch emphasized that the Cross the Bridge for Life is not a protest or a demonstration, but rather a “joyful gathering of people celebrating life.”

“Our intention is for this event to get bigger and bigger every year, that’s our goal,” Mrs. Roch said. “We want to invite everyone, not just the Catholic Church but also other Christian churches and different colleges and different groups. We want many people to be a part of this celebration.”

Mrs. Roch said that the Cross the Bridge for Life event wouldn’t be possible without all the sponsorships.

“The sponsors help us so much in acquiring the facility and keeping the event free,” she said. “There are around 35 of them and they are showcased on the Facebook page and on the website. Their names are also featured on the back of the T-shirts and on the materials we distribute promoting the event.”

All are welcome and encouraged to join this family-friendly event to cross the Purple People Bridge and fill it with the joy of life. More information is available at CrossTheBridgeForLife.org and on Facebook.

2018 DPAA ‘unites us as a diocese in faith and service’

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.”

Bishop Foys announces Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations

By: David Cooley

Bishop Roger Foys has announced that he has designated the coming year as the “Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations.” The year will officially begin with solemn vespers at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, on the solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 26, and conclude on the same solemnity in 2018.

Bishop Roger Foys is asking the faithful to continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life, but especially to the priesthood during this special year.

While a primary focus throughout the year will be prayer within family life there will also be a strong emphasis on prayer for vocations within the diocesan schools.

Bishop Foys, Father Andrew Young, vocations promoter, and other diocesan priests will visit every one of the high schools, celebrate Mass, and spend an extended amount of time with the students, focusing on vocations. These events will be called “Vocations Day.” Father Young will also be visiting the diocesan grade schools.

In each of the five deaneries, throughout the year, there will be “Deanery Discernment Events” that will include Holy Hours, presentations, dinner, social time and other group activities. Throughout the year, there will also be special articles featured in the Messenger, giving readers insight to the vocations of many of the priests currently serving in the diocese. The same prayer for priestly vocations will be prayed at every parish during each weekend Mass. This prayer will be prayed either as a conclusion to the Prayer of the Faithful or at the end of the Mass.

“The whole year has a dual purpose,” said Bishop Foys in an interview with the Messenger. “First, the purpose is to pray for vocations; and, second, to raise the consciousness of our people about vocations and the need for vocations in order for them to make that vocation culture a part of their life.”

Bishop Foys said that he is very excited about this upcoming year. What’s great about it is that everyone can pray for vocations and raise awareness of the need for priests and vocations, he said.

“The faithful can begin by praying as a family for vocations and they can also encourage, not only their children and grandchildren, but also the people in their parish whom they might believe have a vocation to the priesthood, religious life or the diaconate. Encouragement is sometimes all these young people need,” he said. “It is important to also support the seminarians we have now. Our people are very generous with their financial support, and our hope is that they are also generous with their prayers. A parish that has a seminarian stationed at their church should also do their best to encourage him.”

Bishop Foys said that when he goes on school visits and talks with the students or when he talks to the confirmandi and asks the young men if they have ever thought about being a priest, more often than not they’ll say, “Yes.” Moreover, when he asks the children before their confirmation if there is anyone in their class who would make a good priest they all, invariably, point to one or two young men.

“So, these things are in their thoughts and consciousness,” he said.

Bishop Foys has been heard to say, often, that God, of course, is still calling but people aren’t listening and God’s voice is drowned out by many other things.

“It is our culture in general — the secular society has become so engrained in people,” he said. “The Church at one time was the center of people’s lives. Now, we live in a different time. In this age, the priority of priesthood and religious life doesn’t often rise to the top.”

Bishop Foys said that another issue is that the visibility of the numerous priests and women religious at the schools interacting with the children has extremely declined.

“I look at the history of our schools here and, at one time, they were staffed by almost all priests and religious sisters and brothers,” he said. “It was unusual to have a lay teacher.”

Bishop Foys said that he believes the Year for Prayer for Priestly Vocations is, at the very least, a step in the right direction.

“Prayer,” said Bishop Foys, “should be the first step, when it is time to make a decision or if there is some kind of need. It is the first step, not the last step — we should put whatever it is in God’s hands first.”

Aware that, these days, people are very busy, Bishop Foys said that the faithful should take at least 10 minutes a day to pray.

“Go off by yourself somewhere; read the Scriptures,” he said. “The hope that goes along with that is if you take that small amount of time, eventually you will want to do more.”

Bishop Foys said that the Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations is a time to reflect on the importance of priests in society and in the lives of God’s people.

“A priest is another Christ,” he said. “The priest is called to minister to God’s people. The priesthood is a life of serving. The priest, through the Mass and the sacraments, brings the Lord to people and the people to the Lord. He is a conduit.

“If someone asked me at the end of my life, how would I determine if it was a success or not, I would say that if I brought just one person to Christ, for me, that would be a success.”