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One Faith, One Hope, One Love

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School of Faith

A tall man with a long beard stood by the banks of the Jordan River this past June with a ball cap perched on his head blocking the wash of white sunlight from his eyes while clutching a bible in his hand. Before him were the pilgrims— faculty and staff from Catholic schools from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati— listening intently as John Leyendecker, the man in the cap, led them in reflection at one of Christendom’s most holy sites. They collectively pondered and considered the Baptizing of Jesus by John the Baptist as they sat together at the edge of that sacred location. The group leader, Mr. Leyendecker addressed the pilgrims as they attentively listened while the river water flowed past only yards away. And though all ears were tuned in to Mr. Leyendecker, it was impossible to ignore the poignant backdrop of a group of young men garbed all in white being Baptized that very day in those very same waters which washed over our Lord those 2000 or so years ago.

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The School of Faith (first established by Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City, 2005) was invited to minister to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati by way of invitation and endorsement from Archbishop Dennis Schnurr in 2015 and now receives sustaining funding from the “One Faith, One Hope, One Love Campaign.” The purpose and mission of the School of Faith is to:

…Provide doctrinal and spiritual formation for Catholics through catechetical programs that stress the call to prayer, virtue, and holiness of life, with a particular emphasis on mentoring those who have the responsibility to teach the faith to others, with the goal of renewing the culture of our Catholic schools and individuals.

And that is what Mr. Leyendecker, Cincinnati Mission Director for the School of Faith, was doing that day as he led educators in prayer, meditation and reflection as they walked the very ground once tread by Jesus, His Holy Mother and the Apostles.

It is little wonder that the pilgrims, that is, our local Catholic school teachers and catechists, return saying things such as, “Life changing!” and “Transformational!” after having come home from the 9-day trip to Israel.

 

Christina Riggins, assistant principal at St. James School in White Oak writes, “This experience makes all you have ever know about your faith and the life of Jesus Christ come to life and become so real.” It is this reality of Jesus, Jesus who is alive and present, that an energized Mrs. Riggins brings back to her students.

Lisa Fletcher, of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, shares with us in a video of “Pilgrimage Reflections,” her striking insights regarding the rewards of the trip:

Jesus is loving relationships… Jesus is self-sacrifice… Everything that I think that Jesus is, always comes back to relationship.

And:

            This pilgrimage, this whole thing is critical for our schools: to live as a disciple and to bring this back, to live it, to be a role model.

SOF Pilgrimage

The strangers being Baptized that day last June waited their turn to be born anew as children of God while standing chest high in the River Jordan. The concentric circles and little lapping waves their bodies made intersected and rippled far beyond their small group. Soon would come the moment when the sacrament would be performed thereby beginning their new lives in Christ.

Likewise, the contingent of faculty and staff in attendance from our Archdiocese schools were preparing to begin a journey along the same theme. They, too, would be leaving that holy site to begin their new lives as disciples whose faith and spiritual selves had been set aflame by the experience. And with that new fire came a renewed calling, not to keep this transformative growth to themselves, but to bring it to their colleagues, their students, their families and neighbors. It was time for them to take what they had learned back across the water to their own shores, schools, and homes.

This newly kindled purpose set alight in these educators is not left to sustain itself.  They gather within their particular schools for follow-up sessions and small group discussions led by Mr. Leyendecker. They meet with other program participants for fellowship and sharing witness to the ripples of positive change they’ve brought forth to themselves and those around them. They share their struggles and their successes. But most importantly, they share their faith.

Thank you to the generous donors for continuing to support the “One Faith, One Hope, One Love Campaign” which makes this incredibly valuable and worthwhile program possible.

For more information on the “School of Faith,” please visit http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/ministries-offices/one/school-of-faith/

or contact: john@schooloffaith.com.

Written by: Rebecca Sontag


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Still-changing needs at St. Boniface Parish

The Beginning of the Road

The elegantly grand and solidly constructed stone buildings of St. Boniface Parish sit aloft a terraced slope keeping an ever-steady and unwavering watch over the prettily painted Victorian homes pressed right against the foot of the hill. Sundays, holy days, and all days in Northside, a bustling and eclectic Cincinnati neighborhood, St. Boniface has served as a spiritual home for its parishioners generation upon generation. Countless families have celebrated the Holy Sacraments under the red clay-tiled roof since its completion in 1927.

