THE ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA
| MARCH 20, 2020 |
Prayers against pandemic
MANDATE RESPONSE U.S. bishops respond to pope’s mandate for a reporting system for abuse-related allegations against bishops. PAGE 3
Members of St. Barnabas Parish in Omaha, along with other Catholic faithful, take part in a eucharistic procession March 15 in Omaha to pray for the safety and health of all people and a swift end to the coronavirus pandemic. The Eucharist is carried in a monstrance by Father Jason Catania, pastor of St. Barnabas, a parish of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. See PAGES 4 and 5 for more coverage of the Archdiocese of Omaha’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
PASSION DRAMA Parish presentation recounts passion events through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. PAGE 20
Catholics take steps to thwart coronavirus By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice
The coronavirus outbreak has drastically changed many aspects of life, including the way Catholics worship, minister, work, study and care for each other. The Archdiocese of Omaha is among many dioceses that have taken the extraordinary step of indefinitely suspending all public Masses and communal celebrations of the sacraments and other liturgies. The archdiocese announced the move March 16, shortly after Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts called for businesses, organizations and other entities to keep gatherings to 10 people or less. The governor said his decision was based on recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and includes gatherings for funerals and weddings. Churches will remain open for private prayer and adoration, and
The Archbishop News
arrangements can be made for individual confessions and the anointing of the sick. Baptisms, weddings and funerals will go on, but with attendance limited to 10, including those officiating. “These are difficult days,” Archbishop George J. Lucas said. “The Lord is inviting us to put our faith in him and discern what his plan for us is.” In the preceding days, parishes had already been draining holy water fonts, canceling or postponing fish frys, suspending the sign of peace at Mass and encouraging members to receive holy Communion in the hand. On March 13, Archbishop Lucas had granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to the faithful in the archdiocese. At a March 16 press conference, the governor and state officials called for the gathering restrictions of 10 people or less – and also for all schools to temporarily close their
Media & Culture Spiritual Life
doors by March 20 and have a plan for remote learning. Most schools, including Catholic ones, had already taken that step. Their basketball teams had finished tournament play in front of limited audiences, while spring sports and other activities were dropped. Homes for seniors and religious communities have restricted visitors. Everywhere, people are scrubbing hands and sanitizing surfaces to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. And through it all, they’ve been praying. “Jesus is not absent,” Archbishop Lucas said. “He has not turned his back on us.” “He’s called us, he’s given his life for us, and he’s here with us,” the archbishop said. STAYING CONNECTED The family, the domestic church, will be increasingly important to
Commentary Resurrection Joy
staying connected to God, he said. Electronic communications have been a blessing, and will continue to be, he said. The archdiocese will be making more resources available for Catholics in the absence of public Masses. Several parishes have developed “calling trees” to make sure that the elderly and vulnerable who are alone are checked on regularly. If anyone feels alone or anxious, they can “invite Jesus to accompany them through the day’s challenges,” Archbishop Lucas said. Individuals and organizations continue to revise measures to protect people, based on recommendations from public health officials. Based on a recommendation from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to limit the size of public gatherings to fewer than 250 people, Archbishop Lucas had granted the SunCORONAVIRUS » Page 4
2 « MARCH 20, 2020
| ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE |
Coronavirus deprivations offer moments of grace
ecent directives from public health and government officials lead us to believe that our normal activities and interactions will be curtailed for a number of weeks. Sadly, it will not be possible for us to gather for Sunday Mass and the sacraments in our parishes in the usual way. This interruption in parish life comes during the holiest time of the year for Christians. It seems unnatural that we should deliberately separate ourselves from other parishioners, and that tells us something important about ourselves. The mission of the church is “communion,” to bring together in the risen Jesus all that has been fragmented by sin. The effect of sin has been separation – from God, among ourselves and even within our own minds and wills. The proclamation of the Gospel announces the new reality that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are not doomed to live and die in our sins. We are immersed in the power of this mystery (the Paschal Mystery) in the Eucharistic liturgy. In Holy Communion we have a foretaste of the reconciliation and communion that will be complete in heaven. While this seems to be a moment of spiritual deprivation unlike anything we have yet experienced, it is also a powerful moment of grace. There is a basic profession of our faith that is heard often at Easter and is true always: Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus is
The Shepherd’s Voice ARCHBISHOP GEORGE J. LUCAS
Lord at this challenging time, just as surely as he is in prosperous and peaceful times. We are in his hands. He counts us as his disciples and friends. He has something that he wishes to give us these days; he has something to ask of us. Our parishes will be working in different and creative ways in the coming weeks to assist you in responding to the invitation of the risen Lord to both receive and share spiritual benefits. Parish churches will remain open for private prayer and adoration. Arrangements will be made for individual confession and anointing of the sick. Resources will be provided to celebrate Holy Week and Easter, if necessary, with families at home. Small groups already meeting for Bible study, faith sharing and prayer are more important now than ever. Daily family prayer, including the rosary and Bible readings, are recommended for all. Some priests and parishes already have a lively online presence, helpful for keeping in touch with parishioners. The Mass for Shut-ins can be viewed on Sunday mornings on WOWT-TV; daily Mass can be found on EWTN. Spirit Catholic Radio in Nebraska remains a great source of inspiration and information. Catholic podcasts are readily available on a variety of topics from Discerning Hearts (discerninghearts.com.). A number of parishes will be live-streaming the
PIXELHEADPHOTO DIGITAL SKILLET/SHUTTERSTOCK
Small groups meeting for Bible study, faith sharing and prayer are now more important than ever during this time of coronavirus containment, when public Masses and large faith gatherings have been cancelled.
Mass and other devotions. And, of course, the Catholic Voice, in print and online, will continue to knit us together as an archdiocesan church in the days ahead. Finally, as we prepare to commemorate the supreme act of charity of Christ on the cross, we are called to extend ourselves in charity these days. This begins at home, where families are spending more time together. We can pray about and discuss what we want to offer each other in terms of patience and support. We can invite Jesus to be a welcome guest among us. In neighborhoods and parishes, the Lord asks us to notice the person who is
alone, in need of human contact and support. The devil works against the uniting mission of Jesus, to isolate and to prey on our fears. The Lord asks us to reach out in his name, to strengthen the bonds of communion, even to the stranger who is also our neighbor. A time of reduced activity is an opportunity for prayer, both to ask the Lord for what we need and to listen to what he is saying. Count on my daily prayers for all of you. I know you join me in asking God’s blessing for those suffering from the virus, for health care workers, and for all in Nebraska and across the nation who serve in government, education and public health and safety. God bless you.
Public Mass ban in Italy leads to focus on ‘spiritual Communion’ By CINDY WOODEN Catholic News Service
ROME – Public Masses are banned throughout Italy, but literally thousands of Masses are celebrated each day and, in addition to watching them on television or computer screens, the faithful can receive “spiritual Communion.” Pope Francis, after reciting a livestreamed Angelus prayer March 15, told people, “United to Christ we are never alone, but instead form one body, of which he is the head. It is a union that is nourished with prayer and also with spiritual communion in the Eucharist, a practice that is recommended when it isn’t possible to receive the sacrament.” Obviously, receiving Communion is the way to participate most fully in the Mass, but it is not always possible for everyone to receive at every Mass, nor do many Catholics in the world even have regular access to Mass. The idea of “spiritual Communion” – inviting Jesus into one’s heart and soul when receiving the actual sacrament isn’t possible – is part of Catholic tradition. In the 1700s, St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote a special prayer for spiritual Communion: “My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you. But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul at least spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you.” Auxiliary Bishop Paolo Ricciardi of
CNS PHOTO/VATICAN MEDIA
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, at the Vatican March 10. Since the second week in March the pope has been celebrating Mass without a small group of the faithful in order to avoid the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Rome, writing in the Vatican newspaper March 11, said, “This month all priests will continue to celebrate Masses and even if they cannot participate, Christians will continue to carry into the world the grace of years of abundance to face these weeks of famine.” The bishop prayed that acts of only spiritual Communion would help people “joyfully rediscover all of the good that the
Eucharist has given us from the day of our first Communion.” “Let us increase our desire to receive it again at Easter with a renewed awareness of encountering the living Christ with joy on our faces and in our hearts,” he said, and “with a commitment to beginning again from the Eucharist to give life to the world.” In countries where Catholics can and do
receive the sacrament frequently, they do not hear the term “spiritual Communion” very often, but it has been mentioned even in recent church documents. The Vatican’s preparatory document for the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin said those who cannot receive the Eucharist can have spiritual Communion, declaring their desire to receiving the Eucharist and uniting “their suffering of that moment with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.” The working document for the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist in 2005 addressed the idea of offering up the sacrifice of being unable to receive Communion. It said: “Spiritual Communion, for example, is always possible for elderly persons and the sick who cannot go to church. In manifesting their love for the Eucharist, they participate in the communion of saints with great spiritual benefit for themselves and the church. By offering their sufferings to God, the church is enriched.” In “Sacramentum Caritatis,” the document Pope Benedict XVI issued in 2007 reflecting on the synod, he cautioned people against thinking they had “a right or even an obligation” to receive the Eucharist every time they went to Mass. “Even in cases where it is not possible to receive sacramental Communion, participation at Mass remains necessary, important, meaningful and fruitful. In such circumstances it is beneficial to cultivate a desire for full union with Christ through the practice of spiritual Communion,” Pope Benedict wrote.
| NEWS |
MARCH 20, 2020
Reporting system to record abuse complaints against bishops goes live By DENNIS SADOWSKI Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON – A reporting system accepting sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. bishops and eparchs is in place. Called the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, or CBAR, the system became operational March 16. The mechanism incorporates a website and a toll-free telephone number through which individuals can file reports regarding a bishop. ReportBishopAbuse.org is the website. Calls can be placed at 800-276-1562. The nationwide system is being implemented by individual dioceses under the direction of each respective cardinal, archbishop or bishop. The information gathered will be protected through enhanced encryption. Bishop John M. Botean of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George in Canton, Ohio, was set to post a notice on the diocesan website March 16 as the service started. “I’ll have just a little explanation of what the service is,” he told Catholic News Service. Because the Eastern-rite eparchies have no metropolitan archbishops, Bishop Botean said he expects that reports filed through
the new system will be sent directly to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, for review. Bishop Botean welcomed the reporting system as well. “It’s too bad that it’s come to this, but if it’s necessary, here it is,” he said. In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which in January 2019 implemented its own system for reporting allegations against bishops, Auxiliary Bishop Adam J. Parker said CBAR is similar in that it will be accessible from the archdiocesan home page and by phone. Posters will be displayed at each parish promoting the national hotline as well as information about contacting the archdiocese’s Child and Youth Protection Office. “Our intention was that the (nationwide) system – which we are implementing locally as a metropolitan – would be no less robust than what we had implemented here in Baltimore,” Bishop Parker said. Denver-based Convercent developed the reporting system under a two-year contract with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The company specializes in ethics and compliance management for businesses and organizations. Under the system, the com-
NEBRASKA DIOCESES IMPLEMENT BISHOP REPORTING SYSTEM By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice
As part of a nationwide effort to ensure the accountability of Catholic bishops for protecting children from sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Omaha began its participation in the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) March 16. The system will receive allegations against bishops and archbishops concerning sexual abuse and related misconduct such as intentionally interfering with a civil or church investigation into allegations of sexual abuse committed by another cleric or religious. The process of reviewing those allegations is managed by the metropolitan within each diocesan province, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor for the archdiocese. As leader of the Omaha archdiocese, Archbishop George J. Lucas is the metropolitan presiding over the Nebraska province, one of 32 provinces in the United States. Lincoln and Grand Island are suffragan dioceses in the Nebraska province. In the event of a report, a qualified lay person will assist an archbishop or bishop in conducting an initial assessment. In the Omaha archdiocese, attorney Stephen Patrick O’Meara has been designated as that qualified lay person, given his extensive experience combatting child abuse, child pornography and human trafficking. He is currently
interim chair of the Coalition on Human Trafficking in Omaha and a board member of the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking. “We’re blessed to have such a person with a deep legal, investigative and prosecutorial background,” Deacon McNeil said. After the initial assessment, credible allegations will be forwarded to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States, who will forward a report to papal staff in Rome. If directed by Rome, a full investigation would then be conducted at the local level, with members of diocesan review boards assisting the bishop or archbishop. To make a report concerning a bishop, archbishop, cardinal or Eastern-rite eparch, people should call the CBAR hotline at 800-276-1562 or visit ReportBishopAbuse.org. “This is separate and apart from our reporting system having to do with priests, deacons and church personnel,” Deacon McNeil said. Such reports should continue to be made to the archdiocese’s Victim Outreach and Prevention Office at 402-827-3798, ext. 1705, or 888-808-9055. “And this does not replace the requirement to notify law enforcement,” he said. “As mandatory reporters, if we get a report of sexual abuse of a minor, our first action is that we report that to law enforcement.”
