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THE ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA

| JANUARY 24, 2020 |

catholicvoiceomaha.com

archomaha.org

TO THE THRESHOLD

INSIDE

OF THE APOSTLES BARBARITY OPPOSED Legislation to outlaw dismemberment abortion introduced at the Nebraska State Legislature. PAGE 4

L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO

OUTREACH TO CONTINUE Though a tiny Omaha parish will merge with another this spring, its service to the poor will continue unabated. PAGE 9

Archbishop George J. Lucas meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican Jan. 16 during his “ad limina apostolorum” pilgrimage to Rome, Jan. 12-18. Archbishop Lucas discusses the visit and its purpose on PAGE 2. Also see PAGES 6 and 7 for a special report on the ad limina visit of the U.S. bishops from Region 9, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Catholic Schools Week celebrates faith, excellence Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. That’s the theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, as students in the 71 elementary and high schools across the Archdiocese of Omaha celebrate what makes Catholic education special. The annual celebration, in its 46th year, is sponsored nationally by the National Catholic Education Association. Around the archdiocese, Catholic schools will be celebrating the week with a variety of special events, including the annual eight-grade Mass with Archbishop George J. Lucas at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha Jan. 30. In this issue, the Catholic Voice marks next week’s celebration with a look at how Catholic schools are not only providing excellence in education to more than 19,000 students in the archdiocese, but how they are also building the faith of our young people. Read about how students at Scotus Cen-

INDEX

The Archbishop News

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tral Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Columbus are taking a deep dive into the Gospels as they meet monthly in small groups, growing in fellowship with Jesus and with one another. PAGE 11 Then see how students and staff at St. Mary Parish in Bellevue are coming together in faith to show support for a teacher struggling with cancer, and how her own faith is sustaining her through her battle with the disease. PAGES 12-13 Read a story on PAGE 10 about how an endowment provided for in the will of a longtime Cedar County pastor is helping students financially who might not otherwise have the opportunity for a Catholic education, and how it is set up to continue that support in the future. PAGE 4 includes a summary of the Nebraska Catholic Conference’s efforts to rally support for another attempt to pass legislation to allow for tax credits for donations to scholarship granting organizations

Special Report 6 Catholic Schools Week 10

Media & Culture Spiritual Life

16 17

helping students attend private and parochial schools. A story about a Portland, Oregon, corporate work-study program where students work in real jobs to earn up to 50% of their tuition appears on PAGE 14. PAGE 15 has a story on the opening of the sainthood cause for Servant of God Gertrude Barber, an educator from Erie, Pennsylvania, who dedicated her life to serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And, our back page highlights some of the ways Catholic schools are leading the way in providing educational opportunities as well as carrying out the Gospel mission to serve others. These stories and more highlight the difference Catholic schools in the archdiocese and around the nation are making in the lives of students, their families and communities in forming them as disciples of Christ and sharing his love with one another.

Resurrection Joy Commentary

18 20

Calendar Local Briefing

22 23


| ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE |

2 « JANUARY 24, 2020

Meeting with Pope Francis highlights ‘ad limina’ visit Before departing for his “ad limina” pilgrimage, Archbishop George J. Lucas shared his thoughts with communication manager David Hazen on the importance of this trip for maintaining the link between local Catholics and the universal church and for the renewal of the archbishop’s own episcopal ministry.

The Shepherd’s Voice ARCHBISHOP GEORGE J. LUCAS

Q:

Archbishop George J. Lucas’ scheduled activities:

What is an “ad limina” visit?

Every five or six years or so, each bishop from around the world is expected to pay an official visit to the Holy Father in Rome. The Holy See issues the invitation and schedules the meetings, and the bishops go in groups by country. Because there are so many dioceses and bishops in the United States, it takes several months for all of us to visit with the pope. We meet with him by region, and I will be there with bishops from Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. The official name of the visit is “Ad limina apostolorum,” which translates from Latin as “to the threshold of the apostles.” As you can imagine, meeting with Pope Francis will be the highlight, but there is more to it. We bishops also have the opportunity to visit the places of the martyrdoms of St. Peter and St. Paul, as well as to celebrate Mass together in the four major Roman basilicas. We are able to profess the faith that has come down to us from the apostles and to pray for the strength of the Holy Spirit in living and proclaiming the Catholic faith in our role as diocesan pastors. I have been a bishop for 20 years, and this will be my third “ad limina” visit. The first was with St. Pope John Paul II. Even as he grew more frail, he insisted on meeting with each bishop individually. So I have a great memory of spending 15 minutes with that saintly pope, just the two of us. I hope that his sanctity is contagious. My last visit was with Pope Benedict in the final year of his papacy. He met with us in small groups. His English is good and he was very familiar with the United States, so it was a very interactive encounter. I understand that Pope Francis will meet for two-to-three hours with all of the bishops of our region. I am looking forward to the time with him.

Q:

What impact do these pilgrimages have on your personal journey with Christ?

I know that we meet Jesus today, in his integrity, in the church. We have our personal experiences of him, of course. But it is important that we have more than our own thoughts, as good as they may be. When the Lord established the church, so that people in every time and place could meet him, he entrusted the community to the care of Peter and the apostles. To meet the successor of Peter, who is also the Vicar of Christ (who stands in a particular way in the place of Christ), helps my own encounter with Jesus to be more personal. This visit also gives me the opportunity to connect with Ss. Peter and Paul, and especially with their willingness to die rather than turn away from Jesus in the end. I will be praying for a deeper conversion for myself and a more generous spirit in my pastoral ministry.

OFFICIAL SCHEDULE JAN. 25-26 » Parish visit and confirmation – St. Patrick Parish, Gretna JAN. 28 » Catholic Schools Week Mass and procession – St. Pius X High School, Lincoln » Senior Staff meeting – Lincoln JAN. 29 » Leadership Team meeting – Chancery, Omaha JAN. 30 » Catholic Schools Week EighthGrade Mass – St. Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha » Managers’ monthly roundtable – Chancery, Omaha

PAUL HARING/CNS PHOTO

Archbishop George J. Lucas is pictured after praying at relics of the Nativity after Mass with U.S. bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome Jan. 14. The bishops were making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses to the pope and Vatican officials. For more on the archbishop's "ad limina" visit, see PAGES 6 AND 7.

Q:

Q:

This face-to-face meeting with the Holy Father is important for several reasons. The pope is my immediate superior, and it is an important source of strength and direction to be in his presence. I am serving in the Archdiocese of Omaha, and now for a time in the Diocese of Lincoln, because I have been sent by the pope. So it is good to renew the bonds of connection that can only be made personally. This is also an opportunity for each bishop to give an account of his stewardship, to talk about the challenges and opportunities found in each diocese. These may vary from place to place, and during these visits the pope is able to keep up with his flock around the world. Finally, while there are many reporters and commentators giving their takes on the pope and his leadership, I find that it is important to let Francis be Francis. So being with him, even for just a while, will help deepen understanding and renew the bonds of communion that I know the Lord desires. Also, bishops take some time to visit the various departments of the Vatican and to speak with those who assist the pope in his work. This, too, is a chance for us to learn more about how to better carry out our responsibilities, as well as to share our experiences from our part of the world.

I don’t presume to know in advance exactly what will be discussed, but I hope to share something about how our efforts to share the joy of the Gospel are bearing good fruit here. I’m sure we will all want to talk about the challenge of sharing the Gospel and the power of the sacraments with young adults in our communities. I think we also will want to let the pope know the privilege we have of serving side by side with generous, often heroic, priests; in our part of the country, we are blessed with strong families, with dedicated deacons, with zealous women and men in consecrated life and with many lay leaders in families and parishes who live their baptismal vocation faithfully day by day. In the midst of challenges, there is much good news to share. I also want to assure the Holy Father of the love and the prayers of the people of Nebraska. He has a huge responsibility as our universal pastor, and, like the rest of us, he relies on the support of prayer to remain faithful and joyful.

Why is a face-to-face meeting required?

WANT MORE? Subscribe to The Shepherd’s Voice podcast at archomaha.fireside.fm or via iTunes.

What do you intend to discuss with the pope?

Q:

Is there anything else you’d like the faithful to know about this trip?

I will be praying for all in the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Diocese of Lincoln during my visit to Rome. Thank you for allowing me this time to be renewed in my own responsibilities as diocesan pastor. While I am in Rome and after I return, I look forward to sharing some photos and experiences of the visit. Please pray for me as well. God bless you.

FEB. 1 » Mass and brunch, Consecrated Life Day confirmation – St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Omaha » Confirmation – Immaculate Conception Parish, Boys Town FEB. 3 » Priest Council meeting – St. Benedict Center, Schuyler FEB. 3-4 » Clergy Conference – St. Benedict Center, Schuyler FEB. 5 » Leadership Team meeting – Chancery, Omaha » University theologians discussion and dinner – Creighton University campus, Omaha FEB. 6 » Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha corporation meeting – Chancery, Omaha » Mass – Chancery Auditorium » Essential Pregnancy Services GLOW dinner – Embassy Suites, LaVista

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

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


| NEWS |

JANUARY 24, 2020

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LOCAL EVENTS Flower festival The Cathedral Arts Project will hold its 35th annual Cathedral Flower Festival Jan. 25-26 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. With the theme “For Everything a Season,” flower displays throughout the cathedral will feature arrangements for many occasions such as major holidays, weddings, feast days, Christmas, Easter and other special days, by more than 30 regional florists. The event begins with a special, one-hour viewing period for people with special needs Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wheelchair ramps are located on the south side of the building. Viewing for the general public runs 10 a.m. through 4 p.m., then resumes from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Jan. 26, viewing continues from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Music performances will take place throughout the event, featuring organ, piano, strings, guitar, and solo and choral singing. The event is free with free-will offerings accepted. In addition to the flower festival, The Cathedral Arts Project also conducts tours of the cathedral’s art and architecture, and sponsors concerts and other events throughout the year.

Prayer for priests An informational meeting with the founder of the Seven Sisters Apostolate, a prayer ministry supporting parish priests, will be held Jan. 25 at St. Patrick Church at 3400 E. 16th St. in Fremont. The event begins at 8 a.m. with Mass in the church, followed by a presentation in the parish hall by Janette Howe from St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2010, Howe sensed a call

to pray for her pastor and began making a weekly holy hour before the Holy Eucharist. One day while in prayer, she heard an interior voice saying “Seven Sisters.” She interpreted that as a call to invite six other women to make a holy hour on the remaining days, covering all seven days of the week. Women are invited to attend Howe’s presentation and encouraged to form more Seven Sisters groups to join women in more than 1,350 parishes and other locations around the world now praying for priests and bishops. For more information, visit sevensistersapostolate.org. Call Katie Keller at 402-575-9216 with questions.

Supporters of school choice are invited to join students, parents, teachers, school administrators and others from around the state Jan. 29 for the annual school choice rally at the Nebraska State Capitol, 14th and K streets in Lincoln. The gathering, 11 a.m. to noon in the Warner Chamber of the Capitol, is one of the activities in the state marking National School Choice Week, Jan. 26 through Feb. 1. Students from several Catholic schools in the Omaha archdiocese will be among those lending their voices in support of a scholarship tax credit bill, LB670. The legislation, which is expected to come before the Legislature again this term, would broaden educational opportunities by allowing state income tax credits for donations to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships to private or parochial elementary and secondary schools.

Archbishop George J. Lucas 2222 N. 111th St., Omaha, NE 68164 402-558-3100 • 888-303-2484 Fax: 402-551-4212

Vicar for Clergy and Judicial Vicar Father Scott A. Hastings 402-558-3100, ext. 3030

Chancellor Deacon Tim McNeil 402-558-3100, ext. 3029

Director of Pastoral Services Father Jeffrey P. Lorig 402-551-9003, ext. 1300

THE ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA

CATHOLIC VOICE Volume 117, Number 12

ARCHBISHOP GEORGE J. LUCAS

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A statue of the Christ Child heads up the procession after a Mass celebrating Santo Niño de Cebu at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha Jan. 19. Filipinos and others honor the Christ Child as part of a nearly 500-year-old tradition in the Philippines. The expedition of Ferdinand Magellan brought a statue of the child Jesus to the Philippine island of Cebu as gift to King Humabon and Queen Juana. The couple embraced Christianity, and devotion to the Christ Child spread and continues today. The celebration at St. Cecilia Parish included dancing and ethnic foods after the 11:30 a.m. Mass.

School choice rally

ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA

Publisher

Filipino feast

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.

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Father Eckley named as interim executive director of Catholic Charities By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice

Father Michael Eckley has been named interim executive director of Catholic Charities of Omaha, effective immediately. He replaces Gregg Wilson, who is relocating to be closer to family. Father Eckley, who is in residence at Our Lady of Lourdes-St. Adalbert Parish in Omaha and is servant minister to priests of the archdiocese, will spend 50% of his time working with Catholic Charities until a new executive director is named. “I’m very honored to be asked to take on this role,” he said. “Catholic Charities has always been an important part of the archdiocese,

and personally, when my family was experiencing some challenges, Catholic Charities was there to help us when I was a kid.” The organization annually helps more than 80,000 people throughout the archdiocese through behavioral health services, assistance for victims of domestic violence, emergency food aid, family strengthening programs, immigration legal services, and microbusiness and asset development programs to help people become self sufficient. “Catholic Charities often works with some of the most vulnerable members of our community, giving them a hand up to help them move forward in a more positive direction,” Father Eckley said. “Cath-

olic Charities is the arm of mercy of the archdiocese, reaching out to all who are in need regardless of who they are or what their circumstances are.” Father Eckley, who has served on Catholic Charities’ board of directors for six years, said his first priority is to “get a better feel for the day-to-day operations” of the organization, then to work on finding a new location for its offices. The organization is currently located at the archdiocese’s Archbishop Daniel E. Sheehan Center, which also formerly housed many archdiocesan departments until a recent move to new quarters. The archdiocese plans to sell the property.

Special collection to help four causes Catholic Voice

Catholics of the archdiocese will have a chance to help spread the faith in areas where it is struggling in the United States and abroad through a special collection on the weekend of Feb. 2. The archdiocese’s Home & Foreign Missions Collection is divided among four causes for which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is seeking funding: – Aid to the church in Latin America. Donations support the vast needs of local churches in the area, including evangelization, pastoral programs and formation for laity, religious and seminarians.

– Support for the church in the Holy Land. Donations help care for and maintain holy sites there. – Academic scholarships at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The university was founded by American bishops in 1887. It is the only U.S. university with pontifical faculties. – Support for home missions. This appeal helps extend and strengthen the presence of the church in the United States by supporting basic pastoral services to areas that are struggling to provide those services on their own. Those areas are characterized by communities where Catholics are few, the church is fragile

and pastors struggle to keep parishes afloat. Each cause “is worthy of your support,” the USCCB said in its appeal on its website. Each “represents our community of faith at work in the world, saving souls and improving lives.” National collections such as this one allow the church to pool resources to more efficiently carry out the mission of the church. “God has given us our light and our prosperity, all we need and more,” the USCCB said. “It is right and just that we give something back … helping people in our own country and around the world to live better and to grow in the love of Jesus.”


| NEWS |

4 « JANUARY 24, 2020

Catholics urged to help ban brutal abortion procedure By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice

One particular method of abortion – called “dismemberment abortion” – has been described as “brutal,” “barbaric,” “gruesome,” “inhumane” and “immoral.” The procedure removes an unborn child from the womb of the mother in pieces by grasping and tearing off body parts, ultimately causing him or her to bleed to death. Nebraska’s three Catholic dioceses are supporting legislation that would ban dismemberment abortion, known medically as dilation and evacuation (D&E), during the second trimester of pregnancy. The proposed ban is among the bills the dioceses and their bishops, working together through the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC), will promote during the state’s 2020 legislative session, which kicked off earlier this month. Another is a school choice bill, picked up from last year’s session, that would allow tax credits for donations to school scholarship funds, in hopes of making a private education more affordable for families. DISMEMBERMENT ABORTION LB814, introduced by State Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln, would make performing a dismemberment abortion a Class IV felony for abortion providers, punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Mothers undergoing the abortion would not be penalized. Marion Miner, associate director for pro-life and family for the NCC, said dismemberment is a particularly cruel abortion method. After a woman’s cervix is dilated, forceps or other instruments are used to grasp a living preborn child and pull him or her out of the womb piece by piece. “It’s a brutal thing,” he said. “It’s not a pleasant thing to talk about.” The fetus “is very recognizable as a human at this point,” Miner said. Geist, who introduced the bill on Jan. 8, the first day of the 60-day legislative session, said she intends to make the measure her priority bill. Twenty-one senators co-sponsored the bill at its intro-

COURTESY PHOTO

Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln announces her introduction of Legislative Bill 814, which would prohibit dismemberment abortion during the second trimester of pregnancy. The bill was introduced Jan. 8, the first day of this year’s 60-day legislative session. duction, and more have signed on as co-sponsors since then. Geist said abortion is a “very contentious” issue in the Legislature and across the nation. But she’s hoping that the narrow scope of her proposal and the uneasiness many people have toward the dismemberment process would make the ban agreeable to more senators.

can all agree that this type of procedure should not happen.” The proposed ban on dismemberment abortion could face a tough battle, Miner said, but it’s chances are better than when a similar ban was sought in 2016. Former Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue introduced that bill.

