THE ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA
| OCTOBER 4, 2019 |
VICTORY OF THE CROSS Respect Life Month debuts with the Catholic Voice’s pro-life coverage
CATHOLIC WITNESS The NCC has been shining a light to the secular world at the Nebraska Legislature for 50 years. PAGE 5
HELPING HANDS Members of St. Margaret Mary Parish thrive on helping one another through life’s challenges. PAGE 10
Patrick Castle, founder of the pro-life LIFE Runners organization, carries a crucifix in the Vigil for Life rosary procession on Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. With him are Alyssa Gahl, left, and Janice Todd. All are members of St. Matthew Parish in Bellevue. Participants in the rosary procession walked and prayed from St. Mary Church in Bellevue to a nearby abortion clinic and back to the church. Archbishop George J. Lucas led the prayers.
The Archbishop News
Respect for Life 6 Media & Culture 11
Spiritual Life 12 Resurrection Joy 14
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops designates October as Respect Life Month every year. That appellation gives rise to the Catholic Voice’s annual Respect Life coverage in our first issue of the month. The theme this year is “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life,” which is “particularly suited for our times,” said the chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life activities. “Attacks against human life seem to grow ever more numerous and callous,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, and he urged Catholics who feel discouraged by these attacks to “hold fast to Christ, our hope.” That hope is badly needed by those who believe the lack of respect for human life is such a huge problem in our country that our efforts won’t have much of an effect. On the contrary, showing mercy to those tempted to act against the dignity of life, and not condemning them, can bring about great good, according to Archbishop George J. Lucas in his Q&A. See PAGE 2. And the hope Christ offers will motivate pro-life efforts throughout the archdiocese this month. Thousands are expected to prayerfully witness to life in the annual Life Chain on Oct. 6, Respect Life Sunday, and during the 40 Days for Life fall campaign, which includes a vigil outside a Bellevue abortion clinic. See PAGE 6 for details. Archbishop Naumann emphasized that Christian hope finds its source in Jesus’ victory on the cross. “We know that Christ has conquered sin and death,” he said in a Sept. 26 statement. “Through our Christian hope in the Resurrection, we are given the grace to persevere in faith.” Archbishop Lucas encouraged a prolife gathering in Bellevue last month with a similar message. During the vigil, and buoyed by participants’ prayers, two sidewalk counselors at a nearby abortion clinic experienced the hope and victory of the cross by helping to save a baby. They testified to what happened at a reception following the event. See PAGE 7. Archbishop Naumann also noted that the need to “cherish, protect and defend human life” is year-round. Radio talk show host Cullen Herout is faithful to that call as he gives voice to the vulnerable in every season of life through his weekly talk show on the Spirit Catholic Radio Network, “Ready to Stand.” Herout talks about the radio program and his pro-life efforts in a Q&A with the Catholic Voice beginning on PAGE 8.
| ARCHBISHOP’S MESSAGE |
2 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
Living the gospel of life: Respect for life goes beyond activism In this week’s interview, communication manager David Hazen speaks with Archbishop George J. Lucas and Whitney Bradley, coordinator of the archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate, about the work of the apostolate and the importance of living mercy through one’s witnessing for life.
The Shepherd’s Voice
ARCHBISHOP GEORGE J. LUCAS
Subscribe to The Shepherd’s Voice podcast at archomaha.fireside.fm or via iTunes.
Whitney, could you tell us about your role in the archdiocese?
Whitney Bradley: I am the coordinator of the Respect Life Apostolate, which is under the Family Life office of the archdiocese. I have a few different roles; I coordinate some large events, such as our annual trip to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., but I spend a lot of my time with lay leaders in parishes and their pro-life teams. I assist them in the work that they’re doing to promote respect for life in their communities and with making their groups more effective in that work.
Archbishop: The Respect Life Apostolate and the work that we do to respect the dignity of human life is right at the heart of our Catholic understanding of God’s plan for the human family. We are aware of many threats to human dignity, but the important thing is to start with God and his loving plan reflected in a particular and unique way in each person created in his image. I am really grateful to Whitney and those who work with her throughout the archdiocese to make sure that we keep our attention focused on this important aspect of our faith and of our discipleship.
What role do you think parish pro-life groups should play in their communities?
Whitney Bradley: It looks different everywhere. For example, there is a Sidewalk Advocates for Life group, including members of St. Matthew Parish in Bellevue, that come together for regular meetings, but they spend most of their time on the sidewalks outside of the abortion clinic praying and advocating for the women. Another parish is starting a group dedicated to providing help to single, expectant mothers. The spectrum of work is large.
with an issue or a temptation against the dignity of human life would know that they can turn to us, and they would be received mercifully. The fact that they were struggling wouldn’t be a source of condemnation on our part, because they have choices and temptations in front of them. Anybody who faces those things alone is liable to do something rash, and something that will be harmful, either to themselves or someone else, and that would cause much regret later on.
Archbishop: I think that parish groups can assist their fellow parishioners in seeing how the church’s respect life message can be integrated into the life of their family, their neighborhood, their relationships in the parish. There are very few families in our archdiocese who won’t face some challenging life questions sooner or later. It may have to do with an unplanned or difficult pregnancy. It may have to do with someone who’s critically ill, and the questions about medical treatment that would be in harmony with the Gospel. One of the things that we’re able to do as parishioners and neighbors is to see to it that nobody is isolated – not the mother with a challenging pregnancy, or someone in a sick bed – and be ready in the name of Jesus to support them with our prayers, meals, company or encouragement. I am afraid sometimes we look at our pro-life activity in terms of programs, or we think the lack of respect for life is such a huge problem in our country that we can’t have much of an effect. But that is not the case. If we as Catholics are known for mercy, then I would like to think those around us who are struggling
Whitney Bradley: Absolutely. We realize in the pro-life movement we can often be focused on programs, but we are trying to focus instead on being disciples who live mercy. We ask the question, “How do I leverage the influence I have with other people, so that when they find themselves in that difficult position, they’ll come to me, their neighbor?” And we are trying to switch our emphasis from doing more work to being with more people, building more relationships, or drawing others in. We hear stories all the time of women who have had phone numbers for help with the grief after going through an abortion, and they never call. That’s because the call is really scary. You don’t know who is on the line. You don’t know how they are going to receive you. You’re living in a culture that tells you that you are not even allowed to have this grief. If you know someone who is in that situation, don’t just say, “Here’s a number that can help you.” Sit down with them and say, “Can I call this number with you, or for you? Can I make that connection for you, because I’m not Jesus, and I’m not a therapist, but I sure am your friend.” I think that’s just where it starts. We’re a part of this body together.
How do you help people begin to give effective witness to human dignity?
Whitney Bradley: We have some pro-life people that are doing some really incredible things, but before they could reach that point, they had to pause and come together as a community and say, “First I need to recognize my own worth so that I can share that with others.” How do I recognize my own worth? It’s through the people in
the body of Christ who have loved me – it’s knowing Jesus, knowing his heart for me. One of the things that we ask all of our parish teams to do, even if they’re only meeting for an hour, is to spend 10 to 15 minutes in prayer together. We ask that it be an intentional prayer, so that they can spend time sharing with one another what they’ve received.
So, to sum up, the church’s witness in this arena must transcend simple activism.
Archbishop: There is a place for activity, particularly in terms of trying to shape public policy and create structures in the community that speak to the truth of the dignity of human life. What Whitney is saying is really very consistent with the vision that St. John Paul II had when he wrote the beautiful encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.” He put our pro-life views and efforts and work in that context of evangelization. We know that evangelization is very personal. We are introducing people to Jesus, not just telling people things or preaching a set of abstract truths. We know that originally the Gospel was shared person-to-person, and that the person who was sharing the light and the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was able to have an influence for good on the person near him or her. We want to focus our efforts in that way on behalf of the gospel of life in this archdiocese; we do not just want to offer someone a solution for his or her problem, but we want to extend ourselves and offer a relationship. Whitney Bradley: Right. It’s not a solution we’re offering, it’s a person: Jesus, and ourselves. Archbishop: Because the Lord has called us, we are baptized, we are alive in him, we are members of the body of Christ. We are able to bring him to others, and he promises that we’ll see him in others. If we are in a relationship with someone who is struggling with a life question, or the grief from having made a bad decision earlier on, we believe that there can be an exchange of gifts there, and we too can have a deepening sense of the presence of Jesus in those moments.
What we know for sure is that Jesus is not afraid of that situation. When Jesus looks at you or me, or at someone who has made a decision against the gift of human life, all he wants for us and for that person is that we be free, that we be forgiven, that we experience his mercy. That gives us the joy and great confidence to be with others who do not share our views, or who are struggling with something, because we know how much Jesus loves that person. We can be with them patiently and respectfully. Whitney Bradley: Right, and that makes bridging the divide between people so much easier. It’s no longer us against them, it is just us. We may disagree, but we know we have the truth and love of Jesus on our side. We get to offer that to them. Archbishop: It is a privilege that is given to us in our time. It seems ironic and backward. Perhaps we would rather be living in a time when there was no abortion, no violent attacks on the human person, no attempts at euthanasia or any such thing, but I’m not sure there has ever been such a time. It hasn’t always been legal to do some of those things, but sadly, because of the effects of sin and the power of temptation, any of us are liable to act in fear or shame, and especially if we’re isolated and no one is supporting us. The fact that some of these ills are so rampant in our culture means that we have a gift to bring to our brothers and sisters that is not being offered by many others. As you said, we have the truth. That is God’s gift to us – not as a point of pride, but as a source of strength and love with which we can approach others.
| NEWS |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, former doctrinal head, dies in Rome Catholic News Service
OFFICIAL SCHEDULE Archbishop George J. Lucas’ scheduled activities: OCT. 5 » ArchOmaha Unite follow-up listening session – Nielsen Center, West Point OCT. 5-6 » Confirmation and parish visit – St. Ludger Parish, Creighton, St. Paul Parish, Plainview, and St. Ignatius Parish, Brunswick OCT. 7 » Priest Council meeting – St. Benedict Center, Schuyler OCT. 7-8 » Clergy Conference – St. Benedict Center, Schuyler OCT. 9 » Kenrick-Glennon Seminary Board of Trustees meeting – St. Louis OCT. 10 » Pastoral Vision follow-up discussion – Archdiocesan Retreat and Conference Center, Omaha OCT. 11-12 » Conception Seminary College Board of Regents meeting – Conception, Missouri OCT. 12 » Cursillo anniversary Mass – Assumption Church, Omaha OCT. 13 » Confirmation – St. Francis Parish, Humphrey Confirmation – Holy Family Parish, Lindsay
OCT. 14 » Lunch with Fellowship of Catholic University Students missionaries – Omaha » Confirmation, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Neligh, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Tilden – St. Francis of Assisi Church OCT. 15 » Dinner with seminarian parents – St. Leo the Great Parish, Omaha
OFFICIAL SCHEDULE Archbishop Emeritus Elden F. Curtiss’ scheduled activities:
» Confessions, Christians Encounter Christ retreat – Archdiocesan Retreat and Conference Center, Omaha
Blessings for public servants
Archbishop George J. Lucas visits with St. Thomas More School students before blessing public safety equipment after the Oct. 1 Blue Mass at St. Thomas More Church in Omaha. With the archbishop are, from left, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Omaha Fire Chief Dan Olsen and Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer. The annual Blue Mass honors law enforcement and fire personnel of all faiths.
Two Omaha Catholic schools win national Blue Ribbon designation By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice
Two Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha – St. Wenceslaus in Omaha and Mount Michael Benedictine in Elkhorn – have been named Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. They were among six Nebraska schools given the honor this year and the only private schools among the six. St. Wenceslaus and Mount Michael were given the award for “exemplary high performance,” meaning the schools were in the top 15 percent for student scores on state or national standardized tests. The leaders and staffs at Mount Michael and St. Wenceslaus are committed to their students, said Vickie Kauffold, the archdiocese’s assistant superintendent of Catholic schools. And the students’ achievements and high test scores indicate that, she said. “It’s exciting to be recognized,” said William Huben, St. Wenceslaus principal. “We have a really wonderful staff who works hard for this.” That staff includes 50 teachers with a combined 800 years of
OCT. 7-8 » Clergy Conference – St. Benedict Center, Schuyler OCT. 8 » Knights of Columbus Religious Appreciation Dinner – Knights of Columbus Hall, Bellevue OCT. 9 » Mass – Pope Paul VI Institute, Omaha OCT. 12 » Serra Club of West Omaha Annual Brunch for the Women of Consecrated Life – Happy Hollow Club, Omaha OCT. 18 » Annual White Mass – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Omaha
teaching experience, he said. “It is a big staff,” he said, “but very dedicated and committed.” And they are blessed with support from the parish and school community, Huben said. This was the second time Mount Michael has been named a Blue Ribbon School, and at least the third time a school has been given the honor under the leadership of Dr. David Peters. He was principal of St. Stephen the Martyr School in Omaha when it earned the designation in 2008. But for Peters and Mount Michael, receiving the honor doesn’t get old. “We’re very excited about it,” he said. He said the achievement rests on a “three-legged stool” that involves the efforts of students, teachers and parents. “You can’t get those test scores in isolation.”
Peters also credits a foundation of high expectations and college prep coursework set up long ago by the school’s Benedictine monks, whom he calls “the bedrock of Mount Michael.” Catholic schools in the archdiocese have made the list for decades and have included St. Mary in O’Neill and in the Omaha area St. Cecilia, Creighton Preparatory School, Christ the King, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Marian High School, St. Margaret Mary, St. Patrick in Elkhorn, St. Robert Bellarmine and V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School. Blue-Ribbon-winning schools must wait five years before they can apply again for the honor. The Department of Education will honor all of its 2019 public and private school winners from across the country at an awards ceremony Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.
ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA Archbishop George J. Lucas 100 N. 62nd St., Omaha, NE 68132 402-558-3100 • 888-303-2484 Fax: 402-551-4212
Vicar for Clergy and Judicial Vicar Father Scott A. Hastings 402-558-3100, ext. 3030 Director of Pastoral Services Father Jeffrey P. Lorig 402-551-9003, ext. 1300
Chancellor Deacon Tim McNeil 402-558-3100, ext. 3029 THE ARCHDIOCESE OF OMAHA
CATHOLIC VOICE Volume 117, Number 5
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VATICAN CITY – U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, former head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation and retired archbishop of San Francisco and Portland, CARDINAL Oregon, died WILLIAM J. Sept. 26 in LEVADA Rome. He was 83. When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, he named then-Archbishop Levada to replace him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged with protecting and promoting the church’s teachings on faith and morals. It was the first time a U.S. prelate had headed the congregation, and Cardinal Levada served in that position until 2012. Before his Vatican appointment, he had served as archbishop of San Francisco since 1995; archbishop of Portland, Oregon, 1986-95, and an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, 1983-86. For decades, he was a frequent collaborator with the Vatican and with the future Pope Benedict. He was a doctrinal congregation staff member from 1976 to 1982 and was a bishop-member of the congregation beginning in 2000. In the 1980s, he worked with then-Cardinal Ratzinger as one of a small group of bishops appointed to write the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Cardinal Levada was a key figure in the church’s efforts to eliminate priestly sexual abuse. He headed the Vatican agency that oversaw the handling of priestly sexual abuse cases; in 2002, he was a member of the U.S.-Vatican commission that made final revisions to the sex abuse norms in the United States, which laid out a strict policy on priestly sex abuse and provided for removal from ministry or laicization of priests. In an interview with the Irish Catholic in 2013, Cardinal Levada said: “If you are working for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it helps to have a pretty thick skin so that you aren’t overly sensitive if you are criticized.” However, he also said that the congregation should not be above criticism. Pope Francis presided over the rite of commendation during the cardinal’s funeral in St. Peter’s Basilica Sept. 27. Cardinal Levada’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 212 members, 118 of whom are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave. Pope Francis will create 13 new cardinals Oct. 5; 10 of them are under age 80.
| NEWS |
4 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
U.N. panel: Christians most persecuted group worldwide By BETH GRIFFIN
Catholic News Service
UNITED NATIONS – Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide, but hypocrisy, political correctness and ignorance prevent the international community from implementing a comprehensive response to pervasive violence against them, said speakers at a U.N. event Sept. 27. The participants in a high-level panel discussion said 80% of people killed because of their religious beliefs are Christian and the number of Christians hurt or displaced is on the rise. Teodoro Lopez Locsin Jr., Philippines secretary of foreign affairs, said 4,100 Christians were killed for their beliefs in 50 countries in 2018 and an average of 250 Christians have been killed each month of 2019. He said the deaths are “a votive offering of the West to the oil-rich East.” “The next Holocaust will be of Christians,” Locsin said, even though many of the world’s greatest powers profess to be Christian or have a Christian heritage. “In global politics, the fact that Christians are being persecuted is being ignored,” said Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs and trade. He told Catholic News Service that his government is “fighting against the perception that Christianophobia would be the last acceptable form of discrimination.” Szijjarto said it is regrettable that while Muslim leaders speak enthusiastically about the plight of their mistreated people, Christians seem to be shy about calling attention to the violence against Christians. He attributed this to religion being seen as a local issue and not a global one. “The international community is absolutely not sensitive” to Christian persecution, and pre-
GREGORY A. SHEMITZ/CNS
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, speaks at the United Nations Sept. 27, 2019, during a high-level panel discussion on the future of persecuted Christians. Also pictured are Ambassador Katalin Annamarie Bogyay, Hungary’s permanent representative to the U.N., and Teodoro Lopez Locsin Jr., the Philippines’ secretary of foreign affairs. fers to address issues of “religious minorities,” he said. “There is no generic religion and we can’t talk about religious freedom in a generic way,” said Ernesto Araujo, Brazil’s minister of foreign affairs. “Some defend religious freedom as long as there is no religion involved. ... The world accepts Christianity as long as it is a set of social values,” he said. Speakers said the response to violence against Christians must include both political resolve and concrete actions. Szijjarto said Hungary has been a Christian country for more than 1,000 years and feels a responsibility for the Christian community around the world. Since 2017, it has provided $40 million to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East. He said direct aid has been given to Catholic bishops eager to help Christians stay in
What will your legacy be?
their homes and encourage others to return from exile elsewhere. “The bishops ask us not to invite people to settle in Europe because that contributes to fulfilling the goal of terrorist organizations to eliminate the Christian community,” he said. Hungarian funds have been used to rebuild 1,000 homes on the Ninevah Plain in Iraq and reconstruct 33 Christian churches in Lebanon, he said. Four schools are now being built in Iraq and Syria, and Hungary is covering the medical expenses of the three largest Christian hospitals in Syria. Szijjarto said more than 50,000 Christians have either returned home or been able to stay in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Ethiopia because of the Hungarian aid. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the return of displaced Christians to the Ninevah Plain “is a sign that
evil does not have the last word. It is also a powerful witness of the importance of the Christian presence in the Middle East, where Christianity has its deepest historical roots and has been a fundamental source of peace, stability and pluralism for centuries.” Ambassador Ghady El Khoury of Lebanon said Christians now comprise 5% of the population of the Middle East, down from almost 20% in the last century. Cardinal Parolin said more must be done to ensure the return of Christians and ensure the longterm prospects for peace in their homes. “While security is a first and essential priority, for them to recover a dignified way of life requires more,” he said. He called on the international community to prevent persecution, provide a coherent continuum of development assistance and keep the freedoms of religion and belief at the heart of its efforts. “Standing up for freedom of religion or belief requires collaborative action. It is not an option, it’s fundamental,” said Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, who is minister of state of the United Kingdom. Ahmad, a Muslim whose children attend Catholic schools, said: “Faith is not something to be hidden away, but celebrated. I passionately believe that the strongest test of my own faith is when I stand up for the beliefs of others.” The panel discussion, “Rebuilding Lives, Rebuilding Communities: Ensuring a Future for Persecuted Christians,” was held in conjunction with the high-level week of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly. It was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the U.N. and the Mission of Brazil to the U.N.
Starting an estate plan was important to Jasper and Tyson Owens because they felt it was critical to ensure that they take care of who and what they love. “What we love is our family and our faith, and we want to make sure we pass on our values and protect what needs to be protected,” said Tyson. “Our Catholic faith is number one. Our whole life revolves around it,” said Jasper. As young parents they wanted to provide not only for their daughters but also for the school that they attend. “We just want to make sure that the values Tyson and I cherish are shown to our girls. That’s extremely important to us,” she said. As a financial advisor, Tyson knows that it’s never too early to start thinking about your legacy. “Young people – people in their 20s or 30s – can get intimidated by the words 'estate plan'. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can just be as simple as reviewing your beneficiaries of your life insurance, your 401K, your retirement plans. Just doing that is taking steps in the right direction,” he said. “I once read that the life you lead is the legacy you leave. Legacy is the impact of a life well lived,” said Tyson. “It’s making a positive difference in people’s lives well after you’re gone. It’s being able to pass on your values after you’re gone. To us a legacy is more than money.”
Learn more about how your legacy can make a difference right here in the Archdiocese of Omaha, by contacting: Tony LaMar Legacy Planning Officer, Archdiocese of Omaha Office of Stewardship & Development 402-557-5650 • email@example.com
Trump calls on world leaders to end persecution of ‘people of faith’ Catholic News Service
UNITED NATIONS – President Donald Trump called on world leaders at a Sept. 23 U.N. event on religious freedom to end religious p e r s e c u - PRESIDENT tion around DONALD the globe. TRUMP “To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless and the oppressed,” he said, “America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.” The United States “is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government; they come from God,” Trump said. “This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.” The Founding Fathers “understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions,” he added. “Regrettably, the religious freedom enjoyed by American citizens is rare in the world.” Trump also announced that his administration is committing an additional $25 million to protect religious freedom and religious sites and relics around the world. This is in addition to the administration’s previous commitment that includes providing direct U.S. aid to persecuted Christians in the Middle East, routing it through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The text of the remarks Trump delivered at U.N. headquarters was released by the White House afterward. The president said it was “so hard to believe” but that “as we speak,” several religious groups are being persecuted. “Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Yazidis and many other people of faith are being jailed, sanctioned, tortured and even murdered, often at the hands of their own government, simply for expressing their deeply held religious beliefs,” he said.
| NEWS |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
Nebraska Catholic Conference shines for 50 years By SUSAN SZALEWSKI For 50 years the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) has been shining a light in the secular world. It’s been a light that brings attention to the plight of the poor, vulnerable and voiceless; a light that illuminates the minds of Nebraska citizens who want to make a difference; a light that emanates from the state’s bishops and the flocks they lead. Ultimately, the NCC bears in the public sphere the light of church teaching, of Truth – the Light of Christ. That’s a lofty mission, Executive Director Tom Venzor acknowledges, one that often involves down-to-earth details and painstaking, hard work. But the NCC’s efforts have borne fruit, helping to secure laws, rules and regulations that have helped Catholic school students and families, protected life in the womb, secured aid for low-income residents, and more. The organization has given a unified voice to the archbishop of Omaha and the bishops of Lincoln and Grand Island. The NCC is guided by a 13-person administrative board that includes the three bishops, the executive director and appointees who represent a variety of ministries, interests and expertise. Clergy, religious and lay people have served on the board. The NCC’s executive directors and their staffs have carried out the work. The current NCC staff has three fulltime employees, including Venzor, and one part-time employee. Not only have Catholics benefited from the conference’s efforts, but the general public as well. At its core, the NCC protects and promotes “the common good,” said Jim Cunningham, who served as the conference’s executive director for the bulk of its existence, nearly 40 years, from 1977 to 2014, and later for several months as an interim leader. MORAL AUTHORITY Simply having a voice in public debate is a good start, Cunningham said. The state’s bishops and those they lead “not only have a right to speak out, but an obligation, as good citizens.” “The common good is served by voices that participate in the process,” he said. “I would like to think that the process would be diminished without the voice of the Nebraska Catholic Conference speaking out on issues.” Because the conference is not based on an ideology, but on the Gospel, it has a moral authority when it speaks, Venzor said. “Ultimately that’s what people see in our witness,” he said. “They see a moral authority that speaks the truth consistently across any number of issues. And for that, I think we’ve received a lot of respect.” The NCC was formed as similar bishops conferences were starting in other states in the late 1960s. Much of the Nebraska conference’s early efforts focused on Catholic education, when it was at a high point in the United States, said Paul O’Hara, the NCC’s first executive director.
have an organization that was led by scientists – people of science and researchers, physicians, medical professionals who have more credibility and expertise specifically to these matters.”
NCC Executive Directors
JIM CUNNINGHAM (1977 - 2014)
PAUL O’HARA (1969 - 1976)
GREG SCHLEPPENBACH (2014 - 2016)
TOM VENZOR (2016 - PRESENT)
NCC Highlight Timeline 1969 – Nebraska Catholic Conference established by the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Dioceses of Lincoln and Grand Island. 1971 – Promoted successful legislation to allow publicly-funded textbooks to be loaned to private-school students in grades K-7. Years of court battles challenging the law ensued. 1989 – Eventually prevailed in seeing textbook loan measures for private school students in grades K-12 to a Nebraska Supreme Court victory. 1991 – Established a program within the NCC to implement the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities. 1997 – Pushed the Legislature to overwhelmingly pass a state ban on partial-birth abortion, which was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. 1998 – Helped create the Nebraska Federation of Catholic School Parents. 2000 – Called on Nebraska Catholics to vote for an initiative to amend the state constitution to recognize marriage only as the union of a man and woman, which 70% of voters approved that November. The amendment was successful, but the U.S. Supreme Court later invalidated it. 2001 – Helped establish the Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research to champion biomedical research to protect human beings from fertilization to natural death. 2002 – Supported a measure that later became law to criminalize the homicide of an unborn child, recognizing that child as a separate victim in a homicide, outside the context of abortion. 2003 – Successfully opposed a legislative effort to reinstate the sales tax on groceries. 2004 – Supported a major reform of mental health and addiction services that emphasized community-based methods for those services. 2009 – Supported a law requiring abortionists to offer pregnant women a chance to view an ultrasound before performing an abortion. 2012 – Successfully promoted legislation to restore taxpayer-funded medical care for the unborn children of low-income illegal immigrants. 2015 – Backed the Legislature’s repeal of the death penalty, after decades of effort. Voters later reinstated the legality of capital punishment. 2017 – Backed a state law to provide stronger penalities for human trafficking. 2019 – Successfully opposed a bill to outlaw conversion therapy for people with same-sex attraction.
The NCC helped give Nebraska’s bishops and Catholic school parents a voice in the Legislature, he said. The conference pushed to have busing benefits extended to Catholic school students and to get tax breaks for tuition-paying parents. The organization successfully lobbied for the textbook loan program, which put publicly-funded school books into the hands of private-school students. The NCC also went to work for the poor, trying to boost government aid to low-income families, O’Hara said. PRO-LIFE FRONT But the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion in Roe v. Wade gave the NCC a new battlefront. With the conference newly in place it was able to respond.
“There wasn’t much opposition coming from anywhere,” O’Hara said. “And so it just fell upon us to come up with legislation.” The NCC’s efforts became even more focused in 1991, when Archbishop Daniel Sheehan, Bishop Glennon Flavin of Lincoln and Bishop Lawrence McNamara of Grand Island established within the NCC a program to implement the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for ProLife Activities. Greg Schleppenbach headed those efforts from 1991 until 2014, when he became executive director for about two years. The NCC’s pro-life efforts were focused at state, diocesan and parish levels. The parish level, Schleppenbach said, is “where the rubber meets the road in terms of really changing the culture.” The conference also helped establish Project Rachel, a
post-abortion healing ministry. Schleppenbach and the NCC have dealt with other pro-life issues, too. He helped establish the Nebraska Coalition for Compassionate Care in 1997 in response to efforts in other states to legalize assisted suicide. “There was a real effort to try to get ahead of the curve” in Nebraska, he said. The coalition included experts and non-Catholics. Schleppenbach also helped form the Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research in 2001 to fight medical research using aborted fetal tissue and embryonic stem cells. More information on the coalition can be found at their website, ethicalresearch.net. “We found that the best way to fight that was not just from the church or pro-life groups, but to
VARIED EFFORTS The NCC formed other powerful coalitions, including the Nebraska Federation of Catholic School Parents in 1998. Catholic school parents across the state could fight together on issues, instead of having isolated voices. Other NCC endeavors have included pushing for an amendment to the State Constitution to recognize marriage only as a union of a man and woman; successfully opposing a move to reinstate a tax on groceries in 2003; and promoting reform for mental health and addiction services in 2004. The NCC is well known for its advocacy with the Nebraska Legislature, but the conference also has worked with officials in the state’s Revenue Department to help keep religious property exempt from taxation, the Department of Labor on regulations that would affect church employees, and the Department of Health and Human Services on adoption, aid for children in low-income families and social services issues, Cunningham said. Some the NCC’s work over the years may seem more mundane, but also is important to the church as an institution and to everyday parish life, which might include cemetery regulations or serving alcohol at fish frys, Venzor said. “We’re always making sure that public policy won’t negatively affect the ability of the church to just run smoothly and efficiently, like any other organization,” he said. Cunningham said it was a privilege to work with 12 bishops during his long tenure. “It was just a blessing in my life, no question about it,” he said. Venzor said he has been inspired and humbled by Catholics across the state who want to be engaged and reach out to their elected representatives at all levels of government to make a difference. “When we have issues where we need advocacy, when we need them to make a difference, when we need them to bear the light of Christ in the public square … they step up,” he said. “It’s really humbling because they do fantastic work.” And despite the typical politicking that goes on with elected and government officials, Venzor has seen “a real desire on the part of public officials to create good public policy.” COURAGE NEEDED The conference’s vision for the next 50 years will take courage, he said, as secularism seems to be rising “in a sort of post-Christian culture.” “Proclaiming the Gospel is not going to get any easier,” he said. The conference will continue to call upon Catholics to be faithful citizens who are disciples of Christ, working for the Kingdom of God, Venzor said. He said Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have emphasized that Catholics can’t “sit on the sidelines.” “We’ve got to get involved, we’ve got to take action,” he said.
| RESPECT FOR LIFE |
6 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
Life Chain, 40 Days for Life stand out among October pro-life events
PATRICK MURPHY/HUMPHREY DEMOCRAT
Pro-life message graces billboard Phillip Keller put his drawing skills to work to show his support for the unborn, and had his artwork displayed in a larger-than-life format for all to see. An eighth-grade student at St. Francis School in Humphrey, he was the grand prize winner in an art contest sponsored by Humphrey Knights of Columbus Council 1794. His winning artwork has been displayed since July on a billboard on Highway 81 outside Humphrey.
