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| NOVEMBER 1, 2019 |



SPIRITUAL WISDOM A national expert in spiritual theology will co-direct a retreat on the wisdom of two female medieval mystics. PAGE 10.


SPOTLIGHT ON FORGIVENESS Brother of a Dallas murder victim provides poignant example of what those who live in Christ can do. PAGE 15

Father Andrew Roza, director of vocations for the Omaha archdiocese, speaks to sixth grade boys about priestly vocations during Vocation Awareness Day Oct. 25 at Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue. About 600 sixth-graders from 13 Omaha-area Catholic schools as well as home-schooled students attended the annual event to learn about the priesthood and religious life. The stories of a priest and a sister from the archdiocese are highlighted in the Catholic Voice’s annual vocations section, published to mark National Vocations Awareness Week, Nov. 3-9. See PAGES 4-5.

Little girl’s suffering leads family, others to God By ERIN KELLER

For the Catholic Voice

Something was wrong. Anne Harsh had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl at Methodist Hospital in Omaha. Evy was the Harshes’ fifth child, born on Christmas Eve, 2013. Suddenly five nurses rushed into the room, swarming around her. They wanted a better look at Evy. Something was not right. Anne’s husband, Kris, knew it, and she knew it. That their baby might have a problem came as a bit of a surprise. Kris and Anne, both 47 at the time, had opted against the triple screen blood test to identify possible birth defects. However, two ultrasounds during pregnancy showed no complications. The nurses’ behavior prompted Anne to take a closer look. “While I watched her laying in the bassinet, within 20 minutes I thought she had Down Syndrome,” she said. “She had those almond shaped eyes and she was thrusting her


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“Laying in the hospital looking at Evy, I was so in love with her. One thing I really remember feeling strongly about was how happy I was that we did not find out while I was pregnant, because the unknown is always scarier. … But once you are looking at that child and holding her, all you can say is, ‘It’s okay, honey, I love you.’”

Vocations 4 Media & Culture 11

tongue out.” Many people think kids with severe birth defects and developmental disabilities – such as Down Syndrome – are just burdens. Often these pregnancies end in abortion. Yet the Harsh family – Kris, Anne and their older children Allison, Claire, Natalie and Nathan – have found that Evy is a tremendous joy, even if she has led them on an unanticipated journey. CHRISTMAS JOY Though full term, Evy presented as premature at birth, as she was still covered in vernix, a thick, white coating on her skin. She had a large soft spot on the top of her head. She was also developmentally delayed, even for a newborn. A pediatrician who arrived in the room confirmed Anne’s suspicion: He thought Evy had Down Syndrome. He asked for permission to test the umbilical cord. “Laying in the hospital looking at Evy, I

Anne Harsh Spiritual Life 12 Resurrection Joy 14

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Local Briefing


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Lectio Divina has power to transform our lives In this week’s interview, communication manager David Hazen speaks with Archbishop George J. Lucas about Lectio Divina, a prayerful reading and reflecting on the words of sacred Scripture. The archbishop maintains that the practice helps prepare us for a profound encounter with Jesus that is waiting for us in the Mass.


Many of us have heard people say they’re not sure they “get anything” out of Mass, let alone encounter Jesus. Do you think that Lectio Divina could be a way of becoming more disposed to meeting him there?

Yes, very much so. I find it’s the case for myself, and I think others would find the same. Lectio Divina prepares me for the profound encounter with Jesus that is waiting for me in the Mass. We know that the Mass is made up of two main parts or movements, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In both of those parts of the Mass, which really form one whole, we encounter Jesus. It’s the same Jesus – he’s one. When I open the Bible and prayerfully look at a passage, or look at the readings that are presented for the coming Sunday, it’s also a very real and personal encounter with the Lord. I come, not only to know more about Jesus, but I come to know him better. He speaks to me. As I’m preparing a homily, for example, I reflect on the Scriptures prayerfully, with the hope that the Holy Spirit will, in my own reflection, offer me something that I can then share with the congregation in the homily. We want to hear what the Lord is saying to us. As a preacher, I try to amplify that for the congregation, or invite the congregation into something that’s not just a favorite insight of mine, but what I really believe the Lord is revealing to us. We might ask, “Is it possible for me to encounter Jesus?” Do we believe that he is really coming to meet us as individuals, as part of his church? I think it’s important that we experience the encounter, and that we’re not just reminiscing about the things he did in his public ministry, or just rehearsing parables or sayings that are familiar to us because we’ve heard them so often. The power of Jesus’ death and resurrection is active in the church’s liturgy. So, if I prepare for the liturgy and if I’m already familiar with the readings because I’ve prayed over them, then I can participate in the living proclamation at Mass in a way that is fruitful. Then, as we move into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, our gifts of bread and wine are placed on the altar. Through the words and the action of the priest, and the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus becomes really present there under the appearance of bread and wine. We are invited to put our faith in that truth. It is an act of faith, because we can’t see him like his disciples saw him face-toface during his public ministry. But because Jesus is the Son of God risen from the dead, he has entrusted his church with the ability to experience his living presence through the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s our experience, right where we are in our parish churches. Jesus comes to be with us there. It is right at the heart of our Catholic life and belief that this is really the Lord, living, risen from the dead. However, if we haven’t consciously put our faith in Jesus as the Son of God, we may not recognize him there – perhaps because we haven’t prayed with the Scriptures, or we haven’t really been taken with the beauty and the power of his life, death and resurrection. If we don’t really know who Jesus is, if we don’t really put our faith in him, then I’m not sure the Eucharist makes much difference to us. In our prayer with the Scriptures, we come to know Jesus in a more personal way.



A recent Catholic Voice story told of a parish in which members are experiencing new life praying Lectio Divina. What is Lectio Divina, and how is it helpful in encountering Jesus?

Lectio Divina is an opportunity to pray with Scripture outside of the liturgy. We do not simply read it, but approach it as a living expression of God’s own revelation, to listen and pray with the words, phrases and scenes of a particular passage of Scripture. It may sound complicated, but that’s really not the case. When we practice Lectio, we choose a passage of Scripture, such as one of the readings for Sunday, and invite the Holy Spirit to help us enter into it and to understand how Jesus is expressing himself in the revealed words. Then we read through the passage prayerfully, slowly, and just sit with it for a few moments to see what occurs to us or what thoughts might come. In the words of Scripture, God is speaking to us in His living word,

Jesus Christ. Jesus, we might say, is telling us something that is important for us to hear at that particular moment. We invite the Holy Spirit to help us hear what’s being said beyond the simple meaning of the words. So, we sit and reflect on that for a while, then read the passage again. Sometimes it helps to read it out loud, slowly, and then sit with it again and then perhaps even read it a third time, pausing at the word or phrase that most stands out to us. Then, we often get a sense that the Lord is calling us to do or to notice something, so we make a resolution at the end of the prayer time to take with us. It’s a very beautiful and powerful way for us to encounter Jesus, who is the living Word, and who really is revealed on every page of the Bible.