UNCOMMON AND COMMON

Geist said she believes she has the support of a majority of senators, but 33 votes are needed to break an expected filibuster. That’s what happened last year to a pro-life bill that required notifying women seeking a medication-induced abortion that the procedure could be reversed. The measure survived the filibuster and was signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts. State Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha is leading an effort this session to repeal the notification law, but Miner sees the chances of a successful repeal as “slim to none.” Meanwhile, Geist will be trying to persuade senators who might be on the fence about the dismemberment ban. “That’s going to be my mission for the next few weeks,” she said. Senators new to the Legislature since 2016 have created a different political climate, where they are willing to deploy more nontraditional methods to advance the bill, Miner said. And the pro-life sena-

The proposed ban would affect a limited number of abortions. In 2018, D&E abortions accounted for just 1.5 percent of the abortions in Nebraska, 32 of the 2,078 abortions, according to state statistics. In previous years, as many as 186 dismemberment abortions have been performed. The D&E method is common during the second trimester, though, often being performed between the 13th and 24th weeks of gestation, when a baby develops fully formed arms, legs and facial features and the ability to swallow, yawn, hiccup and smile. During the second trimester, the procedure is the second most common one used in Nebraska, and the most common method nationally, Miner said. The brutality of the procedure should be something Nebraskans can agree on, Geist said. “I really believe that people, no matter what their beliefs and thoughts are on abortion, that we

EXPECTED OPPOSITION

tors are committed and willing to fight, he said. “I’m going to have a difficult time getting 33 votes,” Geist said. “But I really think it’s possible. With the makeup of the body and the narrow nature of this bill, I think it’s possible.” If the bill is approved, legal challenges could follow. But Geist said she thinks the ban could survive a lawsuit, based on the successful ban of partial birth abortions, which are also “particularly barbaric.” Geist and Miner urged people to contact their senators and ask them to support the bill. SCHOOL CHOICE A scholarship tax credit bill, similar to one debated by the Legislature last year, would allow more families to choose the education they want for their children, said Tom Venzor, executive director of the NCC. The measure would allow state income tax credit for donations to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships to students who want to attend private or parochial elementary and secondary schools. There would be caps on the amount of the tax credits available to taxpayers. There would be an overall cap on the program of $10 million. Last year Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan introduced the mea-

sure, which wasn’t able to survive a filibuster. School choice measures, including tax incentives for scholarship donors, continue to gain ground in Nebraska and across the country, Venzor said. Eighteen other states, including Nebraska neighbors Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas, offer tax incentives similar to those being proposed for Nebraska, he said. They have saved states money and allowed more than a half million students, primarily from low-income families, to gain access to private education, he said. Opposition to school choice measures has been strong in Nebraska, Venzor said, but “we have gained incredible amounts of traction in the last few years.” “It’s almost a David and Goliath story, but we have made huge steps forward, and the momentum is in our favor.” The proposal wouldn’t “take a dime from public schools,” Venzor said. In states where scholarship tax incentive packages have passed, they have grown and flourished, he said. “It’s just common-sense policy and everybody wins.” Nebraska proponents have scheduled a Jan. 29 school choice rally at the state Capitol as part of a National School Choice Week. It will be 11 a.m. to noon in the Warner Chamber of the Capitol.

Ekeler to spearhead education policy efforts at NCC Catholic Voice

A Catholic school principal is being hired as the policy staffer on education issues for the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) in Lincoln. Jeremy Ekeler, principal at Cathedral of the Risen Christ School JEREMY in Lincoln, will EKELER become associate director for education policy at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. He fills only the second such fulltime position dedicated exclusively to education policy issues in the NCC’s 50-year history. “I am excited and humbled to

be the next public policy advocate for all our schools and families across Nebraska,” Ekeler said. “There is no greater work than empowering our Catholic schools to help families form their children in Christ’s image.” The NCC represents the public policy priorities and interests of Nebraska’s three Catholic dioceses. Its education policy efforts include advancing the mission of Catholic education and school choice through the Nebraska Legislature, working with the Nebraska Department of Education and State Board of Education, following federal education developments and monitoring the Nebraska School Activities Association.

Ekeler has been in his current position since 2014. During his tenure, the school has enjoyed a 45 percent increase in enrollment, rising student test scores in all subjects and other significant accomplishments. He also previously served in K-8 administration, taught high school, and coached high school and college sports. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree from Xavier University in Chicago. Ekeler serves on the Nebraska Special Education Advisory Committee as representative for non-public school students, the Lincoln Community Foundation’s

Early Childhood Advisory Board and Junior Achievement of Lincoln’s Board of Trustees. “We are very excited to have Jeremy join the Nebraska Catholic

Conference team,” said Tom Venzor, NCC executive director. “Jeremy brings an endless amount of passion, advocacy and knowledge about education issues.”

ANNIVERSARIES Celebrating the sacrament of marriage Jim and Eileen Curran, members of Holy Ghost Parish in Omaha, celebrated 60 years of marriage with a blessing Oct. 12 at

the church. They joined family for a celebration dinner May 26. The couple, who have four married sons, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, were married Oct. 10, 1959, at Holy Cross Church in Omaha.


| NEWS |

JANUARY 24, 2020

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Walk for Life participants brave frigid weather By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice

Demonstrating for the sanctity of life with ice and snow at your feet and a blast of frigid air in your face is not for the lukewarm of heart. On Jan. 18 a bundled-up crowd of more than 2,000 people participated in the 46th annual Walk for Life in Lincoln. They listened to a few speeches outside the state Capitol, with temperatures near 15 degrees and wind chill readings dipping as low as -5. They watched the release of 350 pink and blue balloons into sharp winds that gusted to 30 mph, and they walked with prolife signs about seven blocks north to the Nebraska Union at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. There, several other speakers awaited the demonstrators in indoor warmth. The crowd was about half of what it might have been in nicer weather. The walk typically draws more than 4,000 participants, said Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, which organized the event. Al and Cheri Asherlin of Mary Our Queen Parish in Omaha were among those who braved the weather. It was the second time for Al, who couldn’t attend before his recent retirement. Cheri has gone multiple times to the January event commemorating the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal in all 50 states throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Since 1973, abortion has claimed the lives of more than 61 million preborn babies, Schmit-Albin said. The pink and blue balloons are released at the walk each year in memory of those lives. Cheri Asherlin didn’t balk at the weather, remembering worse years. “I go every chance I get,” she said by phone after the walk. “Life is important – very important – from conception to natural death,” she said. For the Asherlins, that sentiment is not an empty platitude. As a young couple they were told they could never have children. So they adopted one son, but later conceived naturally another son, who was born with serious heart problems, and a daughter. Their adopted son Chad,

NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE

NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE

Participants bundle up as gusty winds made temperatures of about 15 degrees feel more like zero to five below at the 10 a.m. start of the Jan. 18 Walk for Life, according to the National Weather Service.

Mary Buckley, a nurse from Papillion, speaks at the Walk for Life. In the 1980s, she was an unmarried nursing student facing an unplanned pregnancy. She chose life and is now grateful for a grown son.

now 42, works in information technology in Omaha and is married and has four children. His biological mother could’ve had an abortion, but Cheri said she is grateful that Chad was given over to their family instead. “He is such a blessing to us and is always there to help with whatever we need,” she said. The Asherlins’ children give them much to be thankful for. Their son Ryan survived five heart surgeries by the time he was 26 months old. He is now 38 and a clinical psychologist in Denver. Daughter Katie, 33, is a veterinarian in Omaha who is married and has one child. Al and Cheri were among 10 passengers on a bus from Mary Our Queen to the Walk for Life events. Before the walk, they went

briefly before the walk outside the Capitol. Ricketts had earlier proclaimed Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, a statewide day of prayer to end abortion. Geist is sponsoring a bill in the Legislature, LB814, that would ban dismemberment abortions. The second-trimester abortion method, known medically as dilation and evacuation (D&E), tears a pre-born baby apart and removes him or her from the womb piece by piece, causing him or her to bleed to death. Speaking inside after the walk were U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, U.S. Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Don Bacon, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and

402-843-5325 · pjcrusaders.org 303 Remington Street · PO Box 179 · Elgin, NE 68636

to a 9 a.m. pro-life Mass at St. Mary Church, near the Capitol. Thirty people had originally signed up for the bus trip, provided by the Knights of Columbus at Mary Our Queen. Forecasted high winds might have scared off some, Cheri said. Conditions were “not quite as windy as predicted,” she said. “Maybe the tall buildings helped.” Schmit-Albin gave credit to the pro-life demonstrators. “It was a very good turnout considering the conditions,” she said. Gov. Pete Ricketts and State Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln were among those who talked

State Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston. Several other lawmakers were in attendance. Keynote speakers Jeff and Jennifer Christie of Virginia shared how their now 5-year-old son Joshua was conceived in a rape when Jennifer was away on a business trip. Jeff never suggested abortion, his wife said, and they consider their son “a gift.” “I’m not raising a rapist’s baby,” she said. “I’m raising my baby.” “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.”


| SPECIAL REPORT |

6 « JANUARY 24, 2020

Pope speaks with U.S. bishops from Region 9 about pro-life issues, transgender ideology Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – Protecting human life is the “preeminent” social and political issue, Pope Francis said, and he asked the head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities to convey his support to the pro-life community. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the bishops’ committee, told Catholic News Service Jan. 16 that the pope agreed with the U.S. bishops “identifying the protection of the unborn as a preeminent priority.” “His response to that was, ‘Of course, it is. It’s the most fundamental right,’” Archbishop Naumann recalled the pope saying. “He said, ‘This is not first a religious issue; it’s a human rights issue,’ which is so true.” Archbishop Naumann was one of 15 bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska making their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican in mid-January to report on the status of their dioceses. He and other bishops spoke to Catholic News Service (CNS) Jan. 16 after meeting with the pope for more than two hours. Archbishop Naumann said he told the pope that since the Roe v. Wade court decision legalized abortion, an estimated 61 million abortions have taken place in the United States.

“I think the pope was truly kind of stunned by that number,” Archbishop Naumann said. “Sadly, our abortion policies are one of the most liberal in the world. The fact is that it really is literally for all nine months of pregnancy. Most other nations don’t permit (abortions) at least at a certain point in the pregnancy.” Archbishop Naumann said that while Pope Francis has “elevated issues like the care of refugees and migrants,” he also understands that the situation in the United States is different compared to other countries. “I think sometimes as he elevates those things, people mistakenly think, ‘Well, that means that the abortion issue will become less important,’” he said. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis told CNS it was “beautiful” when the pope explained why life was the number one, most important issue, “because if you’re not alive you can’t do anything else.” Archbishop Carlson said they also talked about the importance of supporting pregnant women and making sure they have the resources they need to support that life. ‘ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT ISSUE’ While Pope Francis “certainly talked about abortion as a preeminent issue,” Archbishop Carlson said, “at the same time he said there’s another significant issue and

VATICAN MEDIA/CNS PHOTO

Pope Francis meets with U.S. bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska during their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican Jan. 16. Archbishop George J. Lucas is on the far left. that would be ‘transgender’ – where we are trying to make all human beings the same, it makes no difference, you can be whoever you want to be.” The pope, he said, brought the issue up as an example of “another significant issue in our day.” Asked whether the pope then gave the bishops any advice on how to handle the transgender debate,

Archbishop Carlson said the pope touched on the way proponents believe people are “all one and that there’s no difference, which would fly in the face of what (St.) John Paul II talked about on complementarity and it would fly in the face of the dignity of the woman and the dignity of the man, that we could just change into whatever we wanted.” Of course, he said, a pope or a

bishop or any religious leader must focus on a variety of issues and concerns, but “there are some people who are one-issue people and so they’re never satisfied if you don’t focus totally on that.” The Catholic Church’s positions are not partisan political positions, he said, since both Democrats and Continued on Page 7 >>

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| SPECIAL REPORT | >> Continued from Page 6

Republicans may not agree with its position on different issues. “But I am not a Republican and I’m not a Democrat,” Archbishop Carlson said. “My job is to be a teacher of the faith and then to walk the talk.” FOUNDATIONAL RIGHT Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City, Missouri, said that on the issue of abortion, Pope Francis “simply reiterated what he’s already said in many different ways,” which is that “without life, what other rights are there? So, you have to begin with that. It’s not the only issue – I don’t think anybody has ever said that. But when you’re looking at the core beliefs and the more essential rights, the right to life of the unborn is very important.” The pope, he said, “put it in a very beautiful way: Do we always want to simply eliminate those who are inconvenient? And, unfortunately, that’s part of our culture in the United States – the practice, the habit, if you will, of just eliminating the uncomfortable, the unwanted, as the solution. And we’re called to be better than that. We as a country are better than that.” When the U.S. bishops say, “the right to life is the ‘preeminent issue’” in Catholics’ political concerns, “that word is carefully chosen,” Bishop McKnight said. “Because we want to avoid the perspective or the understanding that it’s the only issue – because it is not.” Catholic voters, he said, need

to be aware of a more general tendency or temptation “to get rid of unwanted people,” whether they are the unborn or the aged, immigrants or the poor. “There is a certain consistency that is required of us as Catholics.” CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE: A CRIME Bishop McKnight said that during the meeting, he thanked Pope Francis for expanding the section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that investigates clerical sexual abuse. It was clear during the discussion how much the clerical sexual abuse crisis “pains the Holy Father,” he said. “He reiterated that this must be dealt with, it’s a crime, it can’t just be swept under the rug or dealt with only in the confessional – no, it’s a crime.” The bishop said the question of the Vatican’s promised report on the case and career of Theodore E. McCarrick, the former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, was brought up by one of the bishops. “I must respect the confidential nature of our conversation today,” Bishop McKnight said. “I can just say I am very confident the pope is doing everything he can in order to rectify the problem and to help the entire church learn from the mistake of McCarrick’s promotion in the church. The Holy Father sees that, he recognizes that McCarrick’s promotion as archbishop of Washington should never have happened.” Contributing to this story were Junno Arocho Esteves, Carol Glatz and Cindy Wooden.

JANUARY 24, 2020

‘Ad limina’ is time to reflect on personal growth in faith, bishop says By CINDY WOODEN Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – Before meeting Pope Francis, the bishops of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri prayed before the tomb of St. Peter and reflected on how the fisherman grew in faith and love for Jesus. Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa, presided and preached at the early morning Mass Jan. 16 in front of the apostle’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. The “privileged and sacred spot” where millions of Christians have prayed through the ages, he said, has special meaning for men “chosen, as unworthy as we are, to be successors of Peter and the other apostles” and serve the church as bishops. Reflecting on the life and witness of St. Peter, he said, is an opportunity for bishops to reflect on their own response to the call of the Lord to love him and serve him and his people. The Gospel’s many mentions of St. Peter reveal “his faith, his doubt, his failure and his love,” the bishop said. In many ways, he was “so much like us and, thus, it is easy for us to identify with him.” “He was bold and outspoken, he was a sinner and called to be a saint,” Bishop Nickless said. “He walked on and sank in the water.” Of all the accounts in the

PAUL HARING/CNS PHOTO

Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha and Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island concelebrate Mass with other U.S. bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 16. Bible of Peter and his faith, the bishop said, two episodes stand out and both involve Jesus asking him direct questions: “Who do you say that I am?” and “Do you love me?” All Christians “must answer these questions at some point in our lives and, sometimes, more than once: Who is Jesus? Do I love him?” he said. “The only right answer,” the bishop said, “comes from knowing the Lord in the deep intimacy

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| NEWS |

8 « JANUARY 24, 2020

FOCUS summit attendees urged to help others live the faith By KIRSTEN BUBLITZ Catholic News Service

PHOENIX – Young adult Catholics can lead others to God through their actions and daily experiences, a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix told the annual Student Leadership Summit of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). Father John Parks, vicar for Evangelization for the Diocese of Phoenix, told more than 8,500 young adults at the opening Mass Dec. 30 that they can bring unbelieving individuals to belief in God. “You’re the solution. That’s why you’re here at SLS, that’s why God called you. He wants to use you to help those people come to live in faith,” he said.