pany gathers information and routs reports to the appropriate church authority consistent with canon law. It does not conduct any investigation. Approved by the U.S. bishops in June at their spring general assembly, the reporting mechanism meets the requirements established by Pope Francis in his “motu proprio” “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the light of the world”) to have a way of receiving reports of sexual misconduct by a bishop. “Motu proprio” is a Latin phrase that means “on one’s own initiative.” Popes use it to signal a special personal interest in a subject. HOW IT WORKS The system works like this: – Calls initially will come into a central phone bank, where trained personnel will ask for information about the allegation being made, including the name of the person making the report and his or her contact information. People also will have the option of filing a report online if they do not want to call. People will not be required to give their name if they wish to remain anonymous. – The information gathered will be forwarded to the appropriate metropolitan, or archbishop, responsible for each diocese in a province. Allegations against a metropolitan will be forwarded to the senior suffragan bishop in the appropriate province. The U.S. has 32 metropolitans. Each province has one archdiocese and several dioceses. – The information also will be forwarded to a layperson designated to assist the bishop in receiving allegations. – After review, the metropolitan or senior suffragan will send the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington. – The nuncio is required to send the report and the metropolitan’s assessment to the Vatican, which has 30 days to determine if a formal investigation is warranted. If so, a bishop will be authorized to oversee an investigation. – When an investigation is ordered, qualified experts, including laypeople, will conduct it. An investigation is expected to be completed within 90 days and forwarded to the Vatican. – Vatican officials will review the findings of the investigation and determine the appropriate process leading to a final judgment. As each case is filed, the person reporting an incident will be given a case number and password, which can be used to follow progress of their particular case. Individuals who file a report also will be encouraged to contact local law enforcement if they believe they have been a victim of a crime. LIMITED SCOPE Anthony Picarello, USCCB associate general secretary, told the bishops during their fall general assembly in November the system is designed to filter complaints so that only those addressed in the “motu proprio” will be forwarded. Under CBAR, people with complaints about any other actions of a bishop, such as diocesan assign-
Newman Center visit Archbishop George J. Lucas speaks with St. John Paul II Newman Center resident manager Lauren Hankes after celebrating Mass at the center March 12. More than 70 students and visitors attended, spreading out through the pews as a precaution against the coronavirus. Community Night, which takes place after Mass every Thursday night, was cancelled due to the outbreak. In conjunction with the University of Nebraska at Omaha suspending in-person classes, Newman Center events have been postponed indefinitely. ments, church closings, liturgy or homily content, will be asked to contact the appropriate diocese or eparchy directly. Allegations of sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, religious, diocesan staff member or volunteer will be directed to the local diocesan or eparchial victim assistance coordinator under the process that has been in place under the 2002 “Charter for Protection of Children and Young People.” Pope Francis released his “motu proprio” last May following a worldwide meeting of bishops’ conference leaders at the Vatican early in 2019 to discuss the
church’s response to clergy sexual abuse. The document specifically addresses allegations of sexual misconduct and other accusations of actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or church investigations of such misconduct by clergy. The “motu proprio” requires dioceses and eparchies worldwide to establish “one or more public, stable and easily accessible systems for submission of reports” by May 31. Contributing to this report was Christopher Gunty, associate publisher/editor of Catholic Review Media, the media arm of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
THE ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA
CATHOLIC VOICE Volume 117, Number 16
ARCHBISHOP GEORGE J. LUCAS
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| SPECIAL REPORT |
4 « MARCH 20, 2020
The Fourteen Holy Helpers: saints for the coronavirus
CORONAVIRUS: Faithful urged to pray, watch Mass on TV >> Continued from Page 1
day Mass dispensation March 13. Within three days, he called for the suspension of public Masses and liturgies. Priests are still offering the Mass privately, “and this is still a source of grace for the church,” said Father Scott Hastings, vicar for clergy and judicial vicar. SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/PUBLIC DOMAIN
“Fourteen Holy Helpers Altar,” painting in the parish Church of Mary Magdalene, Völkermarkt, Austria. By MARY FARROW Catholic News Agency
Denver – By this time in the coronavirus outbreak, you may have cruised the empty toilet paper aisles and pasta shelves at your local grocery store, and could have had moments of panic, or at least heightened anxiety. With numerous U.S. states having declared a state of emergency over COVID-19, what was once an overseas worry is now stateside. And for the general population, being a part of something like this is a new and disconcerting experience. But it’s not a new experience in the life of the church. In the 14th century, the plague – also called “The Black Death” and “The Greatest Catastrophe Ever” – ravaged Europe, killing 50 million people, or up to 60% of the population (a vastly higher death rate than the coronavirus), within a few years. Lacking the advances of modern medicine today, and layering dead bodies in pits, the people had no choice but to cling to their faith. It was at this time that the Fourteen Holy Helpers – Catholic saints, all but one of whom were early martyrs – came to be invoked by Catholics against the plague and other misfortunes. According to New Liturgical Movement (www.newliturgicalmovement.org), devotion to these 14 saints started in Germany at the time of the plague, and they were called “Nothelfer,” which in German means “helpers in need.” As bouts of the plague resurfaced over the decades, devotion to the Holy Helpers spread to other countries, and eventually Pope
Nicholas V declared that devotion to the saints came with special indulgences. According to New Liturgical Movement, this introduction to the feast of the Holy Helpers (celebrated Aug. 8 in some places) can be found in the Cracow Missal of 1483: “The Mass of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, approved by Pope Nicholas … it is powerful on their behalf, however so much one is in great illness or anguish or sadness, or in whatsoever tribulation a man shall be. It is powerful also on behalf of the imprisoned and detained, on behalf of merchants and pilgrims, for those that have been sentenced to die, for those who are at war, for women who are struggling in childbirth, or with a miscarriage, and for (the forgiveness of) sins, and for the dead.” The collect for their feast in the Missal of Bamberg reads: “Almighty and merciful God, who didst adorn Thy Saints George, Blase, Erasmus, Pantaleon, Vitus, Christopher, Denis, Cyriacus, Acacius, Eustace, Giles, Margaret, Barbara and Catherine with special privileges above all others, so that all who in their necessities implore their help, according to the grace of Thy promise, may attain the salutary effect of their pleading, grant to us, we beseech Thee, forgiveness of our sins, and with their merits interceding, deliver us from all adversities, and kindly hear our prayers.” A short description of each of these saints’ lives can be found with this article on Catholic News Agency’s website, www. catholicnewsagency.com.
For many, not being able to go to Mass and receive holy Communion has been difficult. “The strong desire to receive the Blessed Sacrament is a beautiful thing,” Father Hastings said. “However, this suspension will not be forever.” He is encouraging people to make “spiritual Communions,” the Christian practice of desiring to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, uniting oneself with him, when holy Communion cannot be received physically. Archbishop Lucas has urged prayer, particularly to St. Joseph, to combat the outbreak. (See sidebar below.) People have been urged to stay home, especially those who are sick, elderly or have underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to the illness. Catholics are encouraged to watch Masses on EWTN or local television stations or listen to the Mass on Catholic radio. In the Omaha area, a Mass for Shut-Ins is aired every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
PRAYER FOR THE WORLD DURING THE OUTBREAK OF THE CORONAVIRUS To you, O Blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation. Through that charity which bound you to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities. O most loving Father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s children from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection. Amen. (Excerpted from the Enchiridion of Indulgences, 1969) WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/PUBLIC DOMAIN
“St. Joseph with the Infant Jesus,” painting on canvas in the Church of St. Maurice, Lille, France.
on WOWT – Channel 6. The archdiocese also has encouraged parishes to livestream its Masses. STAYING UP TO DATE Father James Keiter, pastor of All Saints and Holy Family parishes in Cedar County and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Crofton, said his parishioners have been kept up to date on restrictions through emails, parish bulletins and prayer lines, parish and school websites, Facebook and cable television. “We’re using any medium possible to give people information as soon as possible,” he said. Reactions to the measures were initially mixed, he said, but most understand the legitimate health concerns. Students, including those at Cedar Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Hartington, use a Google Classroom service that can be used from home. Teachers can post homework, videos and recorded lectures with the service. Colleges across the country, including Creighton University in Omaha, have decided to keep students away from campuses and to teach online, at least for a few weeks. RESTRICTED VISITORS Religious communities, including the Missionary Benedictine Sisters – Norfolk Priory, have restricted visitors because of the outbreak. So have homes for seniors,
including New Cassel Retirement Center in Omaha. Only essential staff and medical personnel have been allowed in, said Traci Lichti, president and chief executive officer. Loved ones are encouraged to make phone calls to residents or communicate through mail, email, Facebook, Skype or other means. Community dining and activities, including attendance at Mass, have been stopped. Meals are being delivered to apartments, and residents can remotely participate in televised activities, including Masses, the rosary and exercise classes, Lichti said. New Cassel staff members have been creative in making life fun despite the restrictions, she said. A rolling happy hour cart brought popcorn and green beer to apartments on St. Patrick’s Day. The residents have been understanding, the administrator said. They have lived through wars and other uncertainties, she points out. Family members should not feel guilty about not being able to visit, said Deacon David Probst, director of pastoral care at New Cassel. Instead, they should take advantage of the break to take care of themselves and be replenished, he said. The coronavirus outbreak has been challenging, Deacon Probst said. And now is the time for prayer. “I think the key is prayer,” he said, “asking God for researchers to come up with ways to treat it.”
| SPECIAL REPORT |
Archbishop, faithful see grace amid outbreak struggles By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice
In ordinary circumstances, Archbishop George J. Lucas has encouraged people to “look for the graces” in whatever they’re facing. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic is affecting people across the archdiocese, his advice is even more pertinent. Normal church operations have been severely curtailed, including the suspension of public Masses and other sacramental gatherings and liturgies. “While this seems to be a moment of spiritual deprivation unlike anything we have yet experienced, it is also a powerful moment of grace,” the archbishop writes in his column in this edition of the Catholic Voice. “There is a basic profession of our faith that is heard often at Easter and is true always: Jesus Christ is Lord,” the archbishop wrote. “Jesus is Lord at this challenging time, just as surely as he is in prosperous and peaceful times. We are in his hands. He counts us as his disciples and friends. He has something that he wishes to give us these days; he has something to ask of us.” Members of his flock also know God is at work, especially in the sufferings and inconveniences experienced during the outbreak. Here are a few examples: ‘RUNNING TOWARD THE CHAOS’ Jumping in to help is innate for healthcare workers, said Dr. Sheilah Snyder, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha and a St. Columbkille parishioner. The coronavirus outbreak has been just another reminder of this, she said via a private Facebook message. “I went to a talk last year with a doc who had been running in the Boston Marathon when the bombing happened,” Dr. Snyder wrote. “She was minutes from the finish and she ‘ran toward the chaos’ as everyone else ran away. Her message was about running toward what you fear. “Healthcare workers have an innate need to do good. We have more people on my team volunteering to do COVID work than patients to treat (for now). I think this selfless love for people is truly God’s presence. Yes, we can be scared, but this is what we do – we care for people. “I’ve seen some amazing videos of people clapping from balconies in Spain and singing to healthcare workers in the streets in Italy. In medicine you run towards that which you fear to help where you can, care for those who need you. The biggest tragedy for us would be if we can’t help everyone who needs us.” KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THE ELDERLY Terri English and Laura Higginbotham, both of St. Columbkille Parish, are among the many people who have relatives in
care centers whom they are not allowed to visit because of coronavirus risks. They wrote about their experiences through Facebook messenger. Higginbotham said the staff at her mother’s care center does its best to keep the residents safe and healthy. “Therefore, the facility is on complete lockdown,” she wrote. “I gave my cell number to a caregiver on my last visit allowed and, when she is working, she dials my mom’s phone so we can at least speak to each other and feel a little less isolated. “All of the caregivers are outstanding, but this particular one has a heart of gold.” English said her family moved her 91-year-old mother to an assisted living facility last May. “I come from a large closeknit family,” English wrote. “We were in the routine of all gathering at mom’s house after Mass on Sunday morning, and that routine continued after she moved … “She has a studio apartment, and on any given Sunday there can be up to 15 or more visitors crammed in her room. In addition to Sundays, Mom has regular visitors throughout the week. … On Saturdays, my sisters and I meet for lunch and we take Mom with us.” Eventually the family was told their mother could have no visitors and only leave for doctor appointments. They were heartbroken, English said. “No Mass, no Saturday lunch, no Sunday family gathering!” “My mom just says, ‘I’m lonesome.’ It’s so sad!” But at least one family member, a nurse, might be able to visit to change a dressing on a wound. Having that family connection would indeed be a blessing, English said. WEDDING BLESSINGS Emily Fanslau – a nurse at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and a bride who has had to rearrange her wedding plans at least twice – is at peace. “I have a sense of calm,” she says, despite the effect the coronavirus outbreak has had on her work and her wedding, planned for April 18 at St. Columbkille Church in Papillion. Fanslau and her fiance, Daniel Florance, have grown accustomed to disruptions. The two met as teenage lifeguards, but have been apart for much of the time since, as he entered the military and she went off to college. They had planned for a big ceremony at St. Columbkille and a big reception, with 300 people invited. But the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans when they learned that crowds had to be reduced at first to 250 people, and when domestic travel for military members was restricted. At least five people in their wedding party were in the military. Days later, on March 16, gov-
ernment officials said gatherings should be limited to 10 people, another blow to Fanslau and Florance, both of whom have large extended families. That evening the couple met with the deacon preparing them for marriage and came up with a plan. Their April wedding will go on – albeit much smaller and simpler than originally planned – with a Mass at St. Columbkille. “We don’t want to delay that part of our life anymore,” Fanslau said. The two plan to receive a blessing or renew their vows during a Mass at the church in August, before Florance enters law school. It will be followed by the reception in downtown Omaha that they had originally planned. Fanslau said the disruptions and dashed plans have kept them focused on what’s most important: the sacrament of marriage they are about to enter and being surrounded by loved ones as they exchange their vows. “The pomp and festivities are great,” she said, “but it’s never been about that stuff.” As with other hardships they’ve endured, they’ve grown stronger in faith as a result, she said. “We’ve had to trust in God from the beginning.” NEIGHBORLY NOTE Sometimes graces can be small things. Ask Mary Zak, wife of Deacon John Zak at St. Peter Parish in Omaha. “A small but touching (grace) was a note in our mailbox from neighbors, just saying here are our phone numbers and please feel free to call if you need anything,” she said in a Facebook message. “These neighbors we have not yet met, but I’m sure they see John and I as ‘that old couple on the corner.’ We are both still working (in health care) but I thought that was very kind and thoughtful. We sent back our info and exchanged the same message.” HOSTING BOARDERS Teresa and Dave Wooten, of St. Columbkille, have given an extended stay at their home to foreign students at Mount Michael Benedictine School in Elkhorn. The students, from Vietnam and South Korea, typically don’t go home for spring break, instead staying with the families of other Mount Michael students. “We currently are hosting three of the seven-day boarders from Mount Michael,” Teresa Wooten messaged via Facebook. “They are getting a really good dose of American life. We are all learning to share the space we are blessed to have. … We are getting along well and grateful for jobs that are not affected by this yet.” For a longer version of this article with more stories of grace, see the online story at catholicvoiceomaha.com. If you have an example of grace to share about the coronavirus outbreak, please email email@example.com.
MARCH 20, 2020
CORONAVIRUS NEWS BRIEFS As lockdown continues, pope prays for lonely elderly VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As Italy entered its second week of lockdown, Pope Francis urged Christians to remember the elderly who are suffering not only loneliness but also fear due to the spread of the coronavirus. “Today, I would like us to pray for the elderly who are suffering now in a particular way, with great interior solitude and sometimes great fear. Let us pray that the Lord would be close to our grandfathers and grandmothers – to all the elderly – and give them strength,” the pope said March 17 during a live broadcast of his morning Mass. According to a March 13 report by the Italian National Institute of Health, the median age of men and women who have died from COVID-19 is 80. As of March 16, the Italian health ministry reported that over 2,150 people have died from the virus.
CDC head ‘not shy about his Catholic faith’ BALTIMORE (CNS) – When Msgr. Richard Woy sees Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on television these days flanked by medical experts issuing the latest guidance on the novel coronavirus he doesn’t just see one of the top health officials in the U.S., he sees one of the faithful. Msgr. Woy, rector of Baltimore’s Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, said when he met Redfield and his wife, Joyce, “they had been active parishioners here for decades.” As Redfield helps lead the federal response to the growing threat of coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, his pastor and friends say his years of work studying viruses along with his deep Catholic faith will help guide the country through the crisis. “Dr. Redfield is not shy about his Catholic faith. And I think it does not compromise in any way his work as a scientist,” Msgr. Woy told the Catholic Review, the media outlet of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. “I do not believe he sees any contradiction between the two whatsoever.”
Catholic nursing homes respond to restrictions WASHINGTON (CNS) – The impact of the coronavirus in the United States is likely felt the strongest in nursing homes around the country, and Catholic facilities are no exception. As of March 13, all nursing homes and long-term care facilities, caring for the population
most vulnerable to the coronavirus, have been urged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to restrict all visitation to their facilities except in certain compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life situations. “We’re following the guidelines to the letter,” said Darlene Underhill, a registered nurse and director of clinical services for New Hampshire Catholic Charities, which operates several rehabilitation and nursing centers. Underhill told Catholic News Service March 12 that curtailing visits could be for a “lengthy period of time” and is something residents at first seem to initially “take more in stride,” but as the restrictions have increased and for an unknown period, it is hard to know what lies ahead. Alain Bernard, assistant vice president of health care services for New Hampshire Catholic Charities, said the centers were working on getting residents computer tablets so they can communicate with relatives. He said the facilities screen staff members each time they enter.
Vincentian volunteers decrease; some asked to stay home CLEVELAND (CNS) – The volunteers are fewer, but Ernie Stetenfeld and his fellow Vincentians in Madison, Wisconsin, are not slowing down in the face of the coronavirus. Boxes of food are being packed for pickup, the state’s only charitable pharmacy continues to operate, and families struggling to pay utility bills are getting assistance through parish conferences even if it means paid staff are having to do more, said Stetenfeld, CEO and executive director of the Madison District Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “We’re putting a premium on maintaining service because if anything, the coronavirus situation impacts people coping with poverty at least as greatly if not more so than all the rest of the people, especially if there is a loss of income,” Stetenfeld told Catholic News Service March 17. “We feel it’s important for us to maintain as high a level of service as we can.” Volunteers are not totally out of the picture. Stetenfeld said the number of folks who are showing up at the council’s food pantry since the coronavirus outbreak in February has dropped by more than half – from 30 to 40 to about 15. But the pool of regular visits by corporate and University of Wisconsin-Madison student helpers has virtually disappeared. And phone calls have largely replaced home visits, the hallmark of Vincentian service. Still, Stetenfeld is grateful. “We’ve been actually heartened that people are making the trip in,” he said. For volunteers who are in their late 70s and 80s, Stetenfeld and staff have advised them to stay home.
