Tuesday, July 16, 2002

New bishop installed in Covington




By Stephenie Steitzer ssteitzer@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON -- In a 2-hour ordination ceremony filled with incense, pomp and circumstance, Monsignor Roger J. Foys was ordained Monday as the 10th bishop of Covington, and installed to oversee the 89,000-member diocese.

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Newly-installed Bishop of Covington Roger Foys (left) embraces Archbishop of Cincinnati Daniel Pilarczyk.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        Thirteen bishops current and retired joined the incense-rich procession down the aisle of Covington's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption to participate in the rites.

        Bishop Foys, 56, said he was overwhelmed and humbled by the standing-room, invitation-only crowd of 1,100. Before the conclusion of the ceremony, he told the audience that up to the moment he was ordained and installed, he had thoughts of gratitude, anxiety, joy and hope.

        “For my part, I pledge that I, unworthy as I am, with the help of God, will be the best bishop I can be to and for you,” he said.

        As he was trying to keep his comments brief to the crowd, an errant note rang out from the organ. The new bishop said, “I'm almost done!” And the crowd burst out in laughter.

        During the ordination rite, Most Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, the apostolic nuncio and the Vatican's official representative to the United States, read a letter from Pope John Paul II, calling the new bishop to his office.

        Retired Bishop William Hughes, who led the Diocese of Covington from 1979 to 1995, anointed Bishop Foys' head in the ordination rite.

        The new bishop was presented with his ring, his miter and his pastoral staff, and took his seat in the bishop's chair known as the cathedra.

FACES IN THE CROWD
  Roman Catholic Church leaders attending the ordination of Bishop of Covington Roger J. Foys:
  • The Most Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, J.C.D., Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
  • The Most Rev. Thomas C. Kelly, O.P., Archbishop of Louisville
  • The Most Rev. William A. Hughes, D.D., retired Bishop of Covington
  • The Most Rev. Robert W. Muench, D.D., Bishop of Baton Rouge, formerly Bishop of Covington
  • The Most Rev. John J. McRaith, Bishop of Owensboro
  • The Most Rev. Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of Cincinnati
  • The Most Rev. Carl K. Moeddel, Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati
  • The Most Rev. Gilbert I. Sheldon, retired Bishop of Steubenville, D.D., D.Min.
        It was 79 years ago to the day the last time a bishop was simultaneously ordained and installed at the Basilica. On July, 15, 1923, the Most Reverend Francis W. Howard was installed, at the same age as Bishop Foys. Bishop Howard served until 1944.

        Bishop Foys, who served for 20 years as vicar general of the Diocese of Steubenville, replaces Bishop Robert Muench. Bishop Muench became bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, La., on March 14 after six years in Covington.

        “We had a very powerful celebration today,” Bishop Muench said. “He's going to be a magnificent bishop.”

        About 200 Steubenville parishioners attended the ceremony and reception afterward to wish their former pastor the best of luck.

        “We're going to miss him terribly,” said Wanda Hughes, 72, of Toronto, Ohio. “It's their good luck they got him.”

        Reception attendees lined up inside the Drawbridge Inn's large London Hall to meet the new bishop.

        Fort Mitchell resident Pat Bethell said she hopes Bishop Foys will lead the Covington diocese through its connection to the national priest sexual abuse scandal.

        “I have a lot of prayers that he's going to resolve a lot of tension,” Ms. Bethell, 51, said.

        Bishop Foys learned of his appointment to Northern Kentucky just one day after a $50 million class-action lawsuit was filed against the diocese in Fayette County.



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