Kudos Corner is a means of acknowledging those in our parish who share their time, talent and treasure to spread the Good News of God's unconditional love. It is intended to lift up and celebrate the actions of individuals and groups within our faith community who touch hearts and make a difference.

This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Luke Striebich. August 2016

Luke is an outstanding example of a servant of Christ. As Jesus said, “Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40)…so Luke has been serving Christ through his dedicated service to those in need. 

Ever since being inspired through his involvement in the 8th grade A.C.T.S. program…he has continued volunteering at the St. Francis Seraph Soup Kitchen in Over the Rhine all through four years of high school at St. Xavier. He does it year-round…even during the summer.  

Luke expanded his service to include volunteering with the English as a Second Language program at St. Leo’s and also helping with the religion prep program here at Visitation. He has also been involved in the Outreach Ministries Committee as well as serving as the “Youth Representative” on our Parish Council. 

At St. Xavier, Luke has been in charge of the “Shadowing” program for incoming students for the last two years and was also a Kairos leader this year. 

Topping it off…Luke recently received the prestigious “Jesuit Network Award” at graduation. This award goes to one student who exemplifies the profile of an Ignatian educator by: animating the Ignatian vision; caring for the individual; modeling Ignatian pedagogy; discerning ways of teaching and learning; and building community and fostering education. 

Luke will be majoring in Mechanical Engineering this fall at the Ohio State University. 

Kudos Corner thanks and salutes Luke Striebich for his dedicated service to the parish as well as all he’s done in living his Catholic faith and making a huge difference!

This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes the Children’s Choir. June 2016

We are blessed by the beautiful singing provided by our Children’s Choir here at the parish! There are 31 students in the 3rd-4th Grade Choir (some of the kids had to be turned away this year because there wasn’t enough space in church to fit more in!). The 5th-8th Grade Choir has around 20 members.

3rd and 4th Grade Children's Choir

“I am proud of all of my students in Children's Choir,” said Music Director, Mrs. Kathy Parsons. “They work hard in rehearsal, they have enthusiasm for music and singing, and they are amazing witnesses to their classmates, parish, and each other, as they praise God in song.”

"Choir is like praying twice as much, since it is singing prayers!" said fourth-grader Lucy M. "I think little people’s singing makes others happy."

Mrs. Parsons says she can’t say enough about the time and energy her students have generously given. “The 8th graders in choir this year started singing in Children's Choir in 2nd grade—that's seven out of their eight years at Visi—a huge commitment and exceptional dedication! Six of my former Children's Choir members continue to sing regularly in Adult Choir at 10:30 Mass and at the 4:00 Mass.” Mrs. Parsons’ daughter Emily not only sings at the 4:00 Mass…but also plays guitar along with Mr. Tonnis.

Most of the choir members are also soloists or cantors. This takes a lot of preparation.
Mrs. Parsons says that besides the time they spend on these solos at rehearsal and often before or after rehearsal, all soloists receive an mp3 (recorded by Mrs. Parsons) of their solo so that they can practice at home. “It takes guts to stand up in front of 800 students and sing at school Mass or up at the ambo on Sunday,” said Mrs. Parsons, “Preparation is the key!”

The choirs rehearse every Monday evening in church. Each choir rehearses for 45 minutes a week…sometimes more if there are special upcoming events such as First Communion. Many of the 5th-8th grade choir members sang for the First Communion celebrations on April 9 and 16.

5th and 6th Grade Children's Choir

The choirs alternate singing at the weekly all-school Masses on Tuesday mornings. They also sing at four Sunday Masses per year, alternating months throughout the school year. While the children enrich our worship experience…they are also enriching their own. "Choir helps me deepen my relationship with God. We have a lot of fun in choir and all get along. It helps us to get to know other students in different grades who like music,” said sixth-grader Julia P. Third-grader Marisa P. added, “I enjoy singing because I feel God closer to my heart…and it makes me smile. I always hope that other people in church feel the same way when we are singing with them!”

Kudos Corner thanks and salutes the Children’s Choir for their beautiful ministry of music!

This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Bob Luchsinger. May 2016

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Turn your scar into a star”? That’s exactly what Bob has done…thanks to family, friends, parishioners and, of course, the grace of God.

Bob and his wife Terry tragically lost their 11 year old daughter Katie in a house fire in 1999. Katie, a sixth-grader here at Visi at the time, saved the lives of her two siblings by waking them in time for them to escape the blaze…but she was unable to save herself.

Family friend Jim Botuchis wanted to honor Katie in some way. He and Larry Schirmann organized a golf outing benefit. Then Visi's Diane Williams suggested the funds be used to create a Memorial Garden behind the school. Bob has steadfastly supported the project ever since in an effort to provide a special place of prayer for all Visi parishioners…especially for those who have also lost a child. “Hopefully they can come here and grieve a little and find some comfort,” said Mr. Luchsinger as he recently stood in the Katie Luchsinger Memorial Garden on a beautiful sunny morning. “It’s all about the children.”

