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| JANUARY 10, 2020 |





IMAGES OF GOD Archbishop, religious sister urge us to take a new look at migrants on our border. PAGES 2, 6 and 7


FONT OF LIFE Hispanic youth minister has found many ways to serve. PAGE 5

People come together for eucharistic adoration during an Ablaze Worship session July 27 at St. Patrick Church in Elkhorn. The Ablaze ministry, established by Father Michael Voithofer, associate pastor of St. Gerald Parish in Ralston, uses music, Scripture, spiritual teachings and the power of the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit to enkindle in participants a burning love for God. Since it was established in 2012, the ministry has grown and organizers now plan to construct the Ablaze House of Prayer near Springfield. Read more on PAGE 4.

ArchOmaha Unite is top local story of 2019 By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice

Unity and hope. Those two words encapsulate a particularly eventful 2019 for Catholics in northeast Nebraska and the Archdiocese of Omaha. It was a year marked with setbacks and challenges, but also with accomplishments, key moments to celebrate the faith together and reasons to look forward to a brighter tomorrow. Perhaps no event expressed the local church’s unity and hope better than ArchOmaha Unite. In June, more than 7,000 Catholic faithful converged on Omaha’s CHI Center for the once-in-a-generation celebration of faith. The daylong extravaganza of activities featured inspirational talks, prayer, music, Mass and visual displays of the diversity of life in parishes around the archdiocese. The year’s highpoint could not have


The Archbishop News

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come at a better time, for it had started on more sobering notes. As the Catholic Church labored through more revelations of clergy sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Omaha worked to ensure the safety of its children and vulnerable adults by expanding and updating its code of conduct for clergy. The updates made rules more specific, increased accountability and added guidelines for respecting personal boundaries and the use of communication technology. In March, a late-winter “bomb cyclone” over much of the archdiocese brought catastrophic flooding to countless people, while parishes and their members stepped up to help one another and their communities recover. Summer saw the archdiocese working to support the viability of rural parishes given the projected decline in numbers of priests and changing rural demographics.

Media & Culture Spiritual Life

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New groupings of parishes with a shared pastor assisted by one or more associate pastors were implemented, and by year’s end, planning was underway to employ a similar approach with some central and south Omaha parishes. A source of joy for many was the progress of the sainthood cause for Servant of God Father Edward J. Flanagan, founder of Boys Town. A summary document of his life of heroic virtue was submitted to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the next step toward sainthood. And later in the year, the archdiocese wrapped up its Ignite the Faith capital campaign, which raised more than $53 million to help schools and parishes improve infrastructure and expand educational and spiritual formation opportunities, and to assist seminarians and retired priests. Read capsules about these events on PAGE 10.

Commentary Resurrection Joy

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Calendar Local Briefing

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2 « JANUARY 10, 2020

Jesus’ instruction on immigration: ‘Treat others as we would want to be treated’ In this week’s interview, Archbishop George J. Lucas speaks with communication manager David Hazen about immigration. The archbishop encourages us to regard immigrants first and foremost in terms of their human dignity, asking ourselves how we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. In view of this awareness, he suggests several ways we can assist immigrants in our parishes and communities, allowing us to more fully live out Christ’s call to love our neighbor.


The U.S. bishops have designated January 5-11, 2020, as National Migration Week. Why is this annual observance important for us, Archbishop?

The questions surrounding immigration can be very hotly debated and politically divisive. The bishops, however, would like us all to remember that we are talking about the lives of our brothers and sisters in the human family. The challenges facing anyone who leaves his or her native home to settle somewhere else are significant human challenges. Pope Francis keeps reminding us that each immigrant and refugee has a name, and a face, and a story. Our first responsibility as members of the body of Christ and as disciples of Jesus is not to think about them in political terms, but in human and in Gospel terms. Because we are a nation of immigrants, the church in this country is invited to reflect on the present situation of immigrants and refugees here. We are encouraged then to think about how we might work together for a just path forward for them, in their desire to have a safe and productive life for themselves and for their families.


How can we in the local church respond to the needs of those who are migrating into our community?

I see many people welcoming refugee families and helping them get settled and befriending them. In our Catholic community, we have many parishes that have new vitality because of immigrants and refugees who have arrived here in recent years. We try then as an archdiocesan family to provide the sacramental and community life that the parishes that make possible for our new neighbors. The legal path for immigrants can be complicated or obscure. That is why I am very proud of Catholic Charities’ work in the arena of immigration legal services. They have experts available who can help people to navigate the immigration system and to understand the law. That is a very important service. Our country has welcomed and integrated new people for many generations since its founding. I do not think the system as it stands needs to be so complicated. We ought to continue to try to help people through the complications, of course. But we also need to try to influence the reform of the immigration system so that it is coherent and accommodates those who are already living here peacefully and productively, contributing to our church, our neighborhoods, our economy and the vitality of our country.


What principles does the church offer us for approaching issues related to immigration?

The Catechism teaches us that people have the right to migrate for important reasons – their own welfare, or the welfare and safety of their children and families. At the same time, people have a right to live at peace in their own home, in their own homeland. The fact is that many people are not able to live peacefully, safely and productively in their own homes, and they conclude they have no choice but to leave. This is a challenge in the human family and in the family of nations which we need to take more notice of. We know from the instruction of Jesus that we are to treat others as we would want to be treated. A way of approaching that is to think: If I felt that my family or children were in danger because of religious persecution, warfare or gang violence, and that we had to go someplace else to try to find safety, what would I hope to find there? I think that we do not do that often enough. Naturally, we can tend to look at people coming to our country in terms of what we expect from them, or how we want them to measure up. That is not entirely unreasonable, but the invitation of Jesus is to look at them first and put ourselves in their shoes. Then we should see if there is a way to create the legal structures and social supports so they can be treated in the way we would hope to be treated in their situation. Not all immigrants are in desperate situations, of course. Some come looking for education, some come looking for work, some are marrying into families that are established here. But in our Catholic faith, we are not encouraged to be suspicious of people who are different from ourselves. The Scriptures encourage hospitality and a ready sharing of what we have. All we have comes from God in the first place.

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Would you say then that at their root, these immigration issues are for the faithful an invitation to conversion?

Yes. A basic principle of our Catholic teaching is that each person is created in the image and likeness of God and has a dignity that is God-given. My neighbor’s dignity has a claim on me. To the extent that my neighbor is struggling, looking for assistance, looking for welcome, looking for recognition of his or her desire to live and to flourish, I am called to a deeper conversion and a generosity of spirit. Our culture can be very isolating. We can easily stay in our own little worlds and remain in our own groups – whether on social media or elsewhere. We may not notice the people around us who simply need to be welcomed and made to feel that this place can be their home, too. Our other efforts to promote human life and dignity ring hollow if we ignore or denigrate an entire segment of the community. As I said earlier, we need to create a coherent immigration system so that it is possible for our country to continue to grow and be enriched by the arrival of immigrants. In St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord gives us some practical points about what it means to love our neighbor. Welcoming the stranger is not negotiable; it is one of the points on which we will be judged. It is not enough to simply say, “Well, I’m not doing anything against anyone.” This welcoming is an active Christian practice. As we reflected on our vision for the archdiocesan church, we stated very clearly that the Lord’s plan is for there to be only one church. That is a very rich concept in Christianity, and it is not the same thing as a simple uniformity. If we want to really live as part of this church, it requires us to enrich it by our own participation and to choose not to live past one another. It means taking notice of our brothers and sisters, those whose culture is the same, and those whose culture is different. We certainly ought to appreciate and celebrate our own culture, our own background. But we should also realize that it is not the full extent of the human experience, nor of the church. National Migration Week is a call for us to reflect and act. We cannot necessarily shape the whole country or the whole world at once, but we can start here in the community of the church. We can say yes to the Lord’s will that we be one in him, and see that unity has a practical claim on our attention to each other.

OFFICIAL SCHEDULE Archbishop George J. Lucas’ scheduled activities: JAN. 11-18 » Ad Limina visit with Pope Francis – Rome JAN. 20 » Interview – Spirit Catholic Radio studio, Omaha JAN. 21 » Cloisters on the Platte board meeting conference call – Chancery, Omaha » Senior staff meeting – Lincoln » Review Board meeting – Lincoln JAN. 22 » Leadership Team meeting – Chancery, Omaha JAN. 23 » Mass with Omaha archdiocese March for Life participants – St. Matthew Cathedral, Washington, D.C. JAN. 24 » March for Life – Washington, D.C.

OFFICIAL SCHEDULE Archbishop Emeritus Elden F. Curtiss’ scheduled activities:

DEC. 23-APR. 3 » Family winter home – Nevada

ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA Archbishop George J. Lucas 2222 N. 111th St., Omaha, NE 68164 402-558-3100 • 888-303-2484 Fax: 402-551-4212 Chancellor Deacon Tim McNeil 402-558-3100, ext. 3029 Vicar for Clergy and Judicial Vicar Father Scott A. Hastings 402-558-3100, ext. 3030 Director of Pastoral Services Father Jeffrey P. Lorig 402-551-9003, ext. 1300

| NEWS |

JANUARY 10, 2020


Father Richling was a ‘people person’ Catholic Voice


Some of the more than 5,000 people taking part in last year’s Nebraska Walk for Life in Lincoln proceed down 14th Street toward the University of Nebraska Student Union.

Catholics to witness to the value of human life By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice

How God can bring beauty out of darkness will be the subject of a keynote address highlighting this year’s Walk for Life, Jan. 18 in Lincoln. The 46th annual pro-life event begins with a 9 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Church, across from the state Capitol at 14th and K streets, and a 10 a.m. rally on the steps of the Capitol. Participants will then walk a seven-block route to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Union, where they can attend the keynote speech by Jennifer Christie. Christie, who was raped and conceived while on a business trip, will share her story of how, against the advice of doctors, friends and society, she chose life, kept her baby boy and saw her family’s lives greatly blessed. Sponsored by Nebraska Right to Life, the annual event draws several thousand people each year. “Giving public witness here, in our state capital, is important, since most of our laws that either protect or offend against human dignity are passed at the state level,” said Marion Miner, associate director for pro-life and family for the Nebraska Catholic Conference. “It’s therefore the stage of greatest opportunity, and it’s so important that we be there to

give that witness to the dignity of human life.” One week later, more than 450 youth, adult chaperones, priests and religious from the archdiocese will join hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C., for the 47th annual March for Life Jan. 24. A group organized by the archdiocese will travel from Omaha, Norfolk and West Point, while those from Scotus Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Columbus, and St. Peter Parish and V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School, both in Omaha, have organized their own groups and transportation. Together, they will attend Masses, including one with Archbishop George J. Lucas at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, prayer rallies and the march on the National Mall. “The March for Life gives youth and their chaperones from all over the archdiocese the opportunity to both stand up for the dignity of the human person from conception to death, and to be strengthened in their journey as disciples of Jesus Christ,” said Craig Dyke, director of the Center for Family Life Formation for the archdiocese. “The highlight each year for our youth is being surprised and inspired by marching in unison with hundreds of thousands of likeminded youth.”


CATHOLIC VOICE Volume 117, Number 11



DAN ROSSINI Editor / general manager

THE CATHOLIC VOICE P.O. Box 641250 Omaha, NE 68164-3817


MIKE MAY Assistant editor SUSAN SZALEWSKI Feature writer JOHN DONAHUE Advertising representative MELISSA MESTL Communications administrative assistant GRANT RAMM ENTERPRISE MEDIA GROUP Graphic design LINDA STEHNO Business / circulation specialist

Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

EMAIL tcvomaha@archomaha.org PHONE 402-558-6611 FAX 402-558-6614 WEBSITE catholicvoiceomaha.com The Catholic Voice (ISN 07744-9585) is published 21 times a year – monthly in June, July and August, and twice-monthly September through May – by the Catholic Voice, 2222 N. 111th St., Omaha, NE 68164. Periodical postage is paid at Omaha, NE 68108. Subscription price: $26 per year outside the Archdiocese of Omaha and $19 per year within the archdiocese. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Catholic Voice, P.O. Box 641250, Omaha, NE 68164-3817.


Father Theodore Richling Jr. loved being around people. “When people gathered, he would be there,” said Father Michael Gutgsell, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield and defender of the bond of the Metropolitan Tri- FATHER bunal for the THEODORE archdiocese. RICHLING JR. “He was a people person,” Father Gutgsell said of Father Richling, who died Dec. 23 at age 75. A funeral Mass was held Dec. 30 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. He grew up in Omaha in Holy Cross and Christ the King parishes, attended Creighton Preparatory High School, and graduated from Conception Seminary

College in Conception, Missouri, and the former Mount St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Father Richling was ordained in 1971. He served at nearly a dozen parishes across the archdiocese and was involved in numerous organizations. He was pastor of the former Assumption Parish in Lynch, St. Bonaventure in Raeville and St. Rose of Lima in Genoa, and was associate pastor of St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion, the former St. Richard, St. Cecilia, Christ the King, St. Leo the Great, St. Bernard and Assumption parishes in Omaha, and St. Patrick in Fremont. He was involved in the Legion of Mary, Third Order of St. Francis, Knights of Columbus and Charismatic Renewal, Father Gutgsell said. He also was past-president of the Lions Club and Ducks Unlimited, and was a chaplain in several

groups in the city. Father Richling also taught hunter safety and belonged to the Omaha Magical Society. He performed magic tricks at various events and for schoolchildren, Father Gutgsell said. “There’s no end to the things he was involved in.” He was placed on disability in 1997, living at the St. John Vianney Residence and later at the Immanuel Fontenelle Nursing Home, both in Omaha. Father Richling was preceded in death by his parents, Douglas County District Court Judge Theodore Richling and Ruth McMullen Richling, and brother, Brian Richling. He is survived by siblings and spouses, Dr. Dennis and Colleen Richling, Larry and Mary Richling, Michele and Scott Gifford, John and Vicki Richling and Carra Richling; nieces and nephews.

Father Benliro was fixture at St. Mary Magdalene Parish Catholic Voice

Father Fernando Benliro enjoyed the routines of his life as an archdiocesan priest. That life included teaching Spanish and coaching tennis for high schoolers, and offering Mass and recon- FATHER ciliation to down- FERNANDO town Omaha BENLIRO commuters at St. Mary Magdalene Church. Father Benliro, who retired in 2003 and moved to Las Vegas to be with family, continued to serve as a priest, particularly to the Filipino community there. But that ministry was cut short when he was killed in a three-vehicle collision on Dec. 20. He was 86. A funeral Mass was held Dec. 30 at St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, Church in Las Vegas.

He was a regular fixture at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in downtown Omaha, where he resided and served as an associate pastor for most of his years there, said retired Msgr. James Gilg, a former pastor at the parish. Father Benliro attended Santo Tomas Seminary and St. Vincent Seminary in the Philippines, and was ordained in 1958. He came to Omaha in 1967 to continue his education and was recruited as a Spanish teacher at the former Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha and later at Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue, Msgr. Gilg said. Father Benliro taught and coached tennis at Ryan in the late 1960s and at Gross Catholic from the 1970s until the mid-’90s. He coached one Gross Catholic girls team to a state championship, Msgr. Gilg said. Father Benliro enjoyed his life in the archdiocese and decided to

stay, and was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1992. He lived at St. Mary Magdalene his entire time in Omaha. He had a faithful downtown following who loved his homilies, which were “short and to the point,” Msgr. Gilg said. Father Benliro was close to his family, which included those in his native Philippines and a brother, nieces and nephews in Las Vegas, his former pastor said. Father Benliro didn’t have a lot of hobbies but he enjoyed good food, watching movies and following high school sports. “He liked things predictable,” Msgr. Gilg said, including his regular Mass times and seeing the regulars at Mass. It “was a good life for him.” He “was a very stable element” and “a comforting fixture” at St. Mary Magdalene, Msgr. Gilg said. Many people are “thanking God for his presence and ministry.”