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Nicaragua Water Crisis: A Desperate Cry for Water While visiting the village of Pedregal, outside of Chinandega, Nicaragua, Cross Catholic Outreach encountered a man named Jackson. Every day, Jackson would go to Chinandega to work as a tricycle taxi operator. As he made his way around town, he would see clean water gushing from hoses and open faucets. He would see full water glasses on café tables too. But in the evening, when Jackson returned home, he and his family faced an entirely different reality. Jackson could provide his household with only filthy water from a shallow well, and his children would often miss school because of the waterborne diseases they contracted from drinking it. Obviously, Jackson was frustrated by the stark contrast between his situation and that of families in the city, and it pained him that his children did not have regular access to clean, safe water. “We have no other choice,” was all Jackson could say — and, tragically, his situation is common in rural Nicaragua. There, in the poorer communities, thousands of households must rely on repugnant water sources just to survive. In Nicaragua, nearly one-third of the rural population still lives without access to improved water sources. Poor families do not have plumbing in their homes, so they fill their buckets several times a day from murky streams and shallow, hand-dug wells. Visible insects and debris often float in the water, and even if it appears clean, it is densely polluted by pesticideladen runoff from local farms, as well as animal waste, insects and parasites. A lack of proper sanitation only compounds this issue — rural households often have crude latrines, which leak into one another and further contaminate the water source. Because of this pollution, the country is considered a high risk for waterborne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid fever. Collecting water at open sources also leaves villagers vulnerable to mosquitoes, which carry dengue fever,
Zika virus and chikungunya. High fevers, stomach pains and kidney problems persist as common issues for many poor families, and diarrheal diseases remain a leading cause of death for children under 5. Making matters worse, few rural families have access to hospitals and medical clinics and may not be able to receive necessary care when they are sick. And even if they are able to reach a doctor, they may not be able to afford the prescribed medication. Some sick and hurting people will trudge several miles to the nearest medical outpost, only to turn around and come home empty-handed. We could attempt to provide the poor with medications and quick-fix solutions, but that would only put a bandage on a much more serious issue. The best way that we can help suffering families is by preventing the life-threatening illnesses that so frequently plague them, addressing the root causes and ending the cycle of repeated disease. Our most surefire plan of action is to provide them with clean, safe water sources. Cross Catholic Outreach partners with devoted ministries such as Amigos for Christ in order to deliver families weary from gastrointestinal problems and waterborne disease. Together, we are working to address Nicaragua’s water crisis by providing sustainable solutions for poor families. For too long, families just like Jackson’s have had no choice but to knowingly consume contaminated water, cook with it, bathe with it and accept the consequences of survival. They have been forced to barter their health just to quench their thirst. But with our partners in the field and our compassionate Catholic donors, we can provide these families with long-awaited relief. By installing professionally drilled wells and thorough water filtration systems, we can pump safe water directly into poor households with the turn of a tap.
Many families must fetch contaminated water from distant rivers, stagnant ponds or antiquated, hand-dug wells. Your gift to end Nicaragua’s water crisis could mean the difference between life and death for those who are constantly battling one bout of illness after another, and it will vastly improve the quality of life for poor families. Students will be healthy enough to attend class and perform their very best. Parents will be free to focus on attending church, raising their children and engaging in incomegenerating activities. As many beneficiaries have told us, “Water is life.” It changes everything and is a fundamental necessity for bringing about long-term community transformation. By giving water, you
lay the foundation for building a bright future filled with strength and blessing. Please join us in sharing this gift of life with families in need! Readers interested in supporting Cross Catholic Outreach can use the brochure inserted in this issue or send tax-deductible gifts to: Cross Catholic Outreach, Dept. AC01502, PO Box 97168, Washington DC 20090-7168. The ministry has a special need for partners willing to make gifts on a monthly basis. Use the inserted brochure to become a Mission Partner or write Monthly Mission Partner on mailed checks to be contacted about setting up those arrangements.
Cross Catholic Outreach Endorsed by More Than 100 Bishops, Archbishops Cross Catholic Outreach’s range of relief work to help the poor overseas continues to be recognized by a growing number of Catholic leaders in the U.S. and abroad. “We’ve received more than 100 endorsements from bishops and archbishops,” explained Jim Cavnar, president of Cross Catholic Outreach (CCO). “They’re moved by the fact that we’ve launched outreaches in almost 40 countries and have undertaken a variety of projects — everything from feeding the hungry and housing the homeless to supplying safe water and supporting
educational opportunities for the poorest of the poor. The bishops have also been impressed by Cross Catholic Outreach’s direct and meaningful response to emergency situations, most recently by providing food, medicines and other resources to partners in Haiti, El Salvador and areas of Belize impacted by natural disasters.” Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile, Alabama, supported Cross Catholic Outreach’s mission, writing: “It is a privilege for me to support Cross Catholic Outreach. This organization funds ministries to our neighbors
in need in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Pacific. Through the generosity of so many, the love of God is made visible to many who are coping with the most difficult of daily living conditions.” In addition to praising CCO’s accomplishments, many of the bishops and archbishops are encouraged that Pontifical canonical status was conferred on the charity in September 2015, granting it approval as an official Catholic organization. This allows CCO to participate in the mission of the Church and to give a
concrete witness to Gospel Charity, in collaboration with the Holy Father. “Your work with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is a strong endorsement of your partnership with the work of the Universal Church,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said. “By providing hope to the faithful overseas by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, delivering medical relief to the sick and shelter to the homeless, and through self-help projects, you are embodying the Papal Encyclical Deus Caritas Est.”
MARCH 20, 2020
American Catholics Have Exciting Opportunities to Help Impoverished Areas With the Blessing of Safe Water “Roughly 10 percent of the world’s population lives without ready access to clean water. As a result, about 500,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation — that’s about 1,300 children a day. Worldwide, diarrheal diseases are the leading killers of children under the age of five. “No one would deny the importance of water to sustain life, but few of us realize just how critical the need for this blessed resource has become in some parts of the developing world. It’s literally a matter of life and death.” With his recent statement, Cross Catholic Outreach president Jim Cavnar put the stark statistics of UNICEF and the World Health Organization into terms every American Catholic can easily understand. A serious water crisis threatens the world’s poorest countries, and it should be a major concern to those of us who value the sanctity of life. Thankfully, the Catholic Church is aware of this problem and has stepped forward to act on behalf of the poor, according to Cavnar. “Priests and nuns serving in developing countries are identifying the areas of greatest need and are creating plans to help solve the problems,” he said. “All they lack is funding. If we can empower them with grants of aid and with other resources, amazing things can be accomplished.” Cavnar’s own ministry, Cross Catholic Outreach, was launched in 2001 with this specific goal in mind. It rallies American Catholics to fund specific projects overseas, and many safe water initiatives have been successfully implemented as a result. In one case, tapping a spring in Haiti allowed Cross Catholic Outreach to reduce infant mortality in a poor, remote part of the country. “Catholic leaders in the village of Cerca reported children were dying at an alarming rate. If you visited, you could see the funeral processions carrying the tiny coffins. They discovered contaminated water was the problem, and they asked us to help find a solution. Working together, we were able to tap a spring and provide clean, safe water,” Cavnar explained. Because every area’s water problem is different, Cross Catholic Outreach needs to be flexible. Over the years, its projects have included everything from digging wells to channeling water from springs to installing filtration systems to providing large holding tanks for purchased water. They also work worldwide and have done water projects in Africa, South and Central American countries, the Caribbean and elsewhere. “This year, some of our biggest water projects are planned for Zambia, Kenya and Guatemala,” Cavnar said.
ABOVE: Children fill their water jugs from a contaminated spring in Kenya. In many areas of the developing world, the poor depend on contaminated water sources like this for their drinking water. BELOW: Children often miss school to collect water for their families. Catholic donors supporting Cross Catholic Outreach’s water projects can provide safe, abundant water to impoverished communities like these. “Of course, our ability to take on that work will depend on getting contributions here in the U.S.” Cavnar is clearly grateful to American Catholics who choose to support Cross Catholic Outreach’s work with their prayers and gifts, and he emphasizes their role often, describing them as the real heroes in every success story. “Take the water project needed in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala, for example. Drilling for water wasn’t an option due to the terrain. So it’s an ambitious plan that will develop a complex water and distribution system to pump clean water to every home in a community currently relying on contaminated lakes and streams for survival. The Catholic priest in the area desperately needs it and its impact will be profound — but it takes outside funding to turn that dream into a reality. So, when our Catholic benefactors support a project like this, they are literally an answer to prayer.” The same has been true in other important outreaches too. Over the years, Cross Catholic Outreach donors have built homes, schools and clinics — and have further blessed those outreaches with gifts to fund medicines, school supplies, teacher salaries and more. “It is possible to bless people, save lives and transform communities,” Cavnar said. “It just takes concerned Catholics working together to achieve those goals.”
How to Help To fund Cross Catholic Outreach’s effort to help the poor worldwide, use the postage-paid brochure inserted in this newspaper or mail your gift to Cross Catholic Outreach, Dept. AC01502, PO Box 97168, Washington DC 20090-7168. The brochure also includes instructions on becoming a Mission Partner and making a regular monthly donation to this cause. If you identify a specific aid project with your gift, 100% of the proceeds will be restricted to be used for that specific project. However, if more is raised for the project than needed, funds will be redirected to other urgent needs in the ministry.
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8 « MARCH 20, 2020
Indiana men take up 90-day challenge of prayer, fraternity By JENNIFER BARTON Catholic News Service
WARSAW, Ind. – Four Warsaw residents are among the thousands of men across the globe voluntarily traversing a raw, 90-day challenge of prayer, asceticism and fraternity. It’s not a Lent sacrifice; it’s more like Lent on steroids. It’s Exodus 90, and for the men who go through the program, it’s life-changing. Doug Jakubowicz, Roberto Perez-deFrias, Mike McClain and Nic Alles began Exodus 90 more than a month ago at Sacred Heart Church. Of the four, Jakubowicz was the only one to have gone through the program before, about two years ago at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Muncie, Indiana. Father Brian Doerr, pastor at St. Francis, developed the program in conjunction with five seminarians when he was vice rector of human formation at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Exodus 90 came to consist of 90 days of spirit-awakening, severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence: It goes well beyond a once-a-week fast. It’s a cold-showers, no-sweets-or-alcohol and no-unnecessary-screen-time kind of fasting. One of the first participants in the program as a seminarian was Father Jonathan Norton, who brought it to Sacred Heart Parish in 2018 to help the male parishioners deal with the abuse crisis. He found the men of the parish “hungry for a response.” He stated that while they alone could not fix the problems of the Catholic Church, they could “fix things close to home – fix ourselves, our parish.” Over 40 men joined that first group, and the program has been offered yearly since. Father Norton now serves as each group’s spiritual director throughout the process. Although Exodus originated in the seminary, it has been taken up by laymen around the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and around the world. Four different ages and stages of life are represented in the Warsaw group, demonstrating its broad appeal: Two men in the group are married with children
JENNIFER BARTON OF TODAY’S CATHOLIC/CNS PHOTO
Roberto Perez-de-Frias, Doug Jakubowicz, Mike McClain and Nic Alles end a weekly meeting by spending their daily holy hour together before the Blessed Sacrament at Sacred Heart Church in Warsaw, Indiana, Feb. 19. The four Indiana residents are among thousands of men across the globe participating in Exodus 90, a 90-day challenge of prayer, asceticism and fraternity. of different ages, one is engaged and one is single. NAMING THE ‘WHY’ Each man who chooses to begin Exodus 90 must name his “why,” as McClain put it. As the new principal at Sacred Heart School, he learned about the program through direct contact with Father Norton, who told him that it was something “we” did. “If it’s a thing ‘we’ do, then I’m part of ‘we’ now, so I’ll do this, too,” McClain decided. “I’m doing this to get closer to God and my family.” Perez-de-Frias gave a similar reason. “The time that you now have available for the things you don’t always pay attention to helps you get closer to God. That’s my why, the reason I’m here,” he told Today’s Catholic, the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocesan newspaper. Part of Jakubowicz’s motivation to repeat the Exodus 90 experience again was his
upcoming nuptials. “I saw a lot of fruit come out of it (the first time), but I saw myself slipping in some areas. ... I wanted to be the best man I could be going into marriage.” Alles joined when McClain sent a group text about the program to the parish basketball team. His “That’s kinda cool” response turned into a “Yes,” and he committed without having read up on what was involved in the daily asceticism. Ignorance was bliss, he said, because “had I read what Exodus 90 was before joining, I wouldn’t have done it. Not it in a million years. I’m very grateful to have said ‘yes’ without knowing because the struggles have put my life in a different spot than I was before the 38 days and I’m grateful for that.” FRATERNITY ESSENTIAL Fraternity plays an essential part in the
spiritual exercise. This was important for Jakubowicz, who moved to Warsaw recently and became a member of the parish. “It’s a great way to meet people, to build deep relationships with them,” he said. Perez-de-Frias spoke of the struggles that they each faced during the process, and how they were able to overcome them because of the fraternity. “When we’re struggling the most, having each other makes a big difference. And the fact that we have each other as anchors helps keep ourselves in check as well.” An essential part of the program is for each man to have an “anchor,” or another team member with whom they are to check in daily either by text or phone call. “I love the motivation that the fraternity piece puts in it to keep the motivation going. Don’t disappoint yourself or God or your fraternity brothers,” said Perez-de-Frias. He and McClain have received support from outside their four-man group as well. The asceticism part, the self-sacrifice, is difficult. Alles admits that when he started missing his video games a couple weeks in, he had something of a revelation. “Did I ever think while I was playing video games, ‘Wow, I really miss God, I should probably pray’? No, I wasn’t. It put things into perspective. I’m glad to re-establish a much-needed relationship in my life,” he said. Alles also is filling his time with prayer. With self-sacrifice, the men are amazed how much time they have during the day. Both McClain and Perez-de-Frias have been spending more time with their families, becoming better husbands, fathers and professionals. Alles also is filling his time with prayer. McClain has used his free time to study the lives of the saints, particularly St. Joseph. Jakubowicz said, “It’s about saying yes to God.” The four men plan to continue working toward the finale of the 90 days and looking forward to day 91: Easter. Barton is a staff writer at Today’s Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Sen. Sasse calls for Justice Department to investigate PornHub Catholic News Agency
Washington – Senator Ben Sasse has called on U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate the website Pornhub. The senator said the site had promoted videos showing the sexual assault and rape of a victim of human trafficking. “The foremost duty of the Department of Justice is to ensure the safety of the American people, especially the most vulnerable among us,” Sen. Sasse (R-Neb.) wrote in his letter to Attorney General Barr on March 9. In the letter the senator asked for a federal investigation into the online pornography platform, and its owner MindGeek, citing the promotion of videos that exploited a trafficking victim. In a statement on the letter released Tuesday, Sasse cited “several notable incidents over the past year” where Pornhub promoted content online “showing women and girls that were victims of trafficking being raped and exploited.” Sasse also highlighted cases in which women were coerced into performing sex acts for a video that was uploaded to the site without their consent. “Pornhub must not escape scrutiny. I therefore request that the Department open an investigation into Pornhub and its parent entity MindGeek Holding SARL for their involvement in this disturbing pipeline of exploiting children and other victims and survivors of sex trafficking,” Sasse wrote in his letter to the Justice Department. Pornhub has come under widespread
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has called on the U.S. attorney general to investigate the website Pornhub, as well as its owner MindGeek, citing “several notable incidents over the past year” where Pornhub promoted content “showing women and girls that were victims of trafficking being raped and exploited.” scrutiny in recent months, after videos showing the sexual abuse and rape of a 15 yearold girl appeared on the platform in 2019. The girl in the videos had been missing for a year and reportedly was raped and forced to have an abortion. Her mother saw her on the website – a discovery that led to the arrest of the girl’s captor, Christopher Johnson.