Father Parks cited Anna from the day’s Gospel reading who waited on the Lord. He encouraged attendees to use Anna as a model of the faith. “When you wait on the Lord, when he’s the number one desire of your heart, that increases your awareness of the Lord and you start to see the Lord in everything,” Father Parks said. “When you see the Lord in everything, you feel called to respond to him.” As the FOCUS conference opened, Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted welcomed the young adults from college campuses and parishes in the U.S. and around the world. The five-day conference focused on the theme of responding to the

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Lord. Following Mass, attendees heard from two popular speakers who use YouTube to evangelize: Father Mike Schmitz and Emily Wilson. Father Schmitz, chaplain for Newman Catholic Campus Ministries at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, said Jesus at one time was optional for him, until he realized that Jesus should be a necessity. Father Schmitz explained that Jesus can be a balm for the world in which people say everything is fine in their lives when often it is not. “I’m afraid that when we say, ‘I’m fine,’ we actually believe it,” said Father Schmitz. “It’s normal not to be seen, not to be known, not to be loved, and then Jesus shows up, and he says, ‘You don’t have to pretend you’re fine anymore. You actually need me.’” Father Schmitz’s presentation culminated with a guided prayerful meditation. Attendees prayed along with him, the sound of their voices like a low-rumbling echo of praise to God: “Jesus, I confess that I’ve treated you like an option. In Jesus’ name, I declare I am not fine. In Jesus’ name, I declare that I am his.” Wilson, who travels widely as an inspirational speaker and author, invited attendees to commit their lives to God. She stressed the deep desire of every soul to be known by name and to be loved. “Jesus comes to find us and calls us by name,” Wilson said. “Jesus says, ‘In all of your sorrow, in all of your sin, I still love you.’” Wilson encouraged attendees to grow their trust in God as well. The conference is designed to equip young people to evangelize and, as Wilson said, no one can lead others to God if he or she doesn’t trust God themselves. She dedicated the last minutes of her talk to prayer where participants had the opportunity to respond to Jesus’ call and to commit or recommit their lives to him. Participants bowed their heads in prayer, stretched out their hands in adoration, and sang along to the live band saying, “I will put my trust in you alone and I will not be shaken.” Gabby Sanchez, a student from West Coast University in Anaheim, California, told The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix, that she is learning to put her trust in God. The summit is Sanchez’s second FOCUS conference. She attended her first conference in 2019, when she was still studying at Northern Arizona University, a campus that has five FOCUS missionaries. Sanchez currently attends a university that doesn’t have FOCUS missionaries, yet she felt a prominent call during Wilson’s talk to be a leader at her home parish in California. She led a small group during the summit and hopes to take back what she learned. “Even when I feel so small and not worthy to lead others in their faith, Jesus is showing me that I am worthy and called to live mission and called to make disciples of all nations,” she said. Bublitz writes for The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix.

JESUS VALENCIA OF THE CATHOLIC SUN/CNS PHOTO

Jim Jansen, director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Omaha and a leader in the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, speaks during the organization's annual Student Leadership Summit at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona Jan. 2.

PRAYER KEY TO BEING MISSIONARY DISCIPLES, FOCUS PARTICIPANTS LEARN By JUSTIN BELL Catholic News Service PHOENIX – Though more than 8,500 Catholics attended the Fellowship of Catholic University Students’ annual Student Leadership Summit to start the new year, the event focused on the power of prayer and sharing Christ in small groups. Participants learned how prayer, small-group discipleship, proclaiming the Gospel and having a Catholic worldview can help influence others to follow Jesus on the conference’s fourth day, Jan. 2. FOCUS staffer Kelsey Skoch said that everyone deserves to hear the Gospel and “when you preach the Gospel, something always happens.” In a workshop, she recounted how a Baptist woman contacted her after overhearing a FOCUS missionary share the Gospel with a student in a coffee shop. Later in the session, Jim Jansen, director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Omaha and another FOCUS leader, spoke on the need for missionary disciples at parishes. He followed up with a strategy laid out in the Book of Acts: teaching, fellowship, the breaking of the bread and shared prayer, emphasizing that prayer is the first step. Kevin Cotter, a former FOCUS missionary and current executive director of The Amazing Parish, spoke about how changing one’s prayer can change the world and the person who is praying. He suggested that parish staffs develop a culture of prayer, teamwork and discipleship. Father Michael Gaitley, director of evangelization for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, discussed how anyone can teach the Gospel. He called the practice “spiritual multiplication,” which happens to be a strategy employed by FOCUS to share the Gospel in

daily life. He said such work was the “heart of evangelization.” Damon Owens, founder and executive director of JoyToB, a teaching ministry, called on his audience to develop a relationship with each member of the Holy Trinity, spend time in community and to go out on mission to society. There is “no such thing as a halfway Christian,” Owens said in relaying the idea of renouncing everything to serve Christ and giving God everything, understanding that God will give return graces in abundance. “Give him everything and you will not be disappointed,” Owens said. Keynote speakers of the evening were Jonathan Reyes and Helen Alvare, who spoke about acknowledging the basic idea that humans were created by God and not created by themselves, which runs contrary to some modern notions. Reyes, who leads evangelization and faith formation for the Knights of Columbus, suggested prayer, study and God forming one’s mind. Among his reading recommendations were “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis, “Theology and Sanity” by Frank Sheed, and “Orthodoxy” by G.K. Chesterton. Alvare, professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Virginia, also pointed toward prayer, stressing that holding a Catholic worldview and participating in the sacraments are critical elements of a Catholic life. Her fast-paced talk prompted widespread laughter after she asked the audience to identify and remove three obstacles or distracting factors in their lives, and then that they would have only two left after they put their phones away.

Bell writes for The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix.


| NEWS |

JANUARY 24, 2020

»9

Holy Family faces merger, but ministries to poor will continue By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice

Over the years, the number of parishioners at Holy Family Parish in north downtown Omaha has dwindled. It now stands at about 40, compelling its merger with another parish on the east side of the city, St. Frances Cabrini, the archdiocese announced Jan. 12. Despite the low membership, Holy Family’s commitment to the poor has never waned, Archbishop George J. Lucas and other archdiocese leaders have said, and its muchneeded ministries for the less fortunate will continue. On April 19 Holy Family’s remnant parishioners will celebrate their last Mass together in the parish’s 137-year-old church. But Holy Family’s name – and the efforts of dozens of volunteers – will live on in its ministry of serving the poor and homeless, with the added support of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Omaha and St. Frances Cabrini. Parishioners received news of the merger during a meeting after the 10 a.m. Mass on Jan. 12. About 20 people attended the meeting, said Deacon Al Aulner, pastoral coordinator for Holy Family, which hasn’t had a pastor for more than 20 years. Many of those at the meeting have been with the parish since the 1960s and ’70s. The news wasn’t unexpected, but it was still painful, Deacon Aulner said. Holy Family, one of Omaha’s oldest parishes, was established in 1876. Its school closed in the 1960s as the neighborhood transitioned into an industrial area. Nearly all of its current members commute from other areas of town. The late Deacon Ralph Hueser served as pastoral coordinator for much of the past 20 years. Deacon Aulner replaced him in that job in 2014. The parish has had a rotation of priests – including some retired archdiocesan priests and some from the Society of Jesus and the Columban Fathers – to offer Masses. Membership has declined 30 to 40 percent in the last five years, Deacon Aulner said, and that decline continues to accelerate as parishioners age. Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor for the archdiocese, said the merger of Holy Family Parish will be diffi-

DONATIONS STILL NEEDED Anyone who would like to contribute to Holy Family ministries to the poor can send donations to Holy Family Ministries, 1715 Izard St., Omaha, NE, 68102; or through the parish website at holyfamilyomaha.org/ ministries/. writing and job hunting. St. Vincent de Paul is well equipped to support Holy Family, with its network of about 700 volunteers from 31 parishes in the Omaha area. PARISH SUPPORT SUSAN SZALEWSKI/STAFF

Volunteers gather Jan. 15 to assemble sack lunches at Holy Family Parish in Omaha. Pictured are Tom and Judy Quest (foreground), members of St. Cecilia Parish in Omaha, and Lynda Morton of Salem Baptist Church in Omaha. The lunch ministry, and other ministries for the poor and homeless, will go on at their current location after Holy Family is merged with another east Omaha parish, St. Frances Cabrini. cult for its members, “but we hope that loss will be mitigated or eased somewhat, knowing that their ministries to the poor will remain and grow.” He said Archbishop Lucas – who has helped prepare sandwiches at Holy Family for its sack lunch program – knows the importance of those ministries and has stressed that he wants to see them to continue. HEART FOR THE POOR Parishioners say they are a closeknit group, like family, who are proud of Holy Family’s long legacy of ministry to the poor, civil rights work and other social justice efforts. “We have such a rich history and such a close parish,” parishioner Carl Wirth said. Deacon Aulner said Holy Family members “always had a heart for the poor, and justice has been at the forefront” of their efforts. “They are energized by their activism,” he said, and they’ll continue going to the church grounds to serve the poor and those in need. The Siena Francis House homeless shelter is just blocks away, and the parish and shelter have often collaborated in their efforts. Parish ministries include its Monday-Friday lunch program, which provides sack lunches to 100 to 150 people a day; distribution of

food discarded by stores and restaurants to organizations that serve the poor; the Door Ministry, which supplies clothes, food and other supplies to about 120 people a day; and Blessed Family Street Ministry, which takes sack lunches to roughly 150 people a day at several locations in east and south Omaha. UTMOST RESPECT At the church, the parishioners created “an environment welcoming to anyone,” Deacon Aulner said, including those most neglected and forgotten. Pattie Fidone, who is in charge of the Door Ministry, and other volunteers believe in treating those they serve with the utmost respect. Fidone puts that into practice when she sorts through donated clothes. “If it’s something I wouldn’t put on my children or myself, I don’t hang it up,” she said. Besides clothes – including hats, gloves and other winter gear – the Door Ministry provides food pantry items and helps with emergencies, like replacing a car battery or contributions toward rent or utilities. The ministry sends donated children’s items to 16 elementary schools in north Omaha. Volunteers come from as far as 90 miles away to help, Fidone said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

legacy to maintain and support, not to supplant.” The continued services will be called Holy Family Ministries in tribute to that parish legacy, he said. With the help of other organizations, St. Vincent de Paul plans to offer more services, including vouchers to St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores, screening for government benefits, job fairs, health care information, income tax assistance, access to performing arts, Bridges Out of Poverty classes and courses on cooking and nutrition, resume

St. Frances Cabrini Parish will also help support the long-standing ministries, said Father Damian Zuerlein, pastor. “The goal is to have all that continue,” he said. The Holy Family parishioners “are more than welcome here.” Any remaining Holy Family funds will be used to make some repairs to the church building, and St. Vincent de Paul also will raise funds for needed improvements, Father Zuerlein said. The upper-level worship space will be preserved as a chapel and will be used for occasional Masses and even some performing arts shows, to give people access to the arts who might not otherwise be able to afford the performances, Deacon Smith of St. Vincent de Paul said.

NEW HEADQUARTERS

SUSAN SZALEWSKI/STAFF

Dick Wirges, a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha, slices ham for sack lunch sandwiches. A donation of ham is a treat for those who depend on the bagged meals. Cheaper meats, such as bologna and salami, are more typical, volunteers say.

Under the archdiocesan plan, St. Frances Cabrini Parish will assume responsibility for the former Holy Family property, which will be leased to St. Vincent de Paul. The organization moved its headquarters to Holy Family last year. Holy Family Church, near 17th and Izard Streets, will become an east Omaha hub for St. Vincent de Paul, which will keep in place the Door Ministry and sack lunch program and other services, said Deacon Marty Smith, executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Omaha. “All we really want to do is make sure it (the service to the poor) continues – and build upon it,” Deacon Smith said. “We have a 130-year

SUSAN SZALEWSKI/STAFF

Recipients line up for sack lunches served at Holy Family’s door. The parish serves the lunches to 100 to 150 people a day on weekdays. Another 150 or so lunches are driven by van to other locations in east and south Omaha. Serving at Holy Family’s door are Fran Berg, left, a member of St. John Parish at Creighton University, and Hanh Nguyen of St. Leo the Great Parish in Omaha.


10 « JANUARY 24, 2020

| CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK |

Endowment gives Cedar County Catholic students big boost By LARAYNE TOPP

For the Catholic Voice

Msgr. Cyril Werner took his place each school day, seated in the corner of a hallway by the Sacred Heart statue at Holy Trinity Elementary School in Hartington. He greeted each student as they came from the lunch room. “Everyone wanted to talk to him,” remembers Keith Loecker, who graduated from Hartington’s Cedar Catholic Junior/Senior High School in 1988. “He was always good with kids.” Msgr. Werner spent 38 years as pastor of several parishes in Cedar County, including almost 20 years at Holy Trinity in the 70s and 80s. During that time, much of his attention focused on providing and promoting Catholic education. He worked passionately to keep Catholic schools open at a time when many were closing for lack of funding. Today, Keith and Michelle Loecker’s family are beneficiaries of those efforts. Their six children either have attended or are attending Holy Trinity and Cedar Catholic. But choosing parochial over public school education comes with a price. The Loeckers have chosen to watch their budget and do without, so their children can attend Catholic schools. When Loecker was a youngster at Holy Trinity, many of his classes were taught by nuns, he said; no fee was charged to attend. Today, however, tuition can be costly. Msgr. Werner often reminded Holy Trinity students how important it was that their parents

sacrificed so that they could attend Catholic schools, Loecker said, so they should appreciate and not waste that opportunity. The Loeckers’ daughters Reagan and Kendra are a senior and a sophomore, respectively, at Cedar Catholic. Reagan is involved in band and choir, while Kendra participates in one-act plays and the Future Farmers of America. The three oldest Loecker children have graduated from Cedar Catholic, and the youngest is a sixth grader at Holy Trinity. “We’ll be paying tuition for a few more years,” Michelle explained. Providentially, those payments have been reduced by an endowment established in Msgr. Werner’s name. The Msgr. Cyril J. Werner Endowment Fund was established by a significant planned gift made by Msgr. Werner through his estate after he passed away in February 2012. His estate directed this gift to go to the Omaha Archdiocesan Educational Foundation and held perpetually in endowment. The interest generated by the fund provides tuition aid to students in all Catholic schools in Cedar County. These include Cedar Catholic and Holy Trinity in Hartington, East Catholic Elementary School in Bow Valley, and West Catholic Elementary School in Fordyce. The tuition assistance keeps Catholic education accessible in Cedar County. In addition to easing the burden of tuition for qualifying families, the endowment also

offers budget assistance to the schools themselves. To date, more than $41,000 in tuition aid has been distributed to Cedar County schools, explained Tim Bogatz, stewardship and development officer for the Omaha Archdiocesan Educational/Parish Foundation. The Foundation, established in 1977, manages nearly 200 endowment funds benefiting archdiocesan parishes, schools and ministries. The Werner endowment is an example of how such funds help to enable a school and/or parish to impact the lives of Catholics well into the future, Bogatz said. The role of endowments in sustaining the mission of the Catholic Church should be seriously considered by anyone in parish or school leadership, he said. Chris Uttecht has served as principal at Cedar Catholic for the past two years. “Hartington is a pretty Catholic community,” he said. “They take pride in Cedar Catholic and Holy Trinity schools.” Eight churches in three parishes send students to Cedar Catholic and Holy Trinity. Father Owen Korte is the current pastor of Holy Trinity Parish and serves as president of Cedar Catholic. He appreciates how Catholic families within these parishes support their schools, and in turn, the role of education within the community. “A school brings life to a community,” he said, and the endowment plays a large role in helping Cedar County kids become students at Cedar

Faith. Knowledge. Service.

LARAYNE TOPP

Cedar Catholic Junior/Senior High School Principal Chris Uttecht looks over an assignment with senior Reagan Loecker, left, and her sister Kendra Loecker, a sophomore. Both young women are recipients of a tuition scholarship funded by the Msgr. Cyril J. Werner Endowment Fund. County’s Catholic schools. Msgr. Werner dedicated much of his life to the youth of the communities he served and their education. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1945 and named monsignor in 1985. He was the fourth honoree to receive Boys Town’s District Service Award for his lifelong work with youth. Over the course of his priesthood, he was assigned to

Three words that reflect Catholic education in general, but especially Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Omaha. We salute and honor the Catholic schools in the archdiocese – the students, faculty and staff – for continuing a tradition of excellence. And we say “thank you” to all the parishes and supporters who make Catholic education – and Catholic schools – a reality in the archdiocese.

parishes in Fordyce, Hartington, Omaha, O’Neill, St. Helena and St. James. Michelle Loecker remembers Msgr. Werner as a man of gratitude. “He reminded you to be grateful,” she said. “He would often say, ‘God is good.’” Her husband compares all the priests he meets with Msgr. Werner, she said. “It’s honorable to be remembered like that.”