Bob said he couldn’t have done this without friends like Jim Botuchis and Larry Schirmann as well as local firefighters who helped with fundraisers…and “without the people of the church here…I’d never been able to make it through.” 

The memorial garden was designed by parishioner Gina Huesman Donovan of N-r-G Landscaping. Recently two “bubbling boulders” and an angel statue with Katie’s name engraved at the base have been added to the garden. 
(Photo “Memorial_Garden_May_2016”)

Fr. Mark had a special blessing ceremony at the garden following the 4:00 Mass on Saturday, April 30th. Parishioners can support the project by donating $250 to pay for a paver engraved with the name of a departed loved one…which then becomes part of the walkway in the garden. “It’s very rewarding to our family to have the support and backing of the parish, friends and neighbors. You’d never survive without them,” Bob said. 
He hopes his kids and everyone else’s will keep this tradition alive and he’s “100 percent sure it’s going to happen.” Bob added, “If anyone wants to know what love is…just drop by the garden and look. You’ll see it.” And so will parishioners for years to come!
Kudos Corner salutes Bob Luchsinger for being a missionary of mercy!

This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Howard Schutte. April 2016

The Corporal Work of Mercy we are focusing on in April is “Shelter the homeless.” Who better to exemplify this than Howard? For the past 15 years Howard has been regularly volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Over that time…he has worked on approximately 28 projects consisting of mostly building new homes as well as some remodeling.

Howard says the people at Habitat are friendly and always willing to show you what you need to know to get the job done. He says the projects vary each week from floor framing to roofing to painting or finishing cabinets. (Anyone interested in volunteering with Habitat can contact Howard or the parish office and we’ll get you in touch with Howard.)

Members of our parish for the past 50 years, Howard and his wife Judy have been married for 51 years. They raised 5 children…all graduates of Our Lady of the Visitation School.

Howard says he particularly likes Habitat for Humanity because the organization “gives people a hand up, not a hand out.” He says that the owner of a Habitat home must work many sweat equity hours on their house and pay off an interest free loan. Howard says volunteers work side-by-side with the owner. “To see the happiness on their faces at the end of the project when they get the keys to their new homes…makes the time and work all worthwhile.”

Kudos Corner salutes Howard Schutte for being a missionary of mercy!

This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes the St. Vincent de Paul Group, March 2016

The group is comprised of 11 active members: Kaye Schroeder (Vice-President), Joyce Miller, Norb Trapp (Treasurer), Dave Feldman, Diane Williams (Conference President), Chris Williams, Joyce Maly, Phil Schutte, Ken Meymann (Spiritual Director), Melissa Stautberg and Peggy James.

(Peggy James, Joyce Maly and Philip Schutte were unavailable for the photo)

There are also many inactive members who support the team’s efforts either financially or through prayer.The SVDP group at any parish is called a 'conference'…so we are known as the “Our Lady of the Visitation Parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference.” Our Conference receives calls on the St. Vincent de Paul cell phone that is shared by two of our members. When someone calls requesting help, members verify where that person lives. Our conference covers anyone within the parish boundaries as well as Addyston. If the need is for more than food a home visit is scheduled. The uniqueness of SVDP is that our members make “home visits” to determine the level of need and to show that they care enough to visit in person. Then a determination can be made as to whether there are additional needs. In 2015 our conference helped over 170 people. Over 30 home visits were made. Conference members have contributed over 500 hours of service. 

Of those 171 individuals helped, some needed emergency payment of energy bills (usually the person was within a day or two of having their power turned off). Other calls are for assistance with water bills, rent payment, clothing, furniture medical prescriptions and appliances. SVDP has a small pantry in the basement of the parish office for emergency situations.

Our 11 member SVDP group meets approximately every other week to review requests. Each meeting begins with a spiritual reflection on the upcoming Sunday gospel reading, followed by a meditation on that reading and some words from St. Vincent DePaul's writings about helping the poor followed by a discussion.

SVDP’s funding is from the generous donations of parishioners. A second collection is made 4 times a year on the 5th Sunday of the month. Over $40,000 was collected in 2015 and the same amount was paid out.

Christmas gifts and gift cards were provided to many families that would otherwise have had very little. According to Diane Williams, “It brings tears to your eyes when the people come to pick up their gifts and see what we have provided and become overwhelmed by our generosity. We truly get to see God's face in the people we serve. We truly feel called to serve the poor and downtrodden and are enriched ourselves by serving them.”

Members spend an average of one hour with the person or family to gather information about their needs. They take the time to listen to their client’s problems and try to find a way to help besides financial assistance. Diane added, “We always close with prayer and ask God to watch over them and their families and to help them get out of their situation and to feel God's presence within them. We are encouraged by Pope Francis being such a supporter of caring for the poor and hope to be able to serve more people this year.”

Kudos Corner salutes our SVDP Conference…and thanks the entire team for being missionaries of mercy!