To that end, how should we expect the Eucharist to make a difference in us? This seems a particularly urgent question given how recent polling data shows a huge percentage of professed Catholics lack belief in the Real Presence.

It’s important to remember that we say before we receive Communion, “Lord, I am not worthy.” So, that’s a given. We try to be as well-disposed as we can be, but we remember that we don’t receive Jesus as a prize for something that we’ve done or accomplished. Our heavenly Father gives us this gift. We’re able to receive Jesus in holy Communion because we need a savior, a remedy for our sinfulness. We don’t want to be smug and say, “Well, but I’m in the group that already believes in the Eucharist.” That’s great, but the Lord wants us to experience more of the power of this sacrament. We don’t want to just check this off as one of our weekly obligations. We know that Jesus is powerful, risen from the dead. He wants to work his power in us, so we shouldn’t just settle for our own idea of what the power of the Eucharist could be for us. We should say, “Lord, what do you want me to experience? What do you want me to know about you? What do you want me to do for you? How do you want me to experience healing?” One recent poll indicated that a large percentage of self-identified Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence. That number certainly says something about the people who responded, but what does it say about the rest of us? If you and I, and so many others who are with us on Sunday, really believe that this is Jesus, the Son of God, risen from the dead, that we receive him, what difference

is that making for us? Why don’t more people see that? Why isn’t our encounter with him more transformative? Does he really not want us to be transformed, or are we resisting, not putting as much faith in him as we might? I don’t want to condemn anybody, but for those of us who are Mass-going Catholics and who (thanks be to God) participate in the Eucharist regularly – why isn’t our faith in what we’re experiencing more visible, so that others are drawn to it, because it’s having such a powerful effect on us? This is why a practice like Lectio Divina is helpful as a way to prepare ourselves before we go to Mass. And if somebody stops me and says, “Do you believe that Jesus is really present?” I’ll say, “Yes, of course.” But do my actions, my attitude, for the rest of the week, and even for the hour before or after Mass, say something else about me, other than what I’m professing? It’s good to remember that when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with the Apostles, they all knew him. When he said, “This is my Body, this is the chalice of my Blood,” they knew who the “my” referred to. We don’t know him perfectly, and we don’t want to stay away from the Eucharist until we think we have everything straightened out in our minds and hearts. But this is why contact with the Lord in our private prayer, and with Scriptures before the blessed Sacrament outside of the time of Mass is so important.

OFFICIAL SCHEDULE Archbishop George J. Lucas’ scheduled activities: NOV. 2 » United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism listening session – Highlander, Omaha NOV. 2-3 » Parish visit and confirmation – St. Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha NOV. 5 » Personnel Board meeting – Chancery, Omaha » Ignite the Faith thank you, Mass and reception – St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Omaha NOV. 6 » Leadership Team meeting – Chancery, Omaha » Archbishop’s Committee for Development leadership meeting – Chancery, Omaha » Omaha Archdiocesan Educational Foundation meeting – Chancery, Omaha NOV. 7 » Cloisters on the Platte board meeting – Gretna » Ignite the Faith thank you, Mass and reception – St. Mary Church, Norfolk NOV. 8 » Spitzer Center Episcopal Advisors conference call – Omaha NOV. 9 » United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Priorities and Plans Committee meeting – Baltimore » USCCB Administrative Committee meeting – Baltimore » Institute for Priestly Formation Bishops Advisory Council meeting – Baltimore NOV. 10 » USCCB Higher Education Working Group meeting – Baltimore NOV. 11-14 » USCCB General Meeting – Baltimore

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

NOV. 7 » Cloisters on the Platte board meeting – Gretna NOV. 13 » Mass – Pope Paul VI Institute, Omaha

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NOVEMBER 1, 2019


Cardinal Cupich pays Omaha homecoming visit By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice

“Make your life count.” That was one of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich’s admonitions to students at Ss. Peter and Paul School in Omaha during a visit to the parish and school Oct. 23. The cardinal, who grew up in the parish and attended the school, requested the visit when phoning to make a contribution to a scholarship fund established by his siblings in their parents’ names. Cardinal Cupich, who is archbishop of Chicago, celebrated an all-school Mass and led a question-and-answer session with sixth- through eighth-grade students afterward. In his homily, he referred to the day’s readings in which people are encouraged to “stay awake,” or, as he said, “pay attention.” He encouraged students to pay attention to several things. First, he spoke about the commitment and sacrifices of those who founded the parish and built the original and current church, and the school. “Those people who built those churches and bought this property, not just for themselves, they bought it for you,” he said. “They looked to the future. They made sure that they would do something that would have lasting value for generations to come.” “Make sure that you also look not only to what you’re going to do so that you benefit from it, but that you make a contribution to people that you’re never going to meet,” he told the students. He also encouraged students to pay attention to the people around them, such as teachers and staff, who do things to make their school run. “Every day, they work so that you have a place to come to school, that’s clean, that’s ready, that’s

prepared. So pay attention to that,” he said. “What that should say to you is that, if you begin to get it in your head that nobody cares for you, or that you’re all alone and that you don’t count, think of the people who every day say that you count and that you’re important – that’s why they clean the school, that’s why they prepare the lesson plans. What that says is that you count.” Cardinal Cupich reminisced about his time at Ss. Peter and Paul during the Q&A. He spoke about the value of working hard and how what he learned at Ss. Peter and Paul has benefited him throughout his life. “Catholic education is about preparing you for life, and the things you learn here, you’re going to keep forever,” he said. Students asked him about how he discerned his vocation, his work as a cardinal, and what it’s like to know the pope. After the Q&A, this year’s Cupich family scholarship winners, seventh-grader Amy Campos and sixth-grader Paulette Lopez-Herrera, and school principal Andrew Bauer led Cardinal Cupich on a tour of the school. On it the cardinal pointed out rooms where he attended classes and shared other memories.

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Donald Cleary, ordained in 1971 and removed from public ministry in 2018 due to allegations of the sexual abuse of minors, has been laicized and is no longer a cleric.

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Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, who grew up in Omaha’s Ss. Peter and Paul Parish and attended the parish school, takes questions from students at the school during an Oct. 23 visit.