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(The exterior of St. Boniface Church. Catholic Telegraph Photo by E.L. Hubbard)

Still today, you can find older life-long parishioners who were Baptized as infants at St. Boniface back when it still smelled of new construction and before the days of hospital births. Dependably and carefully, albeit a pace slowed by age, arthritis and time, they can be witnessed navigating the steps and making the climb to enter the church that has overseen their Confirmations and Marriages. It’s where these men and women came for the funeral Masses of their parents. It’s where their own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were Baptized, Married, and Confirmed. The 1934-built school, where they and their loved ones were educated by the Sisters of Charity, still provides careful spiritual formation and a quality education. Both parish children and the wider neighborhood as well, over 90% of whom are at or below poverty level, benefit greatly from St. Boniface School offering an exemplary alternative to the poorly rated public-school option.

St. Boniface Parish has a long and dedicated history, stretching over 150 years, of meeting the changing needs of her parishioners. In the 1850s, when Northside was just a small village known as Cumminsville, there came an influx of Catholic immigrants. A good number of them were Irish and had no place to worship. Railways, a booming local economy and employment opportunities made the area a perfect fit for these new Americans who where seeking better lives for themselves and their families. All that was missing was a place to participate in and receive the Holy Sacraments, to practice and live the faith. In 1853, Archbishop Purcell approved the building of the small church on Delaney St. allowing Cumminsville to become, for these immigrants, a place where one could make a home— a place to put down roots, to truly live.

Of course, the Irish weren’t the only large group of immigrants who found a home in Cincinnati during the 1800s. German-Catholic immigrants were hugely influential in Cincinnati’s development, growth, and forming of cultural identity in the 19th century. These German immigrants began moving in large numbers to Cumminsville right alongside the Irish. The young parish, known then as St. Aloysius, could no longer accommodate the rapid increase in numbers. Archbishop Purcell formed a new parish to serve the crush of parishioners who no longer fit into the overflowing church on Delaney Street. Their needs had changed.

Change in Direction

As a group, the parish decided to divide along ethnic lines. Drawing lots, the Irish ended up staying where they were and changed the parish name to St. Patrick. The German-Cincinnatians were given $1500 by the Archdiocese to help them on their path for building their new parish church. They started on Blue Rock, there were rectories, sacristies, other school buildings and additions and a residence for the Sisters. St. Boniface Church’s growth was so substantial that two additional new parishes sprang forth to satisfy, again, the changing needs of the people. In 1921, the land for the current location was purchased. And in 1927, at the peak of the “Roaring 20s,” the current rectory and church were completed.

So many things have changed since 1927. St. Patrick Church reunited with St. Boniface in 1991. The school, first started by the Sisters of Charity, became a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. Many long-standing families moved out of Northside in favor of the suburbs and its expansive lawns. In 1927, ninety-one years ago, there were a grand total of 15 million cars that had been sold in the United States, and the state of Ohio did not even require a driver’s license. Today, there are more than 276 million vehicles that are legally registered in addition to an untold number which are not. And we are living a lot longer, too. The average life expectancy for Americans in 1927 was around 60. Though the total average American life expectancy is currently about 78, once you’ve made it to age 65, you can expect to live about another 20 years. Again, St. Boniface is prepared to meet the ever changing needs of the parish.

Destination Stays the Same

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With allocated funds from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign, St. Boniface Parish is building a brand new parking lot to accommodate its parish body and their still-changing needs. No longer will church goers need to circle the block down the hill for street parking. Nor will they have to park up the hill in the school parking lot. Getting to church 45 minutes early will no longer be necessary to procure one of only two handicap parking spots which are currently available. The current church-level parking will be increased from 30 spaces to 69, ten of which will be designated as handicap parking. The people of St. Boniface know that meeting the needs of the people is not always new buildings, new schools, or new parishes. It’s really just helping bring souls to Jesus. Sometimes, it’s a place to park.

Written by: Rebecca Sontag


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Catholic Education Foundation Tuition Assistance

The Catholic Education Foundation for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is offering more than $2 million in needs-based tuition assistance to Catholic school students for the 2019-2020 school year. Families can apply for tuition assistance of up to $1,000 per student.

For elementary school (K-8) tuition assistance, the application period deadline is January 31, 2019.

If you have questions, please call Pam Jaspers at 513-421-3131, etx. 2713 or e-mail cef@catholicbestchoice.org

Catholic Education – The Best Choice!