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Looking for ways to publicly witness to the intrinsic value of human life with others who think like you do? The month of October offers at least two great opportunities: Life Chain and 40 Days for Life. Life Chain demonstrations on Oct. 6 will provide a prayerful, prolife witness in more than 25,000 communities across the United States and Canada. One Life Chain in a small town in Nebraska, however, is particularly young and vibrant. In Elgin, where about 600 people reside, students at Pope John XXIII High School organize the Life Chain each year. This year, as in the past, the students, their families and others will be lining up along South Second Street, also known as Nebraska Highway 14, near St. Boniface Church. They’ll be holding prolife signs made by the high-schoolers with prayers and reflections for individual silent prayer. It’s a particularly passionate group, said Sister Patricia Hoffman, a School Sister of St. Francis who teaches at the high school and leads its Junior Right to Life group, which organizes the local Life Chain and numerous other pro-life benefits and events. “I enjoy their enthusiasm,” Sister Patricia said. “These kids are not afraid to speak up for life.” Life Chain is one of several pro-life events held each October, which the Catholic Church in the United States designates as Respect Life Month. Respect Life Sunday and Life Chain fall on the first Sunday of October each year. The 40 Days for Life fall campaign also extends through the month and is another form of peaceful, prayerful witness. Marissa Preister, a junior at Pope John XXIII and co-president of the school’s Junior Right to Life group, said Life Chain is one of her favorite activities. She’s taken part
Oct. 6 Life Chains in the Archdiocese Beemer – Along U.S. Highway 275, in front of Nutrien Ag Solutions, 2 to 3 p.m. Blair – 13th Street at Washington Street, 2 to 3 p.m. Bow Valley/Cedar County/Wynot – Nebraska Highway 12, 1.5 miles east of Nebraska Highway 57, 3 to 4 p.m. Columbus – 33rd Avenue at 23rd Street, 1 to 2 p.m. Crofton – Nebraska Highway 12, between Fifth and Sixth streets, 2 to 3 p.m. Elgin – Along South Second Street (Nebraska Highway 14) near St. Boniface Church, 11 a.m. to noon. Ewing – Along U.S. Highway 275 near St. Peter Church, 2 to 3 p.m. Fremont – Along 23rd Street (U.S. Highway 30) at Bell Street, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Gretna – Nebraska Highway 31/U.S. Highway 6 at Nebraska Highway 370, 2 to 3 p.m. Lindsay – Nebraska Highway 91 at Pine Street, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Lyons – Main Street at Seventh Street at Burlington Park, 2 to 3 p.m. Norfolk – 13th Street at Norfolk Avenue, 2 to 3 p.m. Omaha – Dodge Street, 60th to 90th Streets, 2 to 3 p.m. O’Neill – Fourth Street at East Douglas Street, 2 to 3 p.m. Springfield – Nebraska Highway 50 at Platteview Road, 2 to 3 p.m. Wayne – Seventh Street (Nebraska Highway 35) at Main Street, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. West Point – U.S. Highway 275 at Nebraska Highway 32, 2 to 3 p.m. Wisner – Main Street (U.S. Highway 275) at 13th Street, 2 to 3 p.m.
in it the past four years. “I believe we make a difference in someone’s life on that day,” Preister said, “and we hope and pray that we influence all of the people driving past.” Father Kevin Vogel, associate pastor of St. Boniface Parish and five other parishes, as well as a teacher at Pope John XXIII and St. Boniface School, and chaplain of the archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate, said the students take the initiative on pro-life causes. “Since I’ve been here, that group’s been strong and growing,” he said. Of the 37 students at the high school, 25 are members.
The Father’s Will to End Abortion Through Prayer and Fasting! You Can Help! Fasting and prayer are powerful expressions of God’s love against atrocities such as killing the unborn and all the other ways that desecrate God the Father’s beautiful gift of life. You can share in this gift. Remember each one of us shares in being made in the image and likeness of God. The unborn have so few voices to speak up for them in prayer and fasting. You can help! We fast and pray for a conversion of hearts of those who perpetuate this horrendous act of killing! Fast for 1 or more meals per day or do a Daniel fast (from the Old Testament) by eating vegetables and fruits for a day (if need be, contact your doctor before you fast). Fast from your favorite TV show; it might be better for your heart and mind, too.
The Servants of the Heart of the Father are looking for people just like you to join our prayer team in bathing people in God’s light for their change of heart to help them respect God’s gift of life. Here are some ways to pray and fast: • Place your intention of “life” on the altar at Mass, • Do an hour of Eucharistic Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Scripture readings or holy reading, • Pray the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet, • Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation monthly, if possible, or • Do some form of fasting 1 or more days/week.
You are remembered in our prayers daily and Mass each Thursday. Servants of the Heart of the Father are located in the heart of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb., address: 408 1st St., P.O. Box 218, Platte Center, NE 68653-0218, telephone: 402-910-7111, FAX: 402-246-9232, web: www.sothotf.WILDAPRICOT.org email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“I’m very pleased,” he said. “And I’m very proud of the students.” Father Vogel said they’ve been doing a lot of fundraisers to help women in need and to make sure as many students as possible can go to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., in January. Twenty-seven students have registered for the trip, leaving just 10 behind, Sister Patricia said. Prayerful participation is being sought for other Life Chains throughout the archdiocese. In Omaha, members of more than 50 churches, an estimated 5,000 people, are expected to participate, said Lauren Bopp, who is coordinating the effort with Nebraskans Embracing Life. The organization is also helping with the 40 Days for Life fall campaign, which continues in the Omaha area. It began Sept. 25 and runs through Nov. 3. During the 40 days, people are encouraged to be part of a prayerful vigil outside the abortion clinic at 1002 W. Mission Ave. in Bellevue. The campaign also emphasizes prayer and fasting and community outreach through media, churches and personal witness. Since 40 Days for Life officially began in 2007, the international endeavor has been credited with saving more than 1,600 lives from abortion and the closing of more than 100 abortion facilities. People can participate individually or with a church group. Anyone interested in the Omaha-area campaign can sign up at 40daysforlife. com/local-campaigns/bellevue/. Those interested in the Omaha Life Chain can visit lifechain.net or nationallifechain.org. Local questions can be directed to Bopp at LBopp4Life@ gmail.com.
| RESPECT FOR LIFE |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
Power of prayer evidenced at annual Vigil for Life Sidewalk counselors deter couple seeking abortion By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice
Angi Castle and Prissila Burgos often witness the cross. As sidewalk counselors with a regular Saturday morning shift outside a Bellevue abortion clinic, they see a lot of pain and suffering. They encounter women and families in difficult situations who feel like they’ve run out of options and can’t bring a baby to birth. They see women who continue into the clinic, despite Burgos and Castle trying to persuade them otherwise, despite their offers of help, support, prayers and love. But the sidewalk counselors, both members of St. Matthew Parish in Bellevue, also have seen the victory of the cross. On the morning of Sept. 14 – the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – the two women gave witness to Christ’s victory over death and the power that his sacrifice brings to prayer. The prayers of people at the nearby Vigil for Life were with them that morning, Castle and Burgos said, when they encountered a couple going to the Bellevue clinic for an abortion, and the women persuaded the parents to reconsider. The couple already had three children, ages 8, 6 and 2, and couldn’t afford another, they told Castle and Burgos. The women offered the couple everything they could, referring them to alternative, pro-life health services nearby and to other resources. Both even offered to adopt the baby. “When we stand out here, we don’t just say it,” Castle said. “We mean it.” Burgos held the mother’s hand and told her of the loss of her own baby, Fatima, when she was just 5 days old, and how two years later Burgos still longs to hold the baby every day. She said she told the mother that she would long for her baby in the same way if she decided on an abortion. SAD, FRUSTRATED The couple politely listened, the sidewalk counselors said, and the father thanked them but said they would probably go through with the abortion. The counselors gave the couple a card with information for contacting Essential Pregnancy Services and told them they’d be praying for them.
And others who learned of the encounter were praying, too, across the street at nearby St. Mary Church, where about 300 people gathered for the annual Vigil for Life Mass with Archbishop George J. Lucas. The counselors were relieved that the couple drove away from the clinic, but still sad that they would likely return, Burgos said. Meanwhile at Mass, Archbishop Lucas was also feeling sad – and frustrated, he said during his homily. “I have to confess I’m tired of coming here every year,” the archbishop told the congregation at St. Mary. It was the 11th time he had presided at the annual vigil since becoming archbishop. “I’m tired of living in a country and state where it’s possible to kill a child in the womb,” he said. “I’m tired of it. I’m impatient for another type of society.” He compared his impatience to the grumbling and impatience of the Israelites in the desert, after they had been freed from the Egyptians but before they entered the Promised Land. The first reading at the Mass touched on that story. God had freed the Jews and fed them every day, but they were focused on what they wanted, “forgetting the mighty works of God,” Archbishop Lucas said. “We make good plans and have good ideas,” he said, but the Lord’s providence “works in ways we wouldn’t expect.” The two sidewalk counselors across the street were about to experience that. ‘HERE TO HELP’ They had planned to walk over to St. Mary for the Mass but decided to wait, feeling that the Holy Spirit was prompting them to stay, Castle said. Soon another vehicle pulled up to the abortion clinic, with another couple inside, she said. A woman rushed frantically inside, but they were able to wave over her husband, Burgos said. Soon the wife exited the abortion clinic and joined them. They asked the counselors if they had seen another couple there earlier in the morning. Castle and Burgos told them yes, and that they had talked to them. The wives were cousins. “We’re here to help,” said the second couple, who had seven
children and had overcome financial difficulties of their own. Now they had the resources to help their relatives, they said. That couple then left the clinic to find the pregnant mother and her husband, to offer that help and hopefully prevent the abortion, Castle said. The exchange with the second couple seemed to be a sign from God, Burgos said, that he had answered their prayers and everything would be OK for the family in crisis. God seemed to be saying, “I’m in control,” she said. Sidewalk counselors witness a lot of unhappiness, and things don’t always turn out as they would like, Castle said. So she welcomed that morning’s happy news. And the two shared what had happened with those at the reception that followed the vigil, which also included a rosary procession to the abortion clinic and back, and Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the church. ‘HE’S ALIVE’ At the reception, the women were handed a microphone so everyone could hear the good news, which was greeted with applause. And Archbishop Lucas’ earlier homily – about the cross, God’s mysterious providence and his mighty works – rang true. “Jesus is not dead,” Archbishop Lucas had said. “That’s why we can celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross. He’s alive and he continues to conquer evil with the power of God. And we get to be a part of that.” “We want to abolish it (abortion) right away,” the archbishop said. “But mostly we want to be part of God’s plan.” Seeking the Lord’s will and advocating for innocent human life isn’t always the popular thing to do, said Ashley Kokesh, 15, a sophomore at Papillion-La Vista South High School. She partic-
Judy Mansisidor, a parishioner at both St. Mary Parish in Bellevue and Our Lady of Peace Parish at Offutt Air Force Base, leads a Sept. 14 rosary procession with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn. The procession, from St. Mary Church to the nearby Bellevue abortion clinic, was part of the archdiocese’s annual Vigil for Life. ipated in the vigil with her twin sister, Liz, and their cousin, Petra Mahowald, also 15 and a sophomore at St. Barnabas Academy in Omaha. They are all part of a local LIFE Runners chapter, which helped coordinate the vigil. “Most people at school don’t think like us,” Ashley said. That includes “standing up for what you believe in and doing what’s best,” Liz said. Petra said she felt called to be at the vigil, to be a witness
for others. Abortion, though entrenched in the culture, is not insurmountable for Jesus, who came to save people from sin, the archbishop had said in his homily. “He’s not afraid of our sins,” he said. “He can transform them.” Archbishop Lucas prayed for the pro-life congregation “that we don’t grumble or become tired” and that “the mighty power of God will be manifested … in his time and in his way.”
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| RESPECT FOR LIFE |
8 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
Radio show host brings unique perspective to pro-life work
By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice
As a mental health practitioner who has worked with a post-abortion healing ministry, Cullen Herout has seen the pain abortion can inflict. But in that capacity he also has seen God’s “incredible love and mercy” at work. Colored by that experience and his Catholic faith, Herout gives listeners to his weekly “Ready to Stand” radio program a unique view of pro-life issues. He and his guests from around the country – which have included authors, pro-life leaders, medical professionals, filmmakers, scholars and advocates for children and the sick and dying – discuss a wide variety of topics. The program airs on the Spirit Catholic Radio network at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and repeats at 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. Program episodes are also available as podcasts at spiritcatholicradio. com/program/readytostand.
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Herout and his wife, Jennifer, have three children: sons ages 5 and 4 and a daughter who was born last March, on St. Patrick’s Day. They are members of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha. The 35-year-old grew up in Omaha and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s in clinical counseling. He has been working with Rachel’s Vineyard in post-abortion healing since 2011 and has written about pro-life issues for numerous publications including Crisis Magazine, The Federalist, Lifesite News, Live Action News, Catholic Stand and The Blaze. The Catholic Voice conducted an interview with Herout via email to find out more about his pro-life efforts, how his background influences that work and how the work shapes his faith. He also has suggestions for readers to help build a culture of life.
How does your background as a mental health practitioner lend itself to the pro-life media work that you do?
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This is going to sound very obvious, but I think the one thing that being in the mental health field for a decade taught me is that people always have reasons for believing what they believe. This is important in a counseling relationship where the “why” behind the belief is just as important as the “what.” Without addressing why people believe what they believe, it’s very difficult to change what they believe. People are complex, their belief systems are complex, and the reasons or principles underlying their beliefs are equally complex. As a radio host, I am always trying to remember that listeners come from a wide variety of backgrounds and espouse a wide variety of beliefs. And they have reasons for those beliefs that need to be addressed if their minds are going to change. I’m a guy who likes to deep-dive into topics, and it’s important when talking about life issues to make sure we are establishing why we believe what we do rather than just talking about what
we believe. Just as in a counseling relationship, lasting change happens only when individuals understand why they should change their minds or change their behavior. Speaking of lasting change, it’s worth noting that lasting change, whether it be in thought or behavior, typically only happens within a relationship built on trust. Whether it’s a therapist-client relationship or a host-listener relationship, trust is the factor that makes change possible. Individuals rarely change their minds or their behavior because a stranger tells them to do so. It is only through the development of trust that a person will feel comfortable enough, if you will, to step out of their comfort zone and embrace a new thought or behavior. In that vein, I’m always seeking honesty in the conversations I’m having. I want to be speaking truth at all times because, just as in a counseling relationship, trust takes a long time to build, but a very, very short time to destroy.