“These publicized cases clearly represent just the tip of the iceberg of women and children being exploited in videos on Pornhub,” Sasse wrote in his March 9 letter. By the next morning, more than 425,000 people had signed an online petition at change.org calling for PornHub to be shut down. The petition also calls for its executives to be held accountable for alleged com-
plicity in human trafficking. In November, the payment vendor PayPal abruptly cut payment services for Pornhub. Pornhub has touted 39 billion internet searches in 2019, nearly seven million video uploads, and more than 80,000 visits per minute, according to Sasse’s letter. Sasse’s letter comes after four members of Congress in December petitioned the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce existing obscenity laws and prosecute pornographers. Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), and Brian Babin (R-Tex.) wrote Attorney General William Barr, asking him to resurrect the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force in the DOJ’s Criminal Justice Division. The task force was charged with investigating and prosecuting makers of hard-core pornography. Fifteen state legislatures have already declared pornography to be a “public health crisis,” and President Donald Trump signed the Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge while a candidate for the presidency in 2016, commiting himself to enforce obscenity and anti-child pornography laws as president. Pope Francis, in a November meeting with technology executives, brought up the problem of children being exposed to pornography at an early age. “This is in no way acceptable,” he said, urging the executives to “assume their responsibility” and protect children from pornography.
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MARCH 20, 2020
Religious leaders urged to promote participation in census By CAROL ZIMMERMANN
ARCHDIOCESE SUPPORTING CENSUS EFFORTS
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON – Realizing that many people are hesitant to fill out the upcoming census, the U.S. Census Bureau is calling on religious leaders to help promote it. “You are your community’s most trusted voice,” Steven Dillingham, Census Bureau director, told a group of interfaith leaders at the Washington National Cathedral Feb. 18, saying his agency depends on them to “to tell your people this is their census” and that an accurate count will provide them with critical public services. Census forms will be mailed in late March and the count officially begins April 1. Respondents can call, email or mail their responses. Dillingham was essentially preaching to the choir of panelists at the “2020 Census Interfaith Summit” in the cathedral’s auditorium. Members of this diverse group emphasized individual dignity and also the need to be responsible neighbors looking out for their communities through taking part in the census. Sister Judith Ann Karam, a Sister of Charity of St. Augustine, who is immediate past president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, based in Cleveland, said census participation reflected “that every person has the utmost dignity and respect” not just in Christianity but in other faith traditions. She said an accurate count is not only necessary for communities’ federal and state funding and congressional representation, but it also will directly impact health care by determining Medicaid funds. Other panelists spoke of how they have talked up the census with members of their faith groups and tried to calm potential fears about it. Rabbi Menachem Creditor, a scholar in residence with the United Jewish Appeal Federation, said some in the Hasidic Jewish community are resisting the use of technology and therefore hesitant to fill out the forms. “For many, it’s hard to feel safe,” he said, which he counters by telling them they won’t receive support if they don’t step forward. “It’s in your self-interest to be brave,” he has said. The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president and founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said even though the census does not have a citizenship question included, many Latinos who are not U.S. citizens fear their participation in the census could cause them to be deported. “We need to assure people it’s OK,” he said, stressing the count will ultimately benefit them. Hurunnessa Fariad, head of outreach and interfaith at All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Virginia, said she has similarly answered fears from Muslims and has tried to assure them that their information will be safe and protected and “will help us all.” Vikshu Kumar Gurung, founder of the Buddhist Society of Nebraska, is so convinced about the importance of the census that he has taken his advocacy about it to social media with YouTube videos. Bishop Reginald Jackson, from the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, said he plans
UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU/CNS PHOTO
Leading up to the 2020 census, which officially begins April 1, the U.S. Census Bureau is calling on religious leaders to encourage their congregations to participate in the count that occurs every 10 years. “You are your community’s most trusted voice,” Steven Dillingham, Census Bureau director, told a group of interfaith leaders at the Washington National Cathedral Feb. 18. to speak about the census from the pulpit, telling those in his congregation the count is not just about individuals but the community. We have to take pride in ourselves is his message. “If you’re not counted, all of us aren’t counted.” A question-and-answer session at the end of the panel discussion indicated that religious leaders will have their work cut out for them in assuaging census concerns since some in the audience said their communities are highly suspicious of government intrusion and do not trust what the government might do with the information it collects. Dillingham got up from his seat among the audience members to respond, saying the Census Bureau was bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep census information confidential. “I can assure you,” he told the gathering of about 100 religious leaders, “the law requires us to do our job and to provide confidentiality.”
“We appreciated your message,” he added. “Working together we can build trust.” This gathering was hardly the first effort to reach out to religious leaders. The Census Bureau published a 12-page guide for faith leaders to both promote and answer questions about the decennial survey. It also posted a video on its website of religious leaders discussing the significance of the census that features Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas. In the video, Bishop Vasquez said the census is “safe, secure and confidential. The information cannot be used against someone; it’s to benefit our communities.” Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, posted similar remarks on a video posted on the Chicago archdiocesan website in which he said he had recently signed a proclamation of support for the census because the count will help with the allocation of federal and state funds for underserved neighbor-
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Archbishop George J. Lucas wants to help make sure that everyone in the archdiocese is counted in the 2020 U.S. census, and he’s encouraging parishes and schools to collaborate in that effort. “Nationwide participation in the 2020 Census is critical, otherwise our local communities risk losing millions of annual federal funds for schools, hospitals and roads,” the archbishop said in a letter to clergy. “The Census Bureau is asking our help to engage families in areas that, based on demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics, may be hard to count.” Census partnership specialists will reach out to parishes and schools to help educate and engage people so everyone is counted once and at the right place, Archbishop Lucas said. The federal government uses the once-in-a-decade census to determine the allocation of funding to states. That funding encompasses many needs, including Title I funding for schools that serve students hoods. He stressed the census is for “citizens and noncitizens alike” and the information collected will not
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be shared. “We all benefit” from an accurate count, he added.
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from low-income families, freeand-reduced-price lunches for students, Medicare, Medicaid and food and other assistance for those in need. Census data also determines congressional representation and is used to configure congressional and state legislative districts. The archbishop reminds people that census information has strict privacy protections. The data can only be used for statistical purposes and cannot be shared with government agencies for immigration or law enforcement. Wherever feasible, the Census Bureau will set up questionnaire assistance centers or informational events where people can have access to computers and phones in a private secure area to respond to the census. Promotional materials will be available there, and questions can be taken. “By partnering with the Census Bureau, we will contribute to an accurate and complete population count, especially in neighborhoods that need important resources,” Archbishop Lucas said.
| MEDIA & CULTURE |
10 « MARCH 20, 2020
Guide to fasting offers helpful information for Lent By KURT JENSEN Catholic News Service
“Eat, Fast, Feast: A Christian Guide to Intermittent Fasting – Heal Your Body While Feeding Your Soul” by Jay W. Richards. HarperOne (San Francisco, 2020). 352 pp., $19.99. As recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Satan’s first temptation of Christ in the desert, after 40 days of fasting, involved carbohydrates. “He fasted for forty days and 40 nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread,’” in Matthew 4:2-3. Jay Richards, a research assistant business professor at The Catholic University of America, observes in “Eat, Fast, Feast,” his encouragement of intermittent fasting (which is how most people do it, quite often for the health benefits) and wateronly fasting (for the hardcore), that that one little bit of the desert episode holds more meaning than people think.
“I’m convinced that one reason the church is so weak is that she has abandoned this ancient spiritual practice.” Jay W. Richards Had Satan brought up bread after just four days of the fast – that first week is the worst, as this reviewer knows all too well – that would have been a much stronger temptation. After 40 days, though, Jesus, being mortal, was far into ketosis – the term for the body burning fat at 3,500 calories per pound, instead of glucose (sugar) for energy. His fast, presumably sustained only with water, became the shield for the spiritual warfare that marked his subsequent ministry. That’s just one of Richards’ many conclusions in this compact guide published to coincide with the beginning of Lent. He’s hardly the first to point out that fasting, as a communal discipline, is virtually
This is the cover of “Eat, Fast, Feast: A Christian Guide to Intermittent Fasting – Heal Your Body While Feeding Your Soul” by Jay W. Richards.
a vestigial practice, in part because of the old arguments about what constituted meat and whether olive oil could be classified the same as butter, and the spread of regional dispensations.
Forget those legalities, Richards writes. Just try. It’s good for both your physical and spiritual health. Fasting, a feature of all major faiths, is not mortification of the flesh. Daylong gorging and grazing are what punish the body instead. Fasting as part of a lifestyle gets the body working as it was intended to work. “I’m convinced that one reason the church is so weak is that she has abandoned this ancient spiritual practice,” he concludes. “It’s hard not to notice that a decline in fasting has tracked closely with a decline in holiness and faithfulness to perennial Christian teaching.” But he just as quickly jumps away from that lectern to offer up several ways of easing into intermittent fasting and breaking the American addictions to starch and sugar. He also, after more than 100 pages, reminds the reader that he’s not a doctor, he’s not trying to convert anyone to veganism, and that fasting isn’t for children, pregnant women or anyone with a metabolic disorder. Richards outlines a six-week program that includes the old favorite 5/2 (not eating on Wednesdays
Noah Pfeifer, FA
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and Fridays); the 4/3, in which only one meal is consumed for three days; and time-restricted eating (once every 18 hours is common). He also lists ways to exercise during a fast. He also gets to something that fasters know well but is hard to describe to others: Once your body starts to use fat as its fuel supply – breaking that sugar addiction takes about two weeks – an incredible mental clarity kicks in. That’s connected in part to renewed hormone production. Richards also is frank about food cravings, mentioning that his involved corn chips, Cheez-Its and cheeseburgers. He neglects to mention that sometimes the cravings involve food that one hasn’t consumed in years. I once had an entire dream involving a slab of Velveeta the size of a diesel locomotive. Hey, we’re all different. “Eat, Fast, Feast” reads like an encouraging companion. Richards already knows how miserable you’ll feel when you begin an intermittent fast. Solitude is usually not the best way to go at it, and neither is complaining. This book is intended to organize your plan. Dustin Schrant, FA
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| MEDIA & CULTURE |
MARCH 20, 2020
REVIEW: I STILL BELIEVE
Christian affirmations pervade fact-based romance By JOHN MULDERIG Catholic News Service
NEW YORK – In keeping with the song and book from which it takes its title, nondenominational affirmations of faith permeate the fact-based romantic drama “I Still Believe” (Lionsgate), making the film congenial fare for Christians of various stripes. The absence of objectionable material, moreover, renders this love story suitable for all but the youngest viewers who might be upset by some of the events it portrays. KJ Apa plays future Christian music star Jeremy Camp. As the picture opens, Indiana-bred Jeremy is off to college in California. There he promptly falls at first sight for fellow student Melissa Henning (Britt Robertson). But their relationship faces a series of challenges. The initial problem is that Jeremy’s friend and professional mentor, Jean-Luc LaJoie (Nathan Dean) – who, as front man for a group called the Kry is an already established singer – also loves Melissa, though she just wants to be his pal. So the duo feel compelled to conceal their deepening bond from Jean-Luc, at least temporarily. No sooner has this triangle been resolved, however, than a much graver development arises when Melissa is diag-
RATING: PG for mature themes, brief medical gore and a couple of marital bedroom scenes. Parental guidance is suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. nosed with cancer. Jeremy, who is clearly on board with the whole “in sickness and in health” deal, doesn’t allow this to deter him from wheeling Melissa into the chapel of the hospital where she’s being treated and popping the question. Though generally supportive of him, Jeremy’s parents, Tom (Gary Sinise) and Terri (Shania Twain), are understandably concerned that, at just 20, he might be getting ahead of himself. But Jeremy remains convinced that marrying Melissa, even as he prays fervently for her to be healed, is the right thing to do. By hewing to the real-life ups and downs recounted in Camp’s eponymous 2003 memoir, directors and brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin’s winning picture, which the former co-wrote with Jon Gunn, avoids following a predictable arc. It also gains credibility
KJ Apa and Britt Robertson star in a scene from the movie "I Still Believe." by portraying the sad truth that, however anxious Jeremy may be to nurture her, there are times when Melissa must suffer alone. Additionally, “I Still Believe,” which is paced by musical interludes, sends a pro-life message via Jeremy’s kindly interaction with handicapped kids, most
prominently his developmentally challenged younger brother, Josh (Reuben Dodd). Taken together with the other positive values underlying the script, this outlook will make Jeremy’s partial biography appealing to moviegoers committed to Biblebased morality.
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| SPIRITUAL LIFE |
12 « MARCH 20, 2020
Has Jesus healed me of my blindness?
his Sunday’s Gospel gives us the healing of the blind man. There is a back-and-forth dialogue in which the man, who was healed from his blindness, recounts the acts of Jesus. At one point the Pharisees ask him whether this Jesus is a man of God or a sinner. The healed man replies: “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.” After they press this man further, he makes a proclamation that makes it clear: He is now a disciple and believer in Jesus Christ! The healing grace he has received leads him to proclaim the great work of Jesus Christ. Has this moment happened to you? Physical healings are rare; however, through our participation in the sacramental life of the church, we have all received healing that is just as powerful (or even more so) as the man born blind. Our response should send us forth to proclaim the light that Jesus Christ brings to our souls. Am I still blind? For some of us, maybe we have been going to Mass all these years, but have never acknowledged our sin and our blindness. We’ve become accustomed to living in the
Scripture Reflections FATHER JOSEPH SUND darkness and finding our way through life. Jesus invites each of us during this time of Lent to turn to him and receive his healing touch upon the eyes of our hearts. Cry out to him, “Lord, I want to see.” He will not meet us with condemnation – in the sacrament of confession, the Lord meets us as he did the woman at the well, the blind man and St. Peter himself: with mercy. The blind man, the woman, St. Peter: Anyone who received the Lord’s forgiveness is sent out with an unmistakable evangelical zeal. Proclaiming the great work of Jesus Christ, they didn’t need any special training. They didn’t have to read through pamphlets and books. It was the pure joy of the Holy Spirit in their hearts that compelled them to proclaim to others his saving grace. Am I sent forth from the sacrament of confession with this zeal? Let this be the Lent that the good Lord gives us this grace! Father Joseph Sund is associate pastor at St. Patrick Parish in O’Neill, St. Joseph Mission in Amelia, Sacred Heart Parish in Boyd County, St. Boniface Parish in Stuart and St. Joseph Parish in Atkinson.
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Stations of the Cross Wednesdays during Lent (except Ash Wednesday) Holy Angels Mausoleum, Resurrection Cemetery March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1 at 6 p.m.