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| CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK |

JANUARY 24, 2020

» 11

Rock Talk helps students encounter Jesus with Gospels By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice

How can teens have a personal encounter with Jesus through the Gospels and learn to share that experience with others? At Scotus Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Columbus, the entire student body and staff stop everything once a month to do just that. It’s called Rock Talk. Taking its name from the school’s symbol – the shamrock – Rock Talk is giving students a chance to learn what Christ is telling them in the Gospels and how to live it out in their daily lives. Implemented last fall, Rock Talk uses small groups of seven to eight students, grouped by grade and gender, to study the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday, with two teachers, staff or volunteers to lead their discussion. Students stay in the same groups throughout their time at Scotus Central. Rock Talk began out of necessity, said school President and Principal Jeff Ohnoutka. “We were being proactive because we knew that we were not going to have a priest assigned to our school as a campus minister, so this is our way of providing evangelization for the students and the adults,” he said. POSITIVE IMPACT “It’s really the best thing I’ve been a part of in Catholic education,” Ohnoutka said. “The kids just love it, and the benefits I’ve seen for the adults have been tremendous as well. It has had a very positive impact on our school.” Ohnoutka touts the camaraderie he sees developing among students and with their adult leaders. Students also have organized weekly Divine Mercy chaplet devotion in the chapel, they stop in the chapel before school to pray and offer their day to the Lord, and they have become more involved in campus ministry activities such as helping plan school Masses. And both students and adult leaders are lobbying for Rock Talk to take place twice a month next school year, he said. For Brea Lassek, a senior from St. Bonaventure Parish in Columbus, the sessions are something to look forward to. “We get to settle down and talk about God and what’s going on in

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Kalee Ternus, left, Kristen Sucha and Rylie Jarecki, eighth-graders at Scotus Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Columbus, enjoy the exchange during a recent Rock Talk session at the school. our lives,” she said. “It’s a great way to find peace amidst all the stress and chaos of our lives. Rock Talk sessions begin with “ice breaker” discussion questions, and students sharing the highs and lows of their week and how God was present in those moments. “Depending on what people say, we may go deeper into it,” Lassek said. “It’s great when we get to that part of the conversation where we can all trust each other to go deeper in that conversation, and you know it’s a safe place.” POWER OF SCRIPTURE Then, as her group examines the Gospel reading, Lassek appreciates the variety of interpretations that come up. “It’s great to see other people’s viewpoints. When I’m praying, something might not be revealed to me (in the same way) as it is to someone else, so it’s great to share

our faith in that way, (sharing) our personal experiences with the same text,” she said. Dana Ritzdorf, an adult volunteer and member of St. Bonaventure Parish in Columbus, is convinced Jesus can reach students through the Scriptures. “As Catholics, we believe in the power of the Word of God, so hopefully, they can encounter the Lord through the times that we’re praying together, and he would be the one to touch their hearts and help them have that change of heart (so) that they start desiring to seek him.” Lassek said the most important thing she’s learned is to incorporate God into everything she does so he can work through her. That includes developing a better sense of how to share the faith with others. “Rock Talk has guided me to look to the Holy Spirit and what

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the Holy Spirit wants me to say that might affect other people – being authentic and not scripted.” CAMARADERIE AND FELLOWSHIP Senior Emmitt Broberg, a member of St. Anthony Parish in Columbus, appreciates the sense of fel-

lowship that has developed within his group. “I’ve been able to discuss my faith more openly with others, with my friends, and we’ve been able to help each other grow in our faith.” Getting to know and forming bonds with other students he would not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with is another benefit, he said. “We’re able to have a fun time while discussing how we should live our faith every day,” Broberg said. “I’ve become a better person and my prayer has become deeper than it had been.” Broberg no longer believes he’s too busy to pray, and now sets aside 10 to 15 minutes to pray before bed or when waking up. “Jesus wanted us to have time to do everything with him,” he said. Mike VunCannon, a member of St. Isidore Parish in Columbus and one of the volunteer adult leaders in Broberg’s group, sees building that relationship with Jesus as vital to helping students keep their faith once they graduate and leave home. “Especially for the seniors, it’s important for them to understand how important faith is as they begin this journey without dependency on their parents,” he said. “Come May, they’ll be making decisions that will decide their future path.” What they’re learning through Rock Talk “will help kids understand that it’s not a chore to practice your faith – it’s a God-given gift,” he said.


| CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK |

12 « JANUARY 24, 2020

Nothing will keep St. Mary teacher from singing Longtime teacher with cancer overwhelmed by school’s support By ERIN KELLER

For the Catholic Voice

Peg Kallman heard a rustling in the hall outside her classroom as she prepared for Thanksgiving break last November at St. Mary School in Bellevue. The math and music teacher looked up to see fourth grade students waiting with quilled paper hearts they had affectionately created. One by one, students placed their beautiful artwork in front of her with messages like: “Stay strong,” “We got you” and “Praying for you.” The fifth and eighth grade classes followed, presenting her with a collage created from pictures taken after a recent all-school Mass where her pastor, coworkers and students prayed for her, along with a hand-made card signed by every student in the school. The front of the card read, “#cancer fighter.” Kallman, a member of St. Mary Parish since 1973, has taught at the school for 20 years. Since her diagnosis of double breast cancer Nov. 8, she has been overwhelmed by the love and support she has received there. She said her illness has provided “an amazing opportunity to get to see kids showing such compassion and kindness first hand.” “It is

one thing coming from adults, it’s another thing from the kids – especially middle-schoolers,” she said. Kallman first found a lump last Oct. 30, and saw her doctor the next day. Testing revealed six areas of concern, two on each breast and one under each arm, all of which were biopsied. Nov. 8 found her back at the Bellevue Medical Center with family members waiting for the results. She recalls sitting between her brother, Matt Kallman, and her sister, Sue Daniel, and across from her brother, Paul Kallman. As her doctor said, “You have cancer,” her world stopped. “Matt grabbed my hand and I could feel my sister breathe in really sharply, and when I looked up Paul’s eyes were full of tears,” she said. “It was a shock just to hear it the first time.” FOCUS ON PRAYER All six biopsy sites were cancerous. Her doctor scheduled scans to determine whether the cancer had spread. Kallman felt overwhelmed by the possibilities. So she immediately turned to her faith and her faith community. She called every praying person she knew and asked them to pray for a miracle. “My miracle is that I will be able to do what I need to do,” she

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BECKY FEAGAN

Peg Kallman, holding Father Edward J. Flanagan’s prayer book, receives a blessing from Father Lydell Lape, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Bellevue and chaplain of the Father Flanagan League, along with students and teachers of St. Mary School following an all-school Mass Nov. 20. said. “I can keep teaching and have a life that is not all about cancer.” She also renewed her own commitment to prayer. Now, she said, “I pray all the time. Before I would pray when I needed to pray about something, but it wasn’t all day long,” she said. “People have been sending me music,” she added, which helps her in her prayer. “I listen to a lot of inspirational and uplifting music, which helps a lot.” Her diagnosis also led Kallman to begin looking at other areas of her spiritual life. Though she had sung at every communal reconciliation service at St. Mary since college, she had not personally received the sacrament of reconciliation for some time. She approached St. Mary’s pastor, Father Lydell Lape, and set up an appointment. After receiving the sacrament, she noticed a shift. “I felt like a huge impediment was removed,” said Kallman. “It was something that was keeping me from fully participating in a lot of deep prayer … . Like when

people were praying for me, I felt unworthy. Confession helped me feel more worthy.” ‘MIRACLES HAPPEN’ In addition to being pastor of St. Mary, Father Lape is chaplain for the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion, an Omaha-based organization dedicated to teaching people about the heroic virtue and sanctity of Servant of God Father Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, and helping to promote his cause for canonization through prayer and devotion. “Prayer is powerful. I believe in the power of prayer,” said Father Lape, “Miracles do happen.” On Nov. 20, Kallman cantored for St. Mary’s all-school Mass. After the closing blessing, Father Lape explained his role as chaplain of the league, the canonization process and the importance of miracles in that process – one being needed for beatification, a second for declaration of sainthood. He told the community he

saw no reason why Kallman could not be one of those miracles. Father Lape invited Kallman to the front of the church. He asked the students to stand and extend their hands in blessing toward her. Father Lape handed Kallman Father Flanagan’s prayer book, and began to lead the community in prayer for a miracle. “I love the opportunity this provides our students,” said Deacon Ted Menzel, who attended the Mass. “This is teaching the children the power of prayer, and it is extending beyond the school to their families. They are learning different ways to pray and how their prayer can make such a difference.” CHRISTMAS GIFT After the blessing, Kallman led the congregation in “How Can I Keep From Singing.” Then she drove to the Hereditary Cancer Clinic at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in BelContinued on Page 13 >>

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| CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK |

JANUARY 24, 2020

BECKY FEAGAN

In early December Peg Kallman prepares her first-grade class to sing “The Snow is Falling Still” as part of their Christmas program. >> Continued from Page 12

levue, where she underwent genetic testing to determine if a gene mutation was causing her cancer. On Nov. 25 Kallman was diagnosed with stage two, grade three, invasive ductal carcinoma, starting in the ducts of the breast. Before Christmas she learned further scans showed the cancer had not spread. She began chemotherapy Dec. 23. Hearing the cancer had not spread past the breast and original lymph nodes was a relief to Kallman. “It was quite a Christmas gift,” she said. If the cancer had spread, the diagnosis would have changed to stage four, treatable but incurable. Because the scan showed that the cancer remained confined, it remains at stage two. Her doctors plan bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments through March 30, and will decide next steps after they see the results of those treatments. Surgery is a likely possibility, Kallman said. NOT ALONE Throughout her treatment Kallman, who has 11 siblings, has received an outpouring of support from her family. Siblings and their spouses have accompanied her to every test, appointment and chemotherapy treatment. “I am not alone in this,” said Kallman of her family. “They are there whenever I need something. I walk into these meetings with my own team.” Deacon Ted and Cindy Menzel have known Kallman for over 30 years. It was Cindy, after participating with Kallman in various music ministries at the church, who encouraged her to apply for the teaching position she now

holds. She is now like family to the Menzels, as well as their travel companion. “Peg will give you the shirt off her back and then some,” said Cindy, who also teaches at St. Mary. “She does it quietly, without any thought of recognition. She has been incredibly generous with the church community, with her finances, time and talent.” “To receive is a very different role for her,” Cindy said. “What has been beautiful is the realization on her part of how much people admire and love her and what an impact she has had on students’ lives.” PRAYER WARRIORS St. Mary’s faculty pray for and with Kallman regularly. Trish Wallinger, St. Mary’s principal, appreciates what God is doing in their faith community among instructors, students and staff. “It’s really brought home what our mission is, to nurture hearts and minds,” she said. Kallman agrees. She treasures all the love people have given her, especially the students. “It’s amazing because the students say they are praying for you,” she said through tears. “Some of them say things like: Keep on fighting, stay strong, we will get through this together, you will win, you can do this, you will make it through, stay in the fight, never give up.” Wallinger appreciates the opportunity to put the school’s Catholic values and education into action. “We’ve really been able to put into practice what we’ve been taught,” she said. “We have learned all the catechesis, different ways to pray, and now we are living it. The Spirit is moving.”

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| CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK |

14 « JANUARY 24, 2020

Employment program boosts students’ skills, confidence By KATIE SCOTT

Catholic News Service

PORTLAND, Ore. – On a weekday morning in Southeast Portland, high school sophomore Gabriela Flores sits at a desk, picks up a pencil and concentrates on the work before her. Her task is not to find the value of “x” in a trigonometry equation, nail a history quiz or craft an elegant sentence for an English essay. It’s to measure, mark and cut fabric for her job at Looptworks, a company that repurposes and “upcycles” materials into handbags, pillows, luggage and other products. Flores trades a classroom for this hip studio space approximately five days a month as part of De La Salle North Catholic High School’s corporate workstudy program. The money teens earn in their entry-level jobs goes directly to De La Salle and covers approximately 50% of their education costs. It’s a model that benefits the corporate partners, school families – most teens come from low-income households of color – and, most importantly, the students. “That combination of developing business acumen and experiencing academic rigor prepares them in a way that’s profoundly unique,” Tim Joy, De La Salle principal, told the Catholic Sentinel, Portland’s archdiocesan newspaper. “They gain a sense of pride in their abilities and a level of endurance that I’m amazed by,”

added Aiyana Ashley, director of the corporate work-study program. Students don’t always come from stable family structures, “but they leave behind what’s going on in their personal life and become a valuable part of their employer’s team.” Opened in 2001, De La Salle is a founding member of the Cristo Rey Network, the only association of high schools in the country that integrate college preparatory academics with four years of professional work experience. The first Cristo Rey school began in Chicago in 1996; there are now 37 such schools nationwide; all serve low-income populations. Looptworks is among 90 work-study employers in the Portland region. The corporate partners range from larger organizations – Columbia Sportswear, the Salvation Army – to local entities, including the Portland Art Museum and Friends of Trees. Hiring young employees through the program can be cost-effective for businesses and stabilize high-turnover positions. But those aren’t the biggest appeals for Scott Hamlin, founder and CEO of Looptworks, and other partners. They believe students add diversity to a workplace and offer unique perspectives. Hamlin said the high schoolers are future consumers who share what they are thinking about and “what they think is cool and relevant.” Ashley noted that companies

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Gabriela Flores, a sophomore at De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon, repurposes materials into eco-friendly products at Looptworks Dec. 3, 2019. Along with mastering design skills at her work-study job, Flores said she's learned how to ask for help and remain focused in the face of stressful deadlines. must be willing to mentor students – teens who likely have never been in a workplace before. “It will take coaching and guidance, but once they are trained and acclimated there’s almost nothing they can’t do,” she said. “Students then bring out that sense the companies have of giving back.” “It’s very rewarding to see students’ growth,” said Hamlin. MINOR CHALLENGES He said there have been only minor challenges. Sometimes a teen’s interests don’t correspond with the company’s focus. “We’ve had kids who are really engaged and some who aren’t,” he said. It takes a herculean effort to match the more than 270 students with the companies’ needs, admitted Ashley.

