Campaign Approaches $140 Million!
Go To News Story Archives
Thanks to generosity of thousands, the One Faith, One Hope, One Love capital campaign has reached $137 million in pledge payments! Check out the bulletin insert below for more details about the continued success of this historic campaign. Click here for a PDF version of the bulletin insert.
The education piece of the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign (1FHL) includes tuition assistance for families at our Catholic elementary and secondary schools who are experiencing financial need.
For the 2020-2021 school year, $2.4 million has been awarded to students throughout the Archdiocese. Since the inception of the tuition assistance program, a total of over $8 million has been awarded to students in need, thanks to the generosity of 1FHL campaign donors.
Learn more about our Catholic Schools and tuition assistance at www.CatholicBestChoice.org
By Eileen Connelly, OSU
The stay-at-home orders, social distancing and changes to our routines during the COVID-19 crisis have certainly presented some challenges, but Father Pat Crone, a retired priest of the Archdiocese, points out that there have also been opportunities.
“It has been really tough on people, especially those in the high risks groups. You’re scared to go out, and do this or that,” admitted Father Crone, who has served as the weekend Associate at St. Veronica Parish since 2011. “But it also brings out the reality that God is in control and has deepened a lot of peoples’ faith. It has been a good chance to examine where God is in our lives, how much He truly is present with us, and to really take the time to read and reflect on the Scriptures.”
Father Crone grew up in Owensville, a member of St. Louis Parish. He graduated from Clermont Northeastern High School and spent some time in the U.S. Air Force before attending the University of Cincinnati, and then the University of Dayton, where he majored in accounting. It was around this same time, he explained, that “my life took a different direction. I was involved in a serious relationship, but I realized God was asking me to do something else.”
After much prayer, discernment and lengthy discussions with both his pastor and a Marianist priest from UD, Father Crone entered the seminary to begin his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained on May 29, 1971. Over the years, he served as Pastor at Nativity, Pleasant Ridge; St. Columbkille, Wilmington; St. Andrew, Milford; St. Mary, Bethel; Our Mother of Good Counsel, Felicity; and St. Saviour, Rossmoyne. Father Crone said he has also been “privileged” to be involved in a variety of other ministries, including serving as a Hospital Chaplain at Bethesda North, teacher at Carroll High School, Juvenile Court Chaplain for Montgomery County, Campus Minister at Wilmington College, Associate Youth Director and Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and Dean of St. Martin Deanery.
Although he retired from Administration in July, 2010, Father Crone emphasized “you do not retire from being a priest.” In addition to his ministry at St. Veronica, he assists with Masses, Confessions, funerals, Baptisms, etc. at many parishes throughout the Archdiocese as time allows.
He currently shares a home with his sister Marlene Rhodes. “She had a stroke and I had a heart attack, so we take care of each other,” he said.
In his free time, Father Crone especially enjoys working in the yard, and said the pandemic has provided the chance to get to know his neighbors better, from a distance, of course. “It used to be that people would just wave to each other if we were outside, but now they stop and talk.”
Father Crone is grateful for the support the One Faith,
One Hope, One Love campaign provides for Archdiocesan retired priests. “It’s reassuring to know that support is there, and it gives you a warm feeling,” he said.
By Eileen Connelly, OSU
At a time of uncertainty and confusion in the midst of the pandemic, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was blessed with three new servant leaders on May 16 when Fathers Christopher Komoroski, Benson Lokidiriyo and Andrew Reckers were ordained to the priesthood. The ordination Mass, held at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, normally filled to capacity for the joyous occasion, was live-streamed so the faithful of the Archdiocese could still celebrate with the men and pray for them.
The newly ordained come from different backgrounds, but each responded to God’s call with unwavering faith and the desire to be of service to the Church and God’s people.
Father Komoroski, who hails from St. Cecilia Parish, acknowledged that he didn’t consider the priesthood until his last couple years of college. During his junior year, he became involved with the group FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students).
“It was through them that I had a profound experience with Jesus Christ and came back to practicing the faith fully,” he explained. “It was at that time that I first began asking God what His plan was for my life.” He also credits his parents as being constant and generous mentors throughout his life.
Born and raised in a remote area of Turkana, Kenya, Father Benson Lokidiriyo said that despite his family’s poverty, he was blessed to receive a Catholic education. He went on to earn
a master’s degree in international relations from an American university in Nairobi thanks to the generosity of Catholic missionaries who also played a significant role in nurturing his vocation.
“Their ministries, the witness of simple living, and their prayer life called me to investigate the priesthood,” Father Lokidiriyo said. After working as an HIV/AIDS testing and counseling officer in Kenya, he came to Cincinnati in 2015 to begin his seminary studies. During Father Lokidiriyo’s time as a transitional deacon, he served at St. Leo’s Parish in North Fairmount, where he was “blessed and inspired by the faith of the entire community.”
“I hope to be a priest who reflects the joy and hope of Christ through my actions and even in daily administrative tasks,” he added. “I also look forward to meeting and serving the people entrusted to my care – to celebrate, learn from and walk with them, supported by the Sacraments and ministries.”
Cincinnati native Father Andrew Reckers began discerning his call to the priesthood in the sixth grade as a student at Our Lady of Visitation School. “I was positively influenced by the priests at my parish and their example to me as I assisted at Mass as an altar server,” he said.
