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, Kudos Corner recognizes Don and Rita Griffin

Rita and Don Griffin have been parishioners for nearly 60 years…and they have touched many lives over that span. They have been longtime Eucharistic Ministers and for many years they volunteered to assist with baptisms on the weekend.

Rita has dedicated many years as a member of the Bereavement Committee and for some time played a very key role in getting funerals planned. She was the contact person for families of the deceased to call after a loved one passed away…and she took the responsibility of finding a funeral planner for each funeral. This was quite the ministry as she was involved in making numerous phone calls to planners.

What everyone may not know is that Don and Rita were both involved in Jail Ministry for around 27 years! They were the ones who took me on my first trip to minister in a jail. I was immediately impressed with their deep faith in Jesus. Their care for the people they ministered to was so genuine and heartfelt. I was inspired to continue in the ministry and it is now one of my favorite and most fulfilling outreaches. Can you imagine how many men and women they positively influenced over the years as they shared the love of God with those behind bars?

The Griffins’ longtime friends, Dick and Bert Tepe, shared that the Griffins took in several Cuban children during the missile crisis back in the 1960’s. The Griffins were also involved in “Project Commitment” in the 1970’s. It was started in parishes around the city to get people of different backgrounds and races to sit down together and break down barriers. From that the Oak Hills Community Action League was formed. This group collected clothing and items for rummage sales which were held at St Francis Seraph School in Over the Rhine. The proceeds went to pay for scholarships to Cincinnati Technical College. Dick says you also would have spotted Don trading time with Fr. Jack Wessling in the dunking booth during our festivals!

The Griffins are the owners and operators of Acme Tree Service. They have four sons and one daughter: Kevin, Pat, Brian, Dan and Amy.

Kudos Corner thanks and honors Don and Rita Griffin for their many years of dedicated service to Jesus…and the parish!

This month's Kudos Corner recognizes Lea Brinker

This month Kudos Corner recognizes Lea Brinker.


Even if you don’t personally know Lea Brinker, if you come to the 4:00 Mass on Saturdays, you have surely seen and heard her. Lea has been a regular lector at this Mass for a long time. As a matter of fact, she has been a lector for more than 40 years…first at St. Aloysius Gonzaga, then here at Visi. She also leads the training for new lectors. “I was told a long time ago in a liturgy course I took, that the Scriptures were meant to be heard as much as read,” Lea told me. “So to proclaim the Word in such a way that it touches people’s hearts and minds is a real privilege.” I can attest that she proclaims the Word from her heart…because it’s woven into the fabric of her life.


Lea volunteers at the St. Leo Food Pantry every Wednesday afternoon. “I’m the volunteer coordinator, which means I figure out what needs to be done and assign our super-duper volunteers to the various tasks. I am so humbled by the folks I’ve met there, both volunteers and clients. I don’t know if I could deal with some of the things our clients have to face with as much grace and resilience as they show. It also saddens me when I see former students or their families coming in search of food. It tells me that life and circumstance have not been particularly kind to them.”


Lea says she’s been volunteering at the pantry for about 5 years…ever since retiring from a long teaching career. “I taught for over 40 years, first in parochial schools and then for the last 25 years of my career at Western Hills High School. In fact, I started my career at Visi in 1969 when Sister Dominic asked me to fill in for a teacher on maternity leave. Boy, did I have a lot to learn! I did come to realize that my time at West High was where I was supposed to be. I also learned that when someone asks me to consider doing something…like applying to Cincinnati Public Schools…I really should listen and follow up. I truly believe that’s how God lets me know what I’m supposed to do. That’s happened so often throughout my life that it certainly can’t be coincidence!”


Lea has been an excellent addition to our Outreach Ministries Committee where she brings her enthusiasm to follow Jesus in reaching out to those in need. Lea has also been a long-time member ofParish Council and has served twice as chairperson. She was also involved with the Worship Commission for many years.