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CATHOLIC VOICE Volume 117, Number 7



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Grieving sibling found consolation – and a vocation By SUSAN SZALEWSKI Catholic Voice

Father David Reeson is known for his jokes and quips – about the Cornhuskers, the weather or even the virtue of humility – often as a segue into a homily. So it might seem ironic that the pastor at St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion – who regularly elicits smiles, laughs and even groans – found his vocation in the midst of a tragedy. In 1971 Father Reeson was a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. And his younger brother Steve was just 17 and a senior at Fremont High School. Steve was supposed to have had an uncomplicated surgery. He had been in a fight with his best friend. It was a fight that involved just two hits, Father Reeson said, one when Steve was punched and the other when he hit the ground. The friends got over their argument quickly, but Steve was left with a broken jaw that had to be reset once the swelling went down. Father Reeson was able to visit with his brother at their family’s Easter gathering before the surgery. But that would be the last time they talked. The jaw was reset in surgery, but Steve never woke up from the anesthesia. The family later learned that he likely died of malignant hyperthermia, a condition that runs in the family and causes a fast rise in body temperature during general anesthesia. The death was a shock to the

whole family, but especially to the parents, said Father Reeson and two of his brothers. The late Denis and Darlene Reeson raised six boys and were members of St. Patrick Parish in Fremont. That tragic event changed everyone’s lives, especially that of the young Dave Reeson, who, upon hearing the news, rushed home from school to his family’s home in Fremont. Family and friends were gathered there. And among those who stopped by were the four priests from St. Patrick Parish and at least three nuns, Father Reeson said. The nuns and priests, which included the now-retired Father Daniel Soltys, helped the family “make sense of the senseless,” Father Reeson said. They conveyed that “there’s a better life after this one.” “Through the statements of our faith, the things that we believe, they were able to help me and my family,” he said. “And I don’t remember that they said anything brilliant, but they made a difference,” he said. “They showed compassion. They showed they cared. They helped us through a difficult time.” “And I thought that maybe, just maybe, by being a priest I could make a difference in someone’s life.”

thought, “If it’s for me, I think God will tell me.” “After the first year, well, I wasn’t sure. But I thought maybe I was called to the priesthood. And ultimately, every year it felt stronger and stronger, until four years later I was ordained.” Following ordination in 1980, Father Reeson served at several Omaha parishes, including St. Bernard, Christ the King and St. Pius X. He was vocation director for the archdiocese from 1987 to 1995. He became an Air Force chaplain, a ministry that took him to Germany, Japan, Turkey, Greenland, the Middle East, as well as Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Washington, D.C. WORLDWIDE CONNECTIONS

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Father David Reeson stands outside St. Columbkille Church in Papillion, where he is pastor. him,” said Chuck Reeson, who is still a member of St. Patrick Parish. “Something clicked in him” as he began to consider the priesthood, said Scott Reeson, who also belongs to St. Patrick. Father Reeson said he didn’t rush off to the seminary right away, but he did get more involved in the church by becoming a lector, learning more about his faith and visiting nursing home residents. Father Reeson eventually attended St. John Vianney College

Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, for a year and a half. But he said he was still unsure if he had a vocation to the priesthood. He finished his bachelor’s degree in speech and theater at St. Thomas. He went back to UNL for a master’s degree in speech communication but still felt that something was missing, he said. So he decided to return to the seminary, this time at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver. Father Reeson said that at that time, he

Father Reeson said he particularly liked helping military members deployed overseas. “People are away from their families and sometimes they’re searching. … They’re not running the kids to soccer, or involved in this activity or that activity,” freeing them up for Mass, Bible study or religious formation. Father Reeson retired from the military in 2012. After returning to Omaha, he served at the Omaha VA Medical Center before being assigned to St. Columbkille in 2015. Even at that parish, a third of the members have ties to the military, either as veterans or active-duty members, he said. And there he frequently reconnects with people he met in locations around the world. “He’s made so many friends in the military,” Chuck Reeson said. “He can remember so many names,” and he keeps in touch with a lot of the people he’s met over the years. “I’m very glad he’s a priest,” Chuck said. “He has a great heart. He wants to help everybody he can.” Father Reeson said he’s had no regrets after nearly 40 years as a priest. “It’s been great,” he said. “I am busy, but I love what I’m doing.”


An old photo shows the entire Reeson family. Back row, from left: Greg, a young Father David Reeson, their father, the late Denis Reeson, and Mark. In front, from left: their mother, the late Darlene Reeson; Scott; Chuck and Steve, who died in 1971.


NOVEMBER 1, 2019


Newly professed sister finds joy in caring for others By MIKE MAY Catholic Voice

The lucrative career of a mechanical engineer and the sacrificial life of a religious sister seem worlds apart. Or maybe not. Sister Lumen Gloriae – formerly Rachel Foley of St. Francis Borgia Parish in Blair – described both undertakings as a way to care for others. “I wanted to be a mechanical engineer working either in the aerospace or nuclear industries, but the ‘what’ I wanted to do wasn’t the important question,” she said. “The important question was ‘why’ did I want to do that – I wanted to care for people, quietly, without them ever knowing that there was a need to be cared for.” She described it as a maternal instinct – to do work that would protect the safety of others. And God used that desire to draw her to the Sisters of Life, where she professed first vows Aug. 4 following a one-year postulancy and two-year novitiate. After five more years of discernment, she’ll be eligible to take final vows. The sisters’ vows include poverty, chastity and obedience, and one that is unique to the order: to protect and enhance the sacredness of every human life. Founded in 1991 by the late Cardinal John J. O’Connor of New York, the order’s ministries include prayer, crisis pregnancy help, hope and healing following an abortion, retreats, evangelization and college outreach. It was as a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that Sister Lumen first heard of the sisters through Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries. “I had considered the possibility that, if God was calling me to religious life, he may be asking me to enter a fully contemplative community, but by a sheer act of unmerited grace, he made it very clear that he was not calling me to that life,” she said.

“When I met the sisters, it was like a key fitting into a longlooked-for lock. My heart had found the life that most mirrored and revealed its own desires.” But first, she would spend three years working as a FOCUS missionary at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. While she had hoped to enter the convent after a two-year commitment to FOCUS, Sister Lumen sensed God was telling her to wait. “Across my heart I felt, ‘Here, but not yet.’ OK, this is where you want me, Lord. And for some reason you’re telling me ‘Not yet.’ “Come to discover, he wanted me to be the team director at Carnegie Mellon for FOCUS for my third year,” Sister Lumen said. “I really needed that. It was a great, great learning experience of loving and learning to love as a leader.”

ver; a retreat at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire; a mission trip to New York and a eucharistic congress in Boston. It was the love and acceptance that she felt from members of the community that confirmed her choice of religious orders. “They had a way of even just looking at you and being able to convey with a look that you’re seen, you’re known, you are loved. “My heart longed to be able to do that for others as well,” she said. “I think especially because it so mirrored my own heart and my own desires for others.” Sister Lumen’s current assignment is refectorian at the order’s retreat house in Stamford, Connecticut, where she serves in the dining rooms used by the sisters and for retreatants. “That particular area, I like to think of it as my place of intercession,” she said. There she is “taking care of the temporal needs … knowing that all of that is leading me to be able to intercede for those who will be eating off this plate or drinking out of this cup or having coffee or whatever. So that’s a great gift for me.”