Seminarian collection to be held weekend of Jan. 11-12 By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice

The rising cost of educating seminarians makes donations to this weekend’s seminary collection “critical,” Archbishop George J. Lucas said. “The cost of room, board, and tuition for our seminarians continues to climb,” the archbishop wrote in promoting the collection. The seminary bill for the archdiocese’s 23 seminarians tops $1.1 million for this academic year, he said, and he’s hoping donors will match or surpass last year’s collection of nearly $337,000. “A successful seminary collection is critical to our effort to form future priests of our archdiocese,” he said. Parishes throughout the archdi-

ocese will be collecting donations at Masses the weekend of Jan. 11-12. Father Andrew Roza, archdiocese vocations director, said he is grateful for the support people show toward seminarians, priests and religious. The seminarians, he said, “are good men, and I believe that our people will be grateful to have them in the future as pastors.” “The seminary collection helps us to support our seminarians’ educational and formational expenses,” Father Roza said. “The men are full time in their formation, of which academics are just one component. The money from this collection makes a significant contribution to the cost of their formation expenses for the year.” The Archdiocese of Omaha

does not require seminarians to pay their education costs, even if they don’t complete their studies all the way to the priesthood. This allows them to discern their vocation freely, without the pressure of debt, Father Roza has said. Two of the archdiocese’s seminarians are on track to be ordained as priests on June 6: Transitional Deacons Mauricio Tovar of Divine Mercy Parish in Schuyler and Zachary Tucker of Christ the King Parish in Omaha. The archdiocese currently has 23 men studying for the priesthood. They count on people’s help for education costs and more. “We humbly ask for you continued prayers, sacrifices and generous financial support,” Archbishop Lucas said.

| NEWS |

4 « JANUARY 10, 2020

Ablaze Worship setting hearts on fire for Jesus By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice

Kris Borngrebe was paralyzed in fear each time her son’s medical condition took a turn for the worse – so much so that she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. That is, until she experienced Ablaze Worship. The praise and worship sessions that some describe as charismatic in nature, have been changing the lives of people like Borngrebe around the archdiocese through the power of the Holy Spirit. Borngrebe, a member of St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn whose son Jonah has had recurrent brain cancer plus several autoimmune disorders, experienced her turnaround in 2015. “It was a very hard time in my life ... and I was just kind of angry with God,” she said. Originally attending Ablaze with her sister, then several sessions alone, she eventually began bringing family members. During one session, feeling moved by the Holy Spirit to join those asking for a blessing, she inadvertently cut in line and tapped on Ablaze founder Father Michael Voithofer’s shoulder.

Though her daughter told her, “Mom, I think we did this the wrong way,” she was unfazed. “Even the hemorrhaging woman touching the cloak of Jesus … I bet she didn’t wait in line,” Borngrebe said. “The minute he touched me, I saw these lights in my mind and I heard this voice from within say ‘something in your brain is going to be healed,’” she said. “And from that point on, my PTSD was cured, completely cured.” Eleven-year-old Jonah’s condition is now stable. He recently experienced a seizure, but it did not traumatize Borngrebe as it would have in the past. “It would have probably sent me over the edge, but it doesn’t bring me fear anymore,” she said. Now she is so drawn to Ablaze that her commitment has grown to include singing in one of the ministry’s music groups. Ablaze Worship, founded in 2012 by Father Voithofer, associate pastor of St. Gerald Parish in Ralston, includes contemporary praise and worship music, Scripture readings, spiritual teaching and eucharistic adoration. Sessions

are held numerous times per year around the archdiocese. “It’s hard to describe and do it justice because of what the Holy Spirit does there,” said Dave Cotton, a member of St. Gerald Parish. “You have to experience it.” Describing himself as previously a “Sunday Catholic,” one who attended Mass but seldom prayed during the week, he now credits Ablaze for drawing him into a deeper prayer life. Cotton, who has attended about 30 Ablaze sessions, said Father Voithofer’s passion is contagious. “I wanted what he had.” The genesis of Ablaze occurred during Father Voithofer’s college years when fellow students invited him to an evening of worship, praise and adoration of the Eucharist. “I had some pretty powerful experiences in that environment,” he said, including the beginning of his vocational discernment. He was inspired by the Gospel passage Luke 12:49 where Jesus says, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already blazing.” He also cites St. Catherine of Siena, who said, “If you become who you are supposed to be, then you will set the whole world ablaze.” During his first assignment at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha as a newly-ordained priest in 2010, Father Voithofer was deep in prayer and felt the Holy Spirit leading him. “I heard a gentle voice in my heart saying, ‘I want you to begin what you experienced. I want you to offer adoration and use music, and praise and worship to invite people to the same encounter you had.’”


People kneel during eucharistic adoration at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Gretna during a 2019 Ablaze Worship event. From small beginnings – with 10-15 people in attendance – Ablaze events at parishes, schools and other places now sometimes draw up to 400 people of all ages. Such growth is prompting Ablaze ministry to take the next big step – building its own facility, the Ablaze House of Prayer on 40 acres of land near Springfield. It will be “a place where we will have, God willing, 24-7 praise and worship of God,” Father Voithofer said, as well as workshops and seminars on living life in the Holy Spirit. “I see a need in the church for helping people to not only encounter the Holy Spirit, but to learn about the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” Father Voithofer said. “How do they operate in your marriage, your family, as a student, an employee

or employer? “How are the gifts of the Holy Spirit working in your life, and how do you receive a greater outpouring of those gifts? “I feel like that’s my mission as a priest, my charism – to help people really connect more deeply with the Holy Spirit,” he said. “And, the ministry of Ablaze dovetails beautifully with the vision of our archdiocese,” he said. “It is an opportunity for the people of God within the Archdiocese of Omaha and beyond to experience that we are ‘one church’ … young and old, Catholic and non-Catholic, who are coming together to worship Jesus Christ.” For more information about Ablaze, visit ablazeworship.org.

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The Archdiocese of Omaha continues to be in compliance with the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, according to an annual, independent audit of its child protection policies and procedures. The audit, conducted by StoneBridge Business Partners last year, marks the 16th consecutive year the archdiocese has been documented to meet the requirements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) charter.

“It is reassuring to know that our child protection training procedures, policies and programs have been found to be in compliance with the charter,” said Archbishop George J. Lucas. “I believe this (audit compliance) reflects the commitment of all in the Catholic community to keep children safe.” The charter includes procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors, as well as guidelines “for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of further acts of abuse.” After the 2002 approval of the charter, the archdiocese’s safe environment efforts began in 2003, and included in 2004 the establishment of its victim outreach and prevention office, headed by Mary Beth Hanus. “We continue to do all we can to have safeguards in place to protect kids and to have resources available for those who have been injured,” she said. “And we’re always looking for ways we can learn about things early so we can act to keep kids safe.” This included last year’s Word of Honor awareness campaign in parishes and schools to help create a safe environment and promote early reporting of concerns, she said. The audit evaluated the archdiocese’s efforts to ensure effective

reporting and responses to allegations of sexual abuse as well as promoting healing and reconciliation with survivors and those harmed by clergy sexual abuse. It also evaluated measures ensuring that archdiocesan and religious priests, deacons, educators, volunteers and other personnel are properly screened through background evaluations, and the archdiocese’s efforts to conduct safe environment training for children and adults who work with children. “The auditors verified that the letter and spirit of the charter are being taken seriously on all levels, and that the archdiocese is providing parishes and schools effective child protection programs and training support,” said Archbishop Lucas. For the 2018-2019 audit period, archdiocesan parishes and schools report that 31,964 children were trained in the various aspects of safe environments, personal safety and abuse prevention. In addition, 14,469 archdiocesan clergy, employees and volunteers who work with children and parents also have received background checks and safe environment training and materials. The archdiocese’s training curriculum developed by staff and area experts is currently being used in 51 U.S. dioceses and 600 Protestant churches.

| NEWS |

JANUARY 10, 2020


Omaha Hispanic leader ‘generous with all the gifts God has given him’ By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice

In the nearly five years since Gustavo Cañas became a Catholic, he’s been busy. When he wasn’t speaking or playing a guitar and singing before a youth group, he might have been helping to form adults as future Catholics. Or organizing a Hispanic Youth Congress. Or tweaking sound equipment at last summer’s ArchOmaha Unite event in Omaha. Or serving as a catechist for first holy Communion or confirmation students, participating on an archdiocese Hispanic Leadership Team, singing in a choir or helping at El Centro Pastoral Tepeyac in Omaha. You get the picture. He’s been a multi-talented, invaluable volunteer for Deacon Gregorio Elizalde, manager of the archdiocese’s Hispanic Ministry Office and the Tepeyac center. “He’s very generous with all the gifts God has given him,” Deacon Elizalde said. “I would like to have many more Gustavos around me.” Cañas, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Omaha, recently added archdiocesan fundraiser to his long list of volunteer roles. The 32-year-old appeared in a video for the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal (archomaha.org/aaa2019/), a cause that’s important to him, he said, because it supports the day-to-day operations of the local church. Those include numerous ministries he’s been involved in.

Cañas said he wants to see the church keep growing, and every member of the church needs to pitch in. “The archbishop needs our help,” he said. Cañas went through what he calls a “slow conversion.” He had been raised a Jehovah’s Witness but separated himself from that religion when he was a teenager. For a while, he had no faith. But “there always was a hole in my heart that had to be filled,” he said. Then Cañas met his wife, Hilda, a lifelong Catholic. And through her prayers, a small fire was ignited, he said. His faith may have started slowly, “but when it hit, it hit,” Cañas said. He began formation in the Catholic Church’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in 2013 and spent the next year in classes and focusing on his spiritual life. On Easter in 2015, he officially became a Catholic – and dove right into service. “I had a need to give back what was given to me,” he said. The young people Cañas serves – like Candy Jacinto and Mario Lopez Raymundo, both members of St. Joseph Parish in Omaha – find him convincing and approachable. He has helped at gatherings of Fuenta de Vida (Fountain of Life), a Catholic Hispanic movement, and the youth group Soldado en Construccion (Soldier in Construction). “He knows how to relate to


Gustavo Cañas, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Omaha, energizes participants at a Hispanic Youth Congress held last June at El Centro Pastoral Tepeyac in Omaha. young people very well,” Lopez Raymundo said, and is able to explain God and the Catholic faith to them. “He’s a fun preacher,” Jacinto said. “He’s a nice guy,” who “tries his best to get our attention.” When asked to help, Cañas responds quickly, said Jose Orlando Rivera, a volunteer with the RCIA program at Assumption-Guada-

lupe Parish in Omaha. Cañas has also assisted with that program. Cañas is kind and responsible, Rivera said, balancing his volunteer efforts with family life and other responsibilities. Cañas and his wife have three daughters, ages 8, 11 and 15. He works as a maintenance superintendent at Tyson Foods and continues the college studies

he began last fall. He hopes to earn a degree in business management with a minor in theology. The college classes have forced him to take a break from some of his volunteering, he said. But he still stays involved nonetheless. “He’s always available to offer his time, money or talent,” Deacon Elizalde said, “for others and for the good of the church.”

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Roncalli Catholic High School

Skutt Catholic High School

Exam Time: 8:00 am

Exam Time: 8:00 am

Contact: Colton Wierzbicki Director of Admissions cwierzbicki@roncallicatholic.org 402.571.7670 x104

Contact: Tim Bloomindale Director of Admissions


Moral monuments

with official Gross Catholic logo in our a brand guidelines. By

Gross Catholic High School Exam Time: 8:00 am Contact: Michala Jacobson ‘90 Director of Admissions jacobson@gcgmail.org 402.734.2000 x126




Mount Michael Benedictine School Exam Time: 8:30 am Contact: Thomas Maliszewski ‘13 Director of Admissions tmaliszewski@mountmichael.org 402.238.1457


St. Isidore Pastor Father Joe Miksch, left, and pastoral council member Troy Loeffelholz stand with two 4,500-pound tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments. The stonework was installed in October outside the southwest entrance of the church in Columbus. Loeffelholz helped coordinate the planning and completion of the project with D’Arcy Stone Design of Harlan, Iowa, and Dakota Granite Company of Milbank, South Dakota. Parishioner Maynard Wiese provided substantial funding.



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6 « JANUARY 10, 2020

Take a closer look at migrants, sister at the border urges By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice

Migrants who appear before Border Patrol on the U.S.-Mexico border show up scared, dirty and hungry. Their ordeal in getting to that point is over. For many, it began with the dangers and hardships at home and continued with the perils of the journey itself, including the threat of gangs and kidnappings. But new problems begin as they await word of their fate from the U.S. government. Most of the latest arrivals no longer wait in U.S. detention centers, but live for months in less than ideal conditions, often in tents on the Mexico side of the border, subject to the elements and lacking basic necessities. Sister Norma Pimentel of the Missionaries of Jesus has seen thousands of these migrants in her work as executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, in the Diocese of Brownsville in the southern tip of Texas. She wants others – including the Catholics of northeast Nebraska – to see what she sees:

people “in dire need of help,” who reach the U.S. border in Texas “dirty, muddy and really scared and hungry.” She urges people to look deeply at the migrants and see Jesus, in suffering and in need. Sister Norma has cared for immigrant refugees for decades. The Catholic Charities office she oversees has given help to more than 150,000 people since 2014 at its Humanitarian Respite Center. Sister Norma was born and raised in the United States, in the Rio Grande Valley where she serves today. With her parents, who were originally from Mexico, she often crossed the nearby Mexican border to visit family. Being raised in two cultures, she said, “gave me a better understanding of the whole immigrant community and being sensitive to our brothers and sisters who are looking to come to the United States.” About 35 years ago, she joined the Missionaries of Jesus, a good fit for her, she said, because of their longtime work of helping families at the border. They housed mothers and children at their convent at a time when

detention centers were only open to men. During the 1980s, the sisters helped refugees from wartorn El Salvador and Nicaragua. “The reality of families coming from Central America to the United States was something that we were always involved with,” she said. The work of Sister Norma and Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley has drawn international attention and that of world and church leaders. She’s met with Pope Francis at least three times, with Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and numerous lawmakers. For many, she has become the face of humanitarian efforts for immigrants. Sister Norma spoke last month to a leadership group of religious sisters in Omaha about her Catholic Charities work. The local sisters have been working to educate people about conditions at the U.S.-Mexican border and are trying to change that situation. Sister Norma also talked with the Catholic Voice in a recent phone interview. That conversation follows.

Please pray for migrants and refugees

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Sister Norma Pimentel of the Missionaries of Jesus is surrounded by some of the children she has served. As executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, she helps migrants seeking asylum in the United States.


Describe your work, and that of Catholic Charities, at the U.S.-Mexican border.

We have been responding to the families that have been released by (U.S.) Border Patrol after they’ve been processed and they have been given permission to continue their process somewhere else in the United States. The Border Patrol actually brought them directly to us, to our center, because they are appreciative of the fact that we’re responding and caring for these families after their release. We’ve done it since 2014. Most recently, things have changed because of the latest policy, which is an MPP (Migrant Protection Protocol). Families, instead of being released, are sent back to wait in Mexico at the bridge, if they ask for asylum. They have to wait for their hearing at that point instead of going somewhere in the United States and waiting there. For the most part, all the families are now right at the bridge, on the Mexican side. We continue to receive some families at our


respite center, but not in the great numbers that we had before. Most of the families that we’re getting now are from countries other than Central America. We have a small group of families that arrive daily, between 20 to 80 people a day, mostly from Angola and Congo and other places like that. Haiti as well. Because the border is very close to us, we actually take volunteers and staff almost every single day to the border to help the families that are having to wait on the Mexican side. They have been there for the past almost six months already – and really completely as homeless people – waiting for their appointments, and in very difficult conditions. We take them things. We’ve taken them food and other items that can help them deal with all the extreme suffering they’re having to endure. That’s what we’re doing now as far as trying to respond to the reality here at the border.

What has drawn you to that work?

Well, when you’re here and you see the families, you see the conditions they’re in, the children, the mothers. It’s something that is important to do. Everybody who has a heart, who has a sense of care for our brothers and sisters in their suffering, would do something as well. One of the things that I see here in our communities is

how the majority of people are so generous. They help because we’re seeing the families. It’s sad to see the conditions they’re in and how much they’re suffering. I personally am drawn because of my own personal faith in God, and who I am as a religious. And I see it as my call to reach out and help my brothers and sisters who are in need.


How does your relationship with God shape your efforts?


My own personal relationship with God is very important because it directs me. It’s a compass that directs me and guides me to who I am and what I am to do for the day. I start my day with him, with God, in prayer and very early on. The very first thing at 6:30 in the morning, I go to

Mass, because the Eucharist is my nourishment. It helps me to always keep God at the center of my life, and it’s why I do what I do. It’s not about me, it’s not about Norma. It’s about God and his guidance, to be his instrument, to let him guide me as to what I’m supposed to say and do.



What are some of the challenges that migrants face in their native countries and in coming to the United States?