What prompted you to start writing and hosting your own radio show on life issues?
After doing several Rachel’s Vineyard weekends and seeing the pain and woundedness inflicted on the world by abortion (as well as the incredible love and mercy of our Heavenly Father), a friend and I decided that we wanted to share our thoughts and some of what we’ve learned with the world. So when I first started out, my goal was to expose the pain caused by abortion and tell the world about how loving and merciful our Heavenly Father is and how badly he wants us to heal those who have
been wounded in different ways by abortion. Thus was born the Ready to Stand blog. In 2016, Ready to Stand became a weekly radio show and while the blog is no longer around, … the idea of standing for life and standing for truth continues to be the focal point of the show. I have grown to love radio and the opportunity it provides to engage listeners, share the truth of the Gospel, and talk about life issues in a way that embraces the dignity and sanctity of human life created in the image of God.
How do you select the guests you have on your show?
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Ha-ha, there is really no rhyme or reason here. My guests can come from anywhere! Typically they are authors whose columns I’ve come across, writers whose books I enjoy, technical
experts in different fields, prolife leaders, lawyers, representatives from pro-life organizations, and more generally, people whose story or testimony would be interesting for people to hear.
The topics that you cover on your show appear very broad. How do you decide what you’re going to talk about? First, I always want to make sure that everything I talk about is culturally relevant. Abortion is almost always in the news, physician-assisted suicide is a big issue, bioethical issues are coming more to the forefront. These are issues that can be addressed morally, legally or even philosophically. Then there are topics that are relevant to the audience. Take pornography, for example. There are very few individuals and families that have not been affected by pornography either directly or indirectly. So while the topic of pornography consumption is rarely in the news (though you’re starting to see that change a little), it’s a topic that is relevant to almost everyone for a wide variety of reasons. Lastly, I always enjoy doing human-interest stories. It’s always an honor and a privilege to have a guest come on the show and talk about themselves, where they come from, what they’ve been through, why they believe what they believe. I had a show recently with a Catholic convert, and we talked about his hesitancy to embrace the church’s teaching on contraception. He spoke about his process of opening up to the will of God in his marriage, and how his marriage subsequently improved from that point forward. My hope is always that these types of interviews are relatable, and that perhaps there is a listener in their car somewhere saying, “Oh yeah, I feel that way too.” The goal is to build that connection between guest and listener, and once that happens, the Holy Spirit can work!
WANT TO LISTEN? Podcasts of the program are available at spiritcatholicradio. com/program/readyto stand.
| RESPECT FOR LIFE |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
What are the most interesting or surprising things you’ve learned from your guests recently?
Cullen Herout of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha has a “Ready to Stand” radio program on the Spirit Catholic Radio network that focuses on pro-life topics. He also writes for numerous publications.
A few weeks ago I spoke with Katy Faust, the founder and director of Them Before Us. She spoke of a phenomenon called genealogical bewilderment. It’s a phenomenon sometimes experienced by individuals without access to their biological parents or family. This loss of genealogical identity can be a source of confusion, frustration, and in some cases, existential crisis. I found this fascinating because while the secular world tries to tell us that biological mothers and fathers are not necessary, the experiences of the children without their biological mothers and fathers tell a very different story. Another trend that has come up recently is the push, where it is legal, to conjoin euthanasia with organ harvesting. To date, the medical community has operated under the so-called “dead donor rule,” which prohibits death via organ harvesting. That is to say, the organ donor must be already deceased before the harvesting of organs. But there is a movement to do away with the dead donor rule and allow the conjoining of euthanasia and organ harvesting. This is a very dangerous step not only because it further coerces people into choosing euthanasia and erodes trust in the medical establishment, but also because it implies to a patient, “Your life has no value, but by choosing death you may bring some value to the world.” This sort of mindset is the antithesis of what it means to embrace a culture of life.
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What do you see as the most pressing life issues today?
I think this conversation always has to start with abortion. Abortion is the most direct attack on innocent, defenseless human life that the world has ever seen. Until abortion is both illegal and unthinkable, it will continue to be the most pressing life issue we face. In addition, the cultural conversation around physician-assisted suicide is reaching a fever pitch with more and more Americans supporting the practice and more and more states racing to legalize it. Stories like that of Brittany Maynard a few years ago and other similar stories are designed to tug at the heartstrings
of compassionate people. While those who are suffering certainly need and deserve compassion, we would also do well to remember that legalizing the practice of physician-assisted suicide has far more sinister implications and consequences than advocates often are willing to admit. Another issue that has and will continue to gain even more interest is the area of assisted reproductive technologies. With the exponential growth in scientific capabilities, the ways and manner in which the beginning of human life can be manipulated continue to multiply. As we Catholics enter the
What are some ways our readers can help contribute to building a culture of life?
Socially, this always starts with how you treat your neighbor, your family, those who disagree with you. A culture of life is one in which every human being is treated with the dignity and respect that comes with being made in the image and likeness of God. This has very real implications for how we conduct ourselves with those around us every day. Do we treat everyone as a beloved child of God? Do we talk about them as such? Are we providing for the needs of our neighbors? Do we take every opportunity to recognize the dignity in those individuals who might otherwise be marginalized or ignored? These are all ways that we can build a culture of life right in our neighborhood. On a strictly practical level, there are all kinds of ways to
contribute to a culture of life. Two important ones: Pregnancy resource centers are almost always looking for donations. These are centers that are on the front lines caring for women who are facing unintended pregnancies. In addition, we have a pair of abortion clinics here within our archdiocesan borders that almost always have prayer warriors out front praying on abortion days. In a very real way, people praying and offering encouragement on the sidewalks outside abortion facilities stand between life and death for many unborn children. Former abortion clinic workers report a no-show rate of almost 75% when there are people peacefully praying out front. So in terms of a concrete way to save lives, praying on the sidewalk outside of an abortion facility is a great way.
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public conversation surrounding assisted reproductive technologies, we must be armed with a good understanding of Christian anthropology as well as a good understanding of God’s plan for human sexuality. At the heart of assisted reproductive technologies are couples who are struggling to conceive and bear children. As we offer compassion to those couples who are struggling with infertility, we must also be convicted that just as human beings are not products to be disposed of through abortion, they are also not commodities to be manipulated, created or purchased through artificial means.
How has your prolife media work impacted your own spiritual journey? The fight against the culture of death is a spiritual battle just as much as it is a legal battle or a cultural battle. So those who wish to enter the fight to build a culture of life need to be right spiritually if they want to be effective in that fight. It is through this work that I’ve developed a deeper understanding of the importance of prayer, especially the rosary, and the sacraments. Staying spiritually healthy is the best way to enter the fight for a culture of life, and I’ve come to a far deeper appreciation of the sacraments and a far deeper understanding of how desperately I need the graces they offer.
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| NEWS |
10 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
St. Margaret Mary Parish members stand by one another By JOHN KEENAN
For the Catholic Voice
Archbishop George J. Lucas, assisted by Deacons Mike Conzett, left, and Chuck Adams, blesses a reliquary in the base of a statue of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, which contains a first-class relic of the saint. The blessing took place during a Sept. 21 Mass celebrating the 100th anniversary of St. Margaret Mary Parish.
Seven years ago LesLee Hacker was distraught. Her daughter Lauren had just been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Having worked in a hospital’s pathology department, she knew the seriousness of the often fatal disease. She knew she had to be there for Lauren, but who then would help care for the rest of her family? That’s when her parish, St. Margaret Mary in Omaha, stepped in. Through the support of countless parishioners helping in many ways, she and her family found the strength to endure their difficult journey through surgeries, treatments, relapse and finally, remission. As St. Margaret Mary celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, Hacker and other parishioners reflected on their relationship with the parish, and why it has played such an important role in so many lives over its century of faith. Hacker and her family first joined the parish in 1999. Her husband Phil’s military assignment took them away, but when he retired from the military in 2003, they returned. “We decided to come back to raise our kids in the parish,” she said. “We kept feeling pulled in toward it.” And that proved providential, as the Hackers experienced the loving, embracing spirit of St. Margaret Mary during Lauren’s years long battle with her disease. TO THE RESCUE
Parishioner Nick Manhart talks about the history of the St. Margaret Mary Parish to people attending the parish’s festival Sept. 22. Manhart has written a book on the parish’s history, which will be available from the parish office beginning Nov. 14.
Through two long bouts of the disease, the parish rallied for them. Lauren’s classmates at the parish school used a stuffed monkey, called Lolo, Lauren’s nickname, to save her seat in the classroom while she was hospitalized. In January of 2013, Hacker looked down from the sixth floor of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, where Lauren was undergoing treatment, to see those same children making snow angels for her on the ground outside the hospital. When Lauren’s cancer returned again in 2016, about 200 parish members came to stand outside the hospital and pray the rosary. “I don’t know how I’d have
survived without that support,” Hacker said. “We had no family here at that time. Two families took my son in, fed him, got him to school when I couldn’t leave my daughter’s side. The entire parish prayed and sent messages of support. All these little kids knew to ‘pray for Lolo,’ and Lauren was able to recover.” Today, Lauren is in remission and a senior at Marian High School. “In a nutshell,” Hacker said, “I love this parish so much.”
Joseph Suneg, the pastor whose 46-year tenure at St. Margaret Mary, in Manhart’s words, established “the permanent footprint of the parish.” “Father Suneg was a very unique and inspired priest,” she said. “He gave many subtle messages for life.” “It’s been a blessed parish, and a lot of that was Father Suneg – his mannerisms, his ways,” she said. “People wanted to do a lot (for the parish). He asked, and he received – and he never really had to ask.”
Parishioners celebrated that love and the parish’s history during several anniversary events during 2019, including a Mass with Archbishop George J. Lucas followed by a dinner and dance Sept. 21 and a parish festival Sept. 22. “It’s a wonderful faith family,” said Father Gregory Baxter, St. Margaret Mary pastor for 13 years and now pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Gretna. “There’s a wonderful family atmosphere for myself and all those who are part of the parish, whether they are young or some of our older parishioners.” Madeline Begley has been a member of St. Margaret Mary for almost her entire life, moving with her family to the parish 83 years ago. She attended grade school there, baptized her children there, held funeral services for family members there. And like the Hackers, she too has seen the parish coalesce in a time of hardship to support its own. “I lost a brother when I was 14,” she said. “The arms you feel embracing you at times like that are always there. For me, the people of St. Margaret Mary are the nicest, best people.”
Asked to pinpoint other things that have kept the parish vibrant for 100 years, Manhart offered several thoughts. “Part of the reason is that the school is thriving, so families join the parish to send children to school,” he said, calling the school the lifeblood of the parish. “It’s always bringing in new, young families. “But also, there is a nice blend of young families and older parishioners, who may have raised their children and stay in the parish. I think St. Margaret Mary is somewhat unique in that there are many people in the parish who are second-, third- and maybe even fourth-generation parishioners – even if someone was a kid in the parish and moved away, they will come back to raise their own kids in the parish.” “I’ve seen a lot of good times, certainly, wonderful times,” Begley said. “And there are always new people coming along and different people getting involved.” Like Hacker, whose family created “Lolo’s Angels,” a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for research to fight acute myeloid leukemia. The group has raised more than $90,000, sponsors blood and bone marrow drives, raises awareness for pediatric cancer, and serves kids and families through their cancer journey. Begley said, “St. Margaret Mary is a comforting place, a good place, and a great example of ‘doing.’ “There’s not a lot of ‘sit back,’’ she added. “You do.”
DEDICATED PRIESTS Unofficial parish historian Nick Manhart, who just completed a book on the parish, pointed to a succession of committed, caring leaders who first built and then grew the parish community. “There have been only seven pastors in the parish’s 100 years, and these were dedicated priests,” he said. “They all took their vocation seriously.” Begley still remembers Father
Highlights of the parish’s history can be found with this story at catholicvoiceomaha.com. Assistant editor Mike May contributed to this report.
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| MEDIA & CULTURE |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
Documentary looks at immigrants in U.S. heartland By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service
This is promotional material for the documentary “Immigrants in the Heartland: Who Are We Following?” by filmmakers Michael McGlinn and John Altman. The documentary, which debuted online in early August, is funded in part by the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign.
WASHINGTON – Filmmakers Michael McGlinn and John Altman set out to, in McGlinn’s words, “elevate the conversation” about immigration with their new documentary, “Immigrants in the Heartland: Who Are We Following?” “I know that immigration, and things under that umbrella, is a very divisive, contentious issue for a lot of people today,” McGlinn said. “I felt that John and I could make a film that serves as the backdrop of how we as Catholics should be dealing with any issue in our lives that might be divisive, contentious or confusing.” “Immigrants in the Heartland,” funded in part by the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign, made its debut online in August. “I was intrigued by the subject,” McGlinn told Catholic News Service in a phone interview from Kansas City, Missouri. “There were things I was sensing that it might be an interesting story.” He cited initiatives taking place in his home Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, as well as in dioceses in neighboring Kansas. “Immigrants in the Heartland” features more than a dozen voices of native-born and immigrant Americans. One, Greg Bole, an immigration legal assistance attorney for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, recalled helping close up at the Domino’s Pizza where he worked in Anderson, Indiana, when he saw a truck drop off an
undocumented woman from Mexico outside at 1 a.m. All the woman had was a sack with some belongingWs, a pillow, and a slip of paper bearing the address where her husband lived. “She was hungry. And I was at a pizza place,” Bole said. While he had an inkling at the time that he wanted to be a lawyer, he added, “I realized I wanted to work with this group of people. Helping this woman find her husband and eat some pizza led me to believe I could help in a more substantial way.” “It takes a lot to become an American citizen. And I am blessed to be one,” said Benedict Babaran, who was born in the Philippines. He added he especially likes the part in taking the citizenship oath that “you swear your allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Not to the government of the United States. Because the government may change.” Lucy Paw, a refugee from Myanmar, sponsored by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, still recalls the terror in her home country she and her three children faced: “Sometimes we cannot sleep. The gun and the weapon, deh-deh-deh-deh-deh,” she said, imitating the sound of machine gun fire. “Before we came to the United States, I prayed the rosary.” Father Wesley Schawe, pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City, Kansas, remembered his baptism into advocacy: a 2005 immigrant rights rally downtown with 1,000 people on hand. “I get into the bed of a pickup,
and I’m handed a microphone,” at which point he said a prayer for immigrant rights, Father Schawe said. “I know I lost friends that day. There were people who saw that on the news and were ticked off. ... Here I was, taking a side, so to speak. And people go, ‘Look at that that little Wesley that has come back and is offering a prayer in a language I don’t understand,’” he added. “Some weeks later, we had this dialogue. I was at this table with some Spanish speakers. ‘You remember that time when you got up there? Did you really mean that, or did you just get up there?’ So we have those people who feel I betrayed them, and those who thought I did it insincerely. I was getting it from both ends!” Among others interviewed are Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas; Bishop John B. Brungardt of Dodge City, Kansas; Bishop Carl A. Kemme of Wichita, Kansas; and Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Missouri. “What we ended up discovering was way, way, way beyond what we were expecting,” McGlinn said. While some of the first-person accounts in “Immigrants in the Heartland” may be hard to hear, the filming process was surprisingly easy, McGlinn told CNS. “We submitted our (CCC grant) proposal Oct. 1 (2017), and we were in preproduction by December,” he said. In a bit of a flip, the documentary is available for rental and sale online first through whoarewefollowing.org. Then, after a year, it will be made available for television.