GOOD FRIDAY (April 10) Calvary Cemetery 3 p.m. – Starts at Calvary Station 1 More information: Deacon Jim Tardy, 402-391-3711
SCRIPTURE READINGS OF THE DAY MARCH 23 Monday: Is 65:17-21; Ps 30:2, 4-6, 11-12a, 13b; Jn 4:43-54 24 Tuesday: Ez 47:1-9, 12; Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9; Jn 5:1-16 25 Wednesday – The Annunciation of the Lord: Is 7:10-14, 8:10; Ps 40:7-11; Heb 10:4-10; Lk 1:26-38 26 Thursday: Ex 32:7-14; Ps 106:19-23; Jn 5:31-47 27 Friday: Wis 2:1a, 12-22; Ps 34:17-21, 23; Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30 28 Saturday: Jer 11:18-20; Ps 7:2-3, 9b-12; Jn 7:40-53
29 Sunday: Ez 37:12-14; Ps 130:1-8; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45 30 Monday: Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62; Ps 23:1-6; Jn 8:1-11 31 Tuesday: Nm 21:4-9; Ps 102:2-3, 16-21; Jn 8:21-30
APRIL 1 Wednesday: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; (Ps) Dn 3:52-56; Jn 8:31-42 2 Thursday: Gn 17:3-9; Ps 105:4-9; Jn 8:51-59 3 Friday: Jer 20:10-13; Ps 18:2-7; Jn 10:31-42 4 Saturday: Ez 37:21-28; (Ps) Jer 31:10-13; Jn 11:45-56
Trust and obedience are vital parts of prayer
e have been going through Part Four of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on “Christian Prayer.” In today’s column, we consider prayer in the Old Testament and how that relates to us. The Catechism says, “Prayer is bound up with human history, for it is the relationship with God in historical events” (no. 2568). How can we keep in contact with God, no matter what happens? Through prayer. How can we make every event, including the coronavirus scare, into a means of further conversion? Through prayer. How can we change the world for the better? Through prayer. Prayer is integral to every event in salvation history. As we have noted, Adam and Eve “walked with God” in the Garden of Eden. The Catechism tells us that Noah and Enoch are likewise men who walked with God, even though they lived
Conversation with God CONNIE ROSSINI after the Fall. People in all cultures and times can walk with God as they did, by having a heart that is “upright and undivided” (no. 2569). Abraham also walked with God. He literally journeyed from his homeland, because God asked him to. “Abraham’s heart is entirely submissive to the Word and so he obeys. Such attentiveness of the heart, whose decisions are made according to God’s will, is essential to prayer, while the words used count only in relation to it. Abraham’s prayer is expressed first by deeds” (no. 2570). We often think about prayer as “talking to God.” In fact, this column is called “Conversation with God.” Abraham’s first example of prayer is not in words, however, but in action. We have to be
careful, however, to keep the balance here. Later, when we look at prayer in the New Testament, we will discuss the story of Mary and Martha, in which Jesus calls prayer “the better part” as compared to action (Lk 10:42). We cannot replace prayer with action. We cannot make good deeds a substitute for prayer. How did Abraham avoid this? His action was a response to the word of God. God called him to act and he did so. Abraham reaffirms what we discussed in the last column: Prayer starts with God, rather than with us. Prayer starts with listening to God’s word. When we respond in faith to God’s word, we make the communication go in both directions. Prayer becomes conversation, rather than a monologue. God speaks to Abraham many times throughout his life. Each time, Abraham responds with obedience. As his relationship with God grows, Abraham is challenged to greater sacrifice. “Thus one aspect of the drama of prayer appears from the beginning: the test of faith in the fidelity of God” (CCC, no. 2570). Eventually, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, the one whom God had promised him. Having practiced listening to God’s word and responding to it, Abraham is ready to obey. He trusts that somehow his son will be restored to him. “And so the father of believers is conformed to the likeness of the Father who will not spare his own Son but will deliver him up for us all. Prayer restores man to God’s likeness and enables him to share in the power of God’s love that saves the multitude” (no. 2572). Abraham’s prayer shows us that trust and obedience are a vital part of prayer. Prayer can restore us to the intimacy with God that Adam and Eve lost, but only if we are willing to be tried and to remain faithful. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:28). 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.
| SPIRITUAL LIFE |
MARCH 20, 2020
Reconciling oneself to God leads to healing, pope says By CAROL GLATZ
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY – Lent is a time for deeper dialogue with God through prayer, for renewed gratitude for God’s mercy and for increased compassion for people whose lives are under attack, Pope Francis said. Also, people must not only show generosity through charitable giving, but they should also work for a real structural change to today’s “economic life,” the pope said in his annual message for Lent, which began Feb. 26 for Latin-rite Catholics. Contemplating the great mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus and putting it at the center of one’s life “means feeling compassion toward the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence,” the pope said in his message. These wounds are “likewise present in environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms and the unbridled thirst for profit, which is a form of idolatry,” he said. Not only are Christians called to generously share the richness of the Gospel and gifts from God, “today, too, there is a need to appeal to men and women of goodwill to share, by almsgiving, their goods with those most in need, as a means of personally participating in the building of a better world,” he said. “Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness,” he said. “We can and must go even further, and consider the structural aspects of our economic life,” he said. That is why, the pope said, he called for a meeting during Lent with “young econ-
VATICAN MEDIA/CNS PHOTO
Pope Francis hears the confession of a priest March 7, 2019, at Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran. Reconciling oneself to God leads to healing, the pope said in his Lenten message for 2020. omists, entrepreneurs and change-makers with the aim of shaping a more just and inclusive economy.” The meeting was set to take place in Assisi March 26-28. The theme of the pope’s message, “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God,” was taken from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (5:20), which reflects the invitation to return to God through constant conversion and reconciliation, and experience new life in Christ. “Life is born of the love of God our Father, from his desire to grant us life in
abundance,” Pope Francis wrote. “If we listen instead to the tempting voice of the ‘father of lies,’ we risk sinking into the abyss of absurdity, and experiencing hell here on earth, as all too many tragic events in the personal and collective human experience sadly bear witness,” he said. “Despite the sometimes tragic presence of evil in our lives and in the life of the church and the world,” he wrote, “this opportunity to change our course expresses God’s unwavering will not to interrupt his dialogue of salvation with us” and his desire that people also engage in fruitful dialogue
with each other. God’s dialogue with humanity “has nothing to do with empty chatter,” which “characterizes worldliness in every age; in our own day, it can also result in improper use of the media,” he said. At a news conference to present the message, Cardinal Peter Turkson further elaborated on what an improper use of media would look like. The head of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development told reporters that different forms of communication can either promote content that is “empty” or “rich” in that it helps build up human character and society or fosters new ideas. For example, he said, when media outlets cover certain tragic events, like the coronavirus or wars and conflict, they might actually be setting up a kind of “barrier” between the event and the people hearing about it. “You see something is happening but at the same time you can see that you are not involved,” as if the person is above it all and untouched by others’ circumstances, the cardinal said. Instead what is needed is a situation where after seeing and hearing about such events, people feel inspired or driven to try to get involved or do something useful to help the situation, he said. Pope Francis asked in his message that the Lenten season lead to people opening their hearts “to hear God’s call to be reconciled to himself, to fix our gaze on the paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with him” so that everyone become “what Christ asks his disciples to be: the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” The pope’s message in English is online at: w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/lent/ documents/papa-francesco_20191007_messaggio-quaresima2020.html.
Poverty has a name
he story went something like this: A group of MBAs from a prestigious university (that shall remain unnamed) determined that through applying their business acumen they could make Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity more effective. They travelled to Kolkata, requested a meeting, and were received by the saint herself. They pulled out their flow charts and spreadsheets filled with graphs and data and she sat listening, quietly, politely. After their presentation, they turned to her in triumph as if to say, “See, we have improved you!” She said simply, “Follow me,” and took them out into the street, stopped at the first beggar she saw – he was dying, covered in sores, probably starving – and asked his name. She turned to the MBAs and said, “Feed Joseph and then give him a bath.” Her point could not have been clearer. What is crucial to any person wishing to be an instrument of God’s mercy is that the human person must be at the center of
Your Heart, His Home LIZ KELLY it. And that person has a name. Tobit says it this way: “Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, and God’s face will not be turned away from you” (4: 7b). What I give, how much I give – these are not nearly so important as the heart from which I give, the way I give and the knowledge that I’m not giving to “a cause” or “a problem,” but to a person, a unique, unrepeatable expression of the thought of God. And I think this might be why Pope Francis is so determined not to let us forget it. Just before Ash Wednesday last year he caused a little stir – a favorite pastime, it seems – when he suggested that we should give money to beggars on the street, even if they use that money for alcohol. The pope suggested that if “a glass of wine is the only happiness (a homeless person) has in life, that’s OK. Instead, ask yourself what do you do on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?” I confess I found that a little challenging. Every day on my way into work, there are beggars on the off ramp of my exit. They stand there awkwardly, hunched over
in the cold with the predictable cardboard signs: “homeless, anything helps,” “God bless you,” “veteran, out of work with 3 kids.” Not to take issue with His Holiness, but when I meet beggars outside in a frigid Minnesota winter, I often think of the years I spent living in Alaska. Alcohol addiction is rampant there and, sadly, it was not an uncommon thing for a homeless person to be found, frozen to death, perhaps even yards from the front door of a homeless shelter where they had been turned away because they were intoxicated. So what do we do? Of course the pontiff is not asking us to be negligent – just as Mother Teresa was not suggesting that proper business management isn’t helpful. But maybe giving alms isn’t so much about solving world hunger, but more about solving “Richard’s” hunger or “Mary’s” – at least for a few hours. Maybe giving alms is an opportunity to relax my grip on judgment, greed and fear, and release a little more humanity in the world – in the form of a couple of bucks and a “Hello, what’s your name?” Liz Kelly is the author of six books, including “Jesus Approaches: What Contemporary Women Can Learn about Healing, Freedom and Joy from the Women of the New Testament” (Loyola Press, 2017).
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| COMMENTARY |
14 « MARCH 20, 2020
Action needed now on dismemberment abortion Editor’s note: The Nebraska Legislature has indefinitely postponed its legislative session. They are expected to meet for the limited purposes of passing an emergency appropriation as a response to the coronavirus. Otherwise, it is unclear when they will reconvene, though they will need to reconvene, at the very least, to pass a budget. Nevertheless, your continued action is needed on LB814.
couple of weeks ago I wrote about LB814, a bill banning the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion. Dismemberment abortion involves tearing apart, limb by limb, a living human being in utero. LB814, introduced and prioritized by Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln, has an important road ahead and your action is urgently needed. By urgent, what I mean is this: I hope that after reading this column you will immediately take a few minutes to call or write to your state senator. And if you can’t do something immediately, take a lesson from Uncle Billy in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and tie a few pieces of string around your
Faithful, Watchful Citizens TOM VENZOR fingers as a reminder – just don’t be quite as forgetful. With only around 15 legislative days remaining in the session, the clock is ticking for LB814 to advance through the legislative process. This means the state Legislature will soon be deciding whether LB814 should advance. At any stage of the process when state senators decide the fate of legislation, it is critical they hear from constituents. Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have both said that in the fight for justice, the church cannot sit on the sidelines. We must “meddle” in politics, as Pope Francis has also said. And we meddle in politics because we have a deep care and concern for the common good of society. Political participation is part of the life of charity Jesus calls us to live. We cannot neglect our participation in the political life of society. If you need to learn more about LB814, visit www.necatholic.org or review my article from a couple of weeks ago. Then, take a few minutes to call or email your state senator. At the very least, specifically ask your senator
to support LB814 at every stage of the legislative process. If you don’t know who your state senator is, visit www.nebraskalegislature.gov or call our office at 402-477-7517. For example, you might say something like the following: “Dear Senator, thanks for your service to our legislative district. As your constituent, I am asking for your support of LB814 which would ban dismemberment abortions in Nebraska. Modern science and ultrasound technology reveal to us the beauty of unborn human life. By banning dismemberment abortion, which is done during the second trimester, we can show greater respect for the little human life which already, by this point in a pregnancy, has
fully developed arms and legs and can yawn, hiccup and smile. I hope you will support LB814 at every stage of the legislative process. Know that I pray for you and other elected officials on a regular basis. Thanks for your time!” If this seems too long, just call or email, let your senator know you are a constituent, ask them to support LB814, and ask about their position on the bill. This should take no more than a minute. Reaching out to your state senator is as easy as A-B-C. Unfortunately, two obstacles often get in the way. The first is inaction. As they say, the longest distance is the 18 inches from one’s mind to one’s heart. I would add that the distance between one’s heart and
one’s actions can be just as long. The second is lack of courage. Courage requires doing the more difficult thing, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s not always easy to contact your elected official. Let’s not allow either of these obstacles to stand in the way today. The time is now. Stand up for the unborn. Stand up for mothers in crisis pregnancies. Stand up for the medical profession and its vocation of healing. As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II’s monumental encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae” (“The Gospel of Life”), take a moment to recall those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ that John Paul never tired of repeating: “Do not be afraid.”
Catch-22 for religious freedom
’ll always remember reading “Catch-22,” Joseph Heller’s novel about what he saw as the absurdities of war. In Heller’s account, enlisted men trying to escape those absurdities encountered ingenious military rules or “catches” so they could never prevail. The novel’s title refers to a catch for those who sought a discharge claiming insanity. The catch was this: If you realize how horrible war is and want to escape it, you are clearly too sane to qualify for the discharge. Recent developments on religious freedom remind me of Catch-22. It will take a little background to explain why. In January, NBC News ran an Associated Press story with the headline: “South Carolina group can reject gays and Jews as foster parents, Trump admin says.” The story concerned a Christian organization, Miracle Hill Ministries, that participates in South Carolina’s system to find foster homes for needy children. The organization received a federal waiver allowing it to place children only with members of its faith, as long as it referred other prospective foster parents to other agencies in the system. The article quoted an attorney
A More Human Society RICHARD DOERFLINGER calling this “state-sanctioned and government-funded discrimination.” The Human Rights Campaign, which promotes the LGBTQ agenda, called it “unconscionable.” Similarly, the Seattle area has seen outraged protests against a Catholic school after two teachers had to seek employment elsewhere because they are entering same-sex civil marriages, which are against Catholic teaching. The “catch” arises because what these two organizations did is exactly what the church’s secular critics have said they must do to receive a religious exemption from legal mandates. A leader in this area is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has insisted that Catholic hospitals, for example, are too “secular” to win a religious freedom claim. “In the public world,” it says, “they should play by public rules.” The ACLU has argued that a right to be exempted from abortion mandates should belong only to religious organi-
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zations that primarily hire people of their own faith, primarily serve people of their own faith and focus on inculcating specifically religious values. The ACLU’s prime example of an organization that could qualify for such an exemption is a Christian Science Church healing center, where illnesses are addressed solely by prayer. The ACLU has boasted that it wrote the religious exemption clause of California’s state contraceptive mandate using these criteria. Later, the Obama administration also endorsed this approach, insisting that religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor must comply with a federal contraceptive mandate because they hire and serve non-Catholics. The sisters had to struggle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief – and some states are still in court insisting that they comply with such mandates. Here is the Catch-22. If you hire or serve people who don’t share your religious tenets, you are not religious enough to have religious freedom. (As the U.S. bishops have said, by this standard, Jesus and his apostles were too secular because they not only preached but also healed people – including people of other religions.) If you hire or serve only people who follow your teachings, you are a bigot, guilty of homophobia and/or anti-Semitism, and respecting your faith would be unconscionable. Who, then, has a claim to religious freedom? Apparently, only people who already share the dominant secular ideology on the issue at stake – in other words, people for whom a religious exemption is unnecessary and irrelevant. If you want the exemption, that shows you don’t deserve it. This Catch-22 is very clever, but it has nothing to do with respecting what our nation’s founders saw as our first and most precious freedom. 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.
| COMMENTARY |
Doubling down on a bad deal
erseverance on a difficult but noble path is a virtue. Stubbornness when confronted by irrefutable evidence of a grave mistake is a vice. The latter would seem an apt characterization of a letter sent on Ash Wednesday to the entire College of Cardinals by its new Dean, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re. In that letter – his first official act as Dean – Cardinal Re reprimands the redoubtable Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, for his criticisms of the agreement the Vatican made with the People’s Republic of China in 2018. The bloom is off the Chinese rose just about everywhere in the world. So it is more than disturbing that the Holy See should be doubling down on what everyone (except those directly involved in cutting it) thinks is a very bad deal: bad, because it allows the Chinese Communist Party to nominate candidates for bishop, which the Holy See can then approve or reject. Why is the bloom off the Chinese rose? Why are China and its “model” no longer lauded in the global commentariat? The initial Chinese mishandling (and worse)
MARCH 20, 2020
The Catholic Difference GEORGE WEIGEL of COVID-19, the coronavirus, has had an impact. Before anyone had heard of COVID-19, however, there was mounting concern about the intentions and brutality of the Chinese communist regime: about its herding Uighurs into concentration camps; about its assaults on religious communities, including the defacing and demolition of Catholic churches after the accord with the Holy See was signed; about its aggressive military moves in the South China Sea; about its creation of an Orwellian internal security apparatus through facial-recognition technology; about its ranking the Chinese citizenry according to their political reliability (meaning their acquiescence to what the Chinese Communist Party dictates); about its international espionage, often conducted behind the cover of putatively independent technology companies like Huawei; about its relentless digital attacks on Taiwan; and about the global Chinese “Belt-and-Road” initiative, which financially shackles Third World
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, has been a strong critic of the Vatican’s 2018 agreement with China on the appointment of bishops in that country. countries to the Beijing regime. Yet nary a public word has been spoken by Vatican diplomacy about any of this. What is most disturbing about Cardinal Re’s letter, however, is its claim that the 2018 Vatican-China agreement is in continuity with the diplomacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. To my understanding, that is simply not right – or at best, it’s a distortion of the historical record in service to defend-
ing what can’t be defended on the merits. Yes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI sought ways to unite the church in China. But neither was prepared to do so at the expense of the church’s right to order its internal life by Catholic criteria. Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI could have had a deal in which the Chinese government would propose candidates for bishop, which the Vatican would then accept or veto. Both popes declined to accept any such arrangement, not only because it contradicted the teaching of Vatican II in its “Decree on the Pastoral Office of the Bishops in the Church” and Canon 377.5 of the Code of Canon Law, but because they knew that that concession would weaken the church’s evangelical mission in China. The deal Cardinal Re defends is not in a line of continuity with the policy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI: it is an even worse deal than the deal those popes would not make. For it concedes nominating power to the Chinese Community Party, which manages religious affairs in China, not the Chinese government. And that is, in a word, intolerable. Cardinal Re’s defense of the indefensible is a last gasp of the
old Vatican Ostpolitik, the failed policy of making concessions to totalitarian regimes that did much damage to the church in east central Europe during the 1970s. Italian Vatican diplomats still defend that policy, claiming absurdly that it set the table for the Revolution of 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. But what did the Ostpolitik actually accomplish? It made the Hungarian hierarchy a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hungarian Communist Party, gutting the church’s evangelical credibility in the process. It demoralized Catholicism in what was then Czechoslovakia. It put unnecessary pressure on the church in Poland. And it facilitated the deep penetration of the Vatican by communist secret intelligence services. Cardinal Re’s letter laments that the path forward for the Catholic Church in China is difficult and complex. Who could doubt it? That path is not made easier, however, by making unbecoming concessions to thugs — or by calling out fellow-cardinals who challenge the 2018 Vatican-China deal because it does precisely that. 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.