“We try our best, but the goal is to teach the life lesson that wherever you are, you need to do your best,” she said. “If you don’t get what you think is a perfect job, you don’t know what you’ll uncover when you get there.” De La Salle is aligned with the charisms of St. John Baptist de La Salle, a French priest whose 17th-century educational reforms offered “stout theology wedded to practical training,” Joy said. “Our embracing of Catholic social teaching, honoring the inherent dignity of people, then coupling that with the professional work that’s being done by students at these corporations, I think it fits perfectly” with the saint’s vision. Students work one day a week Tuesday through Friday, plus one Monday rotation. Instruction

time is made up fully in a number of ways, including a lengthened school day. Joy believes the skills students learn contribute to the fact that 95% of them are accepted into colleges and nearly 90% of De La Salle alumni return for their second year of college. The national average is around 70%. “They’ve needed to be independent, needed to be an advocate and to figure out how to ask for help among strangers,” said Joy. “That’s not an easy thing.” EVIDENT DEVELOPMENT Flores spoke to that challenge at Looptworks. “I was super nervous when I started here,” said the teen, who aspires to be a graphic designer. “I struggled in the beginning, but I’m learning if I want to do a good job, I need to ask questions.” She has also discovered how to handle deadlines. “I was given a couple weeks to work on a design, and I realized if I just chill out and focus, I could get it done,” she said. Flores beams as she rattles off her professional development thus far. She’s designed a T-shirt and is mastering Adobe Illustrator. “I’ve learned a lot about how to cut and trace and how small businesses work and about the upcycle stuff,” she said before smoothing out a wrinkled piece of cloth. There’s a growth that students such as Flores gain “through their classes and by learning about themselves in work environments,” Joy said. “It’s something that eludes description, but you can see it – a shine that’s pretty special.” Scott is special projects reporter at the Catholic Sentinel, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland.


| CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK |

JANUARY 24, 2020

» 15

Cause opened for educator dedicated to those with disabilities Catholic News Service

ERIE, Pa. – Bishop Lawrence T. Persico Dec. 17 announced the opening of the canonization cause for Gertrude Barber, a renowned Erie educator and Catholic woman of faith who dedicated her life to serving children and adults with intellectual disabilities/autism and their families. “It is an honor to open the cause for sainthood for Dr. Gertrude Barber,” the Erie bishop said. “Her family members, and the thousands of families who have been touched by the work she initiated in her lifetime, are surely thrilled to be part of this historic moment. “But I am particularly pleased that the good work of Dr. Barber, motivated by her Catholic faith and undertaken on behalf of those in need,” he continued, “will now be known more fully by those throughout our region and beyond.” Bishop Persico made the announcement during a gathering of supporters and members of the Barber family with staff, students and adults at the Barber National Institute. Five days earlier, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he issued a formal decree opening the cause. It can be found at www. DrBarber.org. Gertrude Agnes Barber (19112000) was born in Erie and lived with her family on Newman Street,

a short distance from what is now the Barber National Institute, while she attended Villa Maria Academy. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a doctorate in education at Pennsylvania State University, and a doctor of laws degree from Catholic-run Gannon University in Erie. She also had a doctorate of pedagogy from Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Barber “had a natural desire for learning; she was a successful scholar and built her career around education by passing on her message and practically applying that all individuals have a right to develop to their fullest potential,” says a biography of her on the website https:// www.barberinstitute.org. She began her career as a teacher and then worked as a home and school counselor, psychologist, coordinator of special education programs, and finally as assistant superintendent of the Erie School District. “This position presented many challenges when it became her job to tell parents of children with special needs that no services were available to educate their children in the community,” her biography says. “Barber decided it was time to make a change. In 1952, with the help of a group of dedicated teachers and parents, she established the

COURTESY BARBER NATIONAL INSTITUTE/CNS PHOTO

Gertrude Barber is pictured with children in an undated photo in Erie, Pennsylvania. Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie announced Dec. 17 the opening of the canonization cause for Barber, founder of what is now called the Barber National Institute for adults and children with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health first classroom for children with developmental disabilities.” This was the founding of the Dr. Gertrude A. Barber Center. In 2003, the center name was changed to Barber National Institute, which currently serves 5,370 children and adults annually in locations across Pennsylvania. It has about 2,600 employees. The institute provides services in the areas of autism, deaf and

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear cases of fired Catholic school teachers By CAROL ZIMMERMANN Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will take a deeper dive into laws governing church and state this year when it examines two Catholic school teacher firings. The court agreed Dec. 18 to take up the combined cases of two California Catholic schools that were sued by teachers they had fired who claimed they had been victims of job discrimination. The schools, both in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, argued in lower courts that they were exempt from discrimination laws by “ministerial exception.” This exception is based on a 2012 Supreme Court decision that said church and religious school employers are exempt from anti-discrimination laws for employees who are ministers of the faith. In these two cases, federal district courts ruled in favor of the schools, citing ministerial exception. But two separate panels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed these decisions, saying the limited extent of the employee’s religious duties were insufficient to qualify for a ministerial exception that was more often applied to those with roles of religious leadership. Becket, a nonprofit religious liberty law firm, is representing the schools in the cases: St. James School v. Biel and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru. In a Dec. 18 statement, the firm said: “Most courts have ruled that ministerial employees are those employees who perform important religious functions, like instructing young children in the precepts of the

Catholic faith,” adding that the 9th Circuit in these cases “rejected this widely accepted rule.” “Parents trust Catholic schools to assist them in one of their most important duties: forming the faith of their children,” said Montserrat Alvarado, vice president and executive director at Becket. “If courts can second-guess a Catholic school’s judgment about who should teach religious beliefs to fifth graders, then neither Catholics nor any other religious group can be confident in their ability to convey the faith to the next generation.” The cases involve St. James School in Torrance and Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Hermosa Beach. At St. James School, former fifth grade teacher, Kristen Biel said she was fired after informing school administrators that she had breast cancer and would have to take time off for surgery and chemotherapy. She sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Biel died this summer, but her husband is seeking damages. Becket said that in 2015, the school chose not to renew Biel’s one-year contract based on classroom performance. Our Lady of Guadalupe School did not renew the contract in 2013 for Agnes Morrissey-Berru, who had taught both fifth and sixth grades since 1999, saying she had a problem keeping order in her classroom and meeting expectations under a new reading program. Morrissey-Berru sued, alleging age bias under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Briefs filed by both schools point out that the “scope of the ministe-

rial exception is a vital and recurring question of nationwide importance for thousands of religious organizations and individuals.” The 2012 decision these schools are essentially standing on is Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where a teacher at a Lutheran school in Michigan said she was fired for pursuing an employment discrimination claim based on a disability. In its ruling, the court said the ministerial exception to anti-discrimination laws meant that religious organizations couldn’t be sued for firing an employee classified as a minister. In the two Catholic school cases coming before the court likely in March or April, the court will have to determine whether the school employees served a ministerial function in their teaching positions, or continue to defer to the religious organization’s judgment on who is a minister. The National Catholic Educational Association, in a friend-ofthe-court brief in support of St. James School filed in February 2019, disagreed with the 9th Circuit’s decision that the teacher was not a minister. The brief stressed instead that Biel, as the school’s only fifth grade teacher, “bore particular responsibility for effectuating – and embodying – the integral formation that is distinct to Catholic schools.” The group also said the appeals court panel’s conclusion was “irreconcilable with four centuries of Catholic educational practice in America.”

hearing impairment, behavioral health diagnosis, and intellectual disabilities. With the formal opening of her sainthood cause, Barber now has the title “Servant of God.” A formal inquiry will begin a review of her life, work and holiness. Bishop Persico has approved the appointment of Msgr. Thomas McSweeney to serve as diocesan postulator for the cause. He is a retired priest and former director of Erie’s diocesan Office of Evangelization for Communications. Msgr. McSweeney will be the main point of contact for the gathering of documentation and formal interviews with anyone who wants

to discuss interactions they had with Barber during her lifetime. The testimony will become part of the official documentation for the canonization process, all of which will eventually be sent to the Vatican. Although Barber died years before Bishop Persico’s 2012 appointment to head the Diocese of Erie, he noted he had heard about her good works and her faith commitment from his earliest days in the diocese. He said he has visited the Barber National Institute many times and offered Mass there. “I know the family and staff is deeply committed to carrying out the mission she established.”

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| MEDIA & CULTURE |

16 « JANUARY 24, 2020

REVIEW: JUST MERCY

Drama depicts dangers of the death penalty By JOHN MULDERIG Catholic News Service

NEW YORK – The legal drama “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros.), director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton’s adaptation of the 2014 memoir by Bryan Stevenson, reaches back to events in the 1980s. But it also succeeds in vividly demonstrating the ongoing dangers posed by the application of the death penalty in a society still burdened by widespread racism. Rather than pursue a lucrative career, Delaware-bred and Harvard-educated Bryan (Michael B. Jordan) moves to Alabama and partners with local activist Eva Ansley (Brie Larson) to establish the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization dedicated to serving the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. One case Bryan takes up is that of death-row prisoner Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian (Jamie Foxx). Convicted in 1987 of the murder of Ronda Morrison, an 18-year-old white woman slain at the dry-cleaning establishment where she worked, Walter has become understandably cynical by the time he meets Bryan. Yet, quickly recognizing the feebleness of the evidence against Walter, Bryan tries to instill him with renewed hope. In a crucial gambit to win his client’s confidence, Bryan takes the time to visit with Walter’s wife, Minnie (Karan Kendrick), and their extended family. Convinced that Bryan is indeed different from the uninvolved attorneys by whom he has previously been represented, Walter agrees to let him move

RATING: PG-13 for mature themes, a disturbing scene of execution, offscreen nudity in a strip search, a couple of mild oaths and a few crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults.

WARNER BROS/CNS PHOTO

Michael B. Jordan, left, and Jamie Foxx star in a scene from the movie “Just Mercy.” The film “has the potential to wake up out of a slumber the part of society that either doesn’t believe the death penalty is still in practice or chooses to ignore it,” according to two leaders of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, founded 10 years ago to eliminate death penalty laws and executions.

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forward with the appeals process. Bryan’s principal strategy involves getting Ralph Myers (Tim Blake Nelson), the key witness against Walter, to admit that he perjured himself. But the case is a potentially explosive one and, with newly installed prosecutor Tommy Chapman (Rafe Spall) resolutely standing by the original verdict obtained by his predecessor, the community backlash turns ugly. “Just Mercy” proves to be much more than a message movie since Cretton and his script collaborator Andrew Lanham avoid caricature, showing that even some of their most misguided characters are capable of conversion. The result of their broadminded approach is a humane and winning study of a subject with immense realworld significance. Both as a family discussion starter and a source of education, “Just Mercy” may be deemed acceptable for older adolescents. Whether in theaters or, eventually, on disc, it also represents a valuable potential resource for catechizing adults about the perils of capital punishment.

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| SPIRITUAL LIFE |

I

JANUARY 24, 2020

» 17

Saying ‘yes’ to Jesus will dispel our darkness

n a wonderfully inspirational video entitled “Celebrate What’s Right with the World,” National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones notes that he was raised with the adage, “I won’t believe it until I see it.” What he learned through his work as a photographer, however, was exactly the opposite: “I won’t see it until I believe it.” Sometimes while on assignment he would come to an area and initially see nothing of value to photograph. But when he challenged himself to believe there was something magnificent for him to see, and if he was patient enough to keep looking for it, he always found an image not previously seen, often one more unique

Scripture Reflections FATHER DENNIS HANNEMAN and beautiful than he could have ever imagined. At times it can seem that only darkness appears to cover a “land of gloom.” Perhaps we don’t feel good, or the weather is cold and gray. Perhaps it’s tensions in our family relationships or problems at work or economic woes or just the state of our world. But as the prophet Isaiah promises, anguish and gloom can turn into “abundant joy and great rejoicing” if we have the eyes to look for it. And Jesus is the one who fulfills this promise. Like Dewitt Jones, Jesus always seemed to be able to get beyond the external appearances to bring out the best someone had to offer. And through his knowledge of

what was “right and best” in each person, they were healed. Jesus brought what was needed to fix what was wrong or broken. Perhaps the “dis-ease” that needs the most curing among people today is that of disillusionment. Consistently bombarded by what’s wrong with our environment and ourselves, the energy needed to find what’s right is dissipated and the zeal to fix what’s broken depleted. We can no longer see the light in the midst of the gloom and darkness. As people responded “yes” to Jesus’ call, he challenged them to see with new eyes and hear with new ears. He urged a change of heart that would mean focusing on a new way of looking at ourselves, our world, our relationships. Through the lens of Jesus’ teachings, words and actions, Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled: “A people in darkness have seen a great light.”

SCRIPTURE READINGS OF THE DAY JANUARY 27 Monday: 2 Sm 5:1-7, 10; Ps 89:20-22, 25-26; Mk 3:22-30 28 Tuesday: 2 Sm 6:12b-15, 17-19; Ps 24:7-10; Mk 3:31-35 29 Wednesday: 2 Sm 7:4-17; Ps 89:4-5, 27-30; Mk 4:1-20 30 Thursday: 2 Sm 7:18-19, 24-29; Ps 132:1-5, 11-14; Mk 4:21-25 31 Friday: 2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17; Ps 51:3-7, 10-11; Mk 4:26-34

FEBRUARY 1 Saturday: 2 Sm 12:1-7a, 10-17; Ps 51:12-17; Mk 4:35-41 2 Sunday – THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD: Mal 3:1-4; Ps 24:7-10; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22-32 3 Monday: 2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13; Ps 3:2-7; Mk 5:1-20 4 Tuesday: 2 Sm 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30–19:3; Ps 86:1-6; Mk 5:21-43 5 Wednesday: 2 Sm 24:2, 9-17; Ps 32:1-2, 5-7; Mk 6:1-6 6 Thursday: 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12; (Ps) 1 Chr 29:10-12; Mk 6:7-13 7 Friday: Sir 47:2-11; Ps 18:31, 47, 50-51; Mk 6:14-29 8 Saturday: 1 Kgs 3:4-13; Ps 119:9-14; Mk 6:30-34

What is essential for prayer?

T

oday we begin a new series of columns, exploring the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching on personal prayer. An entire section of the Catechism (Part Four of four), 75 pages, is dedicated to Christian prayer. Unfortunately, most Catholics have never read this section in depth, if at all. Nor do we often hear teaching about prayer from the Catechism, beyond a few quotes. As we shall see, absorbing and applying this teaching can transform our spiritual lives. Part Four of the Catechism begins with a deceptively simple question: What is prayer? One would think that a one-sentence definition would answer the question. Instead, the answer takes nearly three pages. It begins with a quote from St. Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography, “Story of a Soul”: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy” (CCC, no. 2558). Strikingly, St. Therese says nothing about words. We often think of prayer as “speaking to God.” How can we be praying unless we are saying some-

Conversation with God CONNIE ROSSINI thing? Conversely, we might think that as long as we are speaking to God, we are praying, no matter what the content of our words, or whether or not we are even paying attention to what we are saying. Rather than thinking of prayer as talking to God, St. Therese shows us that prayer is better seen as communication between God and the soul – or even better, communion. Humans communicate with one another in a variety of ways. Using words, of course, is the most obvious and often the best understood way. Every year, new words are added to dictionaries so that people who speak the same language can better understand one another. While words are an important part of communication, they are not sufficient for real understanding. Consider exchanges on social media. Facebook conversations, for example, are notorious for devolving into arguments and name-calling. When we read someone else’s post or comment, we see the words, but we hear no tone of voice, see no gestures,

and don’t know where a person paused to think. We might also be tripped up by spelling or punctuation issues. We need more than bare words to really communicate with one another. St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “If a person neither considers to Whom he is addressing himself, what he asks, nor who he is who prays, although his lips may utter many words, I do not call it prayer” (“Interior Castle,” First Mansions, Ch. 1, Paragraph 9). We can fall into bad habits while praying memorized (vocal) prayers. How easy it is to mumble prayers before meals, for example, then forget whether we have prayed! How hard it is to keep our minds on God while praying the Rosary! But if we do not at least try to focus the mind on God, our words are not prayer

according to St. Teresa. St. Teresa teaches us that prayer must involve the mind. St. Therese teaches us that prayer must occupy the heart. Prayer can be as simple as a look, a cry. It is the act of a soul reaching out toward God. Prayer does not always require words, nor are words alone enough to make true

prayer. So the Catechism teaches us at the beginning of its exploration of Christian prayer. 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.