A SIMPLE LIFE Sister Lumen grew up in Blair with parents Jim and Christine Foley, a brother, James, and a sister, Patricia. Sister Lumen said she was happy growing up. “We lived a simple life, out in the country, where we could run around and scream and laugh and play to our hearts’ content.” As a child, she was athletic, and in high school played soccer, softball and tennis. “Ours was a simple faith, not extraordinary,” she said. “We watched Husker football on Saturdays and went to church on Sundays. “But in the midst of the simplicity, I learned to believe that God was real – that he was present.” That reality became clear to Sister Lumen through some difficult challenges. During high school, she was shaken by the death of her grandmother. “Just that experience of really encountering death for the first time and asking the question, ‘Is there more? Do I really believe that there’s more? If I do, what does that mean?’” Looking back, she recalled



Mother Agnes Mary, superior general of the Sisters of Life, bestows on Sister Lumen Gloriae a card with the spirituality of her mission following her profession of vows Aug. 4 at Holy Spirit Church in Stamford, Connecticut. knowing that “... the only way I made it through and was able to deepen and maintain my own faith is simply because God gave me the grace through the sacraments and imparted his own life to me.” GROWTH THROUGH ADVERSITY She also grew in faith through failure. Studying physics for the first time as a freshman at MIT, she

failed her first test. “I had never failed before,” she said. “That was actually a turning point for me,” she said. “I had been leaning so much on my own success and my own ability to do things that, when that fell out from underneath me, I actually asked a question that I needed to and thought, ‘What is there? Is there more than this? Am I only leaning on my own success?’” Through that setback and others, Sister Lumen came to see the Lord working in her life. “There were so many times where I can look back and say, ‘I was too weak to do that,’ or ‘That looked like a failure at the time, and actually the Lord wanted that for me,’” she said. Sister Lumen said she was bolstered by the example of the FOCUS missionaries and student members she was meeting on campus. Seeing the students who worked with the missionaries and their joy despite experiencing the same struggles, she asked herself, “What do they have that I don’t?” “They knew that the Lord was upholding them and they didn’t have to be perfect,” she said. ‘CHANCE’ ENCOUNTERS


Sister Lumen Gloriae, foreground, sings with her fellow novices during their profession of first vows ceremony.

As Sister Lumen continued exploring a religious vocation while a FOCUS missionary, she sensed God leading her through sporadic encounters with the Sisters of Life. In the course of four months, she encountered them four times: at a FOCUS conference in Den-

During her free time, she still enjoys sports with the other sisters, as they play soccer in their habits. “It’s a little shocking to the eyes the first time you see it,” she said laughing. “This sister playing soccer in her habit, she just headed a ball with her veil into the goal. But then you kind of get used to it.” As part of a semi-cloistered community, contact with family and friends is limited. She is allowed personal visits six days a year, phone conversations of 45 minutes a month, and a 10-day visit home each year, her parents said. But they can exchange letters as often as they want. “When it comes to my children, I wanted to make sure that they’re healthy, that they have food, shelter, that they’re taken care of, and that they’re joyful,” said her father Jim. “She’s most joyful, and so I’m happy for her.” “I’m actually looking to see how the Lord reveals himself to me through others as they’re coming into my path, which is a great gift,” Sister Lumen said. “I wish everybody had the opportunity to be able to experience (that), because it’s so freeing in my own heart and to others’ hearts.”

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6 « NOVEMBER 1, 2019

LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS: Family shares the suffering, joy >> Continued from Page 1

was so in love with her,” Anne said. “One thing I really remember feeling strongly about was how happy I was that we did not find out while I was pregnant, because the unknown is always scarier. … But once you are looking at that child and holding her, all you can say is, ‘It’s okay, honey, I love you.’” In the early hours of Christmas morning, as things quieted, Anne pondered how so many people say Down Syndrome children bring their families such joy. So at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning, Evy’s middle name became Joy. Even thinking Evy had Down Syndrome, the Harshes were resolute. “I give a lot of credit to friends of ours whose sixth child has Down Syndrome and they are the most beautiful witness to just carrying on with life,” Anne said. “They didn’t skip a beat with the birth of their beautiful daughter. So we had no fear of having a child with Down Syndrome.” TIP OF THE ICEBERG Two days after coming home from the hospital, Kris and Anne took Evy to the pediatrician for a routine postpartum checkup. A test revealed that Evy did not have Down Syndrome; rather, something was amiss with her 18th chromosome. But the doctor said it was unknown if it would have any impact on Evy’s life. It took a month to get a better picture. Further testing showed a large duplication of the 18th chromosome, and the condition would have a significant impact. The doctor told them he wanted them to go to the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha for a full consultation. At their mid-January appointment, Kris and Anne learned that Evy had partial trisomy 18. That occurs when part of a third or extra chromosome attaches to the 18th chromosome in every cell of the body, affecting every major organ and system. The Harshes were handed an extensive list of other illnesses to which partial trisomy 18 babies were susceptible. THE TRUTH SINKS IN Natalie Harsh, now a 20-year old college sophomore, remembers flipping through the pages listing the diseases Evy might get. “At that point, I kinda realized, this is a lot more than I thought,” she said. The family also learned that “most authorities consider trisomy 18 to be a fatal, congenital disorder with mean survival of 1-3 months. Only 10% survive past one year” (Van Dyke and Allen 1990).


Evy Harsh, held by her father Kris, uses Apple’s FaceTime app to connect with her sisters Allison and Natalie as her mother Anne looks on at their home last spring. Evy’s first 12 months were filled with checkups and ultrasounds. She wore a body brace to realign her hips, and also dealt with constant intestinal issues. She persisted, however, and at 12 months was able to pull herself up to a standing position next to the living room couch. But at 13 months, the family noticed slight tremors in Evy’s body. Within a month an electroencephalogram (EEG) led to a diagnosis of infantile spasms, a form of epilepsy that causes chaos in the developing brain. To calm the spasms, she was prescribed a medicine that needed to be administered through a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) in her abdomen. By the summer of 2015, the seizures and seizure medicine weakened Evy to the point that she could no longer nurse or swallow food, requiring 90% of her nutrition to be provided through the G-tube. FAMILY OF FAITH Jesuit Father Andy Alexander is director of the Collaborative Ministry Office at Creighton University in Omaha, as well as a weekend Mass celebrant at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha, where the Harshes

are members. He believes God entrusted the Harsh family – which was already a family of faith – with the grace of receiving Evy. He said he has watched the Harsh family loving Evy with “an extraordinary love.” “Anne would hate it if I described her as a saint, but I know I can say with real confidence that Evy is making Anne and their entire family quite holy,” he said. Since Evy’s arrival, the Harshes’ selfless care and desire to suffer alongside her have inspired faith and awe in those around them, including himself, Father Alexander said. “Every time I have Mass there (St. Robert’s) and Kris or Anne is carrying Evy up to communion, I reach out to bless her and she turns around and just looks at me with those big blue eyes of hers, I know she is surrounded by Jesus’ embrace,” he said. LIKE A ROLLER COASTER Kris is grateful Evy is not affected by heart issues common to her condition. However, she deals not only with epilepsy but low muscle tone, leaving her unable to communicate verbally or walk. Because she needs so much care, life at their home “feels like a roller coaster,” he said. But Kris also sees how Evy’s condition has made their family stronger. Best friends for seven years before marriage, Kris and Anne now work as a team more than ever. Because of the financial burden associated with Evy’s care, both had jobs until last July, when Anne quit to focus exclusively on the family. And now that the older three girls are in college, or working full time, Kris and Anne have coordinated their schedules so that one parent is always home with Evy. “We don’t take many things for granted that we used to,” Kris said. “Our whole family sees the importance of helping each other.” Father Alexander has witnessed the graces the family has received through their travails. “They have loved her with an extraordinary love and suffered greatly with every seizure she has endured,” he said. LEANING ON GOD


Evy plays with her brother Nathan in the Harsh family living room this past summer.

