Bishop Roger J. Foys of the Diocese of Covington will receive an honorary degree and serve as commencement speaker at Saint Vincent Seminary’s annual commencement, to be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 8, 2009 in the Archabbey Basilica.
Bishop Roger Joseph Foys was born on July 27, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois. He began his studies for the Diocese of Steubenville at Saint John Vianney Seminary in Bloomingdale, Ohio. He completed his graduate studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and the Pontifical Gregorianum in Rome. He was ordained a priest on May 16, 1973. He was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Steubenville in 1982, and elevated to the rank of monsignor in 1987. Appointed Bishop of Covington, Kentucky, on May 31, 2002, by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Bishop Foys was ordained and installed at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption on July 15, 2002.
Bishop Foys has been recognized for the courage and directness with which he has faced tough and sensitive pastoral issues, and for his leadership in planning for the future of the Diocese of Covington. He serves the Church on a national level as a member of the Pastoral Practices Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and was on the USCCB Institute on Religious Life Committee. He is also the Episcopal Liaison to the Catholic Facilities Manager Group. He is a member of the Board of Regents of Saint Vincent Seminary, and the Board of Trustees of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the Chancellor of Thomas More College in the Diocese of Covington.
Following his episcopal ordination, Bishop Foys led the diocese in celebrating its sesquicentennial in 2002-2003. He has received widespread praise for the great sensitivity and compassion with which he has dealt with victims of abuse, and in implementing the USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Not long after his ordination as bishop, he began plans for a Diocesan Synod. The Synod was held in August of 2006. Clergy, religious and laity from throughout the diocese gave Bishop Foys high marks for his collaborative and insightful leadership. Areas addressed in the Synod included liturgy and prayer, diocesan and parish administration, Catholic education and faith formation, the lay apostolate, the gospel of life, and priestly and diaconal life.
In 2002, Bishop Foys celebrated for the first time a diocesan-wide “Persons with Disabilities” Mass. He also appointed the diocese’s first lay woman chancellor, and established the first Hispanic parish in the diocese, Cristo Rey Parish, in 2004. Under his leadership, the number of diocesan seminarians increased from three in 2002 to twenty in 2008. Bishop Foys has ordained seven men to the priesthood through 2008 and will ordain four more in 2009.
With a strong commitment to evangelization at every level of diocesan life, he began continuing education days for the priests of his diocese, established a Religious Education Office and oversaw the implementation of a certification program for all catechists in the diocese. He also implemented a new offertory program to help parishes and the diocese to increase income and to enhance the meaning of stewardship.
Saint Vincent Seminary is honored to have Bishop Foys serving on our Board of Regents. He chairs our board’s recruitment committee. He recently noted in The Messenger, the diocesan newspaper, that “Saint Vincent Seminary provides a wonderful academic program along with an equally solid formation program for our students… We are blessed to have some of our seminarians preparing for their ministry as priests at Saint Vincent Seminary.”
Among his memberships are the Canon Law Society of America, National Catholic Stewardship Conference, Conference for Pastoral Planning and Council Development and the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators.
The Diocese of Covington, established July 29, 1853, comprises 14 counties in the northern and eastern areas of Kentucky. It has a Catholic population of about 90,000 in a total population of about 452,000.