REVIEW: BENNETT’S WAR
Drama portrays courage in the face of adversity By JOHN MULDERIG Catholic News Service
NEW YORK – Loosely based on the case histories of real-life wounded veterans, writer-director Alex Ranarivelo’s endearing sports drama “Bennett’s War” (Forrest) is a portrait of courage in the face of adversity. Wellsuited to an audience of grownups, the film may also pass muster with the parents of older teens willing to overlook some barracks-style talk in the dialogue. Victimized by a mine in Afghanistan, where he served with the Army’s Special Operations motorcycle division, Sgt. Marshall Bennett (Michael Roark) is warned that any further damage to his leg might leave him permanently crippled. So he abandons the hope of reviving his impressive pre-deployment reputation on the motocross track, and settles down to a job in the motorcycle repair garage owned by his friend Cyrus (Ali Afshar). This arrangement satisfies his formidable wife Sophie (Allison Paige) who, as the mother of a newborn infant, doesn’t want her husband confronting any more danger than he’s already taken on in the military. But the call of racing is strong and, when combined
with the lure of prize money that could potentially save his father Cal’s (Trace Adkins) failing farm, it becomes irresistible. As Marshall tries to overcome Sophie’s initially vehement opposition, Ranarivelo presents a pleasing portrait of family life in which spouses try to balance their sometimes-conflicting interests and outlooks. Add to that respect for the armed forces, an easy-toroot-for hero and the occasional religious flourish – Sophie gets the clan back to their once habitual practice of saying grace – and “Bennett’s War” emerges as a crowd pleaser. On the topic of faith, there’s a slightly odd but mildly amusing exchange in which, surprised to see Iranian-American Cyrus bless himself, Marshall says, “I thought you were a Muslim.” “Only when my grandmother is watching,” Cyrus answers. Those not addicted to racing may find the competitive sequences pitting Marshall against various rivals a bit lengthy. And the overall pace is somewhat languid. But the movie’s heart is in the right place and its story arc, though it forms a predictable parabola, will leave viewers feeling cheered.
Michael Roark and Allison Paige star in a scene from the movie “Bennett’s War.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13. RATING: PG-13 for stylized combat violence, scenes of marital sensuality, a couple of mild oaths and much crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults.
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| SPIRITUAL LIFE |
12 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
Faith helps us overcome the world’s darkness
ost of our knowledge comes to us through our five senses. We know things that we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Even those things we know conceptually are extrapolated from our many sense experiences. Knowledge from the senses, however, falls short in one’s quest to know God, especially when trying to find him in the darkness of the world’s wickedness.
This darkness, I fear, often prevents people from knowing God or causes them to turn away from him. Too many are scandalized by the evil they witness and question how God – who is supposed to be merciful and just – can allow hatred and violence to exist in his creation. This was the very complaint made by the prophet Habakkuk, who, looking at the violence and destruction around
Scripture Reflections FATHER JEFFERY LOSEKE him, accused God of failing in his governance of the world (see Hab 1:2-3). God responds to the prophet by assuring him that all things will come to their fulfillment according to his providence and in their own time (Hab 2:2-4). He challenges the prophet and us to put our faith in him rather than in the things we can see, hear and touch. Faith is a kind of knowledge that comes to us apart from our five senses. It is born out of a direct relationship with God. This is why, even in the midst of the world’s darkness, we can live out our Christian lives as if we were walking in the light. Faith is both God’s free gift and a person’s willing response to it. I imagine that when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith (Lk 17:5), they thought that
he would magically cause it to well up within them. However, God does not work magic. He is already pouring out an immeasurable gift of faith upon all of us; there can be no increase in what he offers. Yet, if we desire to receive the gift of faith more deeply, then we must increase our response to God’s gift. This is why Jesus responds to the disciples by encouraging them to respond to God in obedience, to do the things they are obliged to do (Lk 17:610). In other words, the more we practice faith, the more we are able to receive it. We know by faith that the darkness of sin and death will be vanquished once and for all in the Second Coming of Christ. Until then, in these times of hatred and violence, people of faith must continually light the lamps of compassion, love and peace, and give witness to the fact that God is with his people and that darkness will not overcome. With the prophet Habakkuk, we may want to curse God for the darkness when we cannot perceive
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SCRIPTURE READINGS OF THE DAY OCTOBER 7 Monday: Jon 1:1–2:2, 11; Jon 2:2-5, 8; Lk 10:25-37 8 Tuesday: Jon 3:1-10; Ps 130:1b-4ab, 7-8; Lk 10:38-42 9 Wednesday: Jon 4:1-11; Ps 86:3-6, 9-10; Lk 11:1-4 10 Thursday: Mal 3:13-20b; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Lk 11:5-13 11 Friday: Jl 1:13-15; 2:1-2; Ps 9:2-3, 6, 8-9, 16; Lk 11:15-26 12 Saturday: Jl 4:12-21; Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12; Lk 11:27-28 13 Sunday: 2 Kgs 5:14-17; Ps 98:1-4; 2 Tm 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19 14 Monday: Rom 1:1-7; Ps 98:1b-4; Lk 11:29-32 15 Tuesday: Rom 1:16-25; Ps 19:2-5; Lk 11:37-41 16 Wednesday: Rom 2:1-11; Ps 62:2-3, 6-7, 9; Lk 11:42-46 17 Thursday: Rom 3:21-30; Ps 130:1b-6b; Lk 11:47-54 18 Friday: 2 Tm 4:10-17b; Ps 145:10-13ab, 17-18; Lk 10:1-9 19 Saturday: Rom 4:13, 16-18; Ps 105:6-9, 42-43; Lk 12:8-12
exactly what he is doing, and so St. Paul encourages us to “stir into flame the gift of God” that we possess (2 Tm 1:6). He reminds us that the Holy Spirit already dwells within us (2 Tm 1:14). So,
when we fail to see him at work in the world around us, we would do well to look inwardly to see how he is moving us to be his agents in the world until his coming in glory.
Spain’s bishops: Only God can quench our thirst
n Sept. 6, the Episcopal Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith in Spain released a document entitled “My Soul Thirsts for God, for the Living God: Doctrinal Orientations on Christian Prayer.” It echoes the 1989 document from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “On Some Aspects of Christian Meditation.”
Conversation with God CONNIE ROSSINI
Both documents speak eloquently about the foundations of Christian prayer, while also cautioning against Eastern meditation techniques. Over the next several columns, we’ll look at “My Soul Thirsts” in some detail. The English translation is courtesy of Veronica Salazar. The document begins with a survey of the current climate regarding prayer in Spain. It could equally apply to the U.S. or most western nations. Spain’s bishops write that the human heart is restless for God, but our culture “generates emptiness,” rather than fulfillment (no. 1). People are thus searching for spiritual fulfillment, which can lead
to their taking up problematic practices. “Many people – even those who grew up in a Christian environment – resort to meditation, prayer techniques and methods that have their origin in religious traditions outside Christianity and the rich spiritual heritage of the Church. In some cases, this is accompanied by the abandonment of the Catholic faith, even inadvertently. In other cases, people try to incorporate these methods as a ‘supplement’ of their faith to achieve a more intense experience of it. This assimilation is frequently done without proper discernment about its compatibility with the Christian faith, the anthropology that derives from it and with the Christian message of salvation” (no. 2). The first thing we learn, then, is that when considering methods of prayer or meditation that originate outside the Judeo-Christian tradition, we must be cautious and discerning. These methods may not always be suitable for Catholics. Sometimes, practicing them might bring confusion
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regarding human nature and our need for salvation. Such practices have even led some to completely abandon the Christian faith. The bishops of Spain note that we are living in a post-Christian culture. In Christian cultures, they say, teaching the faithful should be focused on theology and morality. But in a world that is no longer Christian, we have no commonly held faith to build upon. “In this cultural context, in which so many live outside the faith, the fundamental challenge is to ‘show’ men the beauty of the face of God manifested in Christ Jesus so that they feel attracted to Him. If we want everyone to know and love Jesus Christ and, through Him, to have a personal encounter with God, the Church cannot be perceived only as a moral educator or defender of truths, but above all as a teacher of spirituality and the place where to have a profoundly human experience of the living God” (no. 5). Many people who grew up nominally Christian have no knowledge of the vast spiritual tradition within their native faith. They mistakenly think that they know what Christianity has to offer, and that it is lacking. Popular fads, like the current fad of mindfulness that has swept through the West, seem to offer a spirituality that can satisfy their thirst. How can we bring such people back to the faith? We must help them encounter Jesus. By teaching them about the richness of Christian prayer and how it can lead to intimate union with God, we can direct their thirst toward the only One who can really satisfy them. The document then goes on to do just that, as we will see in future columns.
| SPIRITUAL LIFE |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
St. Ignatius championed belief in the True Presence By DEACON OMAR GUTIÉRREZ
SAINT OF THE MONTH
For the Catholic Voice
A recent Pew Research study found that only 31% of American Catholics believe in the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Jesus and not just a symbol. That news would have completely flabbergasted a saint whose feast we celebrate on Oct. 17, St. Ignatius of Antioch. Antioch was the first Christian city in history. Abandoned now, it lends its name to the Turkish city of Antakya, very near Syria. We know that St. Peter was the bishop of Antioch for a time before he left for Rome and was succeeded by St. Evodius. We are not sure when St. Ignatius was born, but we know that he was a convert to Christianity and that he was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. He represents, then, the first generation of Christians after the death of the last apostle and the writing of the last book of the Bible. He was considered a holy man and so, according to some historians of the early church, he was appointed by St. Peter and St. Paul to become the third bishop of Antioch. Ignatius would hold this office for 40 years, during which time there were on-and-off persecutions of Christians. During the reign of the Emperor Trajan (98-117), Ignatius was arrested and charged with the crime of refusing to recognize the gods of Rome. He was ordered to be taken by ship along the coasts
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/PUBLIC DOMAIN
“Madonna and Child with St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Onophrius,” by Lorenzo Lotto, oil on panel, 1508, at the Galleria Borghese, Rome. of southern Turkey and Greece all the way to Rome to be devoured by animals for the amusement of the Roman people. Accompanied by 10 Roman soldiers who, according to Ignatius, treated him severely, they stopped
in a few places and Ignatius sent off letters to different churches. We have seven of those letters today, and in them he constantly emphasized the importance of church authority and Eucharistic doctrine. To the Philadelphians he wrote,
“Be careful, then, to observe a single Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and one cup of his blood that makes us one, and one altar, just as there is one bishop along with the presbytery and the deacons.”
To the Smyrneans he wrote that they should avoid “schism” and be faithful to their bishop. “You should regard that Eucharist as valid which is celebrated either by the bishop or by someone he authorizes. Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” This is the first instance in recorded history of the use of the name “Catholic Church.” It is clear from these letters that for St. Ignatius, being faithful to the bishop and to the Eucharist were the two main pillars of what it meant to be a Christian and that they leaned on each other. In fact, he wrote to the Romans that “I am God’s grain and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.” St. Ignatius, who was indeed martyred in the Colosseum in Rome, died on Oct. 17 in the year 107. His few remains were brought back to Antioch. He still stands as a model bishop who sacrificed himself for his people and who insisted on right doctrine and one, unifying Eucharist. This is because, as he no doubt learned from St. John, the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus and through it we are all one body. May all Catholics come to remember that again.