At 16 months, Evy had her first grand mal seizure, as well as her first hospitalization. “That is when the bottom dropped out and everything went haywire,” Anne said. When Evy experiences a grand mal seizure, her whole body tenses and she becomes frozen stiff. Her breathing stops, and she frequently turns blue. When her body begins to

shake, she might start breathing, or she may take a quick breath and hold it again. “I am asking God during every grand mal to give her breath,” Anne said. “There is a fear with every grand mal that this might be the one that takes her,” Kris added. Anne recalled that first visit to the emergency room. “The worst part is watching your little baby being on this table in the ER, with people working on her in a way that it is obviously an emergency,” she said. “I thought she was going to die. At that moment, I didn’t care if I looked silly; I took the medal

“I thought she was going to die. At that moment, I didn’t care if I looked silly; I took the medal of St. Charbel out and touched her with it.” Anne Harsh of St. Charbel out and touched her with it.” (St. Charbel Makhlouf was a Maronite priest and monk who lived in the mountains of Lebanon in the 19th century and was known for his holiness and miraculous healings.) REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING Evy’s needs and those of other family members spurred their other daughters to action. While Allison, now 23, was away at college, Natalie dove into helping her parents with Evy. She would feed her and administer her medications through the G-tube. Natalie helped Evy through her seizures and spent lots of time holding her. Clare, now 21, spent time with Nathan, now 13, attempting to provide stability for her little brother as everyone’s days by then seemed to revolve around Evy. Since that first hospital stay, Evy has endured five surgeries, 10 hospital stays, countless treatment-resistant seizures and side effects from medicines that at times seemed worse than the seizures themselves. After the first three regimens of medicine, each of which lasted at least four weeks, Evy didn’t want to be touched or held. She would become upset when carried because it would cause her dizziness and nausea. Continued on Page 7 >>

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“If we went to pick her up she would cringe to be moved,” said Kris. Since Evy did not respond to treatment, as a toddler she was diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Epilepsy, which is generally treatment-resistant and has a specific EEG pattern. It is the most severe form of epilepsy. FLICKER OF HOPE In January 2018, after much consultation and prayer, doctors implanted in Evy’s body a Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS), similar to a pacemaker. Wires go up from a small generator through her neck to her vagal nerve, which runs from the brain through the face and thorax to the abdomen. Doctors hoped impulses from the VNS would calm the seizures. “We know this is having a huge impact in quality of life for her. Since the VNS was put in, when Evy has a seizure, we swipe a magnet over her VNS, which interrupts the seizure, and sometimes stops the seizure completely,” Kris said. Family members know the locations of the magnets in the house, as well as in the backpack when they’re on family trips. When a seizure begins, one person stays with Evy and another grabs a magnet and gently swipes it over the VNS. “It has been so hard because not only is Evy experiencing the physical suffering of going through a seizure, she also experiences the frustration,” Anne said. “She knows she can pull herself up to stand. She will go to the couch to try, but if she is weak from a particular seizure medication, she can’t do it. “There have been mornings when I wonder, ‘How can I get up just to watch my daughter suffer all day?’” Father Alexander emphasized the beauty that comes when a family allows intense love to mingle with intense suffering. “They care for her with hope that is dashed so frequently,” he said. “This involves deep suffering for those who love her and want her to experience joy and peace. When you mix that kind of suffering with love something really beautiful happens.” At night, Evy sleeps in a crib next to her parents’ bed. While she sleeps, they monitor her heart rate and oxygen. When her heart begins to beat too fast, or her oxygen level drops too low, the monitor will alert them. “The monitors are set to go off after the heart rate or oxygen stays at a certain level for eight seconds,” Anne said. “When she has a seizure at night, I have never been awakened by the monitor. There is a certain

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squeak I hear on her mattress or a way her breathing sounds. I know it, and I will awake out of a dead sleep. My brain is always listening for those sounds.” JOY IN SUFFERING There are times of great joy when Evy interacts and plays with her parents and siblings. She loves music, butterflies, her dog Rex, having her neck kissed and being outdoors. The family even planted a butterfly garden in the yard for her to enjoy. Though Evy’s condition causes great suffering for her and those who love her, it also presents constant opportunities for family members to choose to love and work together for each other’s good. Anne frequently reminds people that they are far from being saints as life at their house gets messy. “It is in the battle where the holiness comes,” she said, adding that when they are shaken, they’re not afraid to bring it to Jesus. “Our culture encourages us to always ‘have it together.’ I don’t want people to think we have it together and are super holy people, because we don’t and we aren’t.” Evy’s influence has extended beyond the walls of the Harsh home. Anne’s friend, Denise Boyd, her husband Jeff and their children pray for Evy daily. Their 11-yearold son Sean is sad when he hears she is not doing well and he is moved to pray for

“They care for her with hope that is dashed so frequently. This involves deep suffering for those who love her and want her to experience joy and peace.” Father Andy Alexander her. Through praying for Evy, his 8-yearold sister Ashley has learned that “God heals people.” Hope Fett is a close family friend and former classmate of Natalie. “Even though she is nonverbal, she knows who her sisters are and she knows who I am. She knows all the people who come into her life, she just can’t talk to them,” she said of Evy. Fett recalls times when Natalie would help care for Evy instead of going out with friends. “My respect for Natalie has completely grown because of how she loves and takes


Anne Harsh supports Evy as she stands in their living room and pets their dog Rex on a summer evening. care of her sister,” she said. “I never had that kind of responsibility in high school.” CHALLENGED TO GROW Though some might see that as a burden, Natalie and her two sisters, Allison and Clare, disagree. “She is our sister and we love her. We want to take care of her,” Allison said. Nathan, an energetic teenager, is gentle with his little sister. He knows how to help during seizures and is stepping into a more active role in assisting his parents. “His deepest gift is that he accepts everyone as they are,” Anne said. “I think Evy taught him that.” All three of Evy’s sisters recognize that she has challenged them to grow in different ways. “I am definitely a lot more responsible and less self-focused,” Claire said. “I think my perspective on life has changed in the sense that I now realize what is important and what is not.” Claire believes Evy has opened her heart: “It is just impossible not to love her.” DIVINE RESPONSE Anne is convinced God did not cause Evy to have partial trisomy 18, even though he allows it.