Lea and her husband Steve have been parishioners for around 35 years, and have been married for 50 years. “We met in high school, when he was a soda jerk at a local pharmacy where I waited for my ride home. We are blessed with two wonderful sons, a lovely daughter-in-law, and our precious granddaughter.”


Our Lady of the Visitation has been home to Lea for a long time. Her parents were parishioners…so she attended grade school here. I think we can all agree that she has been a gift to us in many ways…as well as a blessing in the lives of the hundreds of students she taught!


Kudos Corner thanks and honors Lea Brinker for her dedicated service to the parish!

This month's Kudos Corner recognizes the Visi "Oldtimers" Group

While this men’s group officially gets together to play softball against other Catholic parishes in an over 35non-competitive Friday night league, it’s not just about fun and fellowship. These guys are also doing God’s work.


The group has two major fundraisers…a softball tournament and a golf outing. Both are to raise money for a good cause. About ten years ago, they started hosting what they call the “Old Timers Memorial Softball Tournament” during the second week of July. Jeff Foran built a “Memorial Board” to honor the Old-Timers from all the parishes who have passed away.


About 6 years ago, the Old-Timers started hosting a league-wide golf outing in the spring. The mission for both sports outings is to raise money for all the various westside Catholic grade schools’ tuition assistance funds. All the money from these two fundraisers is then taken to the George Hubert Elementary Scholarship Assistance Program (ESAP) Foundation which then generously makes a one-and-a-half-times match of that amount. A large amount of the money goes to Visitation while the rest is split equally between the other teams’ parishes. “We then pick a date in December and we personally deliver the checks to each school’s principal and ask them to give to a needy family or families in their school who are struggling to pay their tuition,” according to Steve Murray. “We make sure it goes to the principal as they know the true heartbeat and needs of their school families.”


Additionally, the Old-Timers make occasional modest donations to VAC for field maintenance and improvement expenditures, and the last couple of years donated to help with the 8th grade graduation costs. They also recently purchased 20 new folding tables for the Pavilion and helped finish the renovation of the library into classrooms this summer.


 You can always find the Old-Timers running the grill at Visi-Fest on Sunday each year…and their wives taking orders at the counter.


“We are a great bunch of Catholic men always looking to add to our strong group” said Murray. If you’d like to join them, contact him at 520-2455, Mark Ficker at 276-1817 or Tony Willenborg at 604-3016.


Kudos Corner thanks and honors the Old-Timers for their dedicated service to the parish!


This month's Kudos Corner recognizes Heather & Joe Coombs

This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Joe and Heather Coombs.


With it being the month for VisiFest it seems the perfect time to honor the couple who is running the festival for the 12TH straight year! Joe and Heather Coombs volunteer countless hours in the months leading up to the festival securing permits, rides, bands, etc. According to Business Manager Leslee House, “Joe and Heather are very dedicated to the festival and its success. They have recruited many friends and neighbors along the way to step in and help where needed whether it be with set up or chairing a booth.”  


“Enthusiastic, dedicated, loyal, and hard-working” is how retired Business Manager Diane Williams describes the couple. She says that somehow they would remain calm in the hectic days leading up to the festival. “I would be bonkers and they would say they have everything under control – and they did! Both Joe and Heather take vacation time from their jobs to be able to run the festival each year. I am truly thankful for all of their help before I retired. They have raised their kids to know what giving back is all about. This is a family that works together, plays together and gives-back-to-God together for all they have.”


Joe and Heather have three children that have been helping with the festival since they were little. All attended or are attending our school. Maddie is a recent Mercy grad, Josie will be a freshman at Taylor High School and Jake will be a 5TH grader here at Visi.


Kudos Corner thanks and honors Joe and Heather Coombs for their dedicated service to the parish!

This month's Kudos Corner recognizes Carolyn Menner

In the wake of our Parish Mission when we heard such inspiring words about following Jesus in reaching out to those who are in need…it seems fitting that this month’s Kudos Corner shines the spotlight on Carolyn. She has truly been a bearer of Christ’s Light in this parish.