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| RESURRECTION JOY |
14 « OCTOBER 4, 2019 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. ALBRIGHT-Frank R., 82. Funeral Mass Sept. 24 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Rose; parents, Naomi and Orville; brothers, Bill and Art. Survived by daughters and spouses, Valerie and Timothy Begley, Jennifer and Don Carlson; two grandchildren; sister and spouse, Judy and George Lynch; brother and spouse, Doug and Ingrid; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER BELIK-Lillian A. “Lil”, 89. Funeral Mass Sept. 14 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church. Interment Westlawn-Hillcrest Memorial Park. Preceded in death by husband, Frank; son, Brian; parents, James and Mary; siblings, Alice (Rudy) Rech, Mary (Clem) Waskowiak, Helen (Adolph) Pacula, Ann Holub, Raymond Polacek; in-laws, Ernest and Rose Belik, Irma and James Chmelka, Lloyd and Maryann Welniak, Theodore and Frances Kastl, Doloris and Willard Zavodny. Survived by children, Barbara Belik, Bernice (Richard) Holly, Brennen Belik, and Barry Belik; five grandchildren; siblings, Leonard (Louise) Polacek, Milo (Rosalie) Polacek; in-laws, Geraldine Polacek and Ermin Holub; friends, Marcy, Dorothea and Joe; nieces; nephews; relatives; friends. Memorials to Friendship Program Inc. or ENCOR at Madonna Shop, Omaha. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME BOGACZ-Kyron A., 18. Funeral Mass Sept. 18 at St. Columbkille Church, Papillion. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by grandparents, Pat and Frank Bogacz. Survived by mother, Traci L. Driscoll (Jeff); father, Christopher Bogacz (Sarah); siblings, Jadon Bogacz, Owen Bogacz and Bauer Driscoll; grandparents, Vickie and Ron Trapp, and Marge and P.J. Driscoll; great-grandmother, Carol Trapp; relatives; friends. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
CATTON-Patricia M., 86. Funeral Mass Sept. 16 at St. Leo the Great Church. Graveside service Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents; siblings; daughter, Stacey Marie Kletke. Survived by husband, Bob; children and spouses, Judy and Rick Vuagniaux, Carmen and Bob Wille, Gail and Keith Gundlefinger, Sandy and Bob Thomsen, Margo Catton, Guy and Tina Catton, Rex and Bea Catton, Mary and Andy Dotzler, and Jack Catton; son-in-law, Dan Kletke; 17 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews; relatives. Memorials to the church or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER COTTONE-Gloria J., 75. Funeral Mass Sept. 16 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Laura and Fate Cottone; brother, Robert; sister-in-law Kathryn Cottone. Survived by sister, Sara Dietrich; brothers and sister-in-law, Louis and Barb Cottone, and Anthony Cottone; nieces; nephews; great-nieces; great-nephews. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER CROWLEY-Rose M., 88. Funeral Mass Sept. 21 at St. Thomas More Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, James; son, Vincent; daughter, Christine. Survived by son and daughter-inlaw, Martin J. and Liesa Crowley; two grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sisters, Gloria Rettenmaier and Edith Hooker. Memorials to Rose Crowley Scholarship at College of Saint Mary. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER ETTER-Betty D., 93. Funeral Mass Sept. 19 at St. Patrick Church, Elkhorn. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Arthur F. Etter. Survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Kathryn Etter, Mary and Chris Jensen, and Terri and Carl Davis; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; family; friends. Memorials to the church or VNA Hospice. ROEDER MORTUARY HALLAS-Betty J. (Holub), 88. Funeral Mass Sept. 30 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Preceded in death by parents, Anton and Mary Holub. Survived by brother, Frank J. Holub of Clancy, Montana; children, Dr. Gregory J. Hallas (Joni Kerr), Suzanne Hallas-Anderson (David) and Jane E. Benson (Hugh); five grandchildren; cousins; brothers and sistersin-law; nieces; nephews; friends. Memorials to the St. Roberts-Father Shane Education Fund or The Westside Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
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MOLACEK-Genevieve Therese Brecka, 92. Funeral Mass Sept. 20 at Holy Cross Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Maurice Molacek. Survived by children, Elizabeth and John; five grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren. Memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
FUNERAL NOTICES & OBITUARIES ONLINE Visit Catholic Voice Online at catholicvoiceomaha.com for current and up-to-date funeral notices and obituaries. KOWALEWSKI-Josephine A., 93. Funeral Mass Sept. 25 at St. Patrick Church, Gretna. Interment St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Chester Kowalewski; parents, Adolph and Rose Skibinski; siblings, Eugenia Karnish, Louise Rajda, Emily Skibinski, Stanley Skibinski and Angeline Eckart. Survived by son, Duane Kowalewski; two grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. Memorials to the church or Endless Journey Hospice. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN KNOTT-Joseph R., 67. Funeral Mass Sept. 25 at Holy Ghost Church. Interment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Bernie and Mona; brother, Sam. Survived by wife, Vicki; daughter and son-inlaw, Carrie and Corey Kaczmarek; son, Chad Knott; six grandchildren; siblings and spouses, Larry and Penny, Ken and Jackie, Judi and Roger Stoakes; relatives; friends. Memorials to the family. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME MCCABE-Laurence F., 75. Funeral Mass Sept. 16 at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Rose E. and Frank L. McCabe. Survived by wife, Janice M. McCabe; sister and spouse, Patricia (McCabe) and Wallace Bell; niece; nephew; grandniece; grandnephew. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER MCFARLAND-Terrence R. “Terry”, 83. Memorial Mass Sept. 13 at St. Wenceslaus Church. Entombment Resurrection Cemetery. Survived by wife, Rita McFarland; children and spouse, Michele Fischer, Kevin McFarland, and Jennifer and Terry Ledger; two grandchildren; sister and spouse, Janice and John Cleary; nieces; nephews. Memorials to Siena/Francis House, Josie Harper Hospice House or the Nebraska Humane Society. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN MILONE-Jesse S., 92. Funeral Mass Sept. 25 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by daughter, Lyssa Ann Carnazzo; parents, Louise and Joseph. Survived by wife, Jeraldine M. Milone; children and spouses, Mark and Stephanie, Joe and Kelly, Denise and Dan Miller, Sandi and Bill Bader; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews; relatives; friends. Memorials to American Cancer Society. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
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MOORE-Patricia Anne “Pat”, 76. Funeral Mass Sept. 20 at St. Patrick Church, Elkhorn. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Larry Donald Moore; parents, Harvey William “Red” Larsen and Anne Marie (Urso) Larsen. Survived by siblings, Elizabeth Venuti and William “Bill” Larsen; children and spouses, Raymond and Rhonda Nichols, Anthony Nichols, Tim and Trudy Nichols, and Ruth and Steve Collins; 15 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; nieces; nephews; cousins; friends. Memorials to American Cancer Society or Nebraska Heart Association. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER MURTAUGH-Timothy Joseph, 69. Memorial Mass Sept. 14 at St. Bernard Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER OSTERMAN-Robert E., 79. Funeral Mass Sept. 14 at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Ruth Marie (Preis) Osterman; parents, Robert and Goldie Osterman; grandson, Kurt Patrick Kantor; brother, Arthur Osterman. Survived by children and spouses, Linda and Robert Kantor, Pam and Robert E. Osterman III, Kathy and Michael Baker; five grandsons; brother and spouse, Dennis and Connie Osterman; sister-in-law, Voncelle Osterman. Memorials to Columban Fathers or the Stephen Center. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER OSWALD-Claire M. “Tex”, 85. Funeral Mass Sept. 19 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Oswald. Survived by children, Marc Oswald (Shannon McMahon), Michael Oswald, David Oswald (Kathy Stockton), Susan Athey (Paul), Anne Henderson (Dave) and Daniel Oswald (Beverly); 12 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; siblings, Robert (Annette), Jim, Marilyn Millhollan (Steve); nieces; nephews. Memorials to the Betty & Claire Oswald Endowment Fund c/o College of Saint Mary. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER PETERSON-Daniel J., 79. Funeral Mass Sept. 18 at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Kitty; brothers, Bernard and Ronald; infant sister, Marie. Survived by children and spouses, Amanda and Ryan Baker, Chris and Krista Peterson; two grandchildren; brother and spouse, Philip and Patty; sisters-in-law, Nance and Mary Jane Peterson. Memorials to the American Red Cross. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER PHIPPS-Benjamin H., 76. Funeral Mass Sept. 26 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Survived by wife, Mariana; children and spouses, Brian and Jill, Stephen and Pamela, David and Amy; seven grandchildren; sister and spouse, Marcia and Don Rice. Memorials to Mount Michael Benedictine High School. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
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SCHAFER-Dennis A. Funeral Mass Sept. 14 at St. Bernadette Church, Bellevue. Interment St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Dr. Lewis A. and Twila Schafer; brother Rodney Schafer; in-laws, Charles S. and Catherine Monico. Survived by wife, Kathy (Monico) Schafer; sister-inlaw and spouse, Mary Jane and Gary Herron, brothers-in-law and spouses, Chuck and Kathy Monico, Jerry and Kathy Monico; nieces; nephews; great-nieces; great-nephews. Memorials to Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School or St. Bernadette Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER SMEDLEY-Kathleen P. Wallerstedt “Katie”, 42. Funeral Mass Sept. 19 at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by grandmother, Patt Wallerstedt; uncle, Chuck Wallerstedt; aunt, Sheila Wallerstedt. Survived by mother, Mary Wallerstedt; stepfather, Harlan Buchholz; aunts, Theresa and Tracy Wallerstedt; cousins, Michaela and Michelle Wallerstedt; stepbrother, Dan Buchholz; care providers, Andrea, Bonnie S., Carol Beth, Jennifer, Pauline, Waynette and Wendy. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER SUTTON-Daren L., 51. Funeral Mass Sept. 21 at St. Patrick Church, Gretna. Preceded in death by father, Clair Sutton. Survived by son, Mason; daughter, Madison; mother, Eileen Sutton; sisters and spouse, Tracy Swalberg, and Cindy and Bob Sedlak; two nephews. Memorials to the family. ROEDER MORTUARY TRAWICKI-Marie A., 97. Funeral Mass Sept. 20 at Assumption Church. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Paul Sr.; parents, Hugo and Marie Briza; siblings, Frank, Charles, Hugo, William and Frances Sopinski. Survived by sons and daughters-in-law, Paul and Nancy, Joseph and Catherine; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren. Memorials to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME VEYLUPEK-Darleen J., 87. Funeral Mass Sept. 27 at St. Matthew the Evangelist Church, Bellevue. Preceded in death by parents, Benjamin B. and Bridget (Beck) Mathisen; husband, Edward P. Veylupek; daughter, Tracy L. Austin; sisters, Doris Walter and Mary Anne Veylupek. Survived by children, Terence (Patricia) Veylupek, Cynthia Schwartze, Mark Veylupek, Coleen (Steven) Small and Sheila Rhodig; 17 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren. Memorials to the church. BETHANY FUNERAL HOME WEEKLY- John W. “Bill”, 69. Funeral Mass Sept. 23 at St. Pius X Church. Entombment Weekly Mausoleum at Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by father, Jack Weekly; brother, Dan Weekly. Survived by wife, Susan J. Weekly; daughters and sons-in-law, Beth A. and Mark Tweed, and Amy L. and Jacob Rapp; five grandchildren; mother, Bette L. Weekly; siblings and spouses, Tom and Tricia, Mike and Pam, Mat and Sheryl. Memorials to Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center or St. Pius X/St. Leo School. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER WELNIAK-Lloyd R., 74. Funeral Mass Sept. 24 at St. Wenceslaus Church. Interment St. John Cemetery, Bellevue. Preceded in death by parents, Mary Ann and Lloyd; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Emma and Edward Fuxa. Survived by wife, Catherine A. Welniak; children, Nanette Peterson (Dennis), Tricia Boyd, Jennifer (Ken) Betts; son-in-law, Stevan Boyd; eight grandchildren; siblings and spouses, Daniel and Jeaneen, Diane and Doyle Zimmerman; nieces; nephews, cousins. Memorials to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
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ROGERS-Geraldine M. (Hughes), 95. Funeral Mass Sept. 24 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Corwin D. Rogers; son, Jim Rogers. Survived by children and spouses, Bill and Judy, Kathleen and Frank Batko, Jean and Tom Lund, Mary and Ken Krobert, Dennis and Tami, Patrick and Julie, and John and Chris; 24 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; sisters, Virginia Batko and Gloria Meier; brother, Charles Hughes; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER
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| COMMENTARY |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
Cardinal Etchegaray, Henri de Lubac, and Vatican II
ast month, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray passed away. Perhaps his was not a household name, but this very decent man made a substantive contribution to the life of the church, serving in a number of different capacities over the years and collaborating closely with St. Pope John Paul II.
I had the privilege of meeting him in the mid-1990s when he visited Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, where I was serving as professor of theology. The cardinal wanted to address the community, but his English was a bit shaky, so I translated for him. But I recall that his smile and evident joy in the Lord needed no translation whatsoever. The first time I ever laid eyes on Cardinal Etchegaray was some years before that, on an extraordinary day in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris: the funeral of the legendary theologian Henri de Lubac. A third-year doctoral student at the time, I had made my way to Notre Dame, hoping against hope that I might be able to participate in the funeral Mass. As I approached the door, I was stopped by a security agent who asked, “Est-ce que vous êtes membre de la famille?” (“Are you a member of the family?”) “Non,” I responded. Then he inquired, “Est-ce que vous êtes theologien?” (“Are you a theologian?”) With some trepidation, I said, “Oui,” and he promptly directed me to a prime position near the front of the cathedral. To the tolling of the deepest bells in the cathedral, the simple wooden coffin of de Lubac was wheeled down the middle aisle. I noticed, as it passed by my position, that it was topped by de Lubac’s red cardinal’s biretta. At the close of the Mass, Cardinal Etchegaray rose to speak on behalf of the pope. He read a beautiful tribute from John Paul II, and then he shared the following anecdote. Soon after his election to the papacy, John Paul came to Paris for a pastoral visit. He made a special stop at the Institut Catholique de Paris to meet with theologians and other Catholic academics. After his formal remarks, Etchegaray continued, John Paul II
Word on Fire BISHOP ROBERT BARRON looked up and said, “Où est le pere de Lubac?” (“Where is Father de Lubac?”) The young Karol Wojtyla had worked closely with de Lubac during Vatican II, specifically in the composition of the great conciliar document “Gaudium et Spes.” De Lubac stepped forward and, Etchegaray told us, Pope John Paul bowed his head to the distinguished theologian. Then, turning to the coffin, Etchegaray said, “Encore une fois, au nom du pape, j’incline la tête devant le pere de Lubac” (“Once more, in the name of the pope, I bow my head before Father de Lubac”). This is much more than a charming story, for upon John Paul’s reverence for Henri de Lubac hangs a very interesting tale of continuing relevance to our time. De Lubac was the most prominent proponent of what came to be called “la nouvelle theologie” (“the new theology”). Departing from the strict and rather rationalist Thomism that dominated Catholic intellectual life in the first half of the 20th century, de Lubac and his colleagues turned with enthusiasm to the Scriptures and to the marvelous and multifaceted works of the church fathers. This return to the “sources” of the faith produced a theology that was spiritually informed, ecumenically generous and intellectually rich – and it got de Lubac into considerable hot water with the academic and ecclesial establishment of that time. At the very height of his powers, throughout the 1950s, he was silenced, prohibited from teaching, speaking or publishing. Rehabilitated by Pope John XXIII, de Lubac played a pivotal role at Vatican II, decisively influencing many of its major documents. It is altogether correct to say that this champion of the reforming Second Vatican Council was no friend of pre-conciliar Catholic conservatism. However, in the years immediately following the council, de Lubac became impatient with the Catholic liberalism, led by such figures as Hans Küng, Karl Rahner, and Edward Schille-
beeckx, which was pushing past the texts of Vatican II, accommodating itself far too readily with the environing culture, and losing its mooring in classical Christianity. And so, along with his colleagues Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger, he founded the theological journal Communio, which was meant as a counterweight to the journal Concilium, which published the works of the leading liberals. It was this Communio school, this middle path between both a conservative and liberal rejection of Vatican II, that John Paul II enthusiastically embraced. If you seek clear evidence that the Polish pope favored this approach, look no further than the Catechism of 1992, which is filled with the spirit of the “nouvelle theologie,” and to the fact that John Paul specially honored the three founders of Communio, making Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and naming both de Lubac and Balthasar cardinals. Are both left-wing and rightwing rejections of Vatican II on
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a longtime Vatican official and papal envoy who had been sent to some of the world’s most troubled and difficult places, died in France Sept. 4 at age 96. He is pictured in an Aug. 15, 2006, photo. display today? Just go on the Catholic new media space and you’ll find the question readily answered. What is still very much the needful thing is the de Lubac attitude: deep commitment to the texts of Vatican II, openness to ecumenical conversation, a willingness to dialogue with the culture (without
caving in to it), reverence for the tradition without a stifling traditionalism. Perhaps I might invite you to muse on that gesture and those words of Cardinal Etchegaray that I took in many years ago: “Once more, in the name of the pope, I bow my head before Father de Lubac.”
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| COMMENTARY |
16 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
A tale of two cases of religious freedom
n 2014, Elaine and Jonathan found themselves at a dead end. Having journeyed through the legal system, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear their court case.