“However, because he knew I would have this massive test of my faith, he began to build my faith for that event,” she said. “God preps you for whatever is coming your way.” All the Harshes have experienced doubt due to the suffering they witness. “I have definitely had times where I wonder how there could be a God who would allow Evy to suffer so much,” admitted Claire through tears. “Ugly stuff goes through your mind: Are we not holy enough? Are our sins so bad that we have to walk through this? We must not be praying right,” Anne said. “A lot of that came before I realized, ‘No, this just happened because it happened, but God knew it was going to and shored us up for this.’” Kris believes that love born of suffering is a gift. “Through suffering and sacrifice you learn to appreciate other things, you learn to appreciate each other, and you understand that life is not easy and that is OK,” he said. And Father Alexander sees Evy’s life as a mission of blessing. “It may seem odd to say that a child has a mission, but Evy clearly has a mission, in the midst of her suffering, in the midst of her diminishment, her life among us has been a blessing for so many,” he said.


MARIAN’S OPEN HOUSE Sunday, November 24, 2019 Noon - 2:30 p.m. Open House is a great opportunity for fifth through eighth-grade girls and their families to experience Marian.


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Many think Chinese regulations designed to stymie worship By MICHAEL SAINSBURY Catholic News Service

HONG KONG – Weeks after the first anniversary of the deal between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops – the first formal agreement between the two countries since the 1950s – Beijing promulgated a fresh batch of regulations governing places of worship. The new rules are the latest in a string of regulations that many in the Chinese Church believe are designed to stymie worship, the operations of parishes and dioceses as well as the growth of the church. The latest rules – described as the “Template for a Charter on Legal People in Religious Activity Venues” – require all venues undertaking religious activities or worship to formulate a “charter” that details their activities, including a section that gives examples of actual situations. The charters must be approved by local religious regulators. One person who runs a parish in a rural area of northern Hebei province told the rules were impractical and “incomprehensible.” “Most Catholics in rural villages have a low level of education. There are no accounting personnel, nor any money to employ them. The Religious Affairs Bureau has repeatedly asked us to employ accounting personnel, but it is simply difficult for us to do so,” said the leader, who asked not to be identified. People speaking out about religion in China almost invariably ask to remain anonymous or take a pseudonym for fear of reprisals from authorities. “We are all peasants. We do our farming and then we are going out to do other work, too.

We don’t have any extra time to establish a democratic administration committee, nor to have meetings once a month. These are not accomplishable for us.” There has been a near-constant stream of diktat from Beijing for the past two-and-a-half years, under the broad umbrella of the “sinicization” of religion, a program kicked off by the country’s supreme leader, Xi Jinping, in 2015. It was written into the policies of the ruling Communist Party at its annual gathering in October 2016. VATICAN-CHINESE ACCORD In September 2018, the Vatican and Beijing inked a still-secret agreement dealing with the appointment of bishops, ending several decades of attempting to reach a formal agreement. Although all content of the agreement has not been made public, it gives the pope the final approval of bishop nominations submitted by China. The deal was driven strongly by Pope Francis, who made a point of saying Asia would be a key focus of his papacy upon his election by the College of Cardinals in 2013. When the agreement was signed, the Vatican characterized it as a first step in what it said it hoped is an increasingly close relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. The hope was that the deal would, at the very least, assure the future of the church in China. But if anything, the wave of repression on all five of China’s “official” religions – the others are Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism and Daoism – has increased in the past 12 months, along with a broader program of repression that experts say is aimed at Communist Party control of every aspect of Chinese life.


People pray during Mass at St. Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai Dec. 16, 2017. On Aug. 28, the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which has control over religion in China, issued a document called “Measures for the Administration of Religious Groups (Draft for Solicitation of Comments). “It outlined various proposals for how registered religious groups would be allowed to be run and called for public comments to be submitted by the church in China. The paper says the authorities intended to regulate the management of religious groups and actively guide them to adapt to China’s socialist society in a way that promoted their “healthy” development. This line in the paper is central to understand-



Girls in grades 5-8 and their families are invited to our Open House to learn more about the exciting opportunities that we have to offer. Come explore and discover your home at Duchesne! *Financial aid presentations are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.


@duchesneacademy 3601 Burt Street, Omaha, NE 68131

ing that “sinicization” effectively means greater control by and fealty to the Chinese Communist Party. “This is ‘territorial management’ by the CCP, which means religious groups at all levels are managed by the party at every level. The purpose is to prevent religious groups from becoming civic organizations from top to bottom and detached from their regions. Everything is under the leadership and control of the CCP,” said Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the divinity school of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. BAN ON YOUTH INVOLVEMENT The document and new charter rules come as concerns have emerged that the 2018 ban on minors entering churches or participating in Bible classes and other church activities is resulting in fewer young men participating

Flowers for All Occasions 509 W. Mission – 402-291-2889

in Mass. Along with other reasons such as increased materialism and China’s one-child policy, Catholics are concerned that the age ban will affect recruitment to the priesthood. Like many of the new rules being issued by the Communist Party, the age ban is not being strictly imposed in many provinces and regions; however, in some areas, such as the provinces of Henan, Shanxi and Liaoning, it is being heavily policed. According to research by Hong Kong’s Holy Spirit Study Center, the number of seminaries and seminarians across the country has fallen. Father Peter, a priest in northeast China, said that while the job of altar servers was not limited to young men, “this position really cultivates the priestly vocation for boys” adding that “when the parents bring their children to worship God, the children are attracted by the priest, wearing a beautiful vestment and saying Mass in front of the altar.” “It is a good chance to cultivate the vocation,” the priest said. contributed to this story.

Piano Forte: Musical Oddities in Time Generously underwritten by Teri and Ron Quinn. View a rare collection of Pianos and piano-like instruments ranging from the 16th century to modern day. Take in the history, artistry and science behind piano and piano-like instruments dating back as far as 1575. Steve Misener, collector, researcher and piano technician, will be on hand to explain the intricacies of nearly 30 instruments.

Opening Reception | November 7 • 5 - 7 p.m.

Enjoy wine tasting while exploring the history of Piano Forte. This event is free and open to the public.

Exhibit | November 7 - December 23

Personalized, school and group tours available. Gallery is open Monday - Saturday.