When she sees someone in need…she takes action. Perhaps this was first demonstrated in her many years as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital where she ministered to the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Carolyn was also instrumental in helping to form Elizabeth Ministry here, an outreach to women who have suffered a miscarriage or are in need of help after having a baby. She also was the driving force behind establishing our Meal Ministry. According to Pastoral Associate Ken Meymann, “Through her time and efforts we now have a computer website we use to advertise and track meals that volunteers make for anyone who is recovering from an illness.”


Carolyn truly has a caring heart. According to Youth Minister Laura Hampel, “If she knows of someone who needs help, she does whatever she can do to help them – including coordinating carpools, making food, childcare, praying for them, you name it. She is a walking saint in my book, but she'll deny that. Carolyn can laugh at herself, and bring a smile to your face just by making eye contact with her. For many people, she's a compassionate shoulder to lean on in times of need.”


Perhaps Carolyn’s greatest impact has been felt through her dedicated involvement in the “Visi Retreat” for high school students which was started by Don Darnell 28 years ago. Carolyn has been involved from the very beginning. “I could never have started this project without her,” Darnell said. “She has been so involved because leading others to make the world a better place has always been a passion of hers. Is this not the ‘kingdom of God’ that Jesus speaks of? The Visi Retreat is where this “kingdom” has come to life for hundreds and hundreds of retreatants…thanks in part to Carolyn!” Mr. Darnell went on to say, “Carolyn is truly an example of a profoundly Christian woman. A few of the adjectives I could use to portray her include: compassionate, sympathetic, caring, empathetic, sensitive, warm, loving, kind, and charitable. She will take the time to assist anyone whenever possible. She always asks others if they need help with the tasks they are performing. She never says no when called upon to help, regardless of the task. She has been blessed with numerous talents and she obviously uses these to the fullest. More importantly though, she is willing to share these strengths with others, which is definitely a rare characteristic in this day and age.”


Carolyn was also crucial in keeping the Visi Retreat going after Mr. Darnell lost his wife to cancer…according to Sean Tierney, a Religion Teacher at Elder High School and veteran Core Team member of the retreat. “It was in 1997-98, I believe, when Carolyn approached me about coming on board to sustain the retreat. After Carol Darnell had fallen ill with cancer, the retreat was forced to take a hiatus. With the death of Carol, Carolyn knew Mr. Darnell would need time to grieve and adjust. Carolyn was concerned that the break would be permanent if someone didn't step in to help carry the load. So during a pancreatic cancer fundraising walk (which we were all walking to honor Carol Darnell), she asked me if I would be willing to step in to help with the leadership team. As a result, Tim (Mr. Darnell’s son) and I stepped in to spearhead the future retreats. So it was Carolyn's desire to maintain the retreat that motivated Tim and I to up our involvement.” As for Tim, he also speaks of Carolyn in glowing terms. “On the Visi Retreat, we try to teach the kids to live their lives as loving, compassionate, and humble servants. No one involved with this retreat does this better than Carolyn. She is a mentor and example for all of us.”


I can tell you…Sean and Tim’s involvement in this retreat has profoundly impacted hundreds of retreatants for the good. And as someone who helped organize the retreat for several years when I was Youth Minister, I can tell you that without Carolyn, I would have been lost!


Parishioner Kyle Isaack had the privilege of growing up down the street from the Menners. He knows Carolyn as a retreatant, college leader and now as a member of the core team. Kyle says, “Carolyn is such a beautiful person, full of love, peace, strong faith and great hugs. Carolyn and Don both bring so much peace to the world.”


And let’s not forget Carolyn’s husband Don who also has been a fixture of support and hard work in the behind-the-scenes workings of the retreat! Don and Carolyn are long-time parishioners and have raised three children who are now adults.


Kudos Corner thanks and honors Carolyn for her dedicated service and exemplary Christian example!