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When a Priest Retires

“I enjoyed it very much!” That was Fr. Dennis Dettenwanger’s quick and enthusiastic reply when asked what he thought of his first ride in a helicopter. Not even a mediocre cell phone connection could dampen the excitement that Fr. Dennis radiated as he told his story. The blades chopped through the air whipping the wind all about. The technological marvel in which he found himself made quick work of the short distance between the town of Hamilton and the landing pad atop University Hospital in Clifton.

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It was in a cozy home on Grace Avenue that Fr. Dennis was born to parents Jean and George Dettenwanger in St. Louis, MO, 1937. World War II was gearing up and so, too, was anti-German sentiment in the United States. George Dettenwanger, employed in the war-production industry, followed the work where it took him. And, in efforts to shield the family from anti-German ire resultant from the war, they moved numerous times during Fr. Dennis’ early childhood finally landing in New Carlisle, OH.

Fr. Dennis first heard the call to the priesthood as a young boy. Though it started soft, it gradually grew louder and louder until it was so loud, even others could hear it.  Sr. Jerome, his 8th grade teacher, cornered him in the coatroom and flatly informed him, “Look—you should be a priest.” Following high school graduation in 1955, he listened and entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary then located in Norwood, OH.

The cardiac team was waiting for Fr. Dennis that Sunday in 2007 and was poised for quick action when AirCare landed on the roof of the hospital. Within moments they had him safely out of the helicopter, on a gurney, and speeding off towards surgery. That Fr. Dennis remained conscious for the helicopter transport was incredibly surprising considering the severity of his condition. Also shocking was that he was able to complete Mass that morning before seeking care. Even then, he didn’t call an ambulance. He called his brother, George, who picked him up in his car and drove him to the local hospital. But they were not equipped to handle a heart episode this severe. AirCare was called right away.

Nine years after entering seminary, in 1964, Fr. Dennis and 30 other men were graduated and ordained by the Archbishop. Vatican II Council had just concluded a year prior, and within months of ordination, Fr. Dennis would be among the first priests to begin praying the Mass in a language other than Latin. It was to be a gradual transition. First, the readings were read in English, followed by the prayers of the Mass until, eventually, the entire Mass was spoken in English. Fr. Dennis would be there forging the path during this dynamic, and sometimes unsettled, slice of history.

His first assigned parish following ordination was Annunciation located in Clifton, right down the street from the University of Cincinnati and the helicopter’s landing. Some of these parishioners were unable to read. Some had PhDs. Some lived in bare and poorly heated apartments, others lived in grand homes complete with domestic staff. The university neighborhood was abuzz with the cultural tumult that made the 1960s what they were. Fr. Dennis’ 10-year tenure at Annunciation Church witnessed the bulk of the Vietnam War, the rise and fall of the “hippy” culture and Roe v/s Wade all while Vatican II was being implemented and unpacked. Fr. Dennis was right in the middle of it all.

In 1974, Fr. Dennis moved from Annunciation to St. Matthew in Norwood located quite near to where he had attended seminary. Though now, he’d be on the other side of the desk teaching five years at Marian High School (since closed). From there, he was assigned to St. Aloysius on the Ohio, and that would then be his home parish during a 13-year teaching assignment at Seton High School in Price Hill.

After a teaching career that lasted nearly two decades, Fr. Dennis received his last formal parish assignment in 1992. A 2-parish community, consisting of St. Joseph and St. Ann in Hamilton, needed a priest.  More than that even, St. Ann needed a pastor.  Fr. Dennis served these souls entrusted to him with happiness, grace and love just as he had all the others who had come before them. So many baptisms, weddings, last rites, anointings, confessions, absolutions— soul upon soul being carefully shepherded toward God. He loved being their pastor but the helicopter would not be bringing him back to St. Ann nor to his role as pastor. He would have a new assignment, now. Retired.

There are no long golfing vacations or fishing trips here. Retirement has a different meaning. For Fr. Dennis, retirement means officiating Mass at least once a day for the Sisters of Charity, at Mary Margaret Hall, for the Little Sisters of the Poor, or others. But there are no more weddings. Fr. Dennis hears confession 3 times a week and fills in around town as needed but no parish meetings, no parent-teacher conferences.