College of Saint Mary Hillmer Art Gallery 7000 Mercy Rd. | Omaha

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NOVEMBER 1, 2019


Amazon synod document calls for married priests By Catholic News Agency

VATICAN CITY – The meeting for the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region has approved a final document, which calls for the ordination of married men as priests and for women to be considered for diaconal ordination. The 33-page document, approved Oct. 26, was the result of a three-week meeting in Rome. The synod’s 181 voting members, together with representatives from indigenous communities, religious orders, lay groups and charities, discussed a range of issues concerning the region, spread across nine countries. In ordinary sessions of the Synod of Bishops, delegates are elected by the world’s bishops conferences. In the special session for the pan-Amazonian region, all attendees were by special invitation. The document presents the synodal assembly’s reflections and conclusions on topics ranging from environmentalism, inculturation in the church and the human rights of indigenous communities in the face of economic, environmental and cultural exploitation. The draft text was presented to the assembly the night of Oct. 25, and various amendments were proposed and debated during the approval process. The synodal document does not have magisterial authority; the conclusions are presented to Pope Francis, who will issue his own document later. MARRIED PRIESTS One of the document’s most anticipated and likely controversial items is the call by the synod fathers for the ordination of proven married men, so-called viri probati, in the face of an acute shortage of priests in many parts of the region.  “Many of the ecclesial communities of the Amazonian territory have enormous difficulties in accessing the Eucharist,” the document says, while noting that some communities go for months, even years between visits from a priest. The synod fathers said that they “appreciate celibacy as a gift of God to the extent that this gift enables the missionary disciple, ordained to the priesthood, to dedicate himself fully to the service of the Holy People of God.” But, the bishops concluded, “legiti-


Pope Francis accepts a plant during the offertory as he celebrates the concluding Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 27. mate diversity does not harm the communion and unity of the Church, but expresses and serves it.” The document proposes “to establish criteria and dispositions on the part of the competent authority ... to ordain as priest suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood, having a legitimately constituted and stable family, to sustain the life of the Christian community.”   These criteria, together with each individual paragraph of the text, was approved by a two-thirds vote of the synod’s voting members.  Speaking after the session ended, Cardinal Peter Turkson said that the voting process had proceeded smoothly and that all the articles of the document had passed by a comfortable margin. Bishop Erwin Kräutler, the retired head of the Xingu prelature in Amazonian Brazil, told reporters that the proposal for the ordination of married men was not a surprise. The article passed by a margin of 128-41. Bishop Kräutler has been an adamant proponent of married clergy, telling an

Oct. 9 press conference that there is “no other option” for the region, and said that indigenous people in the Amazon were unable to understand the evangelical witness of celibacy. While the proposal to allow the ordination of married men garnered a clear majority of synod participants, the issue of married clergy was a focal point of debate during the weeks of the synod. Shortly before the synod opened, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, published a book entitled “Friends of the Bridegroom: For a Renewed Vision of Priestly Celibacy,” and Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship made several public interventions in favor of celibacy. The synod’s final document explicitly linked the proposal to ministry in “the most remote areas of the Amazon,” but recognized that several of the synodal participants “were in favor of a more universal approach to the subject.” ENHANCED ROLES FOR WOMEN The synodal document also called for new and enhanced ministerial roles for women in the life of the church in the region. 

Noting that “the Magisterium of the Church since the Second Vatican Council has highlighted the central place that women occupy in the Church,” the document called for the church to “recognize and promote (the leadership of women) by strengthening their participation in pastoral councils of parishes and dioceses, or even in instances of government.” The bishops also recognized that in the Amazon “the majority of Catholic communities are led by women,” and asked “for the institution of a ministry for ‘women’s leadership of the community’ to be created and recognized within the service of the changing demands of evangelization and community care.” The bishops also noted that “in a large number of these consultations, the permanent diaconate for women was requested.” “For this reason the theme was important during the synod,” the bishops wrote, but noted that Pope Francis had already created a commission to examine the question and so requested that they be given the chance to feed into that process. In his speech to the closing session of the synod on Saturday, Pope Francis said that he would consider reconstituting the commission, which he established in 2016 under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to examine the historical role of female deacons and expand the commission to include new members.   Earlier this year, the pope addressed the issue directly, noting that “the formulas of female deacons’ ‘ordination’ found until now, according to the commission, are not the same for the ordination of a male deacon and are more similar to what today would be the abbatial blessing of an abbess.”  In its own right, the final synodal document has no teaching or binding authority of its own. Synods are merely consultative assemblies, convened by the pope or a bishop, to advise on some particular topic. Typically after a meeting of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, the pope issues a post synodal apostolic exhortation. In his remarks in the synod hall on Oct. 26, Francis said that he hoped to issue an exhortation before the end of the year, time permitting.

THIS THANKSGIVING... Will you please help feed the more than 400 hungry and homeless people who will turn to the Siena Francis House on Thanksgiving Day? Please read about our life-saving work in the enclosed flier in today’s issue of the Catholic Voice. And, please use the attached envelope to give generously to the Siena Francis House. You also can make an online gift through the Siena Francis House’s secure website at

Not only will your gift provide a meal to the poorest of our community ... it will also give them hope for a brighter future this Thanksgiving.

God bless you for your gift!

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10 « NOVEMBER 1, 2019

Medieval mystics exude confidence in Christ’s love Retreat affords chance to explore two women’s spiritual wisdom By MELISSA MESTL Catholic Voice

The spiritual insights of two female medieval mystics will form the foundation for a retreat later this month at the St. Benedict Center north of Schuyler. The weekend event will highlight one of the Benedictine’s own, abbess and German mystic St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), alongside English anchoress and spiritual counsellor Julian of Norwich (1342 – circa 1416). Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Hildegard a doctor of the church in 2012 with these words: “This great woman truly stands out crystal clear against the horizon of history for her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching. And, as with every authentic human and theological experience, her authority reaches far beyond the confines of a single epoch or society; despite the distance of time and culture, her thought has proven to be of lasting relevance.” Julian’s true name is unknown. She became an anchoress – adopting a religious life in which one

withdraws from secular society to devote themselves to a life of prayer and asceticism, often anchoring themselves in a small cell attached to a church or monastery. She simply is named after the church where she lived most of her life, St. Julian in Norwich. People traveled great distances to seek her spiritual advice, and her mystical visions are related in her spiritual classic, “The Revelations of Divine Love.” She is quoted as saying, “The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” Anthony Lilles, associate professor of theology and academic dean of St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, California, and Kris McGregor of the Discerning Hearts evangelization apostolate in Omaha will present the retreat on the spirituality and wisdom of the two medieval mystics. Retreat center administrator Father Thomas Leitner said that Hildegard and Julian “invite and encourage us to embark upon our personal journey of discipleship, of

truly following Jesus, rather than just standing at the sidelines.” Lilles is a former Academic Dean of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California. Before that he helped found and served as Academic Dean of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. His expertise is on the spiritual doctrine of the Carmelite doctors of the church, including St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux. He is widely published in the areas of Catholic theology and spirituality. Lilles completed an email interview with the Catholic Voice about the significance of the teachings of Hildegard and Julian and their relevance in the lives of today’s Catholics. The retreat runs Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 a.m. through Sunday, Nov. 17 after lunch at Saint Benedict Center, 1123 Road I, Schuyler, NE 68661. Cost is $205.77 for single rooms and $188.40 for doubles. To register, go to and click “Retreat Schedule” under “Retreat Center.” You can also register by calling call 402-352-8819.