Well, in the stories that I hear, they say it’s difficult to be in their country because it’s not safe. Mostly they fear for the lives of their children, how their children are exposed to so much danger, and they just want to give them a space that’s safer for them, at least for now, until things get better in their country. And they realize that they have no choice but to try to find something else. They look toward the United States as their beacon of hope, where they could find a safer space for them to grow up and to be, as long as it’s not safe in their country. When they arrive here, when they travel through the different countries – from many of the stories we hear – people who are traffickers take advantage of them. There are gangs – and they get kidnapped in many cases and put in stash houses. We just hear horrible stories of the different things they (the kidnappers) do and how they’re constantly finding ways to get money from family members in order for them (the migrants) to be released. They get caught by different groups along the way and finally make it to the United States if they’re lucky and are able to cross safely. They make it to Border

Patrol, which is somewhere they’re hopeful to get, because they know that they’re in the United States and they’re safer. But sometimes the conditions at Border Patrol are not the best because there’s so many of them in those detention facilities when they get processed. And in many cases they get separated from their kids, as a procedure to follow, to process them. In some cases, sometimes depending on the circumstances, they’ll be separated permanently because of whatever the Border Patrol decides is the situation they’re facing. It’s very hard for the families to deal with that: the reality of separation from their kids and the children not knowing if they’re ever going to see their family again. All of that they go through in that process – and at some point before they were released and given permission to continue. Now they’re being turned back to Mexico, and they’re suffering even more. When you see them suffering even more so, that’s because our U.S. policies are having them wait in Mexico. It breaks my heart just to see them in those conditions, and not be able to provide them a safer space while they wait for their asylum process.


What was your message when you were in Omaha in early December, speaking to a group of religious sisters involved in raising awareness about immigration issues?

I spoke to them about the importance of us being able to see this reality of the immigrants and suffering. When we see, we’re able to care. I also mentioned that we need to recognize that it is important for us to keep our borders safe and keep our country safe, to know who enters our country and the fact that criminals must be prosecuted. But we must not lose our humanity in doing so. It is important that we preserve who we are as human beings, and

that we don’t lose that reality in the process of trying to keep our country safe and establish policies that are good for our country. We must respect human life. The sisters are very interested in seeing how they can be a part of our humanitarian response as part of their message. They’re calling us as women religious to be present to those that need us. They were very supportive and interested in knowing the different ways they could be helpful.


What can people here do to improve the plight of immigrants in this area and at the border?

I believe that immigrants have traveled to many parts of the United States and are in our country waiting for their process for asylum. And so I think it’s important that we reach out to them, we find them, that we know who they are so that we can be a supporting community to them. In your community, I’m certain there must be immigrants, families that are there, and they are scared. They are frightened. They’re uncertain what to do, and they need guidance. They need support. They need to have a community that welcomes them. I think it’s the number one thing that must happen in all communities. Then, of course, we must also encourage our elected officials to make sure that they vote for

policies that are respectful of human life, that in the process of making sure our country’s safe and taking care of what we need as a country, we must also ensure that we don’t contribute to human suffering. I think those are some important things that people in the United States can do. Plus, I believe that a way to also become aware of what is happening is to come and see. I invite everybody who wants to come and spend the weekend, a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, to be part of this response. I think it’s a historical moment in our history, that they’d be part of, and it’s happening today, especially at the border. If anybody has the opportunity to do so, I encourage them to come and see and to be part of this response.

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JANUARY 10, 2020



What are their greatest needs?

I believe one of the biggest, greatest needs is for us to care. We need to care that they’re human beings. They’re people, they’re part of the human race. We have a responsibility to them to make sure they’re safe, to make sure that we treat them with dignity and respect. They need the basic things a person needs to clean up, to stay in good health. Now that the weather’s getting cold, we take them socks, we take them hoodies, we take them blankets, things that will keep them warm. Those are the kinds of things that are definitely always needed. And of course funds are needed to be able to provide for whatever they need. For right now, to cross things over to Mexico is not that easy. We have to deal with the Mexican government and whatever it is that they want to charge us for tariffs. Funds always come in handy. Like right now, we’re buying little tents for them to be in so they won’t be out in the open, and those kinds of things.

Q: the area.

Describe your relationship with government officials in

We’re always having to work with all kinds of officials who help us do our humanitarian job and to make sure that we provide the care the families need. They cooperate, and they assist us in whatever things we need, to make sure we reach the families and provide them the care they need. Thank God. We’re very pleased and blessed to have that good relationship with all officials here locally. It has helped us a lot to accomplish our goals.


Politics has made immigration issues increasingly divisive. What are some actions or ideas that can unite Catholics and people of good will? Today, like you say, politics has caused great divisions. I believe that Jesus invites us to look for him in our brothers and sisters who are suffering. We are called to welcome the stranger, and so we focus on the humanitarian aspect of what is happening. We will be able to come together as a community, as a Catholic community, and be able to respond to what we see before us: the suffering immigrant who is a person and who is needing our help. I think that breaks all barriers and differences of who we are, our different views of politics. We could put that aside and just simply see the person as a human being and us as Christians who are united in the same faith. Jesus calls us to respond to our suffering brothers and sisters. I think that will bring us together. I believe that we’re called to care, and if we focus on that we will do the right thing. I invite everybody to care.


Women religious and others line up with signs along 72nd Street in Omaha, near Hickory Street, witnessing for better treatment of migrants seeking asylum in the United States. The demonstrations began last summer and continue weekly.

SISTERS INVITE PEOPLE TO STAND UP FOR ASYLUM-SEEKERS Every Thursday morning women religious and lay people stand in prayerful witness near busy Omaha streets. They stand in warm or cold, dry or wet weather. They stand with their signs and banners, receiving honks and waves of support as well as indications of disapproval. Undaunted, the demonstrators continue their witness. “We stand in solidarity with the children and families seeking asylum in the United States and being treated inhumanely,” said Sister Valeria Lewandoski of the Servants of Mary, known to many as Sister Val. She is often among the 30 or so demonstrators who gather each Thursday from 8 to 9 a.m. at 72nd and Hickory streets in the Aksarben area. But on the second Thursday of the month, from 8:15 to 9 a.m., she typically demonstrates at another site, near 74th Street and Military Road, near the Servants of Mary motherhouse. There her Servite sisters can more easily join in the witness. The Servants of Mary, along with the Sisters of Mercy and Notre Dame Sisters in Omaha, are calling on more people to join them as they demonstrate each Thursday morning. The sisters have called for better conditions at U.S. detention centers, where many migrants were held until recently. Current U.S. policy has most asylum-seekers awaiting their fate across the border in Mexico instead of the United States. There they often live in tents, Sister Val said. The sisters chose a street demonstration as their form of witness for a simple reason. “It’s visible,” Sister Val said. “We really want it to be visible.” The religious sisters and other demonstrators also are

available to speak at parishes or other organizations. Many have been to the U.S.Mexico border to help the immigrants. As part of their efforts, they’ve formed a group called Mothers and Others: Advocates for Detained Migrant Children, which seeks ways to further raise awareness for their cause. The three congregations of women religious joined their efforts over the summer, when a small committee of members of each order met to discuss how to grapple with immigration and other issues. “We looked at what each of us is already doing to raise awareness and thought, why not collaborate on this?” said Sister of Mercy Susan Sanders, leader of the order’s West Midwest province. Sister Margaret Hickey, provincial president of the Notre Dame Sisters, said the combined group continues to look “at what we as women religious have to offer during this time when the nation is facing many intertwined issues: immigration, displaced persons, racism and climate crisis.” The leaders of the three local religious congregations, which include Sister Jackie Ryan of the Servants of Mary, have discussed their collaborative work with Archbishop George J. Lucas, and the archbishop supports their efforts, Sister Margaret said. The number of immigration demonstrators has grown, said Sister Susan, of the Sisters of Mercy. “We’ve had college students, other women religious, Mercy Associates, other men and women from the area and even a person who was homeless join us. One day students from the area stopped by with coffee. Our hope is that others continue to join us …”

| NEWS |

8 « JANUARY 10, 2020

Nebraska Catholics provide life-giving water to Kenyan village great donation in memory of their daughter Jayda,” Father Henry said.

By LARAYNE TOPP For the Catholic Voice

Women line up at a spring in Kenya, buckets on their heads, before kneeling before a rockrimmed pipe from which a small stream of water flows. A ring of soft material pads the space between the buckets and the women’s heads, because water can get heavy. It’s especially heavy when walking three or four miles to the closest place to find clean drinking water, and then back home again. In years past, women carried water in jars of clay. When it comes to fetching water in rural Kenya, not much has changed. But in 2019, due to the kindness of strangers, a new water well has graced the village of Koromaiti in the west central part of the country. Clean water can now be obtained with the flick of an electrical switch. Father Vincent Sunguti grew up near this village; his current home is Wisner, a small town in the Archdiocese of Omaha. He serves as the parish administrator at St. Joseph Parish in Wisner and Holy Cross Parish in Beemer, the only priest of color in the history of the two faith communities. Father Vincent is on loan from the Diocese of Eldoret in Kenya. He describes himself as a fidei donum (“gift of faith”) priest, reflecting the title of Pope Pius XII’s 1957 encyclical letter in which he exhorted bishops throughout the world to send priests as missionaries to other continents to share in the work of evangelization. When he left his homeland in 2011 to study in America, his fellow villagers asked him, “Can you get us water?” Water is a precious commodity in Kenya. Many shallow wells are dug by hand. During the rainy season, from March through September, those wells provide easy access to water. In addition, Kenyans harvest water from the gutters attached to their roofs. But by December, when winds blow dry over the land, those



Father Vincent Sunguti is the parish administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Wisner, where Carol and Dave Oligmueller are members. The Oligmuellers were instrumental in providing the funds to construct a new well in the home village of Father Vincent in memory of their daughter. water sources dry up, and Kenyans are forced to walk many miles to a river or spring. DECISION TO DRILL Clean water is taken for granted in Nebraska where Dave and Carol Oligmueller make their home. They are members of St. Joseph, but they farm and raise cattle in nearby Pilger. Unlike the villagers in Kenya, even the Oligmuellers’ livestock have an abundant supply of fresh water each day. It was from Father Vincent that Dave Oligmueller learned about the scarcity of water in Kenya, and it was from the Oligmuellers that Father Vincent learned about their daughter, Jayda Marie. The 18-year-old was killed in a traffic accident in March 2017, the year before Father Vincent arrived at the Oligmuellers’ parish. Jayda Marie loved helping people, her parents recall, and in her memory the Oligmuellers chose


Workmen are seen at the drilling site for a new village well at Koromaiti, Kenya. The project called for months of filling out agency paperwork, construction, testing and waiting for the well to become a reality.

to help the village of Koromaiti. With assistance from the Mike and Tammy Ridder family of Fullerton, they began the process of drilling a well halfway around the world. Father Vincent was thrilled to hear the plans. “I was for five years waiting,” he said. “In my heart, I knew God had answered our prayer.” In January 2019, while on vacation in Kenya, Father Vincent visited his home church, St. Charles Lwanga Parish in Chekalini. While celebrating Mass, he brought news about the new well himself. “We have good friends in the United States …,” he began. His announcement was drowned out by applause. ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL Father Vincent turned over the actual installation of the new well to his younger brother, Henry, a Catholic Augustinian priest serving in Kenya. The process took a little longer than expected with a number of agencies to approach, including governmental geologists who decided where to dig, plus the National Environmental Authority. But eventually all went well. “At times, things can be slow here,” Father Henry explained.

After filling out mounds of paperwork and receiving permission to begin, a 100-meterdeep well was dug. Lab tests were carried out and the water proved to be good for human consumption. “After erecting the water tank stand, we had to leave it to dry completely before mounting the tank,” Father Henry said. They fitted the well with a submersible pump, and they plan to build a small security house around it. “Then we shall be good to go,” he said. The well is powered by electricity, but was designed so that it can be switched to solar power in the future. This would be less expensive in the long run, Father Vincent said. A plaque at the well house will signify that the project was completed in memory of a girl from the United States, Jayda Marie. Piping was run to the St. Charles Health Center, which offers roundthe-clock maternity care and serves an area of around 25 square miles. The well will also be welcomed by the 800 worshippers who regularly attend St. Charles Church, and the 400 students studying at the parish elementary school. “Above all, we are so grateful to the family of Oligmuellers for the

The Oligmuellers marveled at how God has worked out the details. Just as Father Vincent knew little about the northeast Nebraska communities of Beemer and Wisner, the Oligmuellers knew little about Kenya, where Father Vincent grew up as the fifth of nine children. When his father took a second wife and went to live with her, he no longer provided financial assistance for the youngest six children. That was left to the children’s mother. She and her children labored in the fields of neighboring farmers. Altogether they were paid $2, an amount that would buy cornmeal for the day. In addition, Father Vincent’s mother farmed three acres of her own, planting corn, beans and sunflowers, which they sold for the oil. Three milk cows provided milk for the family, plus a little to sell. From such a background, Father Vincent came to understand poverty, hardship and sorrow. Dave Oligmueller explained it this way: If Father Vincent hadn’t arrived in Wisner when he did, and shared in the Oligmueller family’s sorrow, and if he hadn’t shared his own sadness on the unavailability of water in his homeland, the well would not have become a reality. “It gives you a reason to believe that God does what he does with a purpose for his good,” he said. Father Vincent compares the gift of life-giving water to the gift of Jesus himself. “The coming of Jesus is to give people hope in life,” Father Vincent said, “and water is life.” Out of Jayda Marie’s death, the entire community at Koromaiti will benefit. “When you do something like this, you make that person live again,” Father Vincent said. “Jayda’s legacy will live on through the well. It’s all about love and concern and caring.” It’s the kind of love that Christ gave, opening the hearts of Nebraska families to provide easilyaccessible water to the brothers and sisters they’ve yet to meet on the other side of the world.


The life of Jayda Marie Oligmueller was taken in a traffic accident in March 2017. She loved helping people, her parents say, and in her memory they chose to help the village of Koromaiti, Kenya, by installing a new well to provide easily accessible, clean drinking water.

| NEWS |

JANUARY 10, 2020


The quiet, urgent work of Catholic Rural Life plows ahead in rural areas by offering retreats and forging a network among their country peers. Teaching seminarians about farmers is part of the equation and the organization’s growing Rural Ministry Practicum invites rural priests into the classroom and then brings the young men out to a farm each summer. Ten dioceses participated in the practicum in 2019.

By CHRISTINA CAPECCHI Catholic News Service

ST. PAUL, Minn. – “There is something almost sacramental about the life of the rural family.” Those words were spoken by a North Dakota bishop in November 1923, when a small group of clergy and laypeople gathered in St. Louis to found the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. They were inspired by a farm boy from Minnesota: Father Edwin O’Hara, the son of Irish immigrants who had fled the potato famine and settled in Lanesboro. The youngest of eight, he had a deep faith and a keen eye for the underdog. Serving as a chaplain during World War I had revealed a glaring need in the church for better catechesis for the soldiers from rural communities. Father O’Hara considered it part of a pattern of neglect in which church leaders overlooked the social, spiritual and economic struggles of rural Catholics. When he returned to the U.S. from the war, he set about establishing an organization to remedy that. The National Catholic Rural Life Conference published a manifesto to articulate its core principles and affirm the farmer. “The special adaptability of the farm home for nurturing strong and wholesome Christian family life is the primary reason why the Catholic Church is so deeply concerned with rural problems,” it stated. Based then in Des Moines, Iowa, it began establishing a network of diocesan rural life directors. Nearly a century later, the nonprofit organization now is called Catholic Rural Life (CRL). It is headquartered at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Its work is more urgent than ever, as forces converge in the countryside: declining numbers of farmers, uncertainty over the recently concluded trade deal with China, a newfound interest in food production and an escalating concern for the earth, as laid out by Pope Francis in his groundbreaking encyclical “‘Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.” The political fault lines crisscross with personal concerns that keep rural Catholics up at night: how to pass on the faith and the farm. All the while, Catholic Rural Life’s four-person staff quietly plugs along, supporting 20 chapters and focusing on its mission to apply the teachings of Jesus for the betterment of rural America. “It is overwhelming,” said Executive Director Jim Ennis. “That’s what brings you to your knees.” The organization aims to provide equal parts education and inspiration. Specifically, the staff has identified three central charges: advocate for a more sustainable



Brenda and Nathan Rudolph are seen in this undated photo with their children Vivian and Everett near Little Falls, Minnesota.. food system from farm to table, promote stewardship of creation and revitalize rural communities. The latter is an ongoing effort that includes outreach in many forms and spiritual nourishment to sustain farmers on the long days. ‘LIFE IN CHRIST’ One of Ennis’ early initiatives sought to develop lay leaders to do some of the work that rural pastors cannot because they are stretched thin. “Life In Christ” trains lay Catholics to lead small groups in discussions of Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal encyclicals. The impact of the organization’s outreach is powerful, said Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria, Texas, board president. “It encourages people and it connects people,” he said. That’s exactly what Brenda Rudolph craves as a 30-something Catholic living in the country. “Raising children on a dairy farm can be isolating,” said Rudolph, who contributes to Catholic Rural Life’s blog and belongs to St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Bowlus, Minnesota. “There are few moms that I can relate to.” A text from a neighbor or a surprise delivery of cookies tucked in the mailbox “means the world,” she said, especially when God’s plan seems to diverge from hers and she sometimes struggles to trust God. CONNECTING PRIESTS Fostering that same sense of