Elaine and her husband, Jonathan, owned a small business, Elane Photography. In 2006, Elaine was asked by Vanessa Willock to photograph a “commitment ceremony” between her and her same-sex partner. Elaine politely declined. As
Faithful, Watchful Citizens TOM VENZOR a faithful Christian, Elaine believed in marriage as a lifelong institution between one man and one woman, and was unwilling to use her artistic talents to express a message inconsistent with this belief. Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. The Commission ruled against Elaine. $ W 1O IT FF H TH AD IS M. AD
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They determined she violated the state’s anti-discrimination law and ordered her to pay Willock’s attorney fees. Elaine appealed her case all the way to the state’s Supreme Court. She claimed the New Mexico law violated her First Amendment free speech rights. The law amounted to government compelled speech by requiring her to create artistic content affirming a view about marriage with which she disagreed. The New Mexico Supreme Court rejected Elaine’s contention that her artistic work was speech and ruled she was subject to the anti-discrimination law without exception. In a concurring opinion, one justice wrote that Elaine and Jonathan “now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” and that this “is the price of citizenship” when one enters the “multicultural, pluralistic” marketplace. Though that ruling was the end of the road for Elaine and Jonathan in New Mexico, it’s far from the end elsewhere. Enter stage right, Carl and Angel Larsen, owners of Telescope Media Group. As videographers, Carl and Angel are creative professionals. According to their website, Telescope Media Group “exists to glorify God through top-quality media production.” Carl has shared in a video at ADFmedia.org that he “feels most alive” when creating content conveying the stories of life that tap into the deeper dimensions
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of the human heart. The Larsens willingly work with all people, regardless of religion, sexual orientation, race, or any other number of classifications. They are also committed to using their talents to communicate a message that glorifies God. This means the Larsens decline any work, from anyone, that compromises their beliefs, including anything that would “contradict biblical truth, promote sexual immorality, support the destruction of unborn children; promote racism or racial division; incite violence; degrade women; or promote any conception of marriage other than as a lifelong institution between one man and one woman.” To expand their impact, the Larsens planned to enter the marriage video industry. They hoped to produce content promoting the traditional Christian view of marriage, not for mere economic gain but to impact “a broader audience” and “affect the cultural narrative regarding marriage.” However, the Larsens were faced with a Minnesota state anti-discrimination law prohibiting businesses from discriminating against any person based on their sexual orientation, a violation of which could result in substantial civil and criminal fines, including possible jail time. The Larsens filed a court action to determine whether this law violated the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause, among other constitutional rights. After an initial unfavorable rul-
ing, the case was appealed to a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, a regional federal court which sits directly below the United States Supreme Court for the region encompassing Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. In a monumental opinion issued a few weeks ago, Judge David Stras ruled favorably for the Larsens. He recognized that the Larsens’ custom films constituted speech and were subject to the strongest protections under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. He determined the State of Minnesota failed to satisfy the rigorous requirements of the First Amendment and unconstitutionally infringed on the Larsens’ free speech rights. For those in the 8th Circuit territory, this case means the Larsens – and other creative professionals – are free to use their artistic talents without the government compelling them to express a message contrary to their beliefs. As the cultural battle on issues of marriage and human sexuality continues, these cases will not be the last word and the issues presented will soon find their way to the Supreme Court. The question remains: Will folks like Elaine, Jonathan, Carl and Angel be free to pursue God’s plans for them as creative professionals in the marketplace, or will they be forced to pay the “price of citizenship” and check their faith at the door of their small business?
Being more careful about the racist label
he last couple of months I’ve written about racism. I would like to touch on the subject once more because my effort has been, as with several of my other columns recently, to show where we agree as Americans. But the problem with the question of racism is that while we almost universally agree that racism is bad, we don’t agree about when we can use that label, who can use it, and why.
For instance, I was listening some time ago to a podcast where the host, a white conservative, sat down with a guest, a black progressive, to talk about racism. The conversation was cordial and truly enlightening and a bit frustrating. In it, the guest made the point that sometimes being racist means supporting racist policies, that is, policies that disproportionately affect minorities. And then she said the magic words: “Even if they don’t intend it,” they are being racist. In fact, she went on to say that when we talk about race, intent doesn’t matter. It’s the support for the policy, which may indeed disproportionately affect a minority commu-
Charity in Truth DEACON OMAR GUTIÉRREZ nity but does so accidentally, that makes one a racist. What isn’t always considered, however, is that precisely because of our national consciousness around race and racism, the person accused of racism does not hear, “You are wrong.” Instead they hear, “You are bad.” The person being accused hears that their years of peaceable work for or with or around minorities doesn’t matter. What they believe in their heart and mind and soul about the evil of racism doesn’t matter. In fact, perhaps the fact that they don’t consider the skin color of the person they interact with and only think of other policy goals is itself as sign of their racism. In short, they feel attacked to their very core. The result is that some rethink their position. More simply slink away with the lesson that they will never speak up again. And some in our nation have become numb to the accusation, since it is so overused. For instance, in 2012 Vice President Joe Biden told a diverse Virginia crowd that included many African Americans that by “unchaining” Wall Street, Mitt
Romney wanted to “put y’all back in chains.” This was the same Biden who in 2007 referred to then Sen. Obama as the first “articulate and bright and clean” African American candidate for president. In 2008 Sen. John McCain, who had defended Obama against a racist comment made by an audience member at one of his rallies, was accused by several outlets as being secretly racist, and by Ezra Klein, co-founder of Vox, of “running crypto-racist ads.” So long as racism is detached from intent, it will become whatever one side says it is. In the world of politics, where the point is always to win, the accusations thrown out so irresponsibly are tearing our nation apart. And all of this gives shelter to real racists. My father faced that racism throughout his life. However, despite his “funny” name, his thick accent and his dark skin, he was able to become a physician in this country and raise his family. He dreamt of retiring to his home country of the Dominican Republic. But when he’d visit and return to the States, the first words out of his mouth – every time – were, “This is the greatest country in the world.” Let us be more careful about whom we call racist so that we might root out real racism. Charity in truth demands it.
| COMMENTARY |
Conscience and its enemies
hould doctors and nurses be forced to take part in procedures that violate their conscience? It’s a timely question. New federal regulations to enforce existing conscience protection laws are being challenged in federal courts.
This question is the subject of a public opinion poll commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The survey, conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies, interviewed over 1,000 adults in July. The results were released Sept. 18. Ensuring that health professionals “are not forced to participate in procedures or practices to which they have moral objections” was deemed “important” by 83% of respondents (86% of women). Fifty-eight percent of respondents (62% of women) said these professionals should not be legally required to perform abortions when they have a moral objection. After learning what the new federal regulation does, respondents supported it 59% to 21%.
OCTOBER 4, 2019
A More Human Society RICHARD DOERFLINGER By a similar margin, 60% to 22%, they supported modifying the law to protect those with moral objections to “gender reassignment” procedures. This is especially timely: A state appellate court in California is allowing a lawsuit to proceed against a Catholic hospital that declined, on religious grounds, to remove a healthy uterus from a woman seeking to identify as a man. Finally, 41% said they would be “more likely” to vote for their current member of Congress if they knew that he or she supports conscience protections for doctors and nurses. Only 16% said this would make them less likely to vote for the member. This message, however, is lost on many members of Congress, including some seeking higher office. Witness a pending federal bill, the Do No Harm Act (S. 593,
H.R. 1450). It would undermine protections for religious freedom by carving out exceptions to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. For example, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would no longer apply to any case involving “access to, information about, referrals for, provision of, or coverage for any health care item or service,” which surely encompasses abortion and other attacks on life as well as gender reassignment procedures. The bill also states that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act should not be interpreted to exempt anyone from a “generally applicable law” when that would impose “meaningful harm, including dignitary harm,” on someone else. The term “dignitary harm” does not appear in the U.S. Code, and this bill does not define it. But it has been used to sue bakers and others who decline on religious grounds to participate in same-sex wedding celebrations. Plaintiffs claim that, by disagreeing with the couple’s definition of marriage, believers offend their dignity. Or as legal scholar
Sherif Girgis says, they seek to “punish expressive conduct whose message they abhor, just because they abhor it.” Under these standards, the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious institutions, who the U.S. Supreme Court says are protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from forced involvement in coverage for contraceptive and abortifacient drugs, could be put back in the cage built for them by radical secularists. Catholic doctors, nurses and hospitals could be forced to take part in abortion and other procedures that Hippocrates condemned when he made “do no harm” a
central principle of medical ethics. Who is sponsoring this bill? One hundred and thirty-four House Democrats and 28 Senate Democrats – including four senators running for president, led by prime sponsor Sen. Kamala Harris of California. When the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted in 1993, all but two Senate Democrats voted for it and President Bill Clinton enthusiastically signed it into law. The party’s leaders in recent years have taken a disturbing turn against religious freedom and conscience rights. That is not a direction most Americans want to take.
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Ironies in the fire
he eminent sociologist Peter Rossi was a world-class punster whose scholarly accomplishments fed a sometimes-whimsical view of the human condition – in which, Rossi memorably observed, “there are many ironies in the fire.”
That’s certainly true of the interaction between Catholicism and cultural, social, and political modernity over the last 250 years. The multiple ironies in that complex relationship, and their surprising results, are explored in my new book, “The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform” (Basic Books), in which I turn the conventional telling of this tale inside-out and upside-down. Why the inversion? Because I believe the way the story is typically told – modernity acts, Catholicism simply reacts – is wrong. Things were much more complicated and much more interesting than that. So were the outcomes. It is certainly true that, at the beginnings of what we think of as the “modern world,” thinkers like Voltaire declared Catholicism an “infamy” that must be “crushed” – a demolition project taken up with relish by the French Revolution, the German Kulturkampf, the Italian Risorgimento, and other quintessential expressions of political modernity. That assault provoked a sharp reaction, with Popes Gregory XVI (1832-1846) and Pius IX (1846-1878) lambasting the modern project in its various expressions. But then came the pivot of my story: the election of Pope Leo XIII, who at the beginning of his
The Catholic Difference GEORGE WEIGEL pontificate in 1878 took a bold, grand-strategic decision – the Church would engage the modern world with distinctively Catholic intellectual tools in order to convert it. That decision set in motion what I call the “Leonine Revolution”: the search for appropriate Catholic methods to engage and convert the new world being built by science and technology, post-monarchical politics, and skepticism about the Bible and Christian doctrine. Had Leo made the right decision? If he had, how should it be implemented? Those questions were hotly contested in the church for 80 years, not without a fair amount of ecclesiastical elbow-throwing. Then, in 1959, the newly-elected Pope John XXIII took another bold, grand-strategic decision: He would gather the energies set loose by the Leonine Revolution and focus them through the prism of an ecumenical council. And as he made clear in his magisterial opening address to what we know as Vatican II, the council’s purpose would be conversion: The church would engage the modern world in order to offer it truths essential to satisfying the modern quest for freedom, solidarity and prosperity. That Johannine intention got lost in the 20-year brawl that followed Vatican II, as some Catholics interpreted the council as a call to embrace the modern world unreservedly, just as the late-modern world was slipping into incoherence: freedom misconstrued as license, and human beings considered as nothing more than twitching bundles of desires. Beginning with Paul VI’s 1975
apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Nuntiandi” (“Proclaiming the Gospel”), however, the Church’s teaching authority began to reclaim the evangelical, missionary imperative that had animated Leo XIII and John XXIII. That recentering on the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 was given depth and breadth by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, two men of Vatican II whose authoritative interpretation of the council summoned the church to a springtime of evangelism, sharing with the world the gift of friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ that every Christian is given in baptism. So what were the ironies in this particular fire? The first and most important is that, through the twists and turns of its encounter with modernity (which began with both sides hurling condemnations and anathemas), the Catholic Church rediscovered the basic truth about itself: that we are a community of disciples in mission, whose purpose is to convert the world. The second, related irony is that, in the course of that rediscovery, the Catholic Church developed a social doctrine – a way of thinking about freedom, solidarity and prosperity – that could help save the post-modern, 21st-century world from self-destructing. And today’s crisis of Catholic self-confidence? Viewed through this interpretive lens, the abuse-and-leadership crisis comes into focus as a time of essential purification, so that the church can be a persuasive evangelist and a compelling advocate for the truths that make us truly free. There are, indeed, many ironies in the fire. Grasping their providential character, as I try to do in “The Irony of Modern Catholic History,” suggests grounds for hope in this wintry Catholic season.
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| CALENDAR |
18 « OCTOBER 4, 2019 EVENTS Christians Encounter Christ (CEC) Weekend Retreat: Men’s weekend Oct. 4-6, women’s weekend Oct. 18-20. Retreats start Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. and conclude Sunday at 9 p.m. A lively weekend of spirituality and study with priests and laity in discussion, prayer and song. All-inclusive cost is $80. Contact Kent Riesberg at email@example.com or 402339-6828, or Cora Thelen at coreathelen@ gmail.com or 402-960-1020. Life Chain: Oct. 6, 2-3 p.m. along Dodge Street in Omaha. Contact your parish to find out where to stand. Contact Whitney Bradley at 402-557-5516 for more information. 20th Annual Our Lady of the Rosary Candlelight Procession: Oct. 7, 7 p.m. at Mary Our Queen Church, 3405 S. 118th St., Omaha. Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Includes exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, candlelight rosary procession, consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Benediction. Sponsored by the Mary Our Queen Legion of Mary. Contact Linda Thomsen, 402-660-2213. CUES-A-PALOOZA Annual Fundraiser: Oct. 11, 6:30-10:30 p.m. at Scriptown Brewing Company in Blackstone District, 3922 Farnam St. Beer included in admission cost. Food from Butterfish and Stirnella available for purchase. Music and entertainment provided by eNVy. Admission $30 in advance or $35 at door. Purchase tickets at cuesschools.org/newsevents/cuesapalooza. Must be 21 or older. Benefits CUES (Christian Urban Education Services) schools Sacred Heart, All Saints and Holy Name. Contact Mary Catherine Ruesch at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. 10th Annual America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally: Oct. 12 at noon on the northeast corner of 76th and Dodge streets in Omaha. A nationwide public rosary rally supporting a culture of life, marriage and the family, greater morality and the church. Sponsored by America Needs Fatima. For more information, contact Christine at 402-880-4620 or Linda at 402-660-2213 or visit www.anf.org. Couple to Couple League’s Natural Family Planning: Series of three classes on Oct. 13, Nov. 10 and Dec. 8, 2-4:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Church, 5419 114th St., Omaha. Classes taught by Joe and Agatha Poteat. Visit www.ccli.org to register and for more information. 2020 March for Life Pilgrimage: Jan. 21-26, 2020. Registration is open until Oct. 15. Visit respectlifeomaha.com for more information or contact Whitney Bradley at 402-557-5516 or email@example.com.
and Western traditions. $39.95 annual membership includes materials. Call 402740-0004 for more information.
CATHOLIC COMMUNITY CALENDAR Your guide to activities & events around the archdiocese Catholic Community Calendar is a listing of events from the parishes, schools, institutions and organizations in the Archdiocese of Omaha. SUBMIT » Include date, start and end times, street addresses, description of event and contact information. Items published up to two times as space allows. Notices may be sent three ways: MAIL » Catholic Community Calendar, Catholic Voice, P.O. Box 4010, Omaha, NE 68104-0010 Memorare Mothers Family Mass: Oct. 16, 6:30 p.m. in the Mainelli Center at St. Robert Bellarmine Church, 11802 Pacific St., Omaha. Mass celebrated in loving memory of deceased children. Fellowship to follow Mass. Bring appetizer or an hors d’oeuvre to share. Contact Mary Anne Hoover at 402-333-6863 or Mary Ann Kellogg at 402-334-8519 with questions. New Cassel Craft Market and Bake Sale: Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Cassel Retirement Center, 900 N. 90th St., Omaha. Exciting artists, crafters and vendors. Breakfast and lunch available for purchase. LaSalle Club: Single Catholic archdiocesan young adult group. For more information, see facebook.com/lasalleo, lasalleomaha.webs.com or email lasalleo@ aol.com. Caregivers’ Solution Group: Second Tuesday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Church, St. Vincent Room, 14330 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha. Call Nancy Flaherty at 402-312-9324 or Nicole Florez at 402-496-7988, ext. 221. Pater Noster Fraternity – Secular Franciscans: Secular men, women, married, single, diocesan priests. Formation classes third Sunday of every month, 11:30 a.m., potluck 1 p.m. and Fraternity gathering, all at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish’s Gonderinger Center, 16701 S St., Omaha. Contact Luis at 402-5940710 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Kent at 402-339-6826 or email@example.com. St. Clare Secular Franciscan Fraternity: Third Sunday of the month, 1 p.m. at Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare, 22625 Edgewater Road, Omaha. Call Ann or Larry at 402-493-6730. Pro-life Prayer Vigil: Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. and Monday thru Friday, 8-11 a.m. at Bert Murphy Boulevard and Mission Avenue, Bellevue. Call Steve Zach at 402-558-2218.
