Seminary Ball draws record crowd, demonstrating what seminarians say, ‘Covington diocese is the best’

Laura Keener, Editor.

Each year the Seminary Ball grows as more parishes, schools and Catholic organizations continue their support of the seminarians studying for the priesthood in the Diocese of Covington. Over 560 people attended, Oct. 18, this year’s Seminary Ball held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Covington. And, again this year, 100 percent of schools in the Diocese of Covington demonstrated support of seminarians through prayers or contributions to the Seminarian Education Fund.

The diocese has 13 men studying at two seminaries — at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus are: Ethan Dierig, Devin Heffernan, Timothy Hillebrand, William Pikar, Zacharias Schoen and John Tarvin; at St. Vincent Seminary, LaTrobe are: Deacon Jordan Hainsey, Anthony Anderson, John Baumann, Michael Elmlinger, A.J. Gedney, Dale Nieberding and Joseph Rielage.

In addition to its 58 table sponsors, five Gold Patrons and 15 Silver Patrons, sponsors of the Seminary Ball included: Al and Esther Kenkel, Ordination Sponsor; Kentucky State Catholic Order of Foresters and St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Acolyte Sponsors; Fourth Street Performance Partners and St. Agnes Parish, Candidacy Sponsors; and Knights of Columbus of Northern Kentucky and Serra Club for Vocations, Northern Kentucky, Reception Co-sponsors. Michael Murray, director, and the staff of the diocesan Stewardship and Mission Services Office and the Seminary Ball Committee organized the event.

Father Daniel Schomaker, vicar general and assistant director of seminarians, was the master of ceremonies for the Seminary Ball. He explained that while the 2019 Seminary Ball is the 10th annual Seminary Ball, the history of the ball extends beyond 10 years.

In 1954, Bishop William Mulloy asked the newly founded Diocesan Council of Catholic Women to undertake a fundraising effort for the newly established Seminary of St. Pius X, Erlanger. On Jan. 22, 1955 at Summit Hills Country Club the first Seminary Guild Ball was held. The theme was “Symphony in Blue,” and was attended by over 200 people. The Seminary Guild Ball continued for 28 years. In 2010 Bishop Foys reinstituted a Seminary Ball not to support a seminary but to support the education and formation of the diocese’s seminarians.

Father Schomaker then introduced the seminarians — who performed two songs — and the evening’s keynote speaker/seminarian — Deacon Jordan Hainsey.

Deacon Hainsey became familiar with the Diocese of Covington while he was working as a graphic designer for St. Vincent Seminary. He said that when it came time to discern a vocation to the priesthood, many seminarians would encourage him to consider studying for their diocese. He became curious about the Diocese of Covington because its seminarians would boldly declare, “Our diocese is the best.”

“Something stirred in me to check it out; to see for myself what made Covington the greatest for these men studying for the priesthood,” Deacon Hainsey said.

On his first visit to Covington, Deacon Hainsey said, that he toured the Cathedral and Mother of God Church and other great churches of the diocese. “But I had been to Europe and I have seen beautiful churches.”

He also visited many local landmarks including Cincinnati’s burgeoning Over the Rhine area, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the quintessentially-Kentucky Bourbon Trail. “But I have been to plenty of places and experienced the culture,” he said.

But, he admitted, there was something different about the Diocese of Covington. Part of it is Bishop Roger Foys, he said. “I was incredibly impressed on how welcoming he was, how encouraging he was with me in discerning my call. We are truly very fortunate to have Bishop Foys as our shepherd.”

Another endearing quality of the diocese, Deacon Hainsey said, is its people and their support for priests and seminarians. “I’ve been bolstered by their prayers, and friendship — these authentic signs of support — because Covington truly loves their priests and seminarians.”

But, he said, what really sets the Diocese of Covington apart are things that its people sometimes take for granted — it’s growth.

“We are expanding schools. We are building additions to schools. We are operating a university. These are signs that Catholic education is alive and well in the Diocese of Covington.

“We are also beautifying churches. We are completing the façade of the Cathedral — that great structure that Bishop (Camillus) Maes saw as a great sign and symbol for the people of the diocese. This isn’t just decoration, this isn’t just adding things to make it more beautiful, it is a sign of this generation’s — of yours and my — faith. We’re here and we’re staying.”

Deacon Hainsey thanked attendees for their financial and spiritual support.

“Covington’s story is about growth, it’s about stewardship for the future and this is the reason we need good priests. Good priests begin with good seminarians that begins with good seminaries … Tonight I thank you for your support, first financial, because that’s what gets us through and gives us the best education to serve you in the future. But more than money is your prayers, it’s your zeal, it’s your faith in each of us that is really what brings laborers to the harvest.”

Bishop Foys closed the formal program with his own words of gratitude.

“We have really good people here who are faithful to the Lord and to his Word and to his Church. We do have a great diocese,” said Bishop Foys. “In the early days of the Church people were added to the rolls of followers of Jesus every day because they saw the witness of the faith in the early Christians. It’s the same in our day. We bring people to the faith by our witness to the faith. We are blessed in this diocese. Thank you for all you do.”


Part II: Amid great trials, Bishop Maes built a cathedral to ‘speak for centuries to come’

Looking for a great school? Upcoming Open Houses

Prospective students and their parents are invited to explore academic opportunities at the Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Covington at an upcoming open house. Meet the teachers, visit the campus and discover ways that each student can be challenged academically, while growing their faith life.

Secondary Schools

Sunday, Nov. 3

Covington Catholic High School
Park Hills, 1–4 p.m.

Notre Dame Academy
Park Hills, 1–3 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 6

Holy Cross District High School
Latonia, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 7

Newport Central Catholic High School
Newport, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 17

St. Henry District High School
Erlanger, 1–4 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 8

Covington Latin School, Covington
(two sessions) 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Primary Schools (in chronological order)

St, Agnes School, Ft. Wright
Sunday, Nov. 3, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

St. Paul Early Education, Florence
Sunday, Nov. 10, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Prince of Peace Montessori School, Covington
Sunday, Nov. 10, 12:30–2 p.m.

Blessed Sacrament School, Ft. Mitchell
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2–4 p.m.

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).

For more information click here.


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