‘Joyful momentum’ when two or more are gathered
here comes a moment when something clicks. At a book club or a Bible study. In a carpool circle or a coffee shop. A connection is made, and a gathering turns into a group, taking on a life of its own. Elizabeth Tomlin has experienced it many times, and as a nomadic army wife, she’s come to rely on it. There was the time she had just moved to Texas and she showed up at a parish get-together with a casserole. The other young moms embraced her. Fresh flowers, name tags and free childcare eased her entry. Their warm smiles sealed the deal. There was the time her teenage son broke his arm while her husband was deployed, and a new friend arrived at the hospital with a stroller and blankets, whisking away her 1-year-old. And there was the time last
summer, after yet another move, that housing plans were delayed and her family had to stay in a hotel for 50 days. Elizabeth and another newly relocated mom met at a laundromat once a week. Doing the laundry together became a highlight of the summer. With each new beginning came more insights into the vital role of women’s ministry. No, she could not bubble wrap her heart every time the family packed up and moved out. But she could share it with others, experiencing the power of vulnerability and shared faith. Elizabeth became a founding member of the Military Council of Catholic Women. She served as a de facto consultant to Catholics trying to start or grow women’s groups. The Washington-based mom
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with curly red hair, an adventurous spirit and a buoyant faith came to realize she had something to say. She began rising at 5 a.m. to write in the dining room, coffee at hand. Stories poured out. Practical tips interspersed with spiritual insights. Reflection questions, prayers and accounts of female saints. Soon she had written a book, which was just published by Ave Maria Press. The title – “Joyful Momentum” – alludes to the biblical friendship that offered the perfect starting point: the visitation between Mary and her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. An exchange that was equal parts joy and mystery. The title also conveys the practical nature of the book: keys to growing the kind of ministry that develops momentum. It explores how to cultivate spiritual friendships, practice hospitality, embrace your strengths, serve the
community, resolve conflict and mentor new leaders. Women need relationships – more so than ever, perhaps, in an Instagram age. “Our faith is incarnational,” said Elizabeth, now 39. “We are supposed to walk alongside our sisters in Christ. Face-to-face connections cannot be replicated by social media, and if we try to substitute emoji hearts for actually having a heartfelt conversation, we will fall into the trap of becoming digitally addicted yet interpersonally detached.” As she settles into her two-story brick colonial on an Air Force base near Tacoma, Elizabeth has an opportunity to live out the lessons she wrote. “Something I learn and re-learn is that when you accept hospitality, you are also helping the person serving you because
you are affirming that person’s service,” she said. “God put us into community to lift each other up.” There is plenty of laughter along the way. Elizabeth likes to quote St. Ignatius Loyola, who said: “Laugh and grow strong.” Laughter helps an absurdity look more like an amusement, an adventure. It softens as it strengthens. Just as surely as it bonds women finding humor in a shared experience, it also directs them to God, Elizabeth said. “We laugh when our spirits are light. I think of laughter as an involuntary expression of gratitude. When our spirits are light, it’s easy to see God’s goodness.” Christina Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.
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16 « MARCH 20, 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. ALLISON-Maureen J., 89. Funeral service March 10 at St. Philip Neri Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Albert and Della Maresch; siblings, Virginia Maresch and Duane Maresch; brother-in-law, Charles Lindmier. Survived by husband, Deno; children and spouses, Doug and Paula Allison, Doria and Dave Herek, and Scott and Cindy Allison; seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; sister, Beverly Lindmier; nieces; nephews; extended family; friends. Memorials to the church. ROEDER MORTUARY BALLARD-James R., 55. Funeral Mass March 7 at St. John Vianney Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Charlotte and Bert Ballard; siblings, Joyce and Ron; father-in-law, Clarence Dressman. Survived by wife, Lora F.; children, Adam Ballard and Rachel Ballard; grandson; siblings and spouses, Bob and Linda Ballard, Dave and Connie Ballard, Lee and Nancy Ballard, Keith and Kathy Ballard, and Sheila and George Hentges; mother-in-law, Marceil Dressman; brothers-in-law and spouse, Butch Kehe, and Steve and Teresa Dressman; sisters-in-law and spouse, Jean Ballard, and Diane and Jason Bauer; nieces; nephews; extended relatives; friends. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER BRANIFF-Thomas C. Sr., 85. Funeral service March 4 at the West Center Chapel. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Helen; parents, John and Rose Braniff; siblings, John Braniff, Raymond Braniff and Delores Krajeck. Survived by children and spouses, Judy and Fred McCoy, Rose Forrest, Kim and Pete Lercara, and Tom C. Braniff Jr.; sister and brother-in-law, Joann and Ed Andrews; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; great-great grandchildren. Memorials to one’s choice. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED. BRUBAKER-Elizabeth R. (O’Meara), 98. Funeral service March 6 at the 72nd St. Chapel. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by husbands, James F. O’Meara Sr. and Cecil Brubaker; son, Michael J. O’Meara; sister, Patricia Chess. Survived by sons and daughters-in-law, James F. Jr. and Linda O’Meara, and Thomas J. and Venus O’Meara; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; sister, Connie Morse; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN BUSH-Margaret S., 98. Funeral Mass Feb. 28 at Christ the King Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, John D. Bush; brothers, Bernard J. Sullivan and Harold Daniel Sullivan. Survived by children, Sarah M. “Sally” Bush and John Bush (Mary Ann Bailey); five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; sister, Mary Kathleen Stratman; nieces; nephews; cousins. Memorials to Christ the King Ladies Guild. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER CAFFERTY-Mary Ann (Cooper), 65. Funeral Mass March 7 at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Gretna. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Gretna. Preceded in death by parents, Bob and Patty Cooper. Survived by husband, Kim; daughters, Katherine Fletcher and Sarah Gray; eight grandchildren; siblings, John Cooper and Susan Farnsworth; extended family. Memorials to Breast Cancer Awareness. ROEDER MORTUARY CERNIK-Frank Bernard, 91. Funeral Mass March 2 at St. Patrick Church, Gretna. Interment St. Francis Cemetery, Wahoo. Preceded in death by parents, Frank and Bessie Cernik; sister, Marie Smith; sister-in-law, Elaine Cernik. Survived by wife, Phyllis; children and spouses, Diane Cernik, Julie and Scott Chochon, Scott and Pam Cernik, and Kevin Cernik; stepchildren and spouses, Joni and Rick Albers, and Jami and Mitch Snow; eight grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; brother, Ray Cernik; brother-in-law, Don Smith. Memorials to the church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER CORCORAN-Jerome E. “Jerry”, 87. Funeral Mass March 9 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, James and Eva; siblings, Michael, Jack, Jim, Gene and Mary. Survived by sisters and brother-in-law, Kathleen and Jim Curnyn, Patricia Duda, and Judy Rehmeier; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Our Lady of Lourdes School. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER CRNKOVICH-Dolores V. (Biga), 94. Funeral Mass Feb. 29 at St. Mary Church, Bellevue. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by husband, George A.; daughter, Celeste M. Pierce; seven sisters; brother. Survived by sons and daughters-in-law, Gregory Crnkovich, Dr. Tim and Sue Crnkovich, Chris and Hilary Crnkovich, and Dr. Frank and Pat Crnkovich; five granddaughters; two great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the church, St. Columban Foreign Mission Society or Our Lady of the Snows. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME
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ELWORTH-Robert Leo. Sr., 92. Funeral service March 7 at Christ the King Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Mary “Theresa” Daly Elworth; son, Greg Elworth; parents, Clem and Anna Elworth; siblings, Jo Elworth, Katherine Quelland and Herbert Elworth. Survived by children and spouses, Robert Elworth, Willard, Missouri, Mark and Jo Elworth, Golden, Missouri, Tom and Mary Lynn Elworth, Wahoo, Mary and Rex Wright, Glenwood, Iowa, and Joni and Harold Kennedy, Clarkesville, Georgia; 21 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren. Memorials to St. Vincent de Paul Society. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN GADDIE-Mary Ann, 79. Funeral Mass March 7 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Bob Gaddie; son, Jeffrey Gaddie; parents, Edward and Genevieve Ourada; siblings, Sister Charlita Ourada and Edward Ourada. Survived by children, Bob (Kathy), Greg (Jen), Ed (Suzie), Sean (Lori), Doreen, Todd (Laura), and Michael; Beth; 17 grandchildren; nephews. Memorials to Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association. BETHANY FUNERAL HOME GUSE-Eric “Rick”, 61. Funeral Mass March 11 at St. Gerald Church. Preceded in death by parents, Gilbert E. Guse and Kathleen L. (Perkins) Guse. Survived by wife, Janet (Bruck) Guse; sons, Grant and Nick; sisters and brother-in-law, Karen White, and Christine and Steve Quandt; nieces; nephews; extended relatives; friends. Memorials to the church or one’s choice. CROSBY BURKET SWANSON GOLDEN HARDEN-Robert W., 83. Funeral service March 5 at St. Pius X Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Webster and Mamie Harden; siblings, Jack Silverthorn, James Harden, Donald Harden, Richard Harden, June Teeple and Shirley Bardsley. Survived by wife, Judith Harden; son, Matthew Harden (fiancée Kimberly Wordekemper); two granddaughters; great-granddaughter; sister-in-law, Joyce Harden; brother-in-law, Kurt Bardsley; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the church or Alzheimer’s Association. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN HEASTON-William P., 76. Funeral Mass March 2 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Preceded in death by parents, William R. and Eleanor Lynch Heaston; brothers, Timothy G. Heaston, DDS, and Harve B. Heaston. Survived by wife, Dorris Hecht; children, John (Lori Umstead), Rita Clark (Mick), Eileen (Luke Bird), and Benjamin (Nicole Dagerman); 10 grandchildren; siblings, Patrick (Ramona), Margaret Rumford (William), Elaine, Jeanne, and George (Patty); sisters-in-law, Vera Heaston (Carmel), and Rita Robertson (Sam); nieces; nephews. Memorials to Siena Francis House, Mercy High School or Our Lady of Lourdes School Endowment Fund. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER JANOVSKY-Jean S., 93. Funeral Mass Feb. 28 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, James J. Janovsky; son, James W. Janovsky; grandchildren, Kelli and James; parents, William and Josephine Shanahan. Survived by daughter-in-law, Sharon Janovsky; three grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; brother, James Shanahan; sister-in-law, Elinor Shanahan. Memorials to the church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
DOMINGUEZ-Gloria M., 82. Funeral Mass March 10 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Interment St. Mary Cemetery. Preceded in death by daughter, Virginia. Survived by husband, Macrino; children and spouses, Macrino Dominguez, Albert and Jolene Dominguez, Danny Dominguez, and Anna and Shane Ripley; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME
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JONES-George W., 72. Funeral service and interment March 6 at Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents; brother, Wendell Jones. Survived by wife, Sandy Jones; daughter, Tamara; three grandchildren; father-in-law, Ed Vescio; sister, Mona Blackwell; nephew. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
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KALUZA-John J. Jr., 90. Funeral Mass March 11 at St. Bridget Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by parents, John Sr. and Nellie (Karnish) Kaluza; siblings; grandchildren, Kenneth and Tim; daughtersin-law, Rowena Kaluza and Peggy Weeth. Survived by wife, Dolores Kaluza; children and spouses, John Kaluza III, Peggy and David Fischman, Karen and Dick Creek, Terry Kaluza, Kenneth and Donna Kaluza, and Colleen and Kevin Purcell; 17 grandchildren; 44 great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews; extended family. Memorials to the family. BETHANY FUNERAL HOME KAMINSKI-Marjorie J., 89. Funeral service Feb. 28 at Christ the King Lutheran Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by husband, Edward Kaminski. Survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Patricia and George Flott, Donna and Don Fricke, and Midge and Marc Chandler; six grandchildren; great-grandchildren; Ernie Barker. Memorials to Nebraska Special Olympics or Josie Harper Hospice House. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME MAGINN-Ruth Ann (Heitman), 71. Funeral service March 4 at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Minnie and Paul Heitman; brother, Bob Heitman. Survived by husband, Paul; sons and daughters-in-law, Joseph and Stephanie Maginn, and Daniel and Jennifer Maginn; brother and sister-in-law, Ronald and Martha Heitman; sisters-in-law and spouse, Bobbie Heitman, and Jean and John Ullrich; brotherin-law and spouse, John and Carol Maginn; three grandchildren; nieces; nephews; cousins; friends. Memorials to Religious Sisters of Mercy Retirement Fund, Bethlehem House, St. Vincent de Paul Society or Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN MCKINNEY-Dorothy M. (Stenner), 80. Funeral Mass Feb. 29 at St. Pius X Church. Preceded in death by parents, Dorothea and Emmet O’Toole Sr.; first husband, James Stenner; siblings, Emmet Jr., Michael O’Toole and Patricia Butler. Survived by husband, Dr. Daniel McKinney; children, Mark (Carolyn) Stenner, Teresa Stenner, Lisa (John) Lenhart, and Annette (David Somogyi) Stenner; stepchildren, Daniel (Molly) McKinney, and Nell (Andre) Bourgeacq; 12 grandchildren; siblings, Delphine (William) Smith, and James (Jane) O’Toole; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the church or Siena Francis House. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER MERRILL-Linda Dian, 73. Funeral service March 7 at Holy Cross Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Stephen Merrill; brother, William Helms. Survived by children and spouse, Eric and Sherry Merrill, Theresa Janousek, Elizabeth Merrill, and Michelle Merrill; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; brother and sister-in-law, John and Peggy Helms. Memorials to Town and Country Humane Society. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN OSTRONIC-Catherine M. “Cathy”, 90. Funeral Mass March 6 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Private Interment. Preceded in death by husband, Raymond J. Ostronic; son, Dan Ostronic; son-in-law, Denis Novacek; daughter-in-law, Jeri Ostronic. Survived by children and spouses, Ray and Mary Ostronic, Jim and Debbie Ostronic, Rick and Lourdes Ostronic, Sue and Hal Woita, Patty Novacek, Peggy and Steve Becker, Maureen and Don Straka, and Katie and Darin Day; 20 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; brother, Glenn Magnuson; sister-in-law, Peg Allen; brother-in-law and spouse, Don and Janet Martin. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER PACE-Joan (McMillan), 83. Funeral Mass March 12 at St. John the Evangelist Church, Valley. Preceded in death by husband, Richard F. Pace; parents, Daniel G. and Ruthe V. (Stuben) McMillan; brothers and sisters-inlaw, Daniel P. and Ruth McMillan, Philip T. and Nora McMillan, John M. and Beverly McMillan, Donald J. and Wanda McMillan, George A. McMillan, and Robert E. McMillan; brotherin-law, Charles A. Kelly. Survived by son, Daniel J. Pace; siblings, Jean M. Kelly, Princeton, Illinois, and Frank H. McMillan; sister-in-law, Josephine McMillan; nieces; nephews; friends. Memorials to the family. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN QUINN-Kathleen A., 62. Funeral service March 9 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Survived by relatives; friends. Memorials to Nebraska Humane Society. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER RONGISCH-Steven K., 66. Funeral service March 6 at St. Patrick Church, Gretna. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Paul and Lois; brother, Timothy. Survived by sons and daughters-inlaw, Andrew and Amy Rongisch, and Brian and Nina Rongisch; three grandchildren; brothers and sisters-in-law, Robert and Marvina Rongisch, Thomas and Lois Rongisch, and William and Karen Rongisch; extended family; friends. ROEDER MORTUARY