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| RESURRECTION JOY |

18 « JANUARY 24, 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. ACKER-Kenneth H., 77. Funeral service Jan. 4 at West Center Chapel. Interment Resurrection Mausoleum. Preceded in death by daughter, Kathy Winchell. Survived by wife, Linda D. Acker; children, Kimberly Buinicky (Jay), Kenneth H. Acker Jr. (Traci Carlin), and Keith A. Acker (Renee); 12 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; siblings, Nancy Skolaski-Acker (Stan), Vernon Acker (Sharon), Ronald Acker (Judy), and Charles Acker (Karen). HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER ALEXANDER (ALESSANDRO)-Ida S., 92. Funeral service Jan. 13 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Andrew J. “Alex” Alexander; daughter, Frances Szurpicki; grandson, Keith Cammarata. Survived by children and spouses, Grace Stoddard, Josi and Corky Cammarata, Fred Alexander, and Salvatore and Lorraine Alessandro; 11 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren. Memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association or Lydia House. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER ANDERSEN-Mark J., 66. Funeral Mass Jan. 7 at Immaculate Conception Church. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Aage “Andy” Andersen and Betty A. Andersen; niece, Kara Andersen. Survived by siblings and spouses, Mary Gallagher, Scott and Eileen Andersen, Nick and Lea Ann Andersen, and Joseph and Betsy Andersen. Memorials to Bethlehem House, Omaha, or the Fraternity of St. Peter Seminary, Denton, Nebraska. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER ANDERSON-Patricia M., 68. Funeral Mass Jan. 2 at St. Joan of Arc Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Joseph and Betty Jean Falcone; nephew, Aaron Rosholm. Survived by husband, John F. Anderson Sr.; son and daughter-in-law, John F. Jr. and Carie Anderson; two grandchildren; sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Greg Rosholm; nephew. Memorials to the Parkinson’s Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER BARNETT-Ronald T., 89. Funeral Mass Jan. 10 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Preceded in death by parents, Arnold and Ruth Barnett; daughter, Diane Marie Barnett; nephew, John J. Mann. Survived by wife, Joan (Evers) Barnett; niece and spouse, Sara Diane and Jason Thompson; nieces, nephews and their children. Memorials to Siena Francis House. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

BRACHT-Ida A., 104. Funeral Mass Jan. 3 at St. Mary Church, West Point. Interment St. Michael Cemetery, West Point. Preceded in death by parents, Albert and Mary (Neesen) Bracht; siblings, Elizabeth, Mary, Sister Celestine, Henrietta, Sister Alfreda Bracht, Anton, Ben, Father Clement Bracht, and infant brother, Joseph. Survived by nieces; nephews; great-nieces; great-nephews. Memorials to GACC Endowments or St. Joseph Retirement Community. STOKELY FUNERAL HOME BRYAN-Bernice C., 88. Funeral service Jan. 2 at Bethany Funeral Home. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by husband, Robert Bryan; parents, Stanley and Jennie Nowaczyk. Survived by children and spouses, Dianna Bryan, Patty and Art Limones, Susan and Darrell Goodwin, and Jeannie and Chuck Henderson; sisters, Rita Werner and Stella Stawniak; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchildren. Memorials to the family. BETHANY FUNERAL HOME CAPAZO-Ralph E., 82. Funeral service Jan. 10 at St. Wenceslaus Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by daughter, Deborah Lynn Capazo; parents, Ralph A. and Victoria Capazo; sisters, Judy Erickson and Delores Weathers. Survived by wife, Cathy Capazo; children and spouses, John and Diane Capazo, Gary and Vicki Capazo, Kim and Mike Faltys; nine grandchildren; great-grandchildren; sisters, Janet Capazo and Sylvia Robino; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN CHANDLER-Joyce A., 85. Funeral Mass Jan. 7 at Holy Cross Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, John W. “Nick” Chandler; parents, Frank and Marie Sapienza; sister, Gloria Rodaway. Survived by sons, John Chandler Jr., James Chandler (Sherry), and Jason Chandler (fiancé Sandy Prochaska); six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren. Memorials to Lauritzen Gardens, Western Heritage Museum or Masses. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER CLOYD-Dorothy L., 85. Funeral Mass Jan. 9 at St. Mary Church, Bellevue. Preceded in death by husband, Buddy. Survived by children, Tom Cloyd (Debi), Tim Cloyd (Sue Ayers), Theresa Tuttle (Cory Gillespie), Tami Cloyd, and Todd Cloyd (Ann); 11 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; siblings, Don Donohoe, John Donohoe (Rachel), Karen Rotherham, and Margaret Larsen (Larry). Memorials to St. Mary’s Memorials and Living Tributes. BELLEVUE MEMORIAL CHAPEL COLOMBE-Ernest D., 89. Funeral service Jan. 10 at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Preceded in death by wife, Marlene J. Colombe; parents, Gus and Theresa Colombe; brother, Paul Colombe. Survived by daughters, Mary (Ed) Lindell, Chris (Kent) Hofferber, Patty (Terry Flanagan) Colombe; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. CROSBY BURKET SWANSON GOLDEN DESLER-Annette M., 78. Funeral Mass Jan. 16 at St. Pius X Church. Interment Westlawn-Hillcrest Memorial Park. Preceded in death by grandson, Alex Mastera. Survived by husband, Dale E. Desler; children and spouses, Mark and Michelle Desler, and Kim and Pete Mastera; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; Kelly Mastera. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED DINGES-Michael G., 74. Funeral service Jan. 9 at St. Mary Magdalene Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Survived by wife, Mary; children and spouse, Laura Dinges, and Wayne and Karla Dinges; four grandchildren; nine brothers and sisters; other relatives. Memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association or to Parkinson’s Research. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER ERWIN-Casey M., 28. Funeral service at St. James Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by Kitty Smither and Murle Erwin. Survived by family, Vanessa Erwin, Tim Erwin (Tori), Katie Madden (Shawn), Emily Chadek (Matt), Gwen Madden, Beth Madden, and James Keenan; friends. Memorials to Unbound or St. James Church Building Fund. ROEDER MORTUARY GARZA-Kathleen Marie, 56. Memorial Mass Jan. 2 at St. Columbkille Church, Papillion. Survived by mother and stepfather, Rachel M. and Joseph P. Barrientos Jr.; siblings and spouses, Victoria Conforte, Jerry and Margie Becerra, and Natalie and Dan Olsen; nieces; nephews; great-nieces; great-nephews. Memorials to League of Human Dignity or to the family. BETHANY FUNERAL HOME GRAZ-Rosalie Parks, 86. Funeral Mass Jan. 11 at St. Leo the Great Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Queens, New York. Preceded in death by husband, Charles Michael Graz, M.D.; infant son, Leo Graz; parents, John and Rose Parks; siblings, Mary Ann (Parks) Grage and Jack Parks. Survived by children, Michael Graz (Susan), Madeleine Matthews (Thomas), Julia Graz (Leland), and John Graz (Aria); six grandchildren; sister, Sister Rita Parks, R.S.M; nieces; nephews; cousins. Memorials to Sisters of Mercy. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HANSEN-Sharon M., 58. Funeral service Jan. 11 at St. Stephen the Martyr Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by father, James Holmes. Survived by husband, Doug; children, Jordan and Matthew; daughter-in-law, Amanda Walters; mother, Sparky Holmes; siblings and spouses, Steven Holmes, Kathy and John Strnad, and Lori and Keith Limbacher; family; friends. Memorials to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HARTIGAN-Thomas Michael (Tom), 69. Funeral Mass Jan. 11 at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Catherine Leone (Fitzpatrick) and John Dawson Hartigan, M.D.; siblings, Catherine Ann (Hartigan) Fehringer, Robert Joseph Hartigan, and infant, Margaret Hartigan. Survived by siblings (and spouses), John Dawson Hartigan Jr., Grace Marie (Hartigan) Schefter, James Andrew Hartigan, Daniel Edward Hartigan, M.D., Patricia Ann Hartigan, and Kevin Lawrence Hartigan; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Siena Francis House, the Salvation Army, Creighton Preparatory School or one’s choice. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

Remembering

HAYDUSKA-Paul R. Jr., 74. Memorial service Jan. 2 at West Center Chapel. Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Church at a later date. Interment at Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Paul R. and Helen (Fiala) Hayduska. Survived by wife, Kathy (Kielian) Hayduska; children and spouses, Jennifer and Brian Fox, Matthew and Sheerin Hayduska, and Michelle and Tom Kollasch; two grandchildren; sisters and brother-in-law, Jean Hayduska, and Ruth and George Cirian. Memorials to the American Cancer Society or Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HOFFMAN-Harry A., 76. Funeral Mass Jan. 4 at Mary Our Queen Church. Interment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Virginia M. Hoffman; son, Douglas J. Hoffman. Survived by daughter and son-in-law, Renee and Mark Trapp; daughter-in-law, Kolleen Hoffman; six grandchildren; siblings, Theona Wilburn, Myrtle Gail Arrick, and Edward Hoffman. Memorials to Siena Francis House. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HUG-Rita Marie (Saitta), 91. Funeral service Jan. 16 at Holy Cross Church. Preceded in death by husband, Harold C. Hug Sr.; parents, Richard F. Saitta Sr. and Veronica (Wolski) Saitta; siblings and spouse, Frances and Ray Brock, and Robert Saitta Sr.; sisters-in-law, Theresa Saitta, Helen Hug, Dorothy Wasielewski, Delores Garfield, Janet Heldt, Judy Larsen and Donna Johnson; brothers-in-law, Fred Hug and Donald Hug; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Fred Hug and Helen Hug (Hrabik). Survived by children and spouses, Sonny and Lori Hug, Ron and Lori Hug, Frances and Paul Engelstad, Stephen Hug, Allen and Laurie Hug, and Doug and Ausha Hug; Tom; 11 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; siblings and spouse, Richard F. Saitta Jr., and Mary Jo and Bill Hanes; brothers-in-law and spouses, Robert and Marge Hug, and Ralph and Helen Hug; sister-in-law, Zophia Hug; family friends, Jim and Carla Noble; nieces; nephews; cousins; friends. Memorials to one’s choice. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER KELLY-Marlene G., 81. Funeral Mass Jan. 16 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Harvey and Dorothy Martin. Survived by husband, Martin Kelly; children and spouses, Patti and Tim Thoma, Mike and Brenda Kelly, Kevin Kelly, Peggy Kelly-Nieland, and Kathy Kelly; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; siblings and spouses, Kathy and Mike Wiese, and Dennis and Barb Martin; family; friends. ROEDER MORTUARY KINSELLA-Barbara J., 68. Funeral Mass Jan. 4 at Mary Our Queen Church. Interment Evergreen Memorial Park. Survived by husband, Daniel Kinsella; sons, Matthew Berthold (Sheila) and Andrew Berthold (Abigail); stepsons and spouses, Daniel Kinsella II (Kari), Scott Kinsella (Jaime), Christopher Kinsella (Sydney Campbell), and Matthew Kinsella (Lacey); 17 grandchildren; siblings, Annette Twiford, Leo Frede (Betty), Betty Plumer (Steve), and Leonard Frede; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Special Olympics. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

KWASNIEWSKI-Beverly J., 65. Funeral service Jan. 10 at St. Thomas More Church. Interment St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Clarence “Pete” and Mary. Survived by siblings and spouses, David and Diane Kwasniewski, Daniel and Peggy Kwasniewski, and Barb Kwasniewski; nieces; nephews. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME MASSEY-Joan Carolyn “Joanie”, 81. Funeral Mass Jan. 3 at St. Gerald Church. Survived by husband, Art Massey; children and spouse, Mindy Korbitz, Beth and Steve Mancuso, Jeff Massey, and Curt Massey; eight grandchildren; brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Adrea Andersen. Memorials to Siena Francis House. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER MOORE-Teresa J. “Terri”, 66. Funeral Mass Jan. 4 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Preceded in death by parents, Bernard and Nora Moore; sister, Julie Moore. Survived by Michael Sweeney; siblings and spouses, William J. and Roseann Moore, Thomas B. and Cary Moore, Mary N. Kovar, Shayla and Martin Liebentritt, Susan and Dr. Richard Clement, Patty and George Heaston, Colleen Moore, Lauretta and Matt Simon, and John and Denise Moore; 23 nieces, nephews; grand-nieces; grand-nephews. Memorials to Mercy High School or Our Lady of Lourdes Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER MOORMAN-Stephanie E., 82. Funeral Mass Jan. 3 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Joseph E. Moorman. Survived by children, Linda Moorman (Doug Little), Christine Krueger, Paul Moorman, and Patti West (Dave); Lawrence Martinez; four grandchildren. Memorials to the Nebraska Humane Society or V.N.A. Hospice. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER O’DONNELL-Gerald P., 85. Funeral Mass Jan. 9 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Resurrection Mausoleum. Preceded in death by son, Craig P. O’Donnell. Survived by wife, Bonnie J. O’Donnell; daughter, Cheryl M. O’Donnell; siblings, R. Kevin O’Donnell and Rochelle Campbell; sister-in-law, Frances M. Hatfield; nieces; nephews; relatives; friends. Memorials to Holy Name School, Creighton Preparatory School or St. Robert Bellarmine Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER PARK-Ronald R., 84. Funeral Mass Jan. 16, at St. Wenceslaus Church. Interment at a later date. Preceded in death by parents, R.F. Park and Hazel L. Woods Park; infant sister, Beverly; siblings and spouses, William and Dorothy Park, and Charlene and Neven Ickes; brother-in-law, Norman Trowbridge. Survived by wife, Connie; children and spouses, Kelly and Douglas Aschwege, and Barry and Kathy Park; six grandchildren; great-granddaughter; sister, Genelle Trowbridge; nieces; nephews; friends; colleagues. Memorials to Millard Public Schools Foundation for athletic scholarships. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN

Continued on Page 19 >>

Over a Century of Service…

Pray for those interred during December Fr. Theodore L. Richling Sr. Loretta Sedlmayer, RSM Eid Abou Issa Messangan “Messi” Agbozo Tina Marie (Mancuso) Agerson Margaret “Peg” (Russell) Axelson Jeanette J. (Rader) Barry Christine M. Basso John P. “Pat” Cavanaugh Kristi L. Coughlin Lavaaron L. Davis Victoria Dennis Edward R. Dugan James R. Dunlap Barbara A. Fangman Barbara Jean Fleischman Frank J. Franco Joan Fusselman Delilah Garibay Garcia Nola J. Geiger George Douglas Greene Joan C. Heafey John H. Heavey Joseph S. Heimann Lucille K. Heng Patricia (Tuffield) Henry Vonnie E. Hughes Terrance L. Iverson Mary Patricia Johns John J. Johnson Patricia “Patty” Kennedy Edward P. Kirby Michael J. Kiscoan Kathleen S. Klosterman

Jean T. (Costello) Koenig Christine M. Koley John “Jack” T. McDonnell Edgar A. Miller, Jr. Dorothy A. Mittlieder Frances M. Murnan Evangeline “Van” M. Murphy Son Thi Nguyen Ollis Lindsey O’Neil Joseph John Partusch III John G. Regan, Sr. Richard H. Reisdorff Kathleen A. Rieschl Mary Sue Riley Maria De Los Angeles Rivera Hernandez Peggy M. Rosso Kathleen “Kathy” (Murphy) Rowen Gabriele “George” A. Scalise Mary Ellen Schadendorf Michelle Therese Seminara Mateo Serrano-Alvarez Virginia M. (Moore) Shrauger Larry S. Skradski Rita (Pawlowicz) Stoysich Edwina M. Ulrich Lyle C. Vaske Nancy J. Vaughan Thomas A. Widtfeldt Richard “Dick” Thomas Wilson

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| RESURRECTION JOY |

Sister Louise served in Omaha of Mary in 1945, and professed first vows in 1947 and final vows in 1952. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French from the former Duchesne College in Omaha, and a master’s degree in education from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. Sister Louise taught in Omaha at the former Holy Ghost School from 1951 to 1954. Later that year, she was one of several sisters who helped establish Christ the King School in Omaha, where she taught and also served as principal until 1971. During her 62 years as an educator, she also served at schools

Catholic Voice

Servant of Mary Sister Mary Louise Genest, who taught in Omaha and was among the sisters who helped establish Christ the King School, died Jan. 6 in Omaha. She was 91. SISTER A funeral Mass MARY LOUISE was held Jan. 11 GENEST at her order’s Our Lady of Sorrows Convent in Omaha, with interment in the convent cemetery. A native of Massena, New York, she entered the Servants >> Continued from Page 18 PLETKA-Joseph M., 83. Funeral service Jan. 10 at St. James Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents; brother, Bob. Survived by wife, Marie; children and spouses, Kris and Terry Atkins, Vikie and Bill Spulak, Renee Pletka, and Ryan and Teresa Pletka; six grandchildren; brothers, Bernard Pletka and John Pletka; neighbors; friends. Memorials to St. James Parish Center Remodeling Fund. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN RIZZO-Giuseppe “Joe”, 76. Funeral Mass Jan. 3 at St. Columbkille Church, Papillion. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Survived by wife, Concetta Rizzo; children and spouses, Christina and Rick Rodriquez, Sonia and Wes Elkins, Alfred Rizzo, and Steve and Carla Rizzo; seven grandchildren; sister and brother-in-law, Francesca and Nino Mangano. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

in Detroit and Massena. Sister Louise interrupted her teaching career to serve at the Servants of Mary Generalate in Rome from 1981 to 1983. She retired in 2011, residing for a year at Sacred Heart Convent in Massena, then moving to Our Lady of Sorrows Convent in Omaha. Sister Louise was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Bertha Genest, and a sister, Gladys Larrow. She is survived by sister and brother-inlaw Arlene and Richard Conklin, and brother and sister-in-law Ron and Ann Genest, two nieces and a nephew.