Learning how to pray has been a lifetime pursuit. I learned very early on that if one wants to go deeper into the mystery of prayer, one needs to read the writings of those who are actually praying. Julian of Norwich and St. Hildegard of Bingen are women of profound interiority and faith. They witness to the richness of the Christian tradition of prayer in the Catholic Church, and they do so with a certain feminine genius that is too often overlooked. Both Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict have spoken about the importance of this voice in the life of the church and the need to re-propose the Catholic mystical tradition. Their writings witness to this tradition and advance it in a way that helps us enter the very heart of the church.

St Hildegard was an abbess of a Benedictine monastery and a contemporary of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Her writings are extensive and include spiritual and moral treatises. A true daughter of St. Benedict, she relates an encounter with the Word of God that challenges her to cry out to the whole church about the objective majesty of the Bridegroom and the complete sovereignty of his love for this Bride the church. She cries out against the mystery of sin and calls the church to a deeper appreciation for what the Lord accomplishes in the life of grace. She cries out against clerical abuse with very poignant images and in the midst of the grave scandals of her day, she helps believers recover confidence in the victory of good over evil.

How did you become interested in medieval mystics like Julian of Norwich and St. Hildegard of Bingen?

Who was St. Hildegard of Bingen? What is important about her life?


Sculpture of Hildegard of Bingen by Karlheinz Oswald, 1998, in front of Eibingen Abbey in Hesse, Germany; statue of Julian of Norwich by David Holgate, Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk, England.


Of all the medieval mystics (such as St. Bonaventure and St. Catherine of Siena, who are perhaps better known), why are Julian and Hildegard worth getting to know?

St. Hildegard is a doctor of the church and this means that the church sees in her writing a standard for our mystical tradition. We need to rediscover and re-propose this mystical tradition today because of the spiritual hunger so many of our contemporaries feel. Julian, with her deep confidence that “all will be well” is worth our effort in the face of all of contemporary society’s hysteria and contention. She helps us see that God is in control and that he has a beautiful plan for our lives.

Q: life?

Who was Julian of Norwich? What is important about her

She was a recluse who received visions on May 13, 1373, and 20 years later, just before going into deeper silence and solitude, shared her insights with the church to help stir confidence among the faithful in the definitive victory of Christ over sin, death and the demonic. Her intention is that her readers should go deeper into prayer and holiness of life out of gratitude and reverence for the Lord. Because mystical experience exceeds our ability to express, her writings test the limits of the language of her time by its use of metaphors and rhetoric. These writings were preserved and circulated among the English Carthusians, who found them useful for their way of life. This is significant. Prior to the Reformation, the English Carthusians were, in many ways, the spiritual engine driving English piety, and the fruit of their holiness is made known in the heroic martyrdoms they suffered during the English Reformation. Her significance may well be that she has contributed to the patrimony of the church a wisdom that enables this supreme expression of faith and witness to God.


In your upcoming retreat, these two women are brought together. What specifically connects these two medieval mystics?

The connection between these women, in particular, between Julian’s “Showings” and St. Hildegard’s “Scivias,” is their devotion to the Savior and confidence in his saving love. We need this devotion and confidence today. Their rich use of metaphor and their own fearless description and witness to encounters with him will help us think about our own encounters – and perhaps stir in us the desire to search out the inexhaustible riches of Christ for ourselves. Finally, a sense of mission permeates their text, and for many today who are not sure how to engage the mission of the church, allowing our hearts to catch on fire through their witness may well be the medicine we need.


Medieval mysticism is often esoteric and difficult to understand. How is the work of these two women relevant to today’s Catholics?

Some medieval mysticism can be esoteric … these women use powerful and evocative metaphors that challenge us to open up our hearts to the mercy of God in new ways. One cannot read their writings prayerfully without being overcome with a sense of awe and reverence for the holiness of the Lord.


Julian and Hildegard have become popular in some feminist and New Age circles. How can we avoid misinterpreting them?

We need to read them in continuity with the mystical tradition of the church rather than in opposition to it. They are part of a beautiful symphony of mystical teachers who have helped Catholics discover the gift of intimacy with Christ and his healing love. Reading them in concert with this rich patrimony unlocks new depths to their wisdom that often elude people in non-Catholic circles.


NOVEMBER 1, 2019

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Dreaded Yeti becomes endearing in new animated film By JOSEPH MCALEER Catholic News Service

NEW YORK – “Adorable” has a new synonym: “Abominable” (DreamWorks), a charming animated film which transforms the dreaded Yeti monster – the legendary abominable snowman – into a lovable furball. This family-friendly adventure set in China and the Himalayas features eye-popping animation, roller-coaster action (nothing too perilous for the little ones) and good humor. Folded in are worthy lessons on the importance of family, friendship and helping others in need, mythological creatures notwithstanding. Yi (voice of Chloe Bennet), a resourceful teenager, lives with her mother (voice of Michelle Wong) and grandmother Nai Nai (voice of Tsai Chin) in a small apartment in Shanghai. She’s mourning the death of her beloved father, who taught her to play the violin and promised to take her on a road trip across China. Her makeshift retreat on the roof of her building is turned upside down with the arrival of


Animated characters Peng, voiced by Albert Tsai; Everest, voiced by Joseph Izzo; Yi, voiced by Chloe Bennet; and Jin, voiced by Tenzing Norgay Trainor, appear in the movie “Abominable.” the Yeti, whom Yi nicknames “Everest.” He has escaped from a research lab after being captured by Burnish (voice of Eddie Izzard), an explorer with dreams of wealth and glory, and his wicked zoologist Dr. Zara (voice of Sarah Paulson). Yi takes pity on Everest (who grunts and groans but does not speak) and is determined to see

him safely home to the Himalayas. And so she embarks on an epic adventure with two friends in tow, Jin (voice of Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (voice of Albert Tsai), and the baddies in close pursuit. Directors Todd Wilderman and Jill Culton, using Culton’s script, serve up an entertaining if pre-

dictable variation on “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” enhanced by Everest’s magical powers which intensify as his namesake peak comes into view. Faced with multiple challenges, Yi recalls her grandmother’s wisdom, based on the colorful koi fish, a symbol of perseverance. “Be like koi – keep swimming,” she says.

RATING: PG for nonperilous action sequences. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I – general patronage. “When things get really tough, they never give up.”




Here’s how it works:

U Create Christmas art based on the Christmas story told in Luke 2:1-20: Joseph and Mary traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Mary giving birth to Jesus and the angels proclaiming the Lord’s birth.

U Draw and color – using crayons, markers, glitter or oil paint, water color, pastels, whatever you want.

U Use an 8½ x 11 or 9 x 12 sheet of paper

U Submit your entry to the Catholic Voice at the address listed at right. Include a contest form, available Nov. 1 on the Catholic Voice website:

U Entry deadline: Nov. 29

U Official rules at

Gift Card prizes! The top three entries in each of three grade categories (K-1, 