He goes to his heart doctor twice a month, prays the Liturgy of the Hours, and visits his friends who live in the same apartment building downtown like Fr. George and Fr. Bramlage. He quietly and joyfully continues to serve God, serve the Archdiocese and administer the sacraments as they come. He visits his family, goes to the movies, fixes computers for his neighbors, tinkers with electronics and continues his lifelong commitment to give himself for others. Though his pension from the Archdiocese is modest, it is given in faith, and with hope, with love, and definitely with gratitude. Many thanks to you, Father Dennis, and all our retired priests.

Written by: Rebecca Sontag


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School of Faith

Through Catholic Education Foundation funds are allocated for programs that foster the Catholic identity, leadership and academic quality in schools, religious education programs and parishes. This programming will receive $343,000 for the 2018-2019 school year.

The money will be used to continue several initiatives with the aim of growing the Catholic identity. These include the Vocare and “School of Faith” programs.

The School of Faith program provides principals with life-changing formation and spiritual support that enhances their own discipleship. The program includes a Holy Land Pilgrimage followed by small monthly group Principal cohort formation sessions.

Here is a video testimonial from the recent pilgrimage taken in the summer of 2018:

 

Cave of Gethsemane – John Leyendecker Reflection from School of Faith on Vimeo.


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Lay Faith Leaders Benefit from the Support of Vocations

“I might not have gone through the program without it.”

Fostering vocations is a component of the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign that is often associated with the formation of seminarians at the Athenaeum of Ohio. But another component of that support is the fostering of vocations for lay students as well. Funds from the campaign have allowed the Athenaeum to bolster lay enrollment and assist lay students seeking to further their education and embrace vocations to serve others in the Church.

For the last three years, every lay student at the Athenaeum has received a tuition discount for classes because of funds contributed to the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign. This has included students in the permanent diaconate program, lay pastoral ministry program as well as lay graduate students and students in non-degree certification programs. In 2017, $176,701 of scholarship money was distributed to lay students. Every lay student in 2017 received a 50% reduction in tuition. This year, each student has continued to receive assistance with a 25% reduction in tuition.

According to Dr. Susan McGurgan, the Director of the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program, the students have been very appreciative of the financial assistance. “They are deeply appreciative of the people in the Archdiocese who have made this possible and were able to give to the campaign. I believe that the assistance makes a concrete difference in our students’ lives.”

Dr. McGurgan said another benefit of the tuition discount has been that students are taking more classes and finishing their degrees and programs earlier. This in-turn provides the opportunity for students to serve and give back to the community quicker. “Whether they serve as a volunteer or a staff member or a teacher, the people of the Archdiocese are the recipients of their knowledge and preparation and formation. I think every parish in our Archdiocese has been touched by an Athenaeum graduate,” said Dr. McGurgan.

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Anna Klosterman is in her final year of the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program. Since her youth she has been discerning her vocation to serve others. Her first career has been a nurse and care-giver, but now she is planning to apply her Catholic faith in her ministry to serve others when she graduates in May.  “I don’t think I would have enrolled for classes without the tuition assistance,” said Ms. Klosterman. “I greatly appreciate the support and I think most people in my class would say the same thing that I am saying, I might not have gone through the program without it.”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati continues to foster vocations with support to the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign. Funds for this allocation are given to the Athenaeum of Ohio. In 2017, the Athenaeum received just under of $2.5 million from the campaign. In addition to tuition assistance for lay students, campaign funds were used for capital improvements and endowment growth.

 

 


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Peace of Mind

Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio is an organization that receives funds from the 1 Faith 1 Hope 1 Love campaign. $139,499 of the 2017 funds were used for Health and Education Programs for Hispanic and Latino immigrants. The follow is reported on their website highlighting Su Casa Success Stories.

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Maria is grateful for Su Casa for providing her with an opportunity to receive her first mammogram at a health fair last year. Her visit led to a biopsy in February, and she’s relieved she’s cancer free.

However, as she received this great news, her cousin died of breast cancer. Her cousin lacked access to regular mammograms. Maria didn’t have the money to pay for a mammogram.

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So now Maria is a vocal proponent of Su Casa’s mammography program and shares her story at her church. Nearly a dozen women responded seeking information.

Su Casa Hispanic Center provides free mammograms every month. To schedule an appointment, call Mariela Baltonado Murillo 513-672-3783. The next mammograms will be from 9 am to 3 pm, April 6 outside the Su Casa Hispanic Center at Midpoint Tower in Roselawn.


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