His family’s deep faith was also a strong influence. “My parents taught me by word and example how to be a good Catholic and provided a solid foundation for the meaning of Church teachings,” explained Father Reckers, who has called St. Jude Parish in Bridgetown home for the past 13 years.
He graduated from Elder High School and the University of Cincinnati with a degree in biomedical engineering and worked for his father in an embroidery franchise before entering the seminary in 2013. “I thank the countless people who prayed for me during my years of formation,” he said.
“As our Archdiocesan prayer for vocations reminds us, every person was created by God with a vocation – a definite purpose in life,” Archbishop Schnurr wrote in his April “Seek the Lord” column for the Catholic Telegraph. “And we are happiest when we discern and accept that divine plan. I am grateful to our new priests, and to all priests, who have accepted their call.”
(The Catholic Telegraph also contributed to this article.)
By Eileen Connelly, OSU
Amid the challenges of COVID-19, staff, volunteers and supporters of Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley (CSSMV) and Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio (CCSWO) have responded to meet the increased needs of local communities.
The biggest impact on CSSMV, said Mike Lehner, Director of Marketing and Development, was on the agency’s Choice Food Pantry in Dayton. The area’s only food pantry that is open five days a week saw an increase from serving an average of 80 families a day to around 100 at the start of the pandemic. Many were first-time visitors.
Because many food pantry volunteers were in the high-risk category, some CSSMV staff members took on additional duties as needed, and young volunteers were recruited. “We’ve been very blessed to have some young alums and current students from Chaminade Julienne High School and the University of Dayton involved,” Lehner said.
With empty shelves at grocery stores and their regular supplier unable to accept orders, sourcing food for the pantry has been an issue, he added. Fortunately, the local community responded. Mari and Phillip Gallenstein, owners of Big Sky Bread in Kettering and members of St. Albert the Great Parish, provided 1,500 loaves of freshly baked bread to the pantry. In addition, St. Albert parishioners and other volunteers have helped the pantry source specific items, especially proteins, that have helped keep clients supplied. And, after athletic events were cancelled at UD, the pantry received donations of buns, chips and candy.
“It has been incredibly inspiring to see how the community, staff and volunteers have really stepped up to do whatever is needed,” Lehner said. “Everyone has really pitched in to help.”
While adapting to changing guidelines the agency has also been able to continue its other regular services throughout the pandemic. Staff continued to offer respite, senior visiting, counseling, parenting, and refugee services via phone and video chat.
The “next wave of concern” for CSSMV, Lehner explained, will be assisting families with their utility bills. “All the utility companies have stopped shut offs, but that doesn’t mean they’re stopping billing,” he said. “All of this comes in the wake of last year’s tornados. People are still recovering from that and living in homes that aren’t livable. The needs are just going to continue.”
That’s where the generosity of the faithful in the Archdiocese comes in. “It enables us to provide the type of flexibility we need as an agency to respond to changing needs,” Lehner said. “When you look at how we’ve had to switch gears to aid in long-term disaster recovery, and now with the pandemic, it’s because we have One Faith, One Hope, One Love. Our ability to respond to the pandemic is because we have the support of people in the Archdiocese.”
Tony Stieritz, CEO of CCSWO, agrees. “The contributions of the faithful are the fuel that enables us to do our work. We couldn’t do it without their generous support,” he said. “But, it’s not just about monetary contributions. We want all of the faithful to feel a connection to what we do, to feel that they’re part of the Catholic Charities family.”
Just as in Dayton, Stieritz said the agency’s pantry sites saw increased traffic, especially in rural areas from first-time visitors who had lost their jobs or been furloughed. “We’ve also seen an increase in mental health counseling needs.
For some people already dealing with anxiety issues, the pandemic magnified things for them. There has also been an increased need around employment services for refugees.”
In response, CCSWO adapted its service to continue meeting the needs of local families. The Food for All program, which used to be a walk-thru pantry, became a drive-thru. At St. Mary’s in Bethel, for example, on the morning of Friday, April 3, cars began to line up at 9:30am for the pantry that usually begins at 11:00am. The Ohio National Guard and Food for All volunteers unloaded food, assembled it into stations, then loaded it directly into cars. That day, 133 families/345 individuals were served. Twenty-seven of the families were new to the pantry.
In addition to its drive-thru pantries, the agency has also stocked food pantries and purchased PowerPacks for families of St. Clement School, in St. Bernard; St. Martin of Tours School in Cheviot; and Sardinia Elementary School in Brown County.
Su Casa Hispanic Center, another program of Catholic Charities, has also demonstrated flexibility by delivering care packages to clients identified as most in need. The care packages included items such as baby supplies, paper products and personal hygiene items. The second round of deliveries also included food from the FreeStore Foodbank and information in Spanish about Coronavirus prevention and stay-at-home activities for children.
“Our mission has always been to serve the poor, protect the vulnerable and welcome the stranger, and we do it in a way that meets immediate needs but also promotes their full human development,” Stieritz noted. “Right now, our mission is mercy and survival, and the faithful that support us, our volunteers and staff are part of that mission. We’re continuing to build God’s kingdom together through what we do here.”