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connection among rural priests also is the organization’s focus. “We very rarely socialize,” said Father Gregory Mastey, pastor of Two Rivers Catholic Community, a parish cluster in central Minnesota. Father Mastey needs a pickup truck with all-wheel drive to celebrate Mass at all three of his parishes each weekend. He has logged more than 750,000 miles in 24 years of priesthood. When a young priest at a neighboring cluster expressed his loneliness, Father Mastey invited him to move into the rectory. The effect was almost immediate. “He says he’s been praying better, he’s been eating better, he’s

been sleeping better,” Father Mastey said. “Just having somebody to talk to or throw some ideas off of. It’s good for me, too. We do night prayer together.” In October, Father Mastey coordinated the second annual Holy Hunting for local priests to hunt together, an idea he borrowed from Texas priests he met through Catholic Rural Life. Their insights and best practices will be shared through “Thriving In Rural Ministry,” which launched in 2018 with a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., an Indiana-based foundation that supports religious organizations. The program serves pastors

Perhaps the biggest opportunity is the chance to engage young Catholics with “Laudato Si’.” Catholic Rural Life has leveraged interest in the green movement since its beginning, Ennis said, and led to a program called “Why Eating Is a Moral Act” in the late 1990s. But something new is at play. Ennis sees it when he speaks about sustainability at college campuses. So the staff is updating its materials and creating a study guide to appeal to a new generation of Catholics who are concerned about where their food comes from and how it is grown. Ennis expressed hope that “Laudato Si’” can be a vehicle for the new evangelization because it’s not merely an academic document but a clarion call for a sustainable lifestyle, with young people leading the way. The organization has a presence in 80 dioceses today – down from 102 in the early 2000s, before the recession and the latest wave of clergy sex-abuse scandals. Adapting to the future also has meant being attuned to city-dwelling Catholics who share rural values, Ennis said. Forty-five percent of Catholic Rural Life’s members now live in urban areas. Capecchi writes for The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


10 « JANUARY 10, 2020

ArchOmaha Unite punctuates a busy 2019 Inspiration and unity The Catholic faithful of the archdiocese came together at the CHI Center in Omaha June 8, the eve of Pentecost, to call down a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit at ArchOmaha Unite, a celebration of faith and unity in Jesus Christ. Beginning with The Great Gathering celebrating the archdiocese’s history and diversity, the event continued with inspirational stories of faith, special programs for children, youth and Spanish-speaking people, opportunities for reconciliation and eucharistic adoration, and Mass. It concluded with a stirring multimedia/musical dramatization of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. Attendee Janice Jochum of St. Isidore Parish in Columbus summarized the sense of unity she experienced: “It doesn’t matter who we are … where we are from, whether we’re rural or the metro, we’re all one family,” she said. “We have a common theme, and that is Jesus.”


Strengthening faith and education

Promoting safety and accountability

In 2019, the archdiocese concluded its Ignite the Faith capital campaign, raising more than $53 million in pledges to support educational activities in Catholic schools, spiritual formation programs and ministries in parishes, infrastructure improvements and repairs, technology enhancements, and support for seminarians and retired priests. Begun in 2012 with a goal of $40 million, more than $50 million has been collected to date, with dollars already funding such investments as new reading and language arts programs, personal Chromebook computers to help students learn and faith formation programs for students and teachers. In all, more than 245,000 parishioners and 20,000 students have seen benefits in the archdiocese’s 139 parishes and 71 schools.

In 2018, the attorney general of Nebraska required all three of the state’s Catholic dioceses to provide 40 years of records on clergy accused of sexual misconduct and the Omaha archdiocese released to the public its list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct. Then, in 2019, the archdiocese took further steps to provide transparency and protect minors and vulnerable adults. On July 1, the archdiocese enacted an updated and expanded code of conduct for clergy. The code, which applies to bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians and deacon candidates, provides more specific guidelines than the previous code. It also addresses respect for personal boundaries, appropriate use of communication technology, and misconduct such as substance abuse and gambling. The archdiocese had already met the requirements of the U.S. bishops’ 2002 Charter for Protection of Children and Young People by establishing its Victim Outreach and Prevention Office and a review board to investigate accusations of misconduct with minors and vulnerable adults. Nevertheless, in 2019 it also created a ministerial conduct board to handle accusations not involving minors.


Bolstering faith through adversity On March 13, a severe winter storm, or “bomb cyclone,” besieged much of northeast Nebraska with heavy rain, strong winds and widespread flooding. With the ground still frozen and steams and rivers still choked with ice, towns such as Fremont, Valley, St. Edward, Bellevue and many others sustained record flooding, massive damage and loss of livestock. Three people were killed. In Boyd County, the collapse of the Spencer Dam sent a torrent of water, along with massive chunks of ice, down the Niobrara River into the town of Niobrara, destroying buildings and a vital bridge into town. Through it all, Catholic parishes and their members rose to the occasion, raising money, collecting and distributing food and clothing, and personally assisting others. Francis and Carol Emmanuel, members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in North Bend, typified that spirit of Christian generosity as they opened their home to floodedout neighbors and relatives, housing an additional nine people and several dogs. Carol said, “We grew up knowing that when somebody is in need you step up … If somebody needs a place to stay, you say ‘Come on out, we have room.’”

Sainthood cause advances


Planning to meet pastoral needs The Archdiocese of Omaha continued planning for the decline in numbers of diocesan priests and changing rural demographics, announcing in June plans to establish groupings of rural parishes served by a single pastor and one or more associate pastors. Lay leaders and pastors of affected parishes took part in planning discussions along with archdiocesan staff. “Change is always difficult, but parishioners see this as providing a future life of the faith in our parish communities,” said Father John Norman, pastor of a new grouping of six parishes in the western part of the archdiocese. “There’s a sense that the Lord is showing us a way forward.” The move also helps maintain a reasonable workload for priests and allows them a greater sense of community with one another. Father Kevin Vogel, who now assists Father Norman, said, “It’s closer to the biblical model that Jesus sets out for his disciples, sending them out two-by-two … serving together rather than in isolation.” As parishes took the initiative to develop plans for working together, the process of integrating parish functions moved ahead quickly, said Father Scott Hastings, vicar for clergy and judicial vicar. “It’s been a very collaborative and positive process,” he said.

On July 22, the sainthood cause for Father Edward J. Flanagan, founder of Boys Town in Omaha, took a major step forward as a document called a “Positio” was forwarded to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The 400-page document, which summarizes more than 15,000 pages of documents sent to the Vatican in 2015 by the archdiocese, argues that Father Flanagan lived a life of heroic virtue and deserves the title “venerable.” A letter of support from Archbishop George J. Lucas accompanied the document, and a personal visit by the archbishop to the Congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, provided an endorsement. If the Positio is approved by the Congregation’s consultants and theologians, and member bishops and cardinals, the congregation will send a recommendation to the pope. Proof of one miracle due to Father Flanagan’s intercession would earn him the title “blessed.” Proof of a second miracle is needed for canonization. To that end, the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion is encouraging the faithful to pray to the priest for his intercession, said Steve Wolf, the league’s president.


JANUARY 10, 2020

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Film paints beautiful portrait of Blessed Jägerstätter By JOHN MULDERIG Catholic News Service

NEW YORK – In 2007, Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943), a devoutly Catholic Austrian farmer martyred by the Nazis for his stance as a conscientious objector, was declared blessed. In the luminous, though deliberately paced, drama “A Hidden Life” (Fox Searchlight), writer-director Terrence Malick paints a striking and memorable portrait of Jägerstätter, one that will be especially prized by believing viewers. Malick focuses on the happy home life of his gentle protagonist, played by August Diehl, sacrificed in order to be obedient to his conscience. Motivated by his faith, Jägerstätter was determined not to take the oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler that was demanded of all those drafted into the Wehrmacht during World War II. Refusal of the oath would ultimately mean execution. Along with his much-loved young daughters, Jägerstätter also would be leaving behind his wife, Franziska, known as Fani (Valerie Pachner), with whom he shared a deep spiritual and emotional bond and under whose influence he first became serious about his religion. So, as they wait for the possible news that Franz has been conscripted, she too has to struggle with the radical consequences of the commitment she inspired. Primarily set amid the splen-

RATING: PG-13 for mature themes and scenes of physical violence. The film also contains an ambiguous portrayal of Catholic clergy. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. dors of the Austrian countryside, surroundings of which cinematographer Joerg Widmer makes the most, “A Hidden Life” is beautiful both to look at and to contemplate. Yet the movie requires patience since it largely consists of scenes of ordinary domestic activities and farming chores, many of them overshadowed by the dread of what, at first, may lie ahead and later certainly does. Still, by a process of accretion, Malick succeeds in building a sturdy bridge of sympathy between the audience and the central duo as they live out their doomed existence together – an idyll interspersed with drudgery. Thus by the time of Franz’s death, which Malick depicts with both deftness and sensitivity, attentive moviegoers will feel the weight of his loss to the full. Malick – whose interest in Christianity, broadly considered, is well-known – celebrates Jägerstätter’s quiet heroism unreservedly. But his portrayal of the parish priest and bishop the future mar-


August Diehl and Valerie Pachner star in a scene from the movie "A Hidden Life." tyr consulted about his defiance of the regime is ambivalent at best. Bishop Fliesser of Linz (Michael Nyqvist) is noncommittal and, although Father Furthauer (Tobias Moretti), the pastor of their hometown of St. Radegund, accompanies Fani on her last visit to Franz, he first counsels the latter that he has a duty to the Fatherland and is later so anxious

to save his parishioner’s life that he advises him to take the oath without meaning it. In a sign of the times, the real Franz apparently speculated, after their meeting, that Bishop Fliesser might have feared that he was a Gestapo spy out to trick the prelate into saying something dangerous. It is satisfying to record that Fani lived long enough to attend

her husband’s beatification, an experience perhaps unique in the long annals of the church. “A Hidden Life,” which draws on the 2009 book “Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings From Prison,” edited by Erna Putz, ends with her yearning to be reunited with Franz, an eventuality that it is not presumptuous to trust transpired at her death, age 100, in 2013.

Catholic publisher reissuing book with release of Jägerstätter biopic stätter,” as “really the book that made Jägerstätter’s story known to the world. It had an effect on me personally. ... It’s why I leapt at the opportunity to publish these letters.” The reference to “Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings From Prison” in the movie’s closing credits – it appears even before the cast list – leads Ellsberg to hope filmgoers will seek out the book. “I don’t see how it can hurt. When we knew the film was scheduled for release, we put out

By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – With the release of a film biography of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, the conscientious objector who was martyred by the Nazis, Orbis Books is reissuing its 10-year-old collection of the Austrian farmer’s letters and other writings from prison. Director Terence Malick, who directed “A Hidden Life,” which had its U.S. premiere Dec. 13, obtained the rights to adapt Blessed Jägerstätter’s prison writings for use in the movie’s screenplay. The Orbis book, “Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings From Prison,” now has a new cover featuring a still from “A Hidden Life.” The 2009 original featured a photograph of Blessed Jägerstätter on the cover. But what’s inside – especially the letters to his wife, Fani – are interspersed throughout the script to “A Hidden Life,” which also was written by Malick. “This goes back quite a long way,” said Robert Ellsberg, publisher of Orbis Books, during a Dec. 17 phone interview with Catholic News Service. “The original producer Elisabeth Bentley, an aspiring producer and screenwriter who I had known many years ago – I taught her in college, actually – was interested in acquiring the film rights to the book we had just published,” he said. “We made an agreement with her, and she was working on a

screenplay for some years, and also trying to find a director.” Ellsberg added, “Many years went by, and I read in a trade publication that Terence Malick was doing a movie on Franz Jägerstätter, so I contacted Lizzie and said, ‘Do you know about this?’ and she says, ‘Yes, that’s our film.’ I did not know Malick had stepped in until that point.” Bentley is listed as a producer of “A Hidden Life.” It turns out Ellsberg also knows Malick from a mutual friendship with actor Martin Sheen, who had starred in Malick’s 1973 bigscreen debut, “Badlands.” Ellsberg demurred at Orbis’ role in bringing Blessed Jägerstätter’s nonviolent resistance to light. He credited Gordon Zahn’s 1964 book “In Solitary Witness: The Life and Death of Franz Jäger-

a new cover for the book based on one of the stills from the film. We’re hoping there will be one benefit to that link,” he said. “In my next publisher’s letter, which I do every month online, I begin by talking about the film and the book. Anybody who is interested in pursuing more information about Jägerstätter will certainly come upon the book, and that will lead people deeper into this story and his own words.” Ellsberg drew a comparison between Blessed Jägerstätter and

another martyr whose conscience led him to an early death: St. Thomas More. “What was unusual about Jägerstätter, of course, is that he was an ordinary man, not a great scholar and theological mind like Thomas More. Just an ordinary farmer,” Ellsberg told CNS. More information about “Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings From Prison” can be found on the Orbis Books website at https://bit. ly/35vKQJr.

NEBRASKA WALK FOR LIFE Saturday, January 18, 2020 LINCOLN, State Capitol & UN-L Student Union The Walk begins at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol. From there, we will walk to the UN-L Student Union, where our Keynote Speakers, Jennifer and Jeff Christie, will speak at noon.

Keynote Speakers: JENNIFER CHRISTIE with her husband, JEFF

But what about cases of rape? This is often asked by abortion advocates. Jennifer Christie was raped on a business trip, learning she was pregnant as she recovered from the attack. Against the advice of doctors, friends and society, she decided to keep her child. Her story reminds us that God brings healing from pain, and children are part of the journey to recovery, not an obstacle for mothers to overcome. “I am not raising a ‘rapist’s baby,’” Jennifer said. “I am raising my baby. He is the love that I pour into him. He is the love of my husband who is raising him, siblings who play with him and grandparents who dote on him. He is all of these things and more.” Is he a reminder? Yes, he’s a reminder that women can be stronger than their circumstances. He’s also a reminder that beauty can come from darkness.

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12 « JANUARY 10, 2020

We become sons and daughters of God through baptism


e celebrate the Baptism of the Lord this Sunday. The collect (opening prayer) of this Mass reads: “As the Holy Spirit descended upon him, (you) solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be pleasing to you.” We are his children by adoption. This is the answer to John the Baptist’s question: “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus took on our human nature, and yet he was sinless. His baptism was not to repent of his sinfulness, but as an act of taking our sin upon himself. It is important for us to reflect on the effect Jesus’ humanity has on our own. We call this “divine filiation”: the fact that through our baptism, we are brought into the reality of Jesus’ incarnation and share in the great honor of being called sons and daughters of God. At our baptism, we are clothed with a white garment. This is a sign of the dignity we have been clothed with by the Holy Spirit. The white garment shows that we are his beloved sons and daughters with whom he is well pleased. In the baptismal rite we are called, with the help of our family and friends, to bring that dignity unstained into everlasting life. Yet, if you and I are honest, we have not always done our best with that first task we were given as

Scripture Reflections FATHER JOSEPH SUND Christians. Thanks to the very righteousness of Jesus Christ, our own repentance, through sacramental grace, becomes perfect. In the sacrament of reconciliation we turn to Jesus and immerse ourselves in his dignity that transforms us into his righteousness. The practical way of looking at this is when I come to confession with imperfect contrition (“I’m sorry for this sin because it hurt others and I’m

What will your legacy be?

afraid of hell”), it is elevated to perfect contrition (“I am sorry because I have offended you God, who are all good and deserving of all my love”). This is not a consequence of our feelings or our own will, but of the very fact that Jesus willed it to be so. Since we are now adopted sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, when we come before him with sorrow, wanting to do better, he receives us as his beloved with whom he is well pleased. Father Joseph Sund is associate pastor at St. Patrick Parish in O’Neill, St. Joseph Mission in Amelia, Sacred Heart Parish in Boyd County, St. Boniface Parish in Stuart and St. Joseph Parish in Atkinson.

SCRIPTURE READINGS OF THE DAY JANUARY 13 Monday: 1 Sm 1:1-8; Ps 116:12-19; Mk 1:14-20 14 Tuesday: 1 Sm 1:9-20; (Ps) 1 Sm 2:1, 4-8; Mk 1:21-28 15 Wednesday: 1 Sm 3:1-10, 19-20; Ps 40:2, 5, 7-10; Mk 1:29-39 16 Thursday: 1 Sm 4:1-11; Ps 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25; Mk 1:40-45 17 Friday: 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a; Ps 89:16-19; Mk 2:1-12 18 Saturday: 1 Sm 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1a; Ps 21:2-7; Mk 2:13-17 19 Sunday: Is 49:3, 5-6; Ps 40:2, 4, 7-10; 1 Cor 1:1-3; Jn 1:29-34 20 Monday: 1 Sm 15:16-23; Ps 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23; Mk 2:18-22 21 Tuesday: 1 Sm 16:1-13; Ps 89:20-22, 27-28; Mk 2:23-28 22 Wednesday: 1 Sm 17:32-33, 37, 40-51; Ps 144:1b-2, 9-10; Mk 3:1-6 23 Thursday: 1 Sm 18:6-9; 19:1-7; Ps 56:2-3, 9-13; Mk 3:7-12 24 Friday: 1 Sm 24:3-21; Ps 57:2-4, 6, 11; Mk 3:13-19 25 Saturday: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Ps 117:1-2; Mk 16:15-18


Christian prayer: both personal and ecclesiastical

or the past several columns, we’ve been examining the Spanish Bishops’ document, “My Soul Thirsts for God, for the Living God.” We conclude our discussion today with the relationship between the church and the prayer of the individual Christian. When we pray mental prayer alone in our rooms, we might over-emphasize the individual aspect of prayer. We speak to God from the heart and develop a relationship with him that is as unique as each soul. Spain’s bishops echo the Catechism of the Catholic Church in reminding us that all true Christian prayer has an ecclesiastical element. “When the Christian prays, he always does it as a member of the mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. From it he receives the life of grace and the language of faith inseparably: ‘As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith’” (“My Soul Thirsts,” no. 33). What practical difference does this make? Christian prayer is saturated by words from the church’s foundational writings – the sacred Scriptures. Meditating

Starting an estate plan was important to Jasper and Tyson Owens because they felt it was critical to ensure that they take care of who and what they love. “What we love is our family and our faith, and we want to make sure we pass on our values and protect what needs to be protected,” said Tyson. “Our Catholic faith is number one. Our whole life revolves around it,” said Jasper. As young parents they wanted to provide not only for their daughters but also for the school that they attend. “We just want to make sure that the values Tyson and I cherish are shown to our girls. That’s extremely important to us,” she said. As a financial advisor, Tyson knows that it’s never too early to start thinking about your legacy. “Young people – people in their 20s or 30s – can get intimidated by the words 'estate plan'. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can just be as simple as reviewing your beneficiaries of your life insurance, your 401K, your retirement plans. Just doing that is taking steps in the right direction,” he said. “I once read that the life you lead is the legacy you leave. Legacy is the impact of a life well lived,” said Tyson. “It’s making a positive difference in people’s lives well after you’re gone. It’s being able to pass on your values after you’re gone. To us a legacy is more than money.”

Learn more about how your legacy can make a difference right here in the Archdiocese of Omaha, by contacting: Tony LaMar Legacy Planning Officer, Archdiocese of Omaha Office of Stewardship & Development 402-557-5650 • ajlamar@archomaha.org

Conversation with God CONNIE ROSSINI on Scripture connects personal prayer to the liturgy, especially when we use the daily Gospel as the basis for our meditation. Then we are truly praying with the church and as members of it. Eucharistic adoration connects personal prayer to “the most important prayer of the Church,” the offering of Christ’s sacrifice to God the Father in the Mass (no. 34). Personal prayer also has an ecclesiastical element when we pray according to the tradition of a particular religious order, or a revered “school of Christian spirituality” (ibid.). We can also make use of different expressions of prayer. There is vocal prayer (prayed aloud and often with others) and meditation (prayed silently and alone). Finally, there is contemplation, in which “words and thoughts give way to the experience of God’s love.” The most important element in all three expressions of prayer is the offering of our hearts to God (no. 35). Prayer develops in stages. Traditionally, there are three major stages of the spiritual life: the purgative, the illuminative and the unitive. If we persevere in heartfelt prayer to God, we may experience union with him, by pure grace. This is the experience of those we call contemplatives or mystics. The bishops caution: “Any mysticism that, rejecting the value of ecclesial mediations, opposes the mystical union with God to that which is realized in the sacraments, especially in Baptism and the Eucharist, or that leads us to think that the sacraments are unnecessary for ‘spiritual’ people, cannot be considered Christian” (no. 37). Mary is the perfect example of Christian prayer. Her meditation always centered on Christ and what God had accomplished for herself and others. She prayed with the early church, becoming a model of it. She surrendered her will to God’s even before the annunciation, and deepened that offering of herself throughout her life, especially when standing at the foot of the Cross (no. 38). Christian prayer, then, is both personal and ecclesiastical. Every prayer is offered to God as an extension and application of Christ’s offering of himself on the Cross and in the Eucharist. The more we embrace the teachings of the church, the sacred Scriptures, and the sacraments, the deeper and more Christian our prayer becomes. Connie Rossini is a member of St. Peter Parish in Omaha. She is the author of “The Q&A Guide to Mental Prayer,” now available at amazon.com, and five other books on Catholic spirituality.


JANUARY 10, 2020

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St. Hilary of Poitiers zealously defended the truth SAINT OF THE MONTH By DEACON OMAR GUTIÉRREZ For the Catholic Voice

“The Consolation of Philosophy” is one of the greatest works of Western literature. Written around 524 A.D. by Boethius, who was falsely imprisoned, it is a meditation on how one can find happiness despite life’s many tragedies. And the book owes a great deal to St. Hilary of Poitiers, whose feast we celebrate Jan. 13. Hilary, whose name comes from one of the Latin words for happiness, was born into a wealthy pagan family in Poitiers some time in the late third or early fourth century. His noble roots in Gaul (present day France) gave him access to the finest education available at the time, which included Greek, Latin and the traditional rhetorical styles of his period. His studies eventually brought him to the question of ultimate happiness, the afterlife and God. His pursuit of this God led him to the Old Testament and to Exodus, where the Lord reveals himself to Moses as “I am who am” (3:14). This was the God for whom Hilary had been looking. And thanks to St. John’s Gospel, Hilary, his wife and daughter gave themselves over to Christian baptism. In the year 350, Christianity was legal but suffered from schisms due to the Arian heresy. Arius, an Egyptian priest, taught that Jesus was not God. Though the heresy had been condemned in the Council of Nicaea in 325, it persisted thanks in no small part to emperors who supported the view. Now, because of Hilary’s learned understanding of Scripture and his deep holiness, the people insisted he become bishop. And upon receiving Holy Orders, he immediately set out to eradicate Arian bishops and their supporters from the regions of Gaul. However, in 355 the emperor Constantius II demanded that all bishops sign a condemnation of Athanasius, the famed bishop of Alexandria and vocal opponent of Arianism. Hilary refused, and as a result he was exiled from his own diocese. He faced his exile with cheerfulness, we are told. During his time in exile, he wrote several learned works on theology, the most famous of which is “On the Trinity.” Tradition tells us he was also the first to start writing hymns in Latin, which is significant because the language of the church was still Greek at the time. During exile, Hilary traveled to various councils which sought to advance Arianism, and he would stand and defend the true faith. He even went as far as Constantinople (present day Istanbul) to challenge the leading Arian bishops to a debate.


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Stained-glass window of St. Hilary of Poitiers in the Church of St. Bartholomew in Tournon-d’Agenais, France, created by glassmakers Étienne and Mouilleron de Bar-le-Duc. The emperor, however, sent him back to Gaul in the year 360. The emperor died the next year. Upon his return to Poitiers, the people greeted Hilary with great joy. But he still fought for the faith in Milan and other hot spots of Arianism until his death in 368. In his life he produced several works of biblical commentary and theology. This is why Pope Pius IX named him a doctor of the church in 1851. Hilary is considered the foremost Latin doctor of the church as he predates and influenced St. Ambrose of Milan and later St. Augustine of Hippo. His philo-

sophical precision and deep devotion inspired those two saints, but also a tradition which led to Boethius’ famous work mentioned above. A chief lesson in it all is the consolation that truth brings to one’s life, even when things are difficult. May St. Hilary of Poitiers help us to appreciate the great truth of Jesus Christ our Lord as he did. Deacon Omar Gutiérrez is director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the Archdiocese of Omaha. Contact him at ofgutierrez@archomaha.org.

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14 « JANUARY 10, 2020


The Unicameral: open again for business

he tricky thing about writing for the three Nebraska diocesan newspapers is that you must sometimes write about the future. And as Aeschylus, the ancient Greek tragedian, wrote: “You’ll know the future when it’s born.” In other words, it’s a bit difficult to write about the future when you’re not yet there. Since this is one of those tricky occasions where I will write about a future event, we’ll see if this column can be visited by the second cousin of the third spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas eve slumber: the ghost of legislative activity yet to come. If this spirit arrives, I’ll be seeking the intervention of the diocesan exorcist. Once this column is published, the Nebraska Unicameral will already be two days into the 106th Legislature, second session,

Faithful, Watchful Citizens TOM VENZOR which will have convened Jan. 8. This year’s session is a continuation of last year’s, which was a 90-day session. The new session, also known as the “short” or “carryover” session, consists of 60-working days’ worth of legislative activity. This will take us into the third full week of April. In a carryover session, all bills from the previous year that were active remain active. In addition, the first 10 days remain the customary days for introducing new legislation. If the number of new bills matches last January’s total, we’ll see another 739 pieces of legislation for consideration. While the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) will engage with numerous bills, for a variety of reasons it does not deal with every issue. The faithful and

vigilant people of Nebraska are called to give their attention to these matters as well. I’ll never tire of repeating the words chiseled above the state capitol’s north entrance: “The Salvation of the State is Watchfulness of the Citizen.” At this time of year, not only do I write humorless jokes into my opening paragraph, but I also try to provide practical suggestions for how Catholics can better equip themselves as faithful citizens for the legislative session. Here are some: Join the Catholic Advocacy Network of Nebraska (CANN). It’s clear that a lot is going on at the Legislature, but it’s not always clear what’s most important and pressing. It’s even harder to discern this when you’ve got countless other daily obligations. The political process doesn’t always make the top of that list. But you can be sure it’s the top of our list, and we want to help you pay attention to issues that matter most to us as Catholics.

Through CANN, you can receive regular email updates about legislative activity and be alerted to “action items” when it is important for Catholics to make their voices heard by contacting their state senators. You can join CANN through our website (www.necatholic.org) by clicking on the upper righthand corner banner that says “Join Our Network.” Invite a few family and friends to join while you’re at it. Follow the NCC on Facebook. The NCC has an active Facebook page where you can stay up-todate on legislative matters. Simply search “Nebraska Catholic Conference” and like our page. Contact the NCC anytime. Never hesitate to call or write to the NCC. Maybe you need a quick rundown of the major bills the NCC is working on. Perhaps you have a question about the legislative process. Maybe you just want to know who your state senator is. Or maybe you want to invite the NCC to

give a “Legislative Update” presentation at your parish. No matter the reason, we love hearing from you. Call us at 402477-7517 or write to us at 215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 310, Lincoln, NE 68508. Know and pray for your senator. As faithful citizens we have the privileged responsibility to elect our public officials. This means we should get to know them. Take time to follow their efforts and voting records. And, as always, pray for their work. Senators make many important and impactful decisions on any given day at the Legislature, and the gifts of discernment and fortitude are critical to their work. And, of course, pray for us at the NCC as we enter the 2020 legislative session. Pray that we can bear the light of Christ in the public square! Tom Venzor is executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, with headquarters in Lincoln. Contact him at tvenzor@necatholic.org.

Only two choices for president?


t’s a new year, and with it comes a new opportunity to look at how we engage in our electoral processes. For the last few months, I’ve been looking at where we agree as a nation. Regarding elections, there is one thing so many of us seem to agree on but which is dead wrong, namely that voting for president of the United States is a binary choice. After the 2012 election, I was with some Catholics who kept referring to the two choices we had for president. When I said that there were actually more than two choices, one of the


Charity in Truth DEACON OMAR GUTIÉRREZ persons in attendance scoffed and said that a vote for anyone other than the two candidates from the two major parties was a “wasted vote.” This is of course factually wrong. There are several parties in the United States which represent various forms of political philosophy. Also, no vote is wasted in the technical sense. But this incident got me thinking about what we Catholics believe about voting. It also made me realize that this attitude is morally dangerous.



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Let me explain. According to the social doctrine of the church, voting is a way we participate in advancing the common good. For these reasons and more, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that voting is “morally obligatory” (no. 2240). As a moral obligation, then, we ought to take it seriously. We should educate ourselves on the major issues of the day, not just globally and nationally, but also in our state, city and neighborhood. We should ask questions, probe a candidate’s position, look at the party platform, and weigh the claims of candidates and parties against prudential insights. The U.S. bishops have a document that helps us do this called “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” Where we go off the rails is when we consider all of the above and then posit that the only purpose of voting is winning, or worse, that we do not fulfill our moral obligation

unless we vote for someone who can win. That attitude is morally dangerous because it will lead to compromises that, in the world of politics, will result in Catholics defending the indefensible. As an example, Blessed Franz Jägerstätter was a farmer in St. Radegund, Austria, and was the only man in his village to vote against the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938. His friends, his pastor and the cardinal archbishop of Vienna argued that Austrians faced a binary choice: either the Nazis or the Communists. The lesser of the two evils were the Nazis – so argued Cardinal Theodor Innitzer – and so Catholics should vote for the Anschluss and thus the Nazi regime. Franz rejected that formulation and resisted being conscripted into the Nazi war machine. For this he lost his life. Our choices today are not that stark. But that is not my point. Neither is my point

that Catholics cannot vote for candidates in either of the two major political parties. Rather, the point is first that we should be wary of those who present us with binary formulations in politics. Second, we ought not be fooled into thinking that political success is synonymous with faithfully executing our moral obligation to vote. Third, when a Catholic is true to his or her own well-formed conscience, we ought to support them, not mock them as having wasted their vote. In the coming year, I will pray that Blessed Franz Jägerstätter intercedes for us and our consciences as we prepare to advance a Catholic vision for the common good in what is sure to be a difficult election. I hope you will join me. Deacon Omar Gutiérrez is director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the Archdiocese of Omaha. Contact him at ofgutierrez@ archomaha.org.

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New Year’s resolutions for concerned Catholics: a few suggestions

uring and after the grim martial law period in the early 1980s, many freedomminded Poles would greet each other on Jan. 1 with a sardonic wish: “May the new year be better than you know it’s going to be!” As 2020 opens, that salutation might well be adopted by Catholics concerned about the future of the church, for more hard news is coming. So let’s get some of that out of the way, preemptively, before considering some resolutions that might help us all deal with the year ahead in faith, hope and charity. Financial scandals in the Vatican will intensify. It’s been clear for some months now that the dam of secrecy, masking irresponsibility (and worse), is cracking. So expect more disturbing revelations about corrupt self-dealing, misuse of charitable funds, stupid investments, and general incompetence behind the Leonine Wall. Vatican diplomacy will continue to disappoint. And the disappointed will include all who care about the human rights the church proclaims in its social doctrine. Over the past six years, Holy See diplomacy has failed in Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Burma, Cuba, China and Venezuela. 2020 seems unlikely to see a more robust Vatican defense of human rights. But it will likely witness more extreme Vatican positions on climate change and migrants; as it’s done in the past, that absolutism will help shrink the space for devising reasonable approaches to these issues. A report on the career of Theodore McCarrick will be issued by the Holy See. The report will please no one. Amid the cacophony that will follow its

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The Catholic Difference GEORGE WEIGEL release, it will be important to remember three salient truths about this tawdry business: Psychopaths fool people; McCarrick was a psychopath; and McCarrick fooled many people for decades, including wise and holy people, wealthy donors who fell for his “Going My Way act,” and his former friends on the port side of U.S. and world Catholicism. Aggressive and politically motivated state attorneys general will continue to issue reports on historic sexual abuse cases. The response from cowed church leaders will be tepid, at best. And what will get lost again – as it got lost after the nowparadigmatic Pennsylvania attorney general’s report – are two realities ignored by too many media outlets, too many institutions with responsibility for the safety of the young, and too many Catholics: that the Catholic Church today is arguably the safest environment for young people in the country; and that, from bitter experience, the Catholic Church has learned some things about creating safe environments from which the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, public schools and public school teachers’ unions could all learn. And the suggested resolutions? Resolve to be a missionary disciple at the retail level. Amidst these and other troubles, concerned Catholics constantly ask me, “What can I do?” To which I always respond, “Between now and next Easter, try and bring at least five disaffected Catholics back to Sunday Mass, and try to introduce at least one unevangelized person to Christ.” Retail evangelization is essential

to authentic Catholic reform; it’s also deeply satisfying. Let’s get on with it, irrespective of the troubles. Resolve to limit your exposure to the Catholic blogosphere. In 2019, many Catholic websites went bonkers. There is no need to click on sites that specialize in all-hysteria or all-propaganda all-the-time. If you want reliable Catholic news, visit the websites of Catholic News Agency and the National Catholic Register. If you want sane commentary on the turbulent Catholic scene, go to the websites of Catholic World Report, First Things and The Catholic Thing. That’s more than enough for anyone. Limiting your blogosphere browsing to these sites, while ignoring the hysteria-mongers and propagandists, will lower your blood pressure while keeping you well-informed. Resolve to intensify your prayer for the vindication of Cardinal George Pell. This innocent man’s false conviction will be contested before Australia’s High Court in the first quarter of 2020. Pray that justice is done, that Australia’s reputation as a country governed by the rule of law is restored, and that the cardinal is enabled to resume his crucial role in Catholic affairs. Resolve to deepen your spiritual life by serious spiritual reading. A good place to be start would be a recently published book by Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, OP: “Grace in Season – The Riches of the Gospel in Seventy Sermons.” Resolve to thank the good priests and bishops you know for their sacrifice and service. They deserve it. And may 2020 be a year full of grace for everyone. (We’ll all need it.) George Weigel is distinguished senior fellow and William E. Simon chair in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

JANUARY 10, 2020

» 15

Synchrony and culture


ast month I paid a visit to Bar-Ilan University in Israel for a discussion about the role of faith in higher education. Bar-Ilan is distinctive among Israeli universities in its ambition to fuse a reverence for its Jewish legacy with rigorous academics. Its religious inspiration is easy to spot. It helps define the landscape of the campus – a patio built in the form of a temple, a garden shaped like a menorah. A number of the male students wear kippas. Some of the married women (especially the younger women) cover their hair. The university website has a weekly Torah portion. But alongside all this is evidence of change. The website welcomes “students from all over Israel; secular and religious; Jews and non-Jews.” It speaks of diversity, tolerance and civility as the paramount virtues. Students at BarIlan, it goes on to say, will “learn to assume social responsibility.” My host at Bar-Ilan, Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport, is a descendant of a prominent rabbinic family. He has devoted much of his life to exploring the intersection of Torah studies with science and culture. But he has experienced what we see at many Catholic colleges and universities in the United States – an increasing secularization of the intellectual life. We discussed ways in which religion might become a more integral part of the business of higher education, at least at institutions founded for that purpose, like our own. We are not the army, so we can’t promote faith by fiat. The best we can do is build faculties committed to our project and hope that the beauty of what they offer will appeal to young minds. We also talked about whether our university work could have a transformative effect on the culture. This seems like an unrealistic ambition – like trying to raise the temperature of the ocean by adding a tub or two of warm bathwater. Yet there are hopeful counterexamples. I mentioned the Great Awakenings that occurred in

Intellect and Virtue


America in the 18th and 19th centuries. They changed a culture that was greatly colored by Enlightenment rationalism. Rabbi Rappaport shared a more interesting image. He pointed to examples in nature where independent entities have been observed to synchronize their actions. Fireflies in Thailand can flash in unison at a constant tempo. Cells in the sinoatrial node around the heart, about 10,000 or them, oscillate in rhythm for years. What’s interesting about these cases is that the individual actors (fireflies, cells) are not responding to a single director, as to a symphony conductor or an army drill sergeant. They synchronize by communicating with each other, through light flashes or electrical impulses. Think of “the wave” at football games, another case of independently coordinated group action where the members communicate to neighbors by sight and sound. It is important in these cases that there be a critical mass acting in synchrony to get things started. This is true of riots and stock market panics as well as more benign phenomena. And you can see where the metaphor (if that’s what it is) is going: Our universities might be the critical mass. But this kind of spontaneous ordering happens even among nonliving things. Lasers are synchronized light waves that result from stimulated emissions from atoms. This seems to contradict the principle of entropy – that systems in the universe inevitably tend toward disorder. Maybe there is another force at work. The rabbi, a man of deep faith, was open to the possibility that our meager efforts could change the world for the better, though we might never know how. Garvey is president of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @CatholicPres. Catholic University’s website is www.cua.edu.


16 « JANUARY 10, 2020 The following mortuaries place notices for their Catholic services in the Catholic Voice: Bethany, La Vista; Korisko Larkin Staskiewicz, Crosby Burket Swanson Golden, John A. Gentleman, Heafey-HoffmannDworak-Cutler, Kremer, John E. Johnston and Son, Roeder, all in Omaha; Bellevue Memorial Chapel, Bellevue; Stokely, West Point and Dodge. If you would like to have your loved one included in Resurrection Joy, have your funeral home director contact the Catholic Voice, 402-5586611. There is a nominal charge. AGBOZO-Messangan “Messi”, 34, Lomé, Togo. Funeral service Dec. 14 at St. Gerald Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER AGERSON-Tina Marie (Mancuso), 44. Funeral service and interment Dec. 12 at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Survived by parents, Nancy and Frank Mancuso; brother, Brian Mancuso; sons, Scott Mancuso and Mark Mancuso. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER AXELSON-Margaret “Peg” Jane (Russell), 85. Funeral service Dec. 27 at St. James Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Hubert and Evelyn Russell; brother, Bob Russell. Survived by husband, Ken Axelson; children and spouses, Mark and Dawn Axelson, Kevin Axelson, Rick Axelson, and MaryAnne and Tom Comerford; three grandchildren; Mary Beth McKee; sponsor child, Brian Ogero, Nairobi, Kenya. Memorials to St. James/Seton School and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. ROEDER MORTUARY BASSO-Christine M. “Chris”, 70. Private funeral service. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Sebastiano Basso. Survived by children and spouse, Anna and Nick Hardy, and Joseph Basso; three grandchildren; sister-in-law and brother-inlaw, Connie and Frank Bemis; niece. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER COOPER-Catherine Angela “Kitty”, 84. Funeral service Dec. 17 at Holy Name Church. Preceded in death by son, Harry Cooper; parents, Leon and Harry Edith Binyard. Survived by children and spouses, Catherine Gordon, Rita Cooper, Harleynda and Ivan Wilcox, Carla Cooper, Harley Cooper, Rhonda and Gabriel Sanchez, Giesila and Thomas McGuire, Samuel and Calandra Cooper, Daniel and Kristinia Cooper, Monika Cooper, Erika Turner, and Benno and Kai Cooper; 39 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN COUGHLIN-Kristi L., 55. Funeral service Dec. 30 at St. John Church on Creighton University campus. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by mother, Donna M. Firkins. Survived by husband, Douglas M. Coughlin; children, Ava Coughlin and Michael (Mickey) Coughlin; father, Norman L. Firkins; brothers and sisters-in-law, Michael and Jennifer Firkins, Jason and Katya Firkins, and Jon Firkins; family; friends. Memorials to the Institute for Priestly Formation. ROEDER MORTUARY

CROUCHLEY-Daniel G., 69. Funeral Mass Dec. 18 at St. John Church on Creighton University campus. Preceded in death by parents, Col. Edward A. Crouchley, USAF (Ret), and Mary Stafford Crouchley. Survived by wife, Maureen Shanahan Crouchley; daughters and sons-in-law, Mary “Molly” and Dave Cihal, and Anne Crouchley and Ansel Wallenfang, Portland, Oregon; siblings and spouses, Edward “Ted” and Jean Crouchley, John “Jay” and Carol Crouchley, Barbara and Michael Noyes, and Joan Crouchley and Steve Sidner; nieces; nephew. Memorials to Habitat for Humanity or Omaha Salvation Army. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER DAVIS-Lavaaron L., 53. Funeral Mass Dec. 20 at Mary Our Queen Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Survived by wife, Patrice L. Davis; children and spouse, Aaron Davis, Austin Davis, and Mike and Angela McKay; two grandchildren; siblings, LaVonne Squires and Lorin Davis; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER DUNLAP-James R., M.D., 89. Funeral Mass Dec. 20 at Christ the King Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by son, Timothy G. Dunlap. Survived by wife, Joan M. Dunlap; children and spouses, Mary and Harry Capadano, Thomas Sr. and Janice Dunlap, Patrick J. Dunlap, Margaret and Ophill D’Costa, James R. Jr. and Margie Dunlap, Suzanne and Douglas Carl, Monica and Joe Thiel, Amy and Steve Dickas, Jennifer and Mike Livingston, Allison Dunlap, and Maria Dunlap; 34 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. Memorials to Archdiocese of Omaha Seminary Fund, Madonna School, Institute for Priestly Formation, Creighton Preparatory School, Christ the King Church or Masses. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER EVERT-Diane Rita, 61. Funeral Mass Dec. 16 at St. Mary Church, West Point. Interment St. Michael Cemetery, West Point. Preceded in death by parents, Edward and Coletta (Ulrich) Meiergerd; parents-in-law, Frank and Wilhelmina Evert. Survived by husband, Mark, West Point; children, Kristin (Chris) Wagner, Omaha, Jackie (Mike) Kannas, Des Moines, Iowa, and Jeff Evert (fiancé Katelyn Lee), Omaha; three grandchildren; siblings, Joann (Bill) Kreikemeier, West Point, Eileen (John) Chekal, Omaha, Karen (Jerome) Baumert, Howells, Judy (Jim) Perry, West Point, David (Mary Beth) Evert, Lincoln, Gerald (Karen) Evert, Dodge, and Ralph (Mindy) Evert, West Point. Memorials to the Guardian Angels Central Catholic Schools Endowment or St. Mary Church Endowment. STOKELY FUNERAL HOME FANGMAN-Barbara A., 88. Funeral Mass Dec. 21 at St. Patrick Church, Elkhorn. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Ed; great-grandchild, Benjamin; parents, Frank and Vera Smith; siblings, Joseph Smith, Nettie Vipond and Frances McCracken. Survived by children and spouse, Jann and Thomas Haller, and Karin Fangman; Connie McCabe; three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. Memorials to Siena Francis House, Boys Town or the Nebraska Humane Society. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

Over a Century of Service…

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED GARTIGAS-Richard J., 81. Funeral service Dec. 16 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by parents; sister, Irene Gartigas. Survived by sisters, Wanda Wolczak, Marija Radziunas, Elena Mickus and Hedy Gartigas; nieces; nephews. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME GRIM-Tobin H. “Toby”, 82. Funeral Mass Dec. 20 at St. Stanislaus Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by wife, Janet; parents Fredrick and Florence; brother, Fredrick Jr. Survived by children, Scott (Lena) Grim, Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, Robert (Criselda) Grim, Navarre, Florida, Charlotte Grim, Topeka, Kansas, John (Nancy) Grim, Bartlett, Illinois, Roxanna (Scott) Partridge, Fremont, Carrie (Jeff) Boynton, Omaha, Michael (Bridget) Grim, Fort Mill, South Carolina. 16 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; brother of the late Patty and Bob Singer, Jackie (Vince) Delmedico; Patsy (the late Tom) Taylor, Pete (Sandy) Hackett, Doug (Patti) Grim, the late Jane (Raymond) Roth, Kathleen “Butchy” (Dick) Stahl, Carrie (the late Tom) Merritt and Mollie (Bill) Beatty. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME HAYDEN-MITTLIEDER-Dorothy A., 77. Funeral service Dec. 19 at Roeder Mortuary. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by grandsons, Brian Slobotski and Brian Hayden. Survived by husband, Herb; children and spouses, Linda and Bart Schoening, Sandy and Kent Day, Brenda Wheeler, Patrick and Lill-Ann Hayden, Michael Hayden, Troy and Diane Mittlieder, Nicki and Jeremy Martin, Holly Daniels, and Johnnie and Laura Hayden; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; sister, Kathy Iske; family; friends. ROEDER MORTUARY HEAFEY-Joan C. (Reefe), 88. Funeral Mass Dec. 17 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Survived by husband, Thomas P. Heafey; children, Kathleen Boyle (Charlie), Colleen Langenfeld (Michael Langenfeld M.D.), Margaret M. Heafey, and Morgan J. Heafey (Claire Thiel); four grandchildren; siblings, Maureen Caniglia, William Reefe, M.D., and John J. Reefe (Sharon); nieces; nephews; cousins. Memorials to Poor Clare Sisters, Columban Fathers or Servants of Mary. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HEAVEY-John H., 64. Funeral service Dec. 30 at Immaculate Conception Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, William Sr. and Dorothy Heavey. Survived by children, Patrick, Anna and Joseph Heavey; children’s mother, Sherri Heavey; siblings and spouses, Michael and Teresa Heavey, Patricia and Joe Schaefer, Mark Heavey, Nancy and Mark Chase, and William Jr. and Susan Heavey; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Immaculate Conception Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HEIMANN-Joseph S., 72. Funeral Mass Dec. 18 at St. James Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Viola and Sylvester Heimann. Survived by wife, Kathleen Jane “Kitty”; children and spouses, Cynthia and Bill Harms, Christine Heimann, Mary Beth and Mike McGrath, and Patrick Heimann; sisters and brothersin-law, Janie and Jerry Sander, Kathy Moser, and Judy and John Morris; nieces; nephews. Memorials to St. James Church, American Cancer Society, Scotus Central Junior/Senior High School or Masses. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER


HUG-Harold C., Sr., 92. Funeral service Dec. 28 at Holy Cross Church. Preceded in death by parents, Fred Hug and Helen Hug (Hrabik); siblings, Fred Hug, Helen Hug, Dorothy Wasielewski, Delores Garfield, Donald Hug, Janet Heldt, Judy Larsen and Donna Johnson. Survived by wife, Rita; children, Sonny (Lori), Ron (Lori), Frances (Paul) Engelstad, Stephen, Allen (Laurie), and Doug (Ausha); Tom; 11 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; brothers, Robert Hug and Ralph Hug; brother-in-law, Richard Saitta Jr.; sister-in-law, Zophia Hug; Jim Noble; nieces; nephews; cousins; friends. Memorials to one’s choice. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HUTFLESS-Ronald S., 80. Funeral service Dec. 30 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church. Interment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Raymond and Grace; brothers, Raymond, Robert, George, James and David. Survived by wife, Lois (Renner); children and spouses, Ronald Hutfless, Matthew Hutfless, Eric Hutfless, Deborah and Mike Schmoll, and Vicki and Steve Boro; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sisters and brother-in-law, Joyce Marlenee, and Marlene and Ron Ingram; nieces; nephews. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME JOHNSON-John Joseph (Jay) Ph.D., 90. Funeral service Dec. 14 at New Cassel Retirement Center Chapel. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents; brothers-in-law, Robert Bowman and James Fowler; nephew, John (Jay) Johnson. Survived by siblings and spouses, George and Margaret Johnson, Margaret Bowman, Richard and Janet Johnson, Gertrude Fowler, and Mary Claire Owen; 24 nieces, nephews; great-nieces; great-nephews; greatgreat-nieces; great-great-nephews. Memorials to St. Mary’s University, 700 Terrace Heights, Winona, MN 55987. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN KENNEDY-Patricia C. “Patty”, 77. Funeral Mass Dec. 27 at Holy Cross Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Survived by husband, Bill Kennedy; children, Kathy Kennedy Smith (Cliff), John Kennedy (Marci Coates), Karen A. Murray, and Kelly Tracer (Matt); eight grandchildren; brother, Francis Jensen (Sue). Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER KILTON-Edward J., 77. Funeral service Dec. 30 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by wife, Patricia “Dolly.” Survived by children and spouses, Kelly and Aaron Nanfito, and Kraig and Angela Kilton; six grandchildren; great-granddaughter; siblings, Bernadette Armbrust, Theresa Mikkelson and James Kilton. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME KIRBY-Edward P., 96. Funeral Mass Dec. 23 at Holy Cross Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Marion I. Kirby; son, Michael Kirby. Survived by daughters, Mary Ann Miller, Karen Timoney, Jackie Kirby and Catherine McCann; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER KLAMMER-Joseph F., 94. Funeral Mass Dec. 19 at St. John Church on Creighton University campus. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by parents, Aloys and Sophie Klammer; sisters and brother-in-law, Marie and Ted Kubicz, and Hedwig Klammer. Survived by brother, Thomas; Alba Vidak. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER KLOSTE R M AN - Kathleen “ S uzie” (Tjaden), 66. Funeral Mass Dec. 28 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Helen and Harold Tjaden. Survived by husband, Don; children, Bridget and Joe; Colin; siblings and spouses, Michaela and Jim Warden, Patricia and Mark Flack, Margaret and John Welch, Kurt and Ann Tjaden, Bridget and Paul Erickson, Chris and Janine Tjaden, and Greg and Nancy Tjaden; family; friends. Memorials to CUES, V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School or Mount Saint Scholastica Benedictine Nuns. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

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MINER-Marie C., 92. Funeral Mass at a later date at St. Leo Church, Grand Island. Preceded in death by parents, Dr. William J. and Irene E. (Huet) Moslander; husband, Richard; sister, Bette Moslander. Survived by children and spouses, Rick and Jane Miner, Bill Miner, Ann and Vic Covalt, and Dan and Anne Miner; seven grandchildren; one great grandson; sister, Margaret Thull; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia, Kansas, https://www. csjkansas.org/ or Christmas Cheer in Grand Island, c/o The Grand Island Independent, 422 W. First St., Grand Island, NE 68801. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER MORTENSEN-Ronald A., 82. Funeral service Dec. 19 at St. Patrick Church, Elkhorn. Survived by wife, Julie A. Mortensen; children, Carolyn A. Samuelson (Greg), David A. Mortensen (Lisa), Steven G. Mortensen (Sammi) and Michael F. Mortensen (Lori); six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren. Memorials to the Omaha Parks Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER NICHOLAS-Jeanette A., 83. Funeral Mass Dec. 30 at St. Mary Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by husbands, Randall Nicholas and Donald Chesler. Survived by daughters, Peggy Chesler and Jodi Chesler; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; siblings and spouse, Gary and Bobbie Kafka, Patricia (Patty) Barone, and Nadine Walton. Memorials to the family. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME O’NEIL-Ollis Lindsey, 79. Funeral service and interment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Richard J. O’Neil; parents, Charles S. and Earline (Mills) Smith; step-father, Reverend Jordan Allen Lindsey Jr.; brother-in-law, Donald; sister-in-law, Joan McWhirter. Survived by daughters and sonin-law, Sharon and Jeffrey Kazmierski, and Erin O’Neil; two granddaughters; siblings and spouse, Sidney Caldwell, Jay and Carlena Lindsey, and Martin Lindsey; sisters-in-law, Janice O’Neil and Mary Lynne O’Neil. Memorials to the United Methodist Committee on Relief. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN PARTUSCH-Joseph John III, 77. Funeral Mass Dec. 13 at St. Joan of Arc Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Rose and Joe Partusch Jr.; brother, Father Frank Partusch. Survived by wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Partusch; children and spouses, Matthew and Ami Partusch, and Kathryn and Joey Mims; brothers and sisters-in-law, Bill and Mary Partusch, Jim and Ola Partusch, and Tony and Lorni Partusch; three grandchildren; relatives; friends. Memorials to the Parkinson’s Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER REISDORFF-Richard H., 83. Funeral service Dec. 18 at the funeral home. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Shirley; brother, Bim. Survived by children and spouses, Sandi and Fred Krayneski, Mary Kay and Doug Pech, Susie and Jim Ocander, Mark Reisdorff, and Rich and Theresa Reisdorff; sister and brother-in-law, Marge “Babe” and Jerry Demont; 13 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. BETHANY FUNERAL HOME RILEY-Mary Sue, 86. Funeral Mass Dec. 28 at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Edward J. Riley; parents, Susan and Mike Sullivan. Survived by children and spouses, Steve and Mary Jo Riley, Vince and Lan Riley, Sheila and Bernie Turbes, Keith and Juliann Riley, and Mary Lynn and Bob Kardell; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; siblings and spouses, Mike and Marilyn Sullivan, John and Susan Sullivan, Kathleen and David Black, Eileen and Carl Hedberg; nieces; friends. Memorials to St. Cecilia School. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER ROWEN-Kathleen Murphy “Kathy”, 74. Funeral Mass Dec. 20 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, James Thomas “Tom” Rowen; parents, Charles Thomas Murphy and Kathleen Hatch Murphy; brother, Thomas Charles Murphy. Survived by children and spouses, Kelly and Scott Gage, Loch Lloyd, Missouri, Molly and Adam Carroll, Bend, Oregon, Tommy and Meghan Rowen, Omaha, Michael and Christie Rowen, St. Louis, and Leo and Betsy Rowen, Denver; 12 grandchildren; brothers and sistersin-law, Robert and Diane Murphy, and Dave and Pam Murphy; brother-in-law and spouse, James and Terri Rowen; sisters-in-law, Anne Murphy, Kate Rowen and Judy Johnson; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Little Sisters of the Poor. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER SHRAUGER-Virginia Moore, 97. Funeral Mass Dec. 21 at St. Bernard Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, George and Bessie Moore; son, Dennis Shrauger. Survived by daughter, Mary Shrauger; daughter-in-law, Kathy Nolan Shrauger; two grandsons; four great-grandsons. Memorials to Partners in Care Hospice, 2075 NE Wyatt Ct., Bend, OR, 97701 or Equine Outreach, 60335 Arnold Market, Bend, OR, 97702. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

Continued on Page 17 >>


Deacon Huck was committed to serving the poor Catholic Voice

Deacon John Huck, who served at St. Mary and St. Matthew the Evangelist parishes in Bellevue, died Dec. 9. He was 82. A funeral Mass was held Dec. 20 at St. Mary Church, with interment at Omaha National Cemetery. Deacon Huck, a 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran, was ordained a deaDEACON con in 1980. JOHN Serving the HUCK poor was at the heart of his ministry, said fellow deacon and friend Deacon Charles L’Archevesque, also of St. Mary Parish. Deacon Huck was a member of the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society conference, administrator of the Bellevue Food Pantry, volunteered with the Bellevue Ministerial Association and was named Bellevue Person of the Year in 1997. >> Continued from Page 16 SLOBOTSKI-Michael J. “Mike”, 59. Funeral Mass Dec. 21 at St. Pius X Church. Interment LaPlatte Cemetery, LaPlatte, Nebraska. Preceded in death by parents, Walter Sr. and Alice Slobotski; son, Brian Slobotski; mother-in-law, Juanita (Micki) Zabel. Survived by wife, Shannon Slobotski; sons and families, David, Kelsie, Carter, Camryn, and Bodie, and Matthew, Kaylee, and Emily; siblings and spouses, Walt (Joan) Slobotski, John (Debby) Slobotski, Kathleen (Merle) Plantenberg, and Susan (Michael) Jacobberger; fatherin-law, Mike Zabel-CBB; brothers-in-law, Nick (Sara) Kelley and Jeff Kelley; sisters-in-law, Laura (Tom) Gaffney and Dawn Kelley (Lonnie); 28 nieces, nephews; 29 great-nieces, nephews. Memorials to Heartland Food Bank, Siena Francis House, Open Door Mission or St. Pius X Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

“He felt a tremendous connection to the poor of Bellevue and Sarpy County,” Deacon L’Archevesque said, “and took seriously the exhortation of Christ to help them.” Deacon Huck’s ministry also included performing baptisms and assisting at Mass, until a couple years ago when physical limitations made serving more difficult. “John was an extremely outgoing person with a great sense of humor,” Deacon L’Archevesque said. “He had a heart of gold, and wanted to bring the love of God to a wider group of people. His loss leaves a big hole in the community.” Deacon Huck was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph, and is survived by wife, Beverly; children and spouses, Pamela and Kevin Hughes, Libby and Tony Leute, Matthew and Connie Huck, Jennifer and Greg Bardsley, and Michael and Eileen Huck; 18 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

TOMLINSON-Stefanie E., 86. Funeral Mass Jan. 3 at St. Mary Church. Interment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by daughter, Debra Tomlinson Hartmann. Survived by husband, Jon; daughter and sonin-law, Marion and Ray Williams; two grandchildren. Memorials to the American Cancer Society. BELLEVUE MEMORIAL CHAPEL WEIDNER-Florence M., 83. Funeral Mass Dec. 21 at St. Columbkille Church, Papillion. Survived by husband, Ray J. Weidner; children and spouse, Colleen Jenney, Theresa Karnish, Doug Weidner, Ray and Jeannine Weidner, Ron Weidner, and Diane Weidner; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER WIDTFELDT-Thomas A., 73. Funeral Mass Dec. 23 at St. John Vianney Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by father, Dana “Woody” Widtfeldt. Survived by wife, Diane; children and spouses, Eric and Daniella Widtfeldt, and Jill and Jason Unger; six grandchildren; mother, Doris Widtfeldt; brothers and sisters-in law, Jerry and Debra Widtfeldt, and Robert and Connie Widtfeldt. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

STOYSICH-Rita (Pawlowicz), 92. Funeral Mass Dec. 28 at St. Stanislaus Church. Entombment Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum. Preceded in death by husband, Rudy; siblings, Felicia Pawlusiak, Frances Bukowski, Mae Skudlarek and Fredrick Pawlowicz. Survived by children and spouses, Norman and Cathy Stoysich, Patty and Geoff Hammond, and Ken and Michelle Stoysich; four grandchildren; great-granddaughter; sister, Decatholic voice ad.pdf 1 1/3/20 lores Fortwengler; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME

3:31 PM

35th Annual Cathedral Flower Festival

For Everything a Season Celebrating all occasions and honoring our florists

JANUARY 10, 2020

Sister Marie Janet served at Omaha schools Catholic Voice

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Marie Janet Meis, whose 74 years of religious life included teaching at Catholic schools in Omaha, died Dec. 25 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin. SISTER She was 94. A funeral MARIE Mass was held JANET MEIS Dec. 31 at the order’s motherhouse in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, followed by burial in the mother-

house cemetery. A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, she professed first vows in 1945 and final vows in 1948. Sister Marie Janet taught for 30 years and served as a principal for 15 years, including at Catholic schools in the archdioceses of Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver, and the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. In Omaha, she taught at Sacred Heart School in 1968, and the former St. Richard School from 1969 to 1972. She also served as principal at St. Richard

from 1972 to 1979. Sister Marie Janet served her order as co-director of the Dominican Education Center and secretary for and assistant to the Western Province team in Sinsinawa. She was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Margaret (Unthank) Meis, sisters, Margaret Wachtler, Joan Kuehl, Janet Abdo, Virginia Toohey and Mwarian Halpine, and a brother, Fred Meis. She is survived by nieces, nephews and her Dominican Sisters.

Sister Carmelita served in Omaha and South Dakota Catholic Voice

Notre Dame Sister Carmelita Smisek, who taught for 39 years and served with Native Americans for 33 years, died Dec. 29 in Omaha. She was 95. A funeral service was held Jan. 6 SISTER at the Notre Dame CARMELITA Chapel with inter- SMISEK ment in Calvary Cemetery, both in Omaha. Born in Omaha, Sister Carmelita began her 72 years of religious life in 1945, professing first vows

in 1947 and final vows in 1950. She served as a homemaker for her order from 1947 to 1948, and as directress for boarders at the former Notre Dame Grade School in Omaha from 1949 to 1951. Sister Carmelita began her teaching career in 1964 at St. John Neumann School in Clarkson, then the former St. Therese School in Omaha from 1966 to 1969. She also taught at schools in the Lincoln and Dubuque, Iowa, dioceses. Her teaching career also included serving as a reading specialist at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School in Porcupine, South Dakota, and St. Francis Mis-

sion in St. Francis, South Dakota. The Native American community awarded her the honorary title of “Holy White Buffalo Woman” for her care and presence to the students and families she served. Sister Carmelita retired to the Notre Dame motherhouse in Omaha in 1997 where she assisted with hospitality, sacristan work and kitchen service. In 2012 she moved to Notre Dame Housing, and later to Immanuel Fontenelle Nursing Home. She is survived by her nephew, Charles Smisek of Phoenix, numerous cousins and friends, and the Notre Dame sisters.

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS Classified ads will be accepted up until noon on Tuesday, Jan. 14, for the Jan. 24 issue. All classified ads must be paid in advance, unless credit has been approved. Ad requests partially paid will receive an invoice for balance due. If ad requests are not fully paid within 30 days of receipt, any monies received will be returned. Ad requests sent anonymously and not fully paid will be considered a donation, without the ad being published. COSTS: Up to 5 lines $13.00, each additional line $2.50. Approximately 27 characters/ spaces per line. Display classified open rate $24.95 per column inch. To place your classified ad, mail to: Classified Advertising, Catholic Voice, P.O. Box 641250, Omaha, NE 68164-3817 or visit catholicvoiceomaha.com.





Our Lady of the Presentation, a dynamic and growing parish located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, seeks a faithlled principal with proven leadership skills and a commitment to Catholic education for its K-8 grade school serving more than 470 students with approximately 50 staff members. Our Lady of the Presentation is an accredited, nationally recognized Blue Ribbon elementary school that strives to educate the whole child. Qualied candidates must be a practicing Catholic with Administrative certication or the ability to become certied. Candidates must also have teaching and administration experience. Applications close on January 15, 2020. Applications may be made to the Catholic Schools Office on the website at: https://careers.hireology.com/ thecatholicdioceseofkansascitystjoseph/352738/description




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ANNOUNCEMENTS St. Jude Novena May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, helper of the hopeless, pray for us. Pray 9 times a day and by the 8th day your favor will be granted. Never known to fail. This prayer must be published after the favor is granted. - ACS


18 « JANUARY 10, 2020 EVENTS Embrace Grace: Mondays, Jan. 13-March 30 (except March 16), 6:30-8 p.m. at St. Gerald Church, 9602 Q St., Omaha. A small-group ministry to provide emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young pregnant women with an unplanned pregnancy. Contact Bernadette Costello at 402-9603259 or bcostello31@icloud.com. Ablaze Worship and Healing Mass: Jan. 15, Ablaze praise and worship at 6:30 p.m., His Global Love Prayer Community’s healing Mass with Fr. Kevin Joyce from 7-8:30 p.m., both at St. Bernard Parish, 3601 N. 65th St. All are welcome. Contact Marie Peri at 402451-1974 for more information. The Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (OACCW) – 2020 OACCW College Scholarship: The OACCW and its deaneries are accepting scholarship applications from high school senior, Catholic girls planning to attend college/university. Contact Kim Estes at 402340-2866 or 402-924-3125 for details. Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 15, 2020. Catholic Business Group – Monthly Luncheon Meeting: Jan. 16, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Champion’s Run Country Club, 138th and Eagle Run Drive, Omaha. Group goals are to uphold Catholic beliefs in daily life, to gather with others seeking a more ethical business environment and to enhance spirituality in the workplace. Reservations required for every monthly meeting. Register at http:// cpbcomaha.org/reservations/ or email CatholicBusinessClub@gmail.com. Nebraska Walk For Life: Jan. 18, 10 a.m. at the State Capitol, 1445 K St., Lincoln. Walk from the capitol to the UNL student union to support the unborn. Keynote speakers Jennifer and Jeff Christie at noon. Sponsored by Nebraska Right to Life. Mass at 9 a.m. at St. Mary Church, 14th & K streets. Theology Day – “The Journey of Loss and Grief”: Jan. 19, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. John Vianney Church, 5801 Oak Hills Drive, Omaha. Speaker is Kathleen Cahalan, author, professor of practical theology at St. John’s University School of Theology and Seminary and director of the Collegeville Institute Seminars in Collegeville, Minnesota. Learn about the journey of grief and how to take it in a faithful way. No cost; lunch provided. Registration required at www.

CATHOLIC COMMUNITY CALENDAR Your guide to activities & events around the archdiocese Catholic Community Calendar is a listing of events from the parishes, schools, institutions and organizations in the Archdiocese of Omaha. SUBMIT » Include date, start and end times, street addresses, description of event and contact information. Items published up to two times as space allows. Notices may be sent three ways: MAIL » Catholic Community Calendar, Catholic Voice, P.O. Box 641250, Omaha, NE 68164-3817

collegevilleMN.com/theologyday, or call 320-363-3560. Fiesta Señor 2020: Jan. 19, 11:30 a.m. at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. All are invited to this celebration honoring Señor Santo Niño de Cebu. Includes Mass, a traditional procession and authentic Filipino cuisine, as well as colorful performances and dances. For more information about Señor Santo Niño de Cebu visit https:// santoninodecebubasilica.org/ or contact Stephen at 402-558-2218 or Ben at 402-2131420. Couple to Couple League – Natural Family Planning: The series of three classes begins Jan. 19 with subsequent classes on Feb. 16 and Mar. 15, 2-4:30 p.m. at St. Stephen the Martyr Church, 16701 ‘S’ St., Omaha. Teaching couple is Jason and Lynnette Oberg. Go to www.ccli.org for more information and to register. Seven Sisters Apostolate Information Meeting: Jan. 25. Mass at 8 a.m. with meeting to follow at St. Patrick Church parish hall, 3400 E. 16th St., Fremont. Are you looking for a way to help the priest(s) at your parish? Come learn more about the Seven Sisters Apostolate from its founder, Janette Howe. Inviting all women of the archdiocese. Refreshments provided. Contact Katie Keller at 402-575-9216 with questions. Additional information at: sevensistersapostolate.org Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast: Jan. 26, 8 a.m. to noon at St. Philip NeriBlessed Sacrament parish center, 8200 N. 30th St., Omaha.

FAX » 402-558-6614 EMAIL » tcvomaha@archomaha.org Notices cannot be taken by phone. DEADLINES » Deadline for the Jan. 24 issue is noon Tuesday, Jan. 14. ON THE WEB » Want to know what’s going on in the Archdiocese of Omaha? Visit Catholic Voice Online – catholicvoiceomaha.com – for more details and an updated list of archdiocesan activities.