SOBCZYK-James J., 70. Funeral Mass March 2 at St. Bernadette Church, Bellevue. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Andrew and Rita Sobczyk. Survived by wife, Margaret; children and spouses, Jamie and Jill Sobczyk, Therese and Steve Acamo, Betsy and Pat Harding, Nicole and Greg Bourquin, Billy and Lindsay Sobczyk, Maggie Sobczyk-Barron, Mary and David Manley, and Tim and Jessie Sobczyk; Anna; 24 grandchildren; siblings and spouses, Mary Ellen and Jim Houston, Jane and Ken Sibilia, Tom and Janet Sobczyk, Jerry and Lynn Sobczyk, and Ray and Sue Sobczyk. Memorials to the church, Masses or St. Bernadette School. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER SORYS-Leonard, 92. Funeral Mass March 6 at Holy Cross Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by daughter, Deborah L.”Debbie” Sorys. Survived by children, Lynn Colgrave (Russ), Michael, Dave, and Tom Sorys (Sue Lorentzen); four grandchildren; three great-grandchildren. Memorials to the ALS Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER STAAB-Paul D., 50. Funeral Mass Feb. 28 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by mother, Arlene. Survived by father, Ervell; sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Jim Hakes; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER STERNAD-William J., 76. Funeral service Feb. 29 at the West Center Chapel. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Connie. Survived by daughters and son-in-law, Jennifer and Daniel O’Brien, and Erica Sternad; four grandchildren; siblings, Joseph Sternad and Lorraine “Lori” Linhart; niece; extended family; friends. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER STRAWHECKER-Terrence L., 82. Funeral Mass March 13 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by son, Tom Strawhecker; parents, Leone and Les Strawhecker; brother, Michael Strawhecker. Survived by wife, Jackie (Sullivan) Strawhecker; children and spouses, Todd and Melissa Strawhecker, Terry and Judy Strawhecker, Ty and Jane Strawhecker, Tracey and Thad Parsons, Tiffany and Lannie O’Bannion, Troy and Tracy Strawhecker, and Trevor and Haley Strawhecker; brothers and sisters-in-law, Tom Strawhecker, Paul and Peggy Strawhecker, and Kurt and Kathy Strawhecker; 19 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. Memorials to the church or Folds of Honor Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER SWOBODA-Ursula F. (Leggett), 80. Funeral Mass Feb. 27 at St. Gerald Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Survived by husband, Arthur; seven children; grandchildren; great-grandchildren. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME TOMICH-Tyrrell W. “Terry” Jr., 51. Memorial service March 12 at the mortuary. Inurnment Resurrection Cemetery. Survived by mother, Susan Roberts; father and stepmother, Terry W. Sr. and Joyce Tomich; brothers and sister-in-law, Matthew Tomich, and Jason and Marlo Tomich; nieces; nephew; stepsiblings and spouses, Kerri and Jeremy White, and George IV and Ruth Schaefer; extended relatives; friends. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER TRIMBLE-Charles “Chuck”, 84. Funeral Mass March 6 at St. John Church on Creighton University campus. Preceded in death by parents, John Guy and Lucy (Randall) Trimble; 12 siblings. Survived by wife, Anne Trimble; daughter, Katherine Fenz Trimble. Memorials to Red Cloud Indian School, 100 Mission Drive, Pine Ridge, SD 57770 or the Lucy Trimble Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Red Cloud Indian School. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN TROIA-HELLESO-Patricia, 64. Funeral service March 4 at St. Mary Church, Bellevue. Inurnment Bellevue Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Robin Helleso; parents, Dr. Joseph and Mary Ann Troia. Survived by siblings, Sarita Penka (Wayne), Mary Jo Tejeda (Jose Luis), Margaret Wazny (Warren), Thomas Troia SFC (Ret) (Debra), Kathy Troia Morehouse (Bill), Carl Troia (Elizabeth), Cecilia Troia-Awsiukiewicz (Dan), James A. Troia LTC (Ret) (Bonita), John M. Troia, Anna Troia, Samuel Troia (Marie), and Joseph Troia II (Kim); nieces; nephews. Memorials to St. Mary’s Endowment Fund, Bellevue High School Association or Stephen Center. BELLEVUE MEMORIAL CHAPEL WARNER-Jerry L., 74. Funeral service March 9 at St. James Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Survived by wife, Barbara; children and spouses, Saille Kristine Warner-Norton and Scott Norton, Kate and Gary Dietrich, and Jeremy and Jennifer Warner; six grandchildren; siblings, Don and Pat; extended family; friends. Memorials to the church. ROEDER MORTUARY
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| RESURRECTION JOY |
MARCH 20, 2020
Faith, forgiveness punctuate tragic deaths of four children By MARILYN RODRIGUES Catholic News Service
SYDNEY – The deaths of three siblings and their cousin – killed as they were walking to get ice cream – led to stories of faith and forgiveness that “stunned the world,” a priest said at their funeral. Msgr. Shora Maree told the mourners at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park, a suburb of Sydney, that the three siblings are “alive with Christ,” and the proof was in how their parents were dealing with their deaths. Antony Abdallah, 13, his sisters, Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 8, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, were killed instantly Feb. 1 when an alleged drunk driver crashed into them as they walked along a footpath near their home. Leanna Abdallah, 10, was injured in the crash. Another cousin, Charbel Kassas, 11, was hospitalized with serious injuries. Speaking to reporters at the scene a day after the tragedy, Leila Abdallah said she had forgiven the driver who had caused her children’s death. “I think in my heart to forgive him, but I want the court to be fair,” she said. She knew her children were in heaven, she said, but added she felt she was “walking the Stations of the Cross.” Fingering a dark wooden rosary, Leila Abdallah, who with her husband, Daniel, also has three younger children, spoke of the pointlessness of striving for material things in life over the things of heaven. “... I know nothing happens unless God wants it to happen,” she said, adding, “This is God’s will.” Thousands of people gathered over two days to bid farewell to the children, with Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay of Sydney presiding at both funerals. On Feb. 10, a 200-strong honor guard formed by employees of Daniel Abdallah lined
the driveway for the arrival of the hearses for the three siblings. Mourners wore white in honor of a request from the Abdallah family and overflowed the church and its grounds. Drummers from Kings School, where Antony attended, led the procession, and bells rang as the three white flower-covered coffins were carried into the church. Antony’s was also draped with a basketball jersey. Msgr. Maree told the parents: “Danny and Leila, we have seen (in) you an inspirational example and testimony to the power of God’s love. “Danny, you said Jesus is the rock of your family. Leila, you said the words of forgiveness that stunned the world. “That doesn’t come from something human; that has come from the divine. What an inspiration to all of us. We are seeing the renewal of faith of so many, and it’s a wonderful sign.” He said that on the day of the children’s passing, Antony and his father had stopped to pray at Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral before the teen’s basketball game. Antony dedicated the game to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a plane crash with his teenage daughter and seven others the previous week. As prayer was the “foundation of their family life,” Msgr. Shora urged those gathered to allow the children “to teach us the way of prayer.” “And may we all, politicians, parents, people of different religious denominations, see where we need to step up our witness to our society about the value of human life,” he added. The following day, Santa Sabina College Chapel in Strathfield was filled to overflowing for the Maronite Catholic funeral for Veronique, described by her mother, Bridget Sakr, as a child who was much more interested in people and life than material things.
Sister Dolores taught for 54 years, 21 years in Columbus Catholic Voice
St. Bonaventure School in Columbus from 1987 to 2008. She also taught 32 years in New Mexico and one year in Colorado. She retired from teaching in 2008 and moved to her order’s motherhouse, Mount St. Francis in Colorado Springs, where she continued serving, first as coordinator, then as vicar of the sisters in Mount St. Francis Nursing Center, from 2009 to 2018. She was preceded in death by parents, John and Cecilia (Kresha) Smagacz, and sisters Sylvia Smagacz and Dolores Wetgen. She is survived by an aunt and several cousins. Memorials can be sent in care of Sister Marietta Spenner, provincial of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, 7665 Assisi Heights, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80919.
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WINBINGER-Kathleen E., 78. Funeral Mass Feb. 29 at Mary Our Queen Church. Entombment Calvary Mausoleum. Preceded in death by husband, Charles L. Winbinger Sr.; son, Charles L. Winbinger Jr. Survived by children and spouses, Beth Winbinger, Debbie Bryant, Matt and Becky Winbinger, Kris and Carlos Rivera, Amy and Brian Gerke, and Greg and Jennifer Winbinger; 12 grandchildren; sisters and brother-in-law, Mary Ann and Walt Ernesti, and Lois Kluthe. Memorials to the church or American Cancer Society. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
Sister Dolores Smagacz, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration who taught for 21 years in Columbus, died Feb. 28. She was 84. A funeral Mass was held March 3 at St. Francis of Assisi Church with inter- SISTER ment at St. Francis DOLORES Cemetery, both in SMAGACZ Colorado Springs, Colorado. A native of Columbus who grew up in St. Bonaventure Parish, Sister Dolores entered religious life and professed first vows in 1952. She professed final vows in 1959. During her 54-year teaching career, Sister Dolores taught at
WHITE-Lillian Marie (Soukup), 83. Funeral Mass March 6 at St. Stephen the Martyr Church. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, John; parents, Adolph and Ethel Soukup; brother, Raymond Soukup. Survived by children and spouses, Larry and Kathy White, Patrick White, Kevin and Wendy White, Kathryn and Terry Podraza, Susan Dorner, and Lori and Tom Wickwire; 20 grandchildren; great-grandchildren; 12 siblings. Memorials to Alzheimer’s Association or Good Shepherd Lutheran Home in Blair. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN
GIOVANNI PORTELLI OF THE CATHOLIC WEEKLY/CNS PHOTO
Leila Abdallah holds a portrait of her niece, Veronique Sakr, following her funeral at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park, Australia, Feb. 11, 2020. Veronique, 11, and three of Abdallah’s children were killed instantly Feb. 1 when an alleged drunk driver crashed into them as they walked along a footpath near their home. Bridget Sakr said she had often wondered why her daughter, who “oozed empathy,” had never been attached to any toys or gifts. “It now makes sense. She never belonged to this world,” she said. “Many times I have prayed and reflected on the seven sorrows of Our Lady and thought of the fifth sorrow, her agony and pain at the crucifixion of her son,” she said. “My heart is now in agony, but it is a comfort to know that, in so often reflecting on this sorrow of Our Lady, God has prepared me for today.” In the homily, Msgr. Maree said Veronique’s hugs, joy-filled smile, cheeky personality and infectious laugh were signs of her love. “We all would have prayed that she would
have risen (like Jairus’ daughter in the Gospel), but God tells us that he has raised Veronique and led her to the banquet in heaven,” he said. Thousands of people have visited the Bettington Road crash site to pray and leave flowers, teddy bears, prayers, candles and rosaries. Samuel William Davidson, 29, allegedly had three times the legal blood alcohol limit when he drove into the children. He has been charged with 20 offenses, including four counts of manslaughter, and is due to appear in court in April. Rodrigues is a journalist with The Catholic Weekly, Sydney. The original story can be found at www.catholicweekly.com.au/ veronique-sakr-farewelled-in-strathfield.
Remembering Pray for those interred during February Sr. Mary Lucy Astuto, DEF Sr. Donata Landkamer, RSM Frances C. Ambrose Barbara (Heckman) Angus JaDene Begley Frank W. Bemis Joseph John Borghoff IV Margaret S. Bush Mary (Martinez) Castro Teresa “Trix” E. Cormaci Emmett T. Cunningham Elizabeth L. Davis Dorothy F. Deignan Sylvia (Ziccardi) Dempsey Alfred Di Mauro Luciano “Lou” Di Mauro Durwood Gary Drake Francis E. Dropinski Thomas O. Dutch Nettie (Cortese) Eames James Stuart Edwards Joyce K. Egan Kathleen A. Enzolera Rolando Figueroa Paiz John S. Gelecki Anthony “Tony” S. Grazziano Ronald L. Griffin Marjean V. Gulizia Meisha Hope Gutierrez Aloma I. Heim Dolores L. Hurt Jean S. Janovsky Joseph J. Jareske Frank A. Jerman Charles M. Kelly Lonnie Lawrence Liss Beatrice “Betty” Marquez John “Bill” W. McCoubrey Theodore C. McKercher
Dorothy M. Stenner McKinney Joseph P. McQueen, Jr. Bernadette “Bernie” P. Meier Wendy Mejia Perez Madeleine Elva-Marie Miles LaVerne C. Moffett Grady S. Morgensen Bernard Morrissey Gerald “Jerry” M. Nitchals Michalyn “Mickey” J. Olsen Laura Lee (Sanders) Persson Virginia Ann Pinker Daniel Edward Pogge Memorial Joseph Edward Poler, Sr. Candlelight Mass Quentin “Bud” H. Porter to pray for those interred in Catherine T. Prinz Richard J. Prinz April 2019 & March 2020: JoAnn K. Rieden Monday, April 6, at 5:30 p.m. George Maynard Schinker Holy Angels Chapel Piper Rose Schleisman Barbara J. (Kalhorn) Simpson and Mausoleum Leola M. Skelton in Resurrection Cemetery Geraldine M. Snoza Rosary at 5 p.m. Paul R. Sopinski Paul D. Staab Five Locations: Calvary • Holy Sepulchre William J. Sternad Resurrection • St. Mary St. Mary Magdalene Carlos George Stimson Main Ofce: Joseph A. Stock 7710 W. Center Road Joyce M. (Hughes) Swanson 402-391-3711 Ursula F. Swoboda Adelaide G. Szynskie Jacob J. Thiele Nancy M. (Baumann) Tinley Mary Margaret (Peers) Van Sant Michael Craig Weekly Anne V. Weinert Scott T. Werner Kathleen E. Winbinger
| CALENDAR |
18 « MARCH 20, 2020 SPIRITUALITY CENTERS Servite Center of Compassion, 7400 Military Ave., Omaha. Call 402-951-3026, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit osms.org to register. • All Servite Center of Compassion programs and events and all St. Peregrine Ministry Masses and events are canceled until further notice. St. Benedict Center, three miles north of Schuyler. Call 402-352-8819, email email@example.com or register online at stbenedictcenter.com. • All retreats and other events at St. Benedict Center have been canceled until further notice.
CANCELLATIONS AND POSTPONEMENTS Due to coronavirus restrictions, some organizations, parishes and schools have informed the Catholic Voice of event cancellations and postponements, as noted below. These are current as of March 18. Other events might also be canceled or postponed. Before attending these events, please check with the contact person(s) listed for updates. Also recall that on March 16 Gov. Pete Ricketts, at the recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called for institutions to limit gatherings to 10 people or less.
