Diocese of Covington at 401 E. 20th Street, Covington, KY 41014-1485 US - A Message from Bishop Foys
Provided By Diocese of Covington - Census
A Message from Bishop Foys
My Dear Friends in Christ:
We celebrated the 5th Synod of the Diocese of Covington at a gathering in our Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption on Sunday, August 13, 2006. For three years prior to that every priest, deacon, religious and lay person throughout the Diocese had an opportunity at the parish level to participate in the discussions that would shape the Synod documents that would be recommended to me as your Bishop. I signed the Synod documents into particular law for our Diocese at the Synod gathering in August of 2006. Since that time our Curia Staff has been working diligently to implement the policies you recommended to me.
One of those policies was that we conduct a diocesan-wide census. The last such census taken in our Diocese was in 1939 under the direction of then-Bishop Francis Howard. It has been 71 years since we’ve done such a thorough census.
Why take a census of the entire Diocese? Well, if we are to serve the people of God we must first know who and where they are. We live in a very mobile society. People no longer are born, grow up, live and die in the same neighborhood as in years gone by. There was a time when people were baptized, received their First Holy Communion, were confirmed, married, and buried from the same parish church because they lived their entire lives in the same parish boundaries. Such neighborhoods rarely exist any longer. People move and sometimes move often. If we are to serve the needs of God’s people, we have to know who and where they are.
Even more importantly, a census will allow us to do what each of us is called to do in the Gospels. When I make pastoral visitations to our parishes and meet with parish councils and other representatives, I am almost always asked for ways and means to evangelize, to spread the Gospel message. A census gives us that very opportunity. In taking this census, we are doing the work of the Lord. Each person directly involved in the census is the face of Christ to the person visited. And the people we will be visiting also represent to us the face of Christ. This census is more than just about numbers, it is about doing God’s work, it is about being the face of Christ to our neighbor.
I see your parishes growing, not just in numbers but also in the active support you give to your pastor and fellow parishioners. We must provide for the present as well as for the future. We must make sure that our parishes and schools remain vibrant and that our schools especially remain affordable and accessible for all our Catholic families not just now but for the next generation. No generation exists only for itself. Each generation of Catholics has built strong communities not only for themselves but for their children and grandchildren as well. I must consider the future of this Diocese. To do this, and before making any decision, I must know who the people are that we are to serve and where they live.
We began the census in Boone County as a pilot program. They have successfully completed their census and have generously been helping your parish census team. I ask you, my dear friends, to be as actively involved in this census as you can be.
EVERYONE can help! We need YOU to spread the word so that our efforts will be understood by your neighbors. I am asking you to be the presence of Christ to those we meet – not to proselytize – but to be a Christ-bearer in our parishes and neighborhoods.
We need census-takers in every neighborhood. YOU are most familiar with your neighbors and can most easily approach them. You may think this is something you can’t do, but if you visualize visiting homes on your own street, this becomes something much more manageable. Also, what a great way to meet your neighbors and be the face of Christ to them.
We also need support teams to recruit census takers, to prepare the census packets, and to provide hospitality on the census Sundays. These are also vital aspects of the census.
We are going to visit EVERY home within your parish boundaries. ALL information gathered about our non-Catholic neighbors will be sent only to their respective pastors. We have no intention of using the information in any other way. This is an outreach effort to our non-Catholic brothers and sisters.
You know as well as I that we live in a world that is so often burdened with bad news. In this census we are able to bring the Good News of the love of Christ into the homes of those we will visit. Will you be a part of this wonderful undertaking? Will you be Christ’s face to your neighbors? Will you join in doing God’s work? As your Bishop, I have faith that you will! May the Lord who has begun this good work in us bring it to completion.
God bless you and those you love!
Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D.
Bishop of Covington