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Bishop Foys of the Diocese of Covington steps down, Pope Francis names replacement

Foys (file photo)

Bulldog Reports

Bishop Roger Foys of the Diocese of Covington has resigned, and a new bishop-elect has been named by Pope Francis.

The Vatican made the announcement in a release issued Tuesday morning.

“The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Covington, United States of America, presented by Bishop Roger Joseph Foys.

The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. John C. Iffert, of the clergy of the diocese of Belleville, until now vicar general, moderator of the Curia and parish priest of Saint Stephen’s, Caseyville, as bishop of Covington, United States of America.”

Foys, 76, was appointed Bishop of Covington in May, 2002 and was ordained and installed at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption on July 15 of that year.

He began his studies for the Diocese of Steubenville at St. John Vianney Seminary in Bloomingdale, Ohio, part of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He completed his graduate studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and the Pontifical Gregorianum in Rome.

Foys was ordained a priest in May of 1973 at Holy Name Cathedral in Steubenville and held several positions at the diocese over the years.

He also served as pastor of many parishes during his ministry. Pope John Paul II made him a Prelate of Honor in 1986 and a Protonotary Apostolic in 2001.

In April of this year, Monsignor Kurt Kemo of the Diocese of Steubenville was sentenced to six months in jail at the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center after pleading guilty to felony theft charges. He was ordered to pay restitution for the nearly $300,000 to the Diocese of Steubenville.

Foys knew Kemo through their shared affiliation with the Diocese of Steubenville and Kemo participated at a pro-life mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Assumption in Covington in October, while awaiting adjudication of his case.

Kemo resided at a home owned by the Diocese of Covington on Wallace Avenue that was also listed as a residence for Bishop Foys, while he awaited sentencing.

At sentencing, Kemo presented a check for $289,000 to the Diocese of Steubenville to cover restitution. Prosecutor Frank Bruzzese initially indicated that he was told the money came from Kemo’s own funds and money raised from a fundraiser in Covington.

In June, the Diocese of Covington issued a statement to Bulldog Report indicating none of the money came from the Diocese of Covington and that the Diocese of Covington did not participate in any fundraiser.

Bruzzese later said he didn’t know for sure where the money came from.

Iffert (provided)

Iffert obtained a bachelor’s degree in political sciences at the Illinois State University in Normal in 1988 and a Master of Divinity from the Mundelein Seminary in the metropolitan archdiocese of Chicago in 1997.

Iffert was ordained a priest on 7 June 1997 for the diocese of Belleville, in Illinois.
He first served as parish vicar of the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Belleville and parish priest of the Immaculate Conception parish in Columbia.

In 2003 he entered the Order of Preachers, giving his first vows in 2004 and has served as parish vicar of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center in the Purdue University of West Lafayette, Indiana. After his experience in religious life he held the several offices in the diocese of Belleville.

From 2020 to the present he has served as vicar general and moderator of the Curia and since 2021, parish priest of the Saint Stephen parish in Caseyville. In addition, he is a member of the College of Consultors (since 2016) and of the Council for Diocesan Economic Affairs (since 2010).

A date for Iffert’s official installation as Bishop for the Diocese of Covington has not been announced.

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