PARISHES CANCELED: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – “XIV from the Crowd”: March 27, 6:15 p.m. at 5419 N. 114th St., Omaha. Performers portray members of the crowd along the Way of the Cross in this meditation on the Stations of the Cross. Email Kevin Euteneuer at kjjaeuteneuer@ aol.com for more information. CANCELED: St. Matthew the Evangelist – Lenten Parish Mission: March 29-31, 6 p.m. holy hour and Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 7 p.m. speaker, nightly at the church, 12210 S. 36th St., Bellevue. Speaker, Joe Gohring. Call 402-871-4699 for more information. CANCELED: St. Stanislaus – “Preparing for Easter and Renewal” Parish Mission: March 30 and 31, 7-8:30 p.m. at the church, 4002 J St., Omaha. Presenter is Father Mike Eckley, servant minister for the archdiocese and interim director of Catholic Charities of Omaha. Call 402-7314152 for more information. CANCELED: St. Robert Bellarmine – Trivia Night: April 4, 7 p.m. at 11802 Pacific St., Omaha. Contact Mary Ann Kuhn at 402-551-4376 or marybryskuhn@ aol.com for more information. CANCELED: St. Vincent de Paul – “XIV from the Crowd”: April 5, 7 p.m. at 14330 Eagle Run Dr., Omaha. Performers portray members of the crowd along the Way of the Cross in this meditation on the Stations of the Cross. Email Kevin Euteneuer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. St. Stanislaus – Eucharistic Adoration: Saturdays, 4-5 p.m. before evening Mass at 4002 J 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. Margaret Mary – Prayer and Praise Group: Mondays, 9:30-11 a.m. at the Suneg Center, 6116 Dodge St., Omaha.
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:
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Holy Hour for Vocations: Thursdays, 6-7 p.m. at 5419 N. 114th St., Omaha. Call Shelly at 402-4933006 for more information. St. Joan of Arc – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Perpetual Adoration: at 74th and Grover streets, Omaha. Open 24 hours.
MAIL » Catholic Community Calendar, Catholic Voice, P.O. Box 641250, Omaha, NE 68164-3817 FAX » 402-558-6614 EMAIL » email@example.com Notices cannot be taken by phone. DEADLINES » Deadline for the April 3 issue is noon Tuesday, March 24.
CANCELED: Skutt Catholic High School Trivia Night: April 4, 6-7:30 p.m. dinner and social, with trivia at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds support tuition assistance. Email Anthony at anthonyschenk@ skuttcatholic.com for more information.
SCHOOLS CANCELED: Howells Community Catholic School – Fun Fest: March 22 at the Howells Ballroom, 515 North St., Howells. Contact 402-986-1689 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. ONLINE ONLY: Mount Michael Benedictine School – Night of Knights Dinner and Auction, “Knight. Bond Night”: March 28. All proceeds support the school’s operating budget. Contact www. nightofknights.org/ for more information. Regina Caeli Academy Admissions Events: April 20 at St. Peter Parish school building, 709 S. 28th St., Omaha. Tour, classroom observation and question-answer session at 10 a.m., high school information session 11:30 a.m. Classical, hybrid education in the Catholic tradition for Pre K3-12 homeschooled students with classes two days a week. For reservations contact Diane Anderson at email@example.com or 402-807-3336.
TELEVISED MASSES With the suspension of Masses to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Catholic faithful in and around Omaha are reminded that WOWT-Channel 6 broadcasts a Mass for Shut-ins Sundays at 10:30 a.m., which also is streamed on the archdiocese’s website, archomaha.org. This Mass is sponsored and coordinated by the Serra Club. Also, for viewers with cable access, EWTN broadcasts Sunday Mass at 7 and 11 a.m., and 11 p.m. Catholics in rural areas should check local television listings for other televised Masses.
Polish Heritage Society of Nebraska – Pope Saint John Paul II Scholarship Essay Competition: Application is open to eighth grade students of Polish descent graduating this spring from a local Catholic grade school and planning to attend an Omaha-area Catholic high school. For application form and instructions, parents should contact firstname.lastname@example.org with “scholarship” in subject line. Completed application forms and essays must be received by March 21. CANCELED: ShamRock Dinner: March 21, 5 p.m. Mass at St. Patrick Church, 3400 E. 16th St., Fremont; then 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. dinner and 8:30 p.m. live music, all at St. Patrick Auditorium, 435 N. Union St., Fremont. Supports St. Patrick Parish and Archbishop Bergan Catholic School. Call the parish office at 402-7216611 for more information. POSTPONED: Archdiocese’s Evangelium Vitae Speaker Series – “The Urgency of the Gospel of Life”: March 25, 7 p.m. at the St. John Paul II Newman Center, 1211 S. 71st St., Omaha. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. This series is an opportunity to reflect with local Catholic experts on St. John Paul II’s insights into human dignity. POSTPONED: Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Lenten Luncheon: Hear about the new Holy Family Community Center and its expanded services to those in need. Contact Chris Cady-Jones at email@example.com or 531-375-5565.
CANCELED: Holy Hour: March 28, 7-9 p.m. at Holy Family Shrine, 23132 Pflug Rd., Gretna. An evening of music and prayer. Contact 402-332-4565 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. CANCELED: Living Rosary: March 29, 2 p.m. at St. John Vianney Parish, 5801 Oak Hills Dr., Omaha. Contact Whitney Bradley at 402-557-5516 or wabradley@archomaha. org for more information. CANCELED: “River of Life” Conference and Healing Service: April 3, 6:30-10 p.m., and April 4, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7-10 p.m., all at St. Patrick Church, 3400 E. 16th St., Fremont. With Scripture scholar and author Dr. Mary Healy. Call 402-7216611 or go to stpatsfremont.weshareonline. org/Dr.MaryHealyRetreatConference for more information. CANCELED: First Friday Evening Adoration: First Friday of every month (April 3), 6-9 p.m. at Holy Family Shrine, 23132 Pflug Rd., Gretna. Adoration with the Blessed Sacrament. CANCELED: Two Day Retreat: April 3, 5-9 p.m., and April 4, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 404 S. Broadway St. in Hartington. Led by Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwandan geneocide and author of the New York Times best-seller “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Genocide.” For more information contact Susan Kathol at 402-841-2079 or email@example.com, or Jan Arens at 402-841-7202 or jan.arens@ restorixhealth.com. CANCELED: World Apostolate of Fatima, Our Lady’s Blue Army – Mass: First Saturday of every month (April 4), 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). Comedy and Cuisine Spring Fundraiser: April 4 in the Msgr. Graham Building on the St. Cecilia Cathedral campus, 701 N. 40th St., Omaha. Registration 4:30-6 p.m.; Mass in the cathedral 5 p.m.; cocktails and silent auction 4:30-7:15 p.m.; dinner 7:20 p.m.; live auction 8 p.m.; dance party following auction. This 23rd annual dinner and auction supports St. Cecilia School. Cost $140 per person or $100 for firsttime attendees. For tickets or to donate, go to stceciliacathedral.org/comedycuisine/. Evangelium Institute’s First Tuesdays Series – “Meet my Friend: St. Maximilian Kolbe”: April 7, 7-8 p.m. at Christ the King Parish, 654 S. 86th St., Omaha. As we prepare during Holy Week for the Paschal Mystery, delve into the life of a saint who lived the Paschal mystery, not just at the end of his life but throughout. Presented by Deacon Omar Gutierrez. All are welcome. No cost. Creighton Model FertilityCare System – “Making Sense of Your Fertility” Introductory Sessions: April 16 and April 30, 7-9 p.m. at FertilityCare Center of Omaha, Saint Paul VI Institute, 6901 Mercy Rd., Omaha. Ten people per class. Reservation required. Call 402-392-0842. Spanish-speaking teacher available upon request, for Saturday appointments. Be Not Afraid Family Hour: Sundays, 6-7 p.m. at Christ the King Church, 654 S. 86th St., Omaha. • March 22: Misery and Mercy • March 29: Be Merciful • April 5: Three Levels of Love • April 12 (Easter Sunday): The Chaplet of Divine Mercy Pro-life Prayer Vigil: Monday through Friday, 8-11 a.m. and Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. at Bert Murphy Blvd. and Mission Ave., Bellevue. Call Steve Zach at 402-558-2218 for more information. Pro Sanctity Adoration: Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pro Sanctity Center, 11002 N. 204th St., near Elkhorn. LaSalle Club: Single Catholic archdiocesan young adult group. See faceboook.com/lasalleo, lasalleomaha. webs.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
STILL GIVING? Though the Archdiocese of Omaha has temporarily suspended Sunday Masses due to the coronavirus, your parish needs your financial help now more than ever. If you do not already donate electronically, please prayerfully consider doing so, or mail your Sunday envelope to your parish office. Thank you for your generosity!
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| LOCAL BRIEFING |
MARCH 20, 2020
News from around the archdiocese ARCHDIOCESE
Archbishop George J. Lucas was interviewed March 9 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha by DeSales Media Group for a new television series highlighting America’s cathedrals and dioceses through the eyes of the local bishop. The archbishop discussed the history and people of the Omaha archdiocese, and his own vocation and service to the church. The cathedral’s art and architecture also were highlighted. Titled “The Chair: A Conversation with Today’s Apostles,” the series takes its name from the “cathedra,” or bishop’s chair, which represents the teaching authority of the church’s bishops. The series will be available for streaming in the fall, and the archdiocese will receive a copy of the program for possible local broadcast. For more about DeSales Media Group, visit their website, desalesmedia.org.
On March 3, Omaha-based pro-life group LIFE Runners honored Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts with its Leadership Award in recognition of his work to strengthen the pro-life culture in the state. As an outspoken supporter of pro-life policies, Gov. Ricketts issued a proclamation declaring Jan. 22, 2020, a statewide day of prayer to end abortion in Nebraska, took part in the annual Walk for Life in Lincoln Jan. 18 and urged Nebraskans to support LB814, a bill that would prohibit the practice of dismemberment abortion in the state. Founded in 2008, LIFE Runners boasts more than 14,000 members in 39 countries and 2,500 cities, including 1,500 members in Omaha and 2,600 in Nebraska. The group organizes races and other events to raise awareness and support for pro-life causes. More information is available at liferunners.org.
Archbishop interviewed for television series
Pro-life group recognizes Gov. Ricketts COURTESY PHOTO
Site blessing and groundbreaking
St. John the Evangelist Parish in Valley celebrated the start of construction of a 7,500-square-foot addition to its current Faith Formation Center March 15 with a site blessing and groundbreaking. Pictured are, from left, Don Peters, architect and parishioner; Roger Bevington, contractor and parishioner; Deacon Tom Manhart; Father Lloyd Gnirk, pastor; Molly Zach, director of faith formation; Linda Gergen, parish trustee; and Carroll Smith, Valley mayor and parishioner. The addition, which will cost between $2.3 and $2.4 million, will provide meeting and classroom space for the growing parish’s faith formation activities plus offices for staff. The project should be completed in late 2020.
$420,000 for the all-girls school’s negotiated tuition program. During the event, the school also recognized its former president, Sister of Mercy Johanna Burnell, with its highest honor, the Cor Misericordiae Award. Attendees also celebrated with Sister Johanna her 60th jubilee as a Sister of Mercy with a video retrospective of her life and opportunities to make additional gifts in her honor, raising nearly $140,000.
Mercy High FIESTA sets fundraising record Mercy High School in Omaha surpassed previous attendance and fundraising records during its annual dinner and auction, this year titled, “FIESTA 2020: Leaping into our Future,” Feb. 29 (leap day). The event drew more than 560 attendees and raised
The school’s alumnae council also honored 1972 graduate Joanne Stewart with its Distinguished Woman of Mercy award, recognizing her contributions to the community through volunteerism, service on community boards and her 44-year journalism career. More than $1.8 million in tuition assistance is distributed annually to deserving students thanks to donors and the annual FIESTA, which began in 1985.
CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS Classified ads will be accepted up until noon Tuesday, March 24 for the April 3 issue. All classified ads must be paid in advance, unless credit has been approved. Ad requests partially paid will receive an invoice for balance due. If ad requests are not fully paid within 30 days of receipt, any monies received will be returned.Adrequestssentanonymously and not fully paid will be considered a donation, without the ad being published. COSTS: Up to 5 lines $13.00, eachadditionalline$2.50.Approximately 27 characters/spaces per line. Display classified open rate $24.95 per column inch. To place your classified ad, mail to: Classified Advertising, Catholic Voice, P.O. Box 641250, Omaha, NE 68164-3817; or visit catholicvoiceomaha.com.
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20 « MARCH 20, 2020
| NEWS |
Omaha apostolate brings Stations of the Cross to life By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice
Raising her voice in anguish she cried, “Jesus! Jesus!” Omaha actress Christina Rohling brought to life the dramatic events of Jesus’ passion as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, stirring the emotions of more than 100 people attending her March 3 presentation at St. Wenceslaus Church in Omaha. That dramatization, called “The Magdalene XIV,” is part of an effort by XIV Ministries in Omaha to breathe new life into the Stations of the Cross devotion through unique and powerful portrayals of those 14 scenes from Christ’s passion. Each station includes a soliloquy by Rohling, communal prayers and a time for silent reflection on the Lord’s sacrifice and one’s own spiritual journey. “There’s just a natural, inherent drama to the stations that can draw people closer to God,” said Kevin Euteneuer, who with his wife Jen, members of Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha, formed XIV Ministries in 2010. Since then they have given their Lenten
LENTEN DINNERS NOTICE In view of the archdiocese’s request, following the recommendation of public health officials, that parishes cancel their fish fries to thwart the spread of the coronavirus, the Catholic Voice will not be advertising these events. Thank you for your understanding.
presentations at their parish, as well as Omaha parishes St. Wenceslaus, St. James and St. Bernard, St. Patrick in Fremont and St. Patrick in Elkhorn. “The stations have been neglected in our time,” Euteneuer said. “We felt that new versions of the stations are really valuable … a new experience of the stations brings a new response.” Euteneuer, a high school teacher with a background in speech and theater, who also is active in youth ministry, wrote and produced his first presentation, “XIV from the Crowd,” in 2010. The dramatization involves up to 20 people portraying witnesses along Jesus’ journey to Calvary who offer dramatic commentary. Rohling and her husband, Karl, members of St. Wenceslaus Parish, first became involved with XIV Ministries as actors in that presentation eight years ago. The March 3 event at St. Wenceslaus was the first ever presentation of “The Magdalene XIV,” said Rohling, who spent several months preparing for her role. “I was both excited and terrified to present it for the first time at my home parish,” she said. Rohling holds a theater degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and has been involved in community theater for more than 20 years. And her portrayal of St. Mary Magdalene, also offered March 5 at St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn, has been impactful. “I thought it was powerful and moving,” St. Wenceslaus parishioner Loren Steenson told the Catholic Voice after the presentation. “It helped to better visualize, to almost participate in the Passion, like you were there.” Carol Rygol, a parishioner at St. Wenceslaus, also found the presentation poignant.
Omaha actress Christina Rohling portrays St. Mary Magdalene witnessing the events of Christ’s passion as depicted in the 14 Stations of the Cross March 3 at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Omaha. “I was mesmerized,” she said. “I liked seeing what Mary Magdalene ... what the experience was for her. It brings a different impact. It makes it more human.” “I love that people are engaged through (this) ministry,” Rohling said. “We’ve had people weeping … I’ve had people say they had not really experienced the stations until they saw this. “For me, seeing the reactions and how people are affected by it is the most meaningful part,” she said. “It’s not performance, it’s prayer. I’m grateful that
I can use my acting talent for a prayerful purpose.” Euteneuer and his wife have plans to develop additional interpretations of the Stations of the Cross. Future programs may include a version that connects the stations with the love and sacrifice of marriage and family life, one highlighting St. Vincent de Paul’s spiritual insights and service to the poor, and one incorporating St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer method of entering into Scriptural scenes.