SCHUETZE-LaVanda Leona, 99. Funeral Mass Jan. 6 at St. Mary Church, West Point. Interment St. Michael Cemetery, West Point. Preceded in death by parents, Herman and Minnie (Kind) Hasenkamp; husband, Leonard Schuetze; grandson, James Schuetze; siblings. Survived by sons and daughters-in-law, David and Evonne Schuetze, Gary and Lisa Schuetze, Jan and Mary Schuetze, and Glen and Beth Schuetze, all of West Point; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren. Memorials to St. Mary Church Guild. STOKELY FUNERAL HOME SEDLACEK-Mildred A. “Millie”, 77. Funeral service at St. Patrick Church, Gretna. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Richard. Survived by children and spouses, Karen and Dale Pribnow, Carol and Stewart Richardson, Jim and Rhonda Sedlacek, Diane and TJ Dierkhising, and Jerry Sedlacek; Alan Hatch; 12 grandchildren; family; friends. Memorials to St. Patrick Church or Project Pink’d. ROEDER MORTUARY

SIMPSON-Barbara J. (Kalhorn), 88. Funeral Mass Jan. 14 at St. Leo the Great Church. Interment St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Lawrence “Larry”. Survived by children and spouses, Paul Simpson, Janet Rubin, Noreen and Bryan Hebda, David and Kathy Simpson, Carol and John Ross, and Karen and Al Lawton; Ed; grandchildren; great-grandchildren. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER SIRAGUSA-Janice Clare, 79. Funeral Mass Jan. 15 at St. James Church. Preceded in death by parents, Bernadine and Leo Tegels; brother, Leo Jr.; daughter, Theresa; grandson, Jude. Survived by husband, Al; siblings, Diane Blakley, Mary Lee Baker, Arden Tegels (Marcile), and Allan Tegels (Patty); children, Tim Siragusa, Dan Siragusa (Ronnie Martin), Kelly Adams (Tom), Toni Siragusa, and Pat Siragusa (Kim Vavra), four grandchildren; nieces; nephews; family. Memorials to the Omaha Public Library, Nebraska Humane Society or St. James Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

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» 19

God’s word can never be ‘enchained,’ pope says By JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – A true apostle is one who continues to be a courageous and joyful evangelizer even in the face of persecution and certain death, Pope Francis said. By choosing to close the Acts of the Apostles not with St. Paul’s martyrdom but with his continuing to preach the Gospel even while under house arrest, St. Luke wanted to show that the word of God cannot be “enchained,” the pope said Jan. 15 during his weekly general audience. “This house open to all hearts is the image of the church which – although persecuted, misunderSOREY-Gloria J., J.D., 69. Funeral Mass Jan. 8 at St. Leo the Great Church. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Survived by husband, Dr. Jim Van Arsdall, E.D.; daughter, Whitney Van Arsdall. Memorials to Notre Dame Sisters. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER STEJSKAL-Marguerite J. (Fangman), 92. Funeral Mass Jan. 6 at Christ the King Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Francis (Doc) Stejskal; parents, Loretta (Shanahan) and Richard Fangman; grandson, Peter Francis DeRuyter; brothers and sisters-inlaw, Dr. Richard (Jeanne) Fangman and Dr. Donald (Polly) Fangman; sisters and brother-in-law, Mary Kay (Dr. Richard) Tighe and Patricia Courage; sister-in-law, Sally Fangman; sisters and brothers-inlaw, Florence (John) Samson and Dr. Robert (Peggy) Stejskal; friend, Robert Adams. Survived by children: Jim (Sue Burkhard) Stejskal, Anne (Simeon) Abdouch, Matt (Jan) Stejskal, Mary (Martin) DeRuyter, Tom (Hyunmee) Stejskal and John (Susan) Stejskal; 11 grandchildren; step-granddaughter; two step great-granddaughters; siblings, Dr. Thomas (Barbara) Fangman, Dr. Terrance (Toni Fangman) and Dr. Michael Fangman; brother-inlaw, Lloyd Courage; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Christ the King Church or CUES. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

stood and chained – never tires of welcoming with a motherly heart every man and woman to proclaim to them the love of the Father who made himself visible in Jesus,” he said. The pope concluded a series of talks on the Acts of the Apostles with a reflection on St. Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. St. Paul’s treacherous journey and adventures to “the heart of the empire,” he said, did not weaken the Gospel he preached but instead strengthened it by “showing that the direction of events does not belong to men but to the Holy Spirit, who gives fruitfulness to the church’s missionary action.” SWITZER-JoAnn M., 86. Funeral service Jan. 8 at St. Patrick Church, Gretna. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Ludvik and Annie Chalupa; siblings, Lawrence Chalupa, Robert (Bob) Chalupa, Virginia Urbanovsky, Garold (Jerry) Chalupa, and Ludvik (Duke) Chalupa Jr. Survived by son and daughter-in-law, Jamie and Trina Switzer; two grandsons; family; friends. Memorials to St. Patrick Church. ROEDER MORTUARY WORDEKEMPER-Marcella Clara “Sally”, 82. Funeral Mass Dec. 30 at St. Mary Church, West Point. Interment St. Michael Cemetery, West Point. Preceded in death by parents, Frank Sr. and Clara (Moody) Toelle; brothers, Frank Toelle, Jr. and Dwane Toelle. Survived by children and spouses, Jeffrey and Sharon Wordekemper, Indianola, Steven and Jen Wordekemper, Scribner, and Michelle Wordekemper, West Point; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; siblings and spouses, Vincent “Jimmy” Toelle, Fremont, Marge Kelly, Lincoln, Liz Diers, Fremont, Angie Mandel, Dodge, Rose and Art Hasemann, West Point, Doris Johnson, Fremont, and Darlene and Larry Pabian, Omaha; Norman Heese, Scribner; adopted daughter and son-inlaw, Toni and Chris Marr, West Point. Memorials to Beemer Fire and Rescue, West Point Fire and Rescue or the American Diabetes Association. STOKELY FUNERAL HOME

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20 « JANUARY 24, 2020

End dismemberment abortion now

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he internet was recently buzzing with news that actress Michelle Williams, while accepting a Golden Globe award for her latest film, credited her success to her socalled right to abort a baby. While she didn’t share details about her baby or her circumstances at the time, she said, “I wouldn’t have been able to (be successful) without employing a woman’s right to choose.” To make matters worse, Williams celebrated her abortion on the Golden Globe stage while visibly pregnant. Thank God this child isn’t “standing in the way” of her career. This story has sent the prolife movement into a social media frenzy (rightfully so!), but the first place it should send us is to our knees. Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legaliz-

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ope Francis concluded his pre-Christmas address to the Roman Curia by invoking the memory of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, SJ, who died in September 2012. The Holy Father recalled that, “in his last interview, a few days before his death, (Cardinal Martini) said something that should make us think: ‘The church is 200 years behind the times. Why is she not shaken up? Are we afraid? Fear, instead of courage. Yet faith is the church’s foundation. Faith, confidence, courage ... Only love conquers weariness.’” The Martini Curve should indeed make us think. I thought about it at the time and ended up with questions rather than answers. What, precisely, was the church 200 years behind? A

Faithful, Watchful Citizens TOM VENZOR ing abortion nationally, nearly 62 million unborn babies have been aborted. The brutal act of abortion has gone from a shameful last resort, to “safe, legal and rare,” to now being celebrated on national stages and premier television specials as a positive good. We are in desperate need of God’s mercy, and the people of God must beg him for it. As St. Pope John Paul II so beautifully stated in “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”): “A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world.” This communion with God through prayer inevitably draws us into further action, such as advancing public policies that respect the dignity of the unborn child, sup-

port mothers and families, and protect the medical profession. Action rooted in prayer is at the core of the Nebraska Catholic Conference’s support of LB814. Introduced by Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln (Legislative District 25) on Jan. 8, LB814 would end the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion in Nebraska. Dismemberment abortion is a gruesome procedure in which an abortionist inserts grasping forceps into a woman’s uterus and grabs part of a living unborn child’s body, tears it off, and continues to tear the baby apart, limb by limb, until the child bleeds to death. The abortionist then collects the removed baby parts and reassembles them to ensure the entire baby has been removed. This abortion method is typically performed between 13 and 24 weeks of a pregnancy. During this time, a baby has fully developed arms and legs (13 weeks), can swallow, yawn, hiccup and smile (16 weeks), and has almost

fully formed facial features (24 weeks). While this abortion method is the most common one in the second trimester throughout the country, thank God it is not common in Nebraska. But one death from dismemberment is one too many. Over the last 10 years, anywhere from 21 to 186 babies have died by live dismemberment every year (1.0% to 7.3% of Nebraska’s abortions). Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the notorious swing vote on so many important issues that the court faced during his tenure, wrote what is readily apparent in dismemberment abortions: “It is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.” And, as Geist noted after she introduced LB814: “We can all agree that no living human being should be torn apart limb by limb.” As LB814 begins its journey through the legislative process, we

need your prayers and advocacy. To join us in action, visit www. necatholic.org and click on the yellow banner that says “Join Our Network.” As Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island often tells us at the NCC: “There is strength in numbers!” To conclude her acceptance speech, Williams told her audience to “thank God or whomever you pray to that we live in a country founded on the principle that I am free to live by my faith and you are free to live by yours.” We know that our God is the one true God, and he is calling us to live the truth faithfully, courageously and boldly in this world that has forgotten him. Let us together beg our Lord’s mercy, and ask him for courage and strength as we build a Culture of Life and a Civilization of Love. Tom Venzor is executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, with headquarters in Lincoln. Contact him at tvenzor@necatholic.org.

The Martini Curve revisited The Catholic Difference GEORGE WEIGEL western culture come unglued from the deep truths of the human condition? A culture that celebrates the imperial autonomous Self? A culture that detaches sex from love and responsibility? A culture that breeds a politics of immediate gratification and inter-generational irresponsibility? Why on earth would the church want to catch up with that? Call me a dullard, but try as I might to adjust my thinking, I’m afraid that’s what I still think about the allegation that Catholicism’s contemporary failures result from our being stuck in a rut behind the curve of history. Moreover, since Cardinal Martini’s death seven years ago, certain empirical facts have become unmistakable: the local churches that have tried hardest to play catch-up with “history” and “the times” are

Walk Where Jesus Walked

collapsing. The premier example is Catholicism in the Germanspeaking world. Weekly Mass attendance percentages have fallen into single digits in German cities and aren’t much better in Austria and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland. Has this implosion of the sacramental community compelled a rethinking of the strategy of cultural accommodation? On the contrary. With a bullheadedness once caricatured as typically Prussian, the great majority of German bishops support a national “synodal process” that seems determined to put the pedal to the metal of surrendering to “the times,” even if ­– particularly if – this means jettisoning the truths that, according to both revelation and reason, make for happiness and beatitude. Is there a single example, anywhere, of a local church where a frantic effort to catch up with 21st-century secularism and its worship of the new trinity (Me, Myself, and I) has led to an evangelical renaissance – to a wave of conversions to Christ? Is there a single circumstance in which

Catholicism’s uncritical embrace of “the times” has led to a rebirth of decency and nobility in culture? Or to a less-polarized politics? If so, it’s a remarkably well-hidden accomplishment. There is, however, evidence that the offer of friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ as the pathway to a more humane future gets traction. Shortly after last October’s Great Pachamama Flap, I got a bracing e-mail from a missionary priest in West Africa. After expressing condolences for my “recent Roman penance” at the Amazonian synod (which had featured a lot of politicallycorrect chatter about the ecological sensitivity of indigenous religions), my friend related an instructive story: “You’ll be happy to know that last year, when one of our villages invited me to come and help them destroy their idols and baptize their chief, we did not, before doing so, engage in any ‘dialogue with the spirits,’ as was so highly praised in the (synod’s working document). There was no Tiber to throw (the idols) in, so a sledgehammer and a fire had to suffice. Somehow the village managed to survive without

such a dialogue, and in fact they have invited me back ... to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the great event, and to bless a cross that will be set up in the village as a permanent reminder of their decision.” Three weeks ago, the local archbishop wrote to those same villagers, telling them of his “immense joy” that, the year before, they had “turned away from idols in order to turn resolutely to the Living and True God ... You have recognized in Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Open wide your hearts to him ... and always conquer evil with good.” There’s no Martini Curve in that part of the global vineyard, it seems. Rather, there is, to borrow from the late cardinal’s last interview, “faith, courage, confidence ... (and the) love (that) conquers weariness.” That is surely something to think about in the Vatican – and throughout a world church in which everyone is called to missionary discipleship. 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.

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JANUARY 24, 2020

» 21

Catholic judges under the microscope

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atholics wanting to serve our country in the legal system are coming under intense scrutiny. In 2017, University of Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett was grilled by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about her Catholic faith. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California told Barrett that “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.” This sparked a public backlash, and a cottage industry in selling “The Dogma Lives Loudly Within Me” T-shirts to proud Catholics. Barrett was confirmed as a federal judge, supported by 52 Republicans and three Democrats. Then in 2018, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii objected to confirming Brian Buescher as a federal district judge because he belongs to the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Their problem: The Knights defend Catholic teaching on abortion and marriage. Sen. Hirono asked Buescher if he would leave the Knights if confirmed, “to avoid any appearance of bias.” Buescher was confirmed, with every Democrat present voting no. And in recent weeks there was an unsuccessful effort to block confirmation of Sarah Pitlyk as a federal judge. She was opposed by all Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Some said she lacked trial and litigation experience. But Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois launched a different attack: Pitlyk had expressed “extreme” views against in vitro fertilization and “surrogate motherhood,” views consistent with Catholic teaching. Sen. Duckworth said she was offended by Pitlyk’s stand because her own children were conceived by in vitro fertilization. She harshly attacked the attorney for what she called a “cavalier willingness to substitute her own ideological opinions in place of facts.” But Sen. Duckworth herself ignored some facts. Pitlyk’s chief offense was that when she worked for the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit public interest law firm, she submitted a brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of Catholic and secular organizations with expertise in

A More Human Society RICHARD DOERFLINGER medicine and medical ethics. (Full disclosure: I am affiliated with two of those organizations, the National Catholic Bioethics Center and Charlotte Lozier Institute.) The brief urged the Supreme Court to hear the case of “M.C. v. C.M.” A woman, Melissa Cook, had agreed to be a “surrogate mother,” gestating a child conceived by in vitro fertilization using the sperm of Chester Moore Jr. and eggs donated by a young woman. When Cook became pregnant with triplets, Moore demanded under the surrogacy contract that she abort one child. Cook refused on moral grounds, and later filed suit to ensure that Moore would be assessed for fitness as a father and would not get custody of the “extra” child he had wanted killed. Pitlyk’s brief cited numerous medical journal articles and other secular sources to argue that a law demanding enforcement of such contracts against a birth mother was harmful to the health and wellbeing of women and children. According to Sen. Duckworth, Pitlyk’s brief “cruelly implied” that children conceived by in vitro fertilization are “inferior.” She had said exactly the opposite, that these children have the same rights as other children and should have those rights respected. Is Pitlyk’s view extreme? Surrogacy contracts have been criticized by secular feminists, who understand that a coerced abortion is not “pro-choice” and that commercial exploitation of women’s bodies demeans their dignity. In vitro fertilization, which treats human procreation as a manufacturing process, has long been criticized by Leon Kass and other non-Catholic ethicists. But the brief was written by a Catholic and was consistent with Catholic teaching, so Pitlyk was attacked for holding extreme “personal beliefs.” Some senators, especially Democrats, should recall that under our Constitution “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Doerflinger worked for 36 years in the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He writes from Washington state.

UNIVERSAL/CNS PHOTO

George MacKay, center, stars in a scene from the movie “1917.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is R – restricted.