FAX » 402-558-6614 EMAIL » firstname.lastname@example.org Notices cannot be taken by phone. DEADLINES » Deadline for the Oct. 18 issue is noon, Tuesday, Oct 8. ON THE WEB » Want to know what’s going on in the Archdiocese of Omaha? Visit Catholic Voice Online – catholicvoiceomaha.com – for more details and an updated list of archdiocesan activities.
Parish Mental Health Support Group: Meets first and third Thursday of each month, 1 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 508 W. Angus St., Gretna. All are welcome. Call Rose at 402-896-4693 or Elaine at 402-3786252. Be Not Afraid Family Hour: 6-7 p.m. each Sunday at Christ the King Church, 654 S. 86th St., Omaha. • Oct. 6: Rediscovering the Sacraments • Oct. 13: Mary, Our Spiritual Mother • Oct. 20: Mercy • Oct. 27: Devotion to St. Joseph • Nov. 3: Consecration Novena–A Formula for Healing
PARISHES Ss. Bridget/St. Rose Parish’s Fall Craft Fair: Oct. 12, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 26th and G streets, Omaha. Thirty crafters and vendors as well as raffle, calcutta and a lunch menu. Free admission. St. Joan of Arc Parish’s Special Needs and Disabilities Mass and Dinner: Oct. 12 at St. Joan of Arc Church, 3122 S. 74th St., Omaha. Mass at 5 p.m. with a dinner to follow. Homemade dishes and desserts prepared by the Human Needs Committee. Reservations required. RSVP to Eileen Egan at email@example.com or 402-393-8922.
Cathedral Arts Project: Promoting and celebrating the performing and visual arts through the unique setting of Omaha’s historic St. Cecilia Cathedral, 701 N. 40th St. • Oct. 5: The Blessing of the Animals, 10:30 a.m. Celebration of all creatures great and small. • Oct. 20: Cathedral Organ Series, 3 p.m. Organist Nicole Simental. • Oct. 20: Plein Air: In the Tradition of the Impressionists, 1-3 p.m.
Ss. Peter and Paul Parish’s 16th Annual All You Can Eat Soup and Salad Luncheon: Oct. 13, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 36th and X streets, Omaha. Hosted by Ss. Peter and Paul Ladies Guild. Taste 10 varieties of soups and salads from parish chefs. Drinks and dessert included. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-10. Take-out available. Proceeds to the parish. Contact Gert Sargent at 402-7343512 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
His Global Love Prayer Community Healing Mass: Oct. 16, 7-8:30 p.m. at St. Bernard Church, 3201 N. 65th St., Omaha, with Father Kevin Joyce. Ablaze worship begins at 6:30 p.m. Contact Marie Peri at 402-451-1974 with questions. All are welcome.
Marian High School Eighth Grade Surprise Night: Oct. 5, 7-9 p.m. in the Marian Quad. All eighth-grade girls are invited to an evening of face painting, manicures, games, crafts, dancing, snacks, a Surprise Day t-shirt and more. Contact Shari Gilg at 402-571-2618 ext. 1167 for more information. Junior Cougar Basketball Skills Program: Oct. 5, 9-10:30 a.m., Oct. 6, 4-5:30 p.m., Oct. 9, 7-8:30 p.m., Oct. 16, 7-8:30 p.m., and Oct. 20, 4-5:30 p.m., all at Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School, Bellevue. Five clinics for boys in grades 3-8, all taught by Gross Catholic head coach Tim Powers and boys basketball coaching staff. Email Tim Powers at email@example.com to register.
St. Mary Parish’s Annual Card Party and Salad Luncheon: Oct. 17, noon to 3 p.m., St. Mary Church, 2302 Crawford St., Bellevue. Salads, door prizes, basket raffles. Cost is $12 at the door or $10 in advance. Call 402-291-1350 or 402-214-1790. St. Bernard Parish’s Annual Dinner & Auction: Oct. 25, 5-11:30 p.m. at Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine St., Omaha. Includes social hour with silent auction, dinner and a live auction. Music by The Brits. Proceeds to school tuition assistance fund. Contact Rose Flores at 402-551-0269 for tickets. St. Peter Parish’s Fall Fundraiser: Oct. 26 at St. Peter Church, 1504 Ivy St., Stanton. Husker tailgate party. Contact Kathy Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org for information. St. Elizabeth Ann Parish’s Fall Boutique: Nov. 2 at the Parish Center, 114th and Fort streets, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Event includes over 40 vendors, lunch, raffle and a bake sale. Free admission. Email email@example.com for more information. Well-Read Mom Small Group: Second Sunday of each month, 2 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Church, 74th and Grover streets, Omaha. Includes great books, spiritual classics, worthy reads, poetry and selected essays from the Catholic
St. Vincent de Paul Parish’s Hour of Adoration: Third Sunday of each month, 3 p.m. at the church, 14330 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha. Call Kathy at 402-496-7988 or Mary at 402-496-0075. St. Robert Bellarmine Parish’s Daily Rosary and Mass for the Homebound: Monday through Saturday, 8:05 a.m. rosary, 8:30 a.m. Mass, Sunday 11 a.m. Mass. All available on demand online at stroberts. com. Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Adalbert Parish’s Holy Hour for Priests and Vocations: Every Tuesday, 8:45 a.m. in the Sacred Heart Chapel (perpetual exposition) at 2110 S. 32nd Ave., Omaha. Enter in the northwest door by the ramp. For more information, call 402-346-3584. Eucharistic Adoration: Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Peter Church, 2706 Leavenworth St., Omaha. Use west wheelchair door. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: Perpetual adoration/exposition at St. Joan of Arc Church, 74th and Grover streets, Omaha. Open 24 hours.
SPIRITUALITY CENTERS Servite Center of Compassion, 7400 Military Ave., Omaha. To register, call 402-951-3026, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit osms.org. • Weekly Contemplative Prayer Group: Mondays, 6:30 p.m. in the chapel. Silent prayer/meditation within a traditional framework of sitting and walking meditation. • Caregiver Solutions Group: First Thursday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m. Facilitator is Nancy Flaherty, MS, CDP. • St. Peregrine Liturgy: Third Saturday of each month, 11 a.m. in the chapel. No cost and no registration needed. • Are There Different Kinds of Dementia?: Oct. 5, 9:30-11 a.m. For family caregivers interested in learning about different types of dementia. Educator is Nancy Falherty, MS, CDP. No cost. • Oh No! It’s Cancer! What Now?: Oct. 19, 9-11 a.m. Exploring reactions to receiving cancer diagnosis. Facilitators are Brother Andrew Fuller, OSB, and Sister Ann Marie Petrylka, OSM. No cost. • Addressing Issues of Housing and Immigration: Oct. 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Presenters are Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) leaders. No cost. St. Benedict Center, three miles north of Schuyler. Call 402-352-8819, email email@example.com or register online at stbenedictcenter.com. Rooms $45 single, $37 double, meals are $27.65 per day; tax on rooms and meals. • Holiness is Contagious!: Oct. 11-13. Begins Friday at 7:30 a.m. and ends Sunday after lunch. Three-day retreat with Msgr Andrew J. Vaccari from Brooklyn, New York, Mary Jane Tynan and a team of Pro Sanctity members. Learn what makes a saint irresistible. Program fee $60, room and board extra. Register at www.st.benedictcenter.com or 402-352-8819. • Praying with the Saint John’s Bible: Oct. 19-20. Begins Saturday, 9:30 a.m. and ends Sunday after lunch. Two-day retreat with Brad Neary from Seattle and Father Thomas Leitner, OSB. Get to know Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten Bible in more than five hundred years. Practice lectio divina with the text and visio divina with the Bible’s images. Cost $50, room and board extra. Register at www. St.BenedictCenter.com or 402-352-8819.
| LOCAL BRIEFING |
OCTOBER 4, 2019
News from around the archdiocese SCHOOLS
Archdiocese honors eight educators The archdiocese honored eight educators at the 42nd Annual Archbishop’s Dinner for Education Sept. 12 at Embassy Suites in La Vista. About 1,000 people attended the dinner, which also raised money for the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha for scholarships for students of low-income families. The honorees: Administrators of the year – Mike Dempsey of Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue and Jennifer Fiscus of St. Rose of Lima School in Crofton. Elementary educators of the year – Cindy Menzel of St. Mary School in Bellevue and Nancy Hochsten of Holy Trinity School in Hartington. Secondary educators of the year – Marsha Kalkowski of Marian High School in Omaha and Karen Schmeichel of St. Mary High School in O’Neill. Special education and inner city educators of the year (funded by the Maginn Family Foundation) – Suzanne Seyler of St. Bernard School in Omaha and Diane Vaiskunas of Madonna School in Omaha. Amy and Todd Foje served as chairpersons for the dinner, and Teresa and Rollie Johns were co-chairs. Nancy Abboud was the honorary chairperson.
Marian High honors alumnae, leaders More than 130 people were on hand as Marian High School in Omaha honored six people with service and leadership awards at its Esprit de Corps Awards Banquet Sept. 5 at Happy Hollow
Club in Omaha. Mary Ann Luby Kilgore, a 1974 graduate, was named Alumna of the Year. The retired attorney served on the Marian Board of Directors for six years, and on communications, marketing and executive committees, said Susan Rosenlof, marketing and communications director at the school. Luby Kilgore helped Marian through leadership changes and served as chair of the board, Rosenlof said. Rose Ann Shannon received the Sister Marcella Leadership Award, named for Marian’s first principal, Sister Mary Marcella Sitzmann of the Servants of Mary. Shannon, a retired news director at KETV in Omaha, is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She’s also a board member of Media of Nebraska, a consortium of news organizations that serves to protect the news media’s watchdog role. John and Carolyn Gehring received the Marian Award. They were lauded for volunteering and financially supporting their children’s schools and a number of other community and education causes. Bill Ervin was given the Spirit of Marian Award. The marketing executive developed a comprehensive brand guide for Marian in 2010 and has designed the logo and print communications for MarianFEST since 2006. Ann Schumacher received an honorary Marian diploma. The president of CHI Health’s Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha and Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa, has served on boards for the American Hospital Association, and in the Omaha area for the Nebraska Spine Hospital, Catholic Charities, Charles Drew Health Center, Marian, Lasting Hope Recovery Center and CUES, an organization that supports innercity Catholic schools.
Students rock school theme Second graders at St. Boniface School in Elgin recently gave rock solid treatment to their school’s theme, “Crusaders Rock.” They painted rocks to reflect that theme, which stands for “Respect Others, Own Your Actions, Care for Everyone, Know God’s Way.” The students, with the guidance of their teacher, Kelli Tisthammer, found rocks, painted them and hid them around the school grounds for others to find and hide in a new place. (Below) The students were, from left: Harmon Borer, Chloe Kielty, Cecil Shavlik, Anna Stuhr, James Lodge, Carter Selting and Sawyer Veik. Not pictured: Liam Pelster.
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Father Flanagan award Boys Town awarded Father Ronald Wasikowski, left, the Spirit of Father Flanagan Priest Award during the Omaha organization’s Sept. 26 annual priest dinner. The award recognizes his commitment to children during his 44 years as a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Recently retired, Father Wasikowski taught in many Catholic schools and religious education programs, and founded St. Patrick School in Elkhorn. In his remarks, Father Wasikowski said, “I always tried to really listen to the kids as I did my ministry. They have taught me so much about faith.” He is pictured with Father Steven Boes, Boys Town executive director.
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20 « OCTOBER 4, 2019
Church must seek new paths in Amazon, secretaries of upcoming synod say By JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY – The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon will help the Catholic Church make its presence felt and voice heard in a region that is dangerously approaching “a point of no return,” said the special secretaries of the synod. “It is a great and continuing challenge for the Catholic Church to make the original Amazonian peoples feel part of it and contribute to it with the light of Christ and the spiritual richness that shines in their cultures,” Cardinal-designate Michael Czerny and Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea wrote in an article published Sept. 12 in La Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal. Cardinal-designate Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Bishop Martinez, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado, Peru, said the synod will take place at a time when “both human and natural life are suffering serious and perhaps irreversible destruction.” The synod, scheduled for Oct. 6-27, will focus on “Amazonia: New paths for the church and for an integral ecology.” The Amazon rainforest includes territory belonging to nine countries in South America and has experienced significant deforestation, negatively impacting the indigenous populations in the area and leading to a loss of biodiversity. As special secretaries, Cardinal-designate Czerny and Bishop Martinez will assist Brazil’s Cardinal Claudio Hummes, synod relator general, in providing a comprehensive
outline of the synod’s theme at the beginning of the meeting and summarizing the speeches of synod members before work begins on concrete proposals for the pope. In the article, titled “Why the Amazon merits a synod,” the prelates said that the synod for the Amazon is an effort to implement “‘Laudato Si’ in this fundamental human and natural environment.” Much like Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical “Rerum Novarum” recognized the exploitation of workers in the early days of the industrial revolution, Pope Francis’ observations on the “gross inequality and cruel marginalization” caused by financial and consumerist greed call “for a new attitude toward nature and the social environment.” “This new synthesis is a wake-up call to the entire world, to all of humanity,” they wrote. “But it also suggests a new socio-pastoral orientation and dynamic for the church, which must understand the challenges faced by individuals and families and groups within these various dimensions.” However, Cardinal-designate Czerny and Bishop Martinez wrote that the church “cannot give spiritual guidance and pastoral care if people are understood in isolation from – i.e. not integrated with – how they live and function within the actual natural, economic and social conditions that they face.” They also noted that the crisis facing the region is not limited only to environmental problems such as pollution, privatization of natural goods and trafficking. “Mercantilism, secularization, the throwaway culture and the idolatry of money” coupled with decreasing numbers of priests
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Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado, Peru, chats with a man from the indigenous community of Arazaire Feb. 20, 2018. The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon will take place at a time when “both human and natural life are suffering serious and perhaps irreversible destruction,” Bishop Martinez said in a Sept. 12, 2019, article. and religious “is endangering the presence of the Catholic Church among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon.” Such challenges, they added, require a response that moves from a “ministry of visits to a ministry of presence.” “This is why, during the October Synod,
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the entire world should walk with the people of the Amazon; not to expand or divert the agenda, but to help the synod to make a difference,” the prelates wrote. “The Amazon region is huge, and its challenges are immense. If destroyed, the impacts will be felt worldwide.”
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