Young Catholic Professionals – Holy Hour: Sundays through Feb. 23, 7-8 p.m. at Christ the King Church, in the Adoration Chapel on northeast side of church. No entry codes needed. All professionals in their 20s and 30s from every industry are invited. Caregivers’ Solution Group: Second Tuesday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Church, St. Vincent Room, 14330 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha. Call Nancy Flaherty at 402-312-9324 or Nicole Florez at 402-496-7988, ext. 221. Pater Noster Fraternity – Secular Franciscans: Secular men, women, married, single, diocesan priests. Formation classes third Sunday of every month, 11:30 a.m., potluck 1 p.m. and Fraternity gathering, all at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish’s Gonderinger Center, 16701 S St., Omaha. Contact Luis at 402-594-0710 or lalvarez62@yahoo.com or Kent at 402-339-6826 or kkriesberg@gmail. com. St. Clare Secular Franciscan Fraternity: Third Sunday of the month, 1 p.m. at Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare, 22625 Edgewater Road, Omaha. Call Ann or Larry at 402-493-6730. Pro Sanctity Adoration: Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pro Sanctity Center, 11002 N. 204th St., near Elkhorn. Pro-life Prayer Vigil: Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. and Monday – Friday, 8-11 a.m. at Bert Murphy Boulevard and Mission Avenue, Bellevue. Call Steve Zach at 402-558-2218.

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ROUNDUPS Saturday, February Saturday, Feb. 2 1 Kindergarten 9-10:30 9-10:30 a.m. Kindergarten a.m. Pre-Kindergarten a.m.-noon Pre-Kindergarten10:30 9:30-11:00 a.m.

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Our Pre-Kindergarten program is for children age 3 and 4. Parents may choose an academic-only three-day morning, five-day afternoon, or all day option for their 4-year-old. We also offer a two-day morning program for 3-year-olds and an all day kindergarten. St. Pius X / St. Leo School is a diverse community forming students in the Catholic faith to excel in academics and service to others.

Parish Mental Health Support Group: Meets first and third Thursday of each month, 1 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 508 W. Angus St., Gretna. All are welcome. Call Rose at 402-896-4693 or Elaine at 402-378-6252. Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites – The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Carmel Study Group: Second Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. to noon at St. John Vianney Church, 5801 Oak Hills Drive, Omaha. This group is composed of practicing members of the Catholic Church from many walks of life. Call Molly Anderson 402-676-6221 or Theresa Kottwitz at 402-440-2617. LaSalle Club – Single Catholic archdiocesan young adult group: For more information, see facebook.com/lasalleo, lasalleomaha.webs.com or email lasalleo@ aol.com. Be Not Afraid Family Hour: Sundays, 6-7 p.m. at Christ the King Church, 654 S. 86th St., Omaha. • Jan. 12: Let it Be Done to Me (reception following) • Jan. 19: Mary’s Charity • Jan. 26: Mother of God and Motherhood • Feb. 2: Presentation to the Lord • Feb. 9: Healing from the Loss of a Child • Feb. 16: The Church, Defender of Life

SCHOOLS St. Philip Neri School Open House: Jan. 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at 8202 N. 31st St. View the school, enjoy student demonstrations and singing. Full day preschool starting this fall. For more information, 402-315-3500 or spndev@spnschoolomaha.org

PARISHES St. Rose of Lima Parish’s “Champions of Faith” Unity Supper and Auction: Feb. 8 at the parish hall, Crofton. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. for silent auction bidding; 5 p.m. Mass; 6:30 p.m. supper; 7 p.m. grand auction. Door prizes, games and raffles. Cost $30/ person in advance, $35 at the door. Tickets available at St. Rose School, parish office, 402-388-4814, Crofton Farm Supply, Farmers and Merchant State Bank or Uptown Style. Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Adalbert – Holy Hour for Priests and Vocations: Tuesdays, 8:45 a.m. in the Sacred Heart Chapel (perpetual exposition) at 2110 S. 32nd Ave., Omaha. Enter in the northwest door by the ramp. For more information, call 402-3463584. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Holy Hour for Vocations: Thursdays, 6-7 p.m. at 5419 N. 114th St., Omaha. Call Shelly at 402-493-3006.

St. Joan of Arc – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Perpetual Adoration: at 74th and Grover, Omaha. Open 24 hours. St. Joan of Arc – Well-Read Mom Small Group: Second Sunday of each month, 2 p.m. at 74th and Grover, Omaha. Includes great books, spiritual classics, worthy reads, poetry and selected essays from the Catholic and Western traditions. $39.95 annual membership includes materials. Call 402-740-0004 for more information. St. Margaret Mary – Prayer and Praise Group: Mondays, 9:30-11 a.m. at the Suneg Center, 6116 Dodge St., Omaha. St. Peter – Eucharistic Adoration: Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 2706 Leavenworth St., Omaha. Use west wheelchair door. St. Peter – Chanted Vespers: Saturdays, 6:15 p.m. in Spanish; Sundays, 5 p.m. in English at 2706 Leavenworth St., Omaha. St. Robert Bellarmine – Daily Rosary and Mass for the Homebound: Monday through Saturday, 8:05 a.m. rosary, 8:30 a.m. Mass; Sunday 11 a.m. Mass. All available on demand online at stroberts.com. St. Vincent de Paul – Hour of Adoration: Third Sunday of each month, 3 p.m. at 14330 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha. Call Kathy at 402496-7988 or Mary at 402-496-0075.

SPIRITUALITY CENTERS Servite Center of Compassion, 7400 Military Ave., Omaha. To register, call 402-951-3026, email scc@osms.org or visit osms.org. • St. Peregrine Liturgy: Jan. 18, 11 a.m. in the chapel. For those and their loved ones dealing with cancer or other lifethreatening illnesses. No cost. • “Oh no! It’s cancer! What now?”: Jan. 25, 9-11 a.m. Sister Ann Marie Petrylka, OSM, and Brother Andrew Fuller, OSB, explore their own reactions and responses to their cancer news. Freewill offering. • A Retreat on the Beatitudes – Let Your Life Speak: Feb. 1, 9-11:30 a.m. Sister Marie Micheletto, RSM, leads reflection on the Be-attitudes and Beatitudes as a way of being, giving, receiving and letting one’s life speak. Cost $20. St. Benedict Center, three miles north of Schuyler. Call 402-352-8819, email retreats@ stbenedictcenter.com or register online at stbenedictcenter.com. Rooms $45 single; $37 double; meals are $27.65 per day; tax on rooms and meals. • The Spiritual Path – Setting Your Goals with God: Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m. to Jan. 25, 7:45 p.m. A retreat using Ignatian spirituality to review the past year and articulate goals for the coming year. $118.03 (Single), $110.43 (Double). • Men’s Retreat – Your Word is a Light for My Path (cf. Psalm 119:112): Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. to Feb. 2, 1 p.m. St. Benedict and other spiritual masters show how to put first things first, living a life of balance directed toward God. $216.56 (Single), $201.36 (Double). • Discover the Joy of Forgiveness: Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m. to Feb 15, 4 p.m. Identify and process the stages of forgiveness and healing. $118.03 (Single), $110.43 (Double). • Valentine’s Day Dinner: Feb. 16, 5-8 p.m. Married couples are invited for Mass and a four-course dinner. Cost $65 per couple, $60 early bird rate (before Feb. 3).

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News from around the archdiocese Catholic Schools encourage connections over coffee The archdiocese’s Catholic Schools Office had a Christmas challenge for 500 students, plus some teachers and archdiocesan employees. The office encouraged those involved to help people reconnect with someone, using a $5 gift card for coffee to help bring that about. “Give this gift to a neighbor, family member or friend and encourage them to reach out and spend some quality time catching up with someone they wish they talked to more this past year,” a message that accompanied the gift cards said. Some people gave the gift cards – stuffed inside a paper cup with the message – to strangers. Shelby Sweetmon, a teacher at Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue, and his wife, Michele, a campus minister at the school, took their three children on a special outing to share the gifts. Their children are Cadence, a sophomore at Gross; Colton, a fifth-grader at St. Columbkille School in Papillion; and Kelsey, a third-grader at St. Columbkille. The family found grateful

recipients: a homeless man in Lincoln, a security guard at an outlet mall in Gretna, a grandmother in the baby aisle of a Papillion store, and at the same store, a middle-aged shelf-stocker, a stressed-out mom and an overwhelmed dad. The recipients responded with thank yous, tear-filled eyes and requests for hugs. Julie McNamara, a guidance counselor at Gross, and her daughter, Casslyn, a junior at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, added some chocolate kisses and their own message to the cups containing the gift cards. They left one for the next person in line at a drive-through and for a man busy teaching another man with special needs. They also handed the gift cup to a couple out Christmas shopping. “We wish we had 100 cups to hand out,” McNamara wrote to the schools office. “Everybody deserves kindness! When we were done handing out our cups, we agreed that was the best day ever!” Participants included students at St. Joan of Arc School in Omaha and St. Mary in Wayne, middle school students at St. Philip Neri in Omaha, fifth-graders at St. Pius X/St. Leo in

Omaha, kindergartners and first-graders at Dual Language Academy in Omaha and 100 students at Gross High School.

‘Transfigured’ author to be featured at NEL Dinner Speaker and author Patricia Sandoval – whose life was turned around after experiencing drugs, homelessness, three abortions and employment at Planned Parenthood – will be the keynote speaker at the 46th Annual Celebration of Life Dinner of Nebraskans Embracing Life (NEL) on Jan. 16. Sandoval’s conversion story and pro-life witness, featured in her book “Transfigured,” has been hailed as “powerful” and “riveting.” The dinner will be held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Scott Conference Center at 6450 Pine St. A social hour begins at 6 p.m. and the dinner and program at 7 p.m. The cost is $65 for individuals or $600 for a table of ten. To make reservations, contact NEL at nebraskansembracinglife. org, 402-399-0299, or 143 S. 38th St., Omaha, NE 68131.


Blessing Bags

Audrey Borytsky, left, of St. Mary Parish in Bellevue and wife of Nebraska Knights of Columbus State Deputy Mark Borytsky, shows others how to assemble a “blessing bag.” Forty-five KC wives and Father Josh Brown, state chaplain, prepared 350 bags during the state Knights’ mid-winter meeting in early December in Lincoln. Councils from across the state sent donations for the Borytskys to purchase items for each bag, including a fleece blanket, gloves, a hat, socks, toiletries, water, a pouch of tuna, crackers and a hand-written note. Knights of Columbus officers, district deputies and other representatives took the bags back to their communities to share a little Christmas joy with those less fortunate. “If you’ve ever had the opportunity to give to someone who has next to nothing, it’s something you will never forget. It’s awesome,” she said.

Stewart Havranek, FA

Doug Kelly, FICF

Troy Foecking, FICF

Kevin Weber, FICF

Norfolk, NE Call or text 402-860-9166 troy.foecking@kofc.org Serving Norfolk (L-Z), Battle Creek, Elgin, Neligh, Wisner and Stanton councils.

Gretna, NE Call or text 402-630-7877 kevin.weber@kofc.org Serving Gretna and Omaha/St. Wenceslaus councils.

Jeremy Borchers, FICF

J.G. Krawczyk, FICF, ChFC

Omaha, NE Call or text 402-690-2568 stewart.havranek@kofc.org Serving St. Stephen the Martyr (M-Z), St. Bernard, St. Philip Neri, #3019 Archbishop Ryan, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Margaret Mary, and Springfield councils.

West Point, NE Call or text 402-750-4775 jeremy.borchers@kofc.org Serving West Point, South Sioux City, Tekamah, Emerson, Pender and Lyons councils.

Ryan Mascarello, FIC

Omaha, NE, 402-203-0208 ryan.mascarello@kofc.org Serving UNO, St. Thomas More, Plattsmouth, St. Charles, St. Joan of Arc, St. Stephen the Martyr (A-L), Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Peter, and Immaculate Conception councils.

Omaha, NE Call or text 402-578-5563 douglas.kelly@kofc.org Serving Bellevue/Columban, Millard/St. John Vianney and St. Robert Bellarmine councils.

This Year, Make Protecting Your Family the First Resolution You Keep.


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Your Name

your.name@kofc.org Serving local councils in the Archdiocese of Omaha. Would a position with the Knights Of Columbus be right for you?

Marcus Bell, FA

Omaha, NE Call or text 402-690-8927 marcus.bell@kofc.org Serving St. Cecilia Cathedral/ Omaha, St. Leo, St. Pius, Elkhorn, Creighton University and Ralston councils.

Noah Pfeifer, FA

Roy Metter, FIC

David City, NE Call or text 402-367-8132 roy.metter@kofc.org Serving Columbus/St. Isidore, St. Anthony, St. Bonaventure David City, Bellwood, Shelby, Platte Center and Osceola councils.

Omaha, NE Call or text 402-216-9520 j.krawczyk@kofc.org Serving Papillion, Holy Cross, Mary Our Queen and Bellevue/ St. Matthew the Evangelist councils.

Neil Pfeifer, FICF General agent serving Northeastern Nebraska 1-800-379-0180 kofcins.com

Norfolk, NE Call or text 402-369-0489 noah.pfeifer@kofc.org Serving Norfolk (A-K), Albion, Humphrey, Cedar Rapids, Genoa, Clarkson, Leigh, Lindsay and St. Edward councils.

ASSISTANT GENERAL AGENT Craig Pfeifer, FICF, FSCP, CLU Madison, NE Call or text 402-992-1156 craig.pfeifer@kofc.org Serving Wayne, Ponca, Hartington, Randolph, Madison, Bloomfield, Pierce and Crofton councils.

Dustin Schrant, FA

Columbus, NE Call or text 402-910-3493 dustin.schrant@kofc.org Serving: Columbus/ St. Anthony and St. Bonaventure (A-L), Platte Center, Schuyler and North Bend.


20 « JANUARY 10, 2020

2019 SEMINARIANS 2020 Rev. Mr. Mauricio Tovar

Rev. Mr. Zachary Tucker

Paul Floersch

Minh Tran

Brett Jamrog

Logan Hepp

Luke Schmitz

Zachary Eischeid

Theology IV–AS

Theology IV–NAC

Theology III–NAC

Pastoral Year–AS

Theology II–KG

Theology II–KG

Theology I–KG

Theology I–KG

Divine Mercy, Schuyler

Christ the King, Omaha

St. Robert Bellarmine, Omaha

St. Columbkille, Papillion

St. Cecilia, Omaha

St. Stephen the Martyr, Omaha

St. Michael, Albion

St. Boniface, Elgin

Joshua Richards

Adam Pinkelman

Jacob Connealy

Will Targy

Nick Seier

Marcus Wilcox

Thomas Matya

Matthew Pohlman

Theology I–KG

Pre-Theology II–KG

Pre-Theology II–KG

Pre-Theology I–KG

Pre-Theology I–KG

College IV–SJV

College IV–SJV

College IV–SJV

Holy Family Parish, Cedar County

St. Mary, Bellevue

St. Mary, Bellevue

Sacred Heart, Norfolk

Sacred Heart, Norfolk

St. Charles Borromeo, Gretna

St. Gerald, Ralston

St. Columbkille, Papillion

Joshua Heywood

Brent Podliska

Devin Riedel

Michael Figura

Nicholas Paltz

Caleb Kosch

Isaac Ostdiek

College III–CSC

College III–CSC

College III–SJV

College II–SJV

College II–SJV

College I–SJV

College I–SJV

St. Peter, Omaha

St. Leonard, Madison

St. Stephen the Martyr, Omaha

St. Stephen the Martyr, Omaha

Holy Family Parish, Cedar County

St. Anthony, Columbus

St. Bonaventure, Columbus

Rev. Andrew Roza Director of Vocations

KG Kenrick-Glennon Seminary | CSC Conception Seminary | SJV St. John Vianney Seminary AS Assumption Seminary | NAC North American College

“ Then they said to each other,

Were not our hearts burning [within us] while He spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? ” –– Luke 24:32

Reverend Andrew Roza – Director of Vocations | 402.558.3100 | vocations@archomaha.org | vocationsarcho.org

Please Prayerfully Consider an Investment for the Future of our Archdiocese by Donating to the Annual Seminarian Collection. Your donation will help ensure there will be plenty of future priests to serve the laity of our Archdiocese. Please complete this Donation Form, cut along dashed line, place in an envelope with your donation and put it in the collection basket during Mass at your parish, or mail it to:

ARCHDIOCESE of OMAHA OFFICE of VOCATIONS 2222 North 111th Street Omaha, Nebraska 68164-3817


Check payable to: Archdiocese of Omaha $ 1,000 $ 750 Credit card: $ 500 Visa Master Card Discover American Express $ 250 CARD NUMBER EXPIRATION DATE $ 100 X Other: SIGNATURE NAME





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Catholic Voice - Jan. 10, 2020  

Catholic Voice - Jan. 10, 2020  

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