‘1917’ and remembering who we are

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saw the film “1917” on the vigil of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and I think there’s a connection between the movie and the liturgical celebration. Bear with me. First, as everyone who has seen it remarks, the editing and cinematography of  “1917” are so astounding that it appears to unfold completely in real time, the result of one continuous shot. Think of the famous scene from Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” in which Ray Liotta and his date walk into the night club – but now stretched out for two hours. What this produces in the viewer is an almost unprecedented sense of  being there, experiencing the events with the characters in the film. And to be inserted into the First World War is, to put it mildly, horrific. Obviously, all wars are terrible, but there was just something uniquely appalling about World War I: the oppressiveness of the trenches, the rampant disease, the hopelessness of fighting over a few hundred yards of blasted earth, the rats (which play a prominent and disgusting role in “1917”), and above all, the mass killing that was the result of combining antiquated military strategy and modern weaponry. As witnessed to by so many thinkers and writers who participated in it – Paul Tillich, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ernest Hemingway, etc. – World War I represented, as did no other war to that date, a collapse, a sea change, a cultural calamity. And a principal reason for the disaster of the war, too often overlooked in my judgment, is spiritual in nature. Almost all of the combatants in the First World War were Christians. For five awful years, an orgy of violence broke out among baptized people – English, French, Canadian, American, Russian, and Belgian Christians against German, Austrian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian Christians. And this butchery took

Word on Fire BISHOP ROBERT BARRON place on a scale that still staggers us. The 58,000 American dead in the entire course of the Vietnam War would be practically a weekend’s work during the worst days of World War I. If we add up the military and civilian deaths accumulated during the war, we come up, conservatively, with a figure of around 40 million. And what precisely were they fighting for? I would challenge all but the most specialized historians of the period to tell me. Whatever it was, can anyone honestly say it was worth the deaths of 40 million people? Mind you, I am not advocating pacifism. But I am indeed invoking the church’s just war principles, one of which is proportionality – that is, that there must be a proportion between the goods attained by the war and the cost involved in achieving those goods if the war is to qualify as justified. Did such a proportionality obtain between means and ends in World War I? I think the question sadly answers itself. My point, again, is that this moral catastrophe unfolded in the heart of Christian Europe, almost exclusively among baptized people, all presumably schooled in the moral principles of Jesus Christ. How many Christians of that time raised their voices in protest, refused to cooperate with the folly of the war, placed their religious identities above their ethnic or national identities? Those questions, too, answer themselves – which brings me to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. According to the theology of the church, baptism involves the grafting of a person on to the Son of God, implying a share in the relationship between the Son and the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. It is infinitely more than the joining of a club or society; it is a

participation in the inner life of God. Another way to put it is this: Baptism inserts a person into the Mystical Body of Jesus, which is an organism rather than an organization. Therefore, all of the baptized, despite even dramatic differences at the cultural, political or ethnic levels, are related to one another, implicated in each other, like cells and organs in a body. To forget this truth, or even to underplay it, is to lose what it means to be a Christian. For the past many years, I have been studying the phenomenon of disaffiliation and loss of faith in the cultures of the West. And following the prompts of many great scholars, I have identified a number of developments at the intellectual level – from the late Middle Ages through the Enlightenment to postmodernism – that have contributed to this decline. But I have long maintained – and the film “1917” brought it vividly back to mind – that one of the causes of the collapse of religion in Europe, and increasingly in the West generally, was the moral disaster of the First World War, which was essentially a crisis of Christian identity. Something broke in the Christian culture, and we’ve never recovered from it. If their baptism meant so little to scores of millions of combatants in that terrible war, then what, finally, was the point of Christianity? And if it makes no concrete difference, then why not just leave it behind and move on? I wonder whether we shouldn’t think more deeply about baptism and the moral implications of being a son or daughter of God, and hence a sibling to everyone else in the Mystical Body of Jesus. And I wonder whether we might look long and hard at this wonderful and disturbing film to see what happens when Christians forget who they are. Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.


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22 « JANUARY 24, 2020 SCHOOLS St. Margaret Mary School Open House: Jan. 26, 1-3 p.m. at 123 N. 61st St., Omaha. See the facilities, meet teachers and learn about the educational and extracurricular opportunities available. RSVP to http:// bit.ly/SMMOpenHouse and walk-ins are welcome. Call Miki Kramper at 402-5516663 with questions. 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.

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

FAX » 402-558-6614 EMAIL » tcvomaha@archomaha.org Notices cannot be taken by phone. DEADLINES » Deadline for the Feb. 7 issue is noon Tuesday, Jan. 28. 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.

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 402-960-3259 or bcostello31@icloud.com. 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 402575-9216 with questions. Additional information at: sevensistersapostolate. org. St. James Boy Scout Troop 380’s Annual Spaghetti Fundraiser: Jan. 25, 4:30-8 p.m. at St. James School cafeteria, 4720 N. 90th St., Omaha. Carryout and delivery to St. James Trivia Night available. Adults $7, seniors $6, under 12 $4, 5 and under free, youth in Boy/Girl Scout uniform free, four-person family $25.

Knights of Columbus Council 13080 Pancake Breakfast: Jan. 26, 8 a.m. to noon at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish’s St. Bernadette Hall, 2110 S. 32nd Ave., Omaha. Adults $6, kids $3, family $25. Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast: Jan. 26, 8 a.m. to noon at St. Philip Neri-Blessed Sacrament parish center, 8200 N. 30th St., Omaha. Couple to Couple League – Natural Family Planning: The series of three classes begins Feb. 1 with subsequent classes on Mar. 7 and Apr. 4, 7-9:30 p.m. at the residence of teaching couple, Jim and Linda Daskiewicz, 5060 S. 49th St., Omaha. Go to www.ccli.org for more information and to register. Creighton Model FertilityCare System – Making Sense of Your Fertility: Introductory sessions Feb. 6 and Feb. 20, 7-9 p.m. at FertilityCare Center of Omaha, Saint Paul VI Institute, 6901 Mercy Road, Omaha. Ten people per class. Reservation required. Call 402392-0842. Spanish-speaking teacher available upon request for Saturday appointments.

Saint John Vianney Catholic Church & Fr. Richard Reiser presents

Imperial Cities featuring Budapest, Vienna & Prague 10 days • 16 meals 7/23/2020 - 8/1/2020

Music in Catholic Schools Benefit Dance: Feb. 7, 7:30-10:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish center, 5419 N. 114th St., Omaha. Free swing dance instruction from 6:15-7:15 p.m. Silent auction and bake sale. Tickets $15, students and seniors $10. Call 402-557-5600 for more information. Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (OACCW) – Executive and Council Meetings: Feb. 11 at St. Edward Parish Hall, 805 Washington St., St. Edward. Registration for executive meeting, 9 a.m.; executive meeting, 9:30 a.m.; Mass, 11 a.m. followed by lunch and council meeting. Contact Deanna Reardon at 402-678-2567 with questions. LIFE Runners Banquet – “All In Christ for Pro-Life”: Feb. 20 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish center, 5419 N. 114th St., Omaha. VIP reception at 5:30 p.m.; cash bar and silent auction, 6 p.m.; dinner and speaker, 7 p.m. Featured speaker is Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, USCCB Pro-Life Committee chairman. Tickets $50 (half tax-deductible). Tickets and sponsorship information at www.liferunners.org/banquet. 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. Be Not Afraid Family Hour: Sundays, 6-7 p.m. at Christ the King Church, 654 S. 86th St., Omaha. • 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 • Feb. 23: The Church, Life and Government • March 1: Supporting Life

World Apostolate of Fatima – The Blue Army: Mass first Saturday of the month, 7 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, Dowd Chapel, Boys Town, and Immaculate Conception Church, Omaha; 7:30 a.m. at St. Cecilia Cathedral; 8 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church; 8:15 a.m. at Mary Our Queen Church, all in Omaha; 8:15 a.m. at St. Gerald Church (Lakeview Chapel), Ralston, and St. Columbkille Church, Papillion (Communion service).

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, 402-3884814, Crofton Farm Supply, Farmers and Merchant State Bank or Uptown Style. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Holy Hour for Vocations: Thursdays, 6-7 p.m. at 5419 N. 114th St., Omaha. More information, call Shelly at 402-493-3006. St. Margaret Mary – Prayer and Praise Group: Mondays, 9:30-11 a.m. at the Suneg Center, 6116 Dodge St., Omaha. St. Peter – Chanted Vespers: Saturdays, 6:15 p.m. in Spanish; Sundays, 5 p.m. in English at 2706 Leavenworth St., Omaha. St. Stanislaus – Eucharistic Adoration: Saturdays, 4-5 p.m. before evening Mass at 4002 J St., Omaha. St. Robert Bellarmine – Daily Rosary and Mass for the Homebound: 11802 Pacific St., Omaha. 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. Joan of Arc – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: Perpetual adoration/ exposition, 74th and Grover streets, Omaha. Open 24 hours.

SPIRITUALITY CENTERS Servite Center of Compassion, 7400 Military Ave., Omaha. To register, call 402-951-3026, email scc@osms.org or visit osms.org. • “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. • Film Viewing – “Human Flow”: Jan. 31, 7 p.m. This film explores the worldwide refugee problem through the experiences of those involved. 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. $20. • World Religions Study Group: First Wednesday of each month, September to May, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Cost: $45. Using the book “World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery” by Jeffrey Brodd. Participants are responsible for obtaining the book. Facilitator is Margaret Stratman, OSM. • Family Caregiver Solutions Group: First Thursday of each month, 1011:30 a.m. Facilitator is Nancy Flaherty, MS, CDP. Discover knowledge, skills and support in dealing with dementia in loved ones. No cost. St. Benedict Center, three miles north of Schuyler. Call 402-352-8819, email retreats@ stbenedictcenter.com or register online at stbenedictcenter.com. • 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. $65 per couple, $60 early bird rate (register before Feb. 3). • Silent Retreat – A Taste of Contemplative Prayer: Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m. to Feb. 23, 1 p.m. Father Thomas Leitner, OSB, guides beginners in the practice of opening one’s mind and heart to God through contemplative prayer. $216.56 (Single), $201.36 (Double).

Seven Sisters Apostolate Informational Meeting

join us

for a travel presentation!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 • 6:00pm Saint John Vianney Catholic Church 5801 Oak Hills Drive, Omaha, NE 68137 Contact Collette 844-216-9851 or Afelber@Collette.com

Inviting all women of the Archdiocese! Are you looking for a way to help the priest(s) at your parish? Come and learn more about the Seven Sisters Apostolate with Janette Howe.

Saturday, January 25th

St. Patrick’s in Fremont (3400 E 16th St, Fremont, NE 68025) Mass at 8am with informational meeting to follow in parish hall.

Contact Katie Keller at 402.575.9216 if you have any questions. More information about the apostolate can be found at: sevensistersapostolate.org

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| LOCAL BRIEFING |

JANUARY 24, 2020

» 23

News from around

the archdiocese

ORGANIZATIONS

Pro-life leader to speak at EPS dinner Shawn Carney, founder and CEO of 40 Days for Life, will be the keynote speaker at Essential Pregnancy Services’ 24th annual GLOW (Giving Life through Our Works) benefit dinner Feb. 6 at Embassy Suites in La Vista. Over the past 15 years, the 40 Days for Life campaign has seen 15,000 mothers choose life for their children and 104 abortion facilities close their doors. Carney is a regular media spokesperson, and has produced and hosted award-winning pro-life documentaries aired on Eternal Word Television Network. He also is co-author of the book “40 Days for Life.” To attend the GLOW dinner, visit friendsofeps.org, or call 402554-0121. Attendance is free but donations are welcome.

Institute for Priestly Formation names new leader Father Brian Welter has been named the new executive director for the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) in Omaha, effective July 1, 2020. He is currently vice rector of formation at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. Father Welter, who has been an adjunct faculty member at IPF since 2010, also has experience as a parish priest and vocations director. Father Richard Gabuzda, one of IPF’s founders who has served as executive director since 1994, will continue as IPF’s director of programs and moderator of the IPF Priests of St. Joseph.

SCHOOLS

Skutt High honors Hall of Fame inductees V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School inducted two contributors to the school, one individual

athlete and one sports team into its Hall of Fame during its second annual ceremony Jan. 4. They are: – Sue Dobel, who has served on the Omaha school’s board of directors in the mid-1990s and became an active volunteer before her four children were enrolled at Skutt. Dobel helped at the school’s first Angel Flight fundraiser and has played a role every year since. – Bruce Haney, one of Skutt’s founders. The late Archbishop Daniel E. Sheehan asked Haney to spearhead a committee to create a new high school in west Omaha. As project chairman, Haney helped find the land for Skutt, helped with its design and saw construction through. He said Skutt was the “crowning jewel” of his volunteer service. – Sarah Menghini Percival, Class of 2000, a standout athlete who was a track and field state champion in the 100- and 200-meter races and an All-Class Champion in the 100-meter event in 2000. The all-class victory made her the state’s fastest high school athlete in the 100. She also was a four-time All-American at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a team co-captain. – The 2002 girls state champion tennis team, the first female sports team to win a state title at Skutt. Their success catapulted the girls tennis program to eight more state titles. The team’s success also sparked talk of building Skutt’s tennis complex. Team member Allison Wilkie-Miller was the singles champion that year.

Marian High seniors gain national honors Scarlett Wedergren, a senior at Marian High School in Omaha, is one of 10 recipients of the National Catholic Education Association’s Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award. The award recognizes Catholic school students who are changing the world through selfless service, innovation and commitment to social justice. Wedergren established the

MIKE MAY/STAFF

All together now The Archdiocese of Omaha staff completed their move last month to a new chancery headquarters at 2222 N. 111th St. in Omaha. The former Lindsay Corporation building offers reduced operating costs along with the opportunity for greater staff unity and collaboration, bringing all 73 archdiocesan employees together. Previously, staff worked at two Omaha locations – the chancery office at 62nd and Dodge streets, and the Archbishop Daniel E. Sheehan Center on 60th one block north of Northwest Radial Highway. Moving from multiple, aging buildings to a single, newer facility is expected to yield a 30% annual savings in utilities, repairs and maintenance. The former chancery building was purchased by nearby St. Margaret Mary Parish, and the Sheehan Center has been offered for sale. Batey Love greeting card project after a service trip to Batey Dos in the Dominican Republic, where she was shocked by the extreme poverty. In response, she gave colored pencils to the local children and asked them to create colorful artwork for the front of greeting cards to be printed with descriptions of living conditions on the back. Proceeds help fund Pascal’s Pantry, a community kitchen in Batey Dos. She will receive the award after an all-school Mass Jan. 31 at the school. Wedergren also has been named, along with senior Shruthi Kumar, a semifinalist for the 2020 class of the CocaCola Scholars Program. They are among 1,928 students chosen from more than 93,000 applicants for their outstanding leadership, academic achievements and dedication to their community. Of the 250 regional finalists to be selected in January, 150 will become Coca-Cola Scholars, each of whom will each receive a $20,000 scholarship.

Mercy High to honor Sister Johanna Burnell Sister of Mercy Johanna Burnell, former president of Mercy High School in Omaha, will receive the school’s highest honor – the Cor Misericordiae Award – at its annual FIESTA celebration Feb. 29. Sister Johanna, who served as the all-girls school’s first president from 1988 to 2009, also celebrates her 60th year as a Sister of Mercy this year. She became president at a challenging time when the school was in danger of closing. During her tenure, she laid the foundation for more strategic leadership, recruiting business leaders and alumni to the board, and increased development and fundraising activities. By 2009, enrollment nearly doubled; many capital improve-

ments took place, including building renovations, computer upgrades and new construction; minority enrollment grew to 19%; faculty salaries increased; and tuition assistance expanded. Sister Johanna also taught in Omaha and Kansas City elementary schools, and served as a principal and associate superintendent of Catholic schools in Kansas City. She also served the Sisters of Mercy as development director for Mercy Volunteer Corps, as a member of the Mercy Secondary Education Association and several other community committees and groups, and served on the boards of College of Saint Mary in Omaha and Mount Saint Mary Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. To attend FIESTA, register at mercyhighorg/fiesta.

Two weeks to vote: January 27 - February 8

Vote online at spiritcatholicradio.com/superstar

All Archdiocese of Omaha schools (elementary + high school) are in the running to win! Help your local school win BIG prizes by voting. SPIRITCATHOLICRADIO.COM/SUPERSTAR


24 « JANUARY 24, 2020

| CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK |

‘Caring for Creation’

Lindsay Holy Family Catholic School

Sophomores Evelyn BartekMiller, left and Maria Trautman clean off their lunch trays into a separate composting bin Jan. 13 at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. In 2017, the high school became the first Omaha school to begin separating organic material such as food waste and soiled paper for collection by local composting group Hillside Solutions. With a slogan of “Caring for Creation and Future Generations,” Duchesne has a goal of generating “zero waste” by 2030. Currently, the school diverts 78% of its campus-wide waste away from the landfill and towards composting and recycling.

EDUCATING THE WHOLE PERSON

Spiritually • Morally • Scholastically Physically • Aesthetically P.O. Box 158 • 301 Pine Street • Lindsay, NE 68644

COURTESY PHOTO

Shining a light Emma Kreikemeier, left, along with friends Avery and Alivia Peklo, purchase nearly $1,000 in supplies Dec. 2 to stock Hartman Elementary School’s clothing and food pantry. Kreikemeier, a sixth-grader at St. James/Seton School in Omaha, won the 2019 Catholic Schools Office’s community service challenge “Shine a Light in the Community” by submitting a video describing her plan to help needy children at the Omaha public school. Originally planning to supply food and hygiene items, she instead chose to use the prize money allocated for implementation of her idea to buy, in addition to food, the more-needed clothing items. COURTESY PHOTO

L VE IS OUR MISSION Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origins to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin and administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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Getting ‘STEAMed’

COURTESY PHOTO

St. Cecilia School fifth-graders Angela Andrew, left, and Sania Taylor discuss with U.S. Congressman Don Bacon the computer code they wrote to guide a small robot along a certain path as part of a class project. The congressman from Nebraska’s 2nd District visited the Omaha school’s new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Lab/Media Center Dec. 16. The lab, which was created through a renovation of the school’s library, allows teachers to incorporate the use of technology into many of their classroom lessons. The school invited Congressman Bacon to visit because of his support for STEAM education.

St. Anthony Catholic School 1719 6th St., Columbus, NE 68601 · 402-564-4767 St. Bonaventure Catholic School 1604 15th St., Columbus, NE 68601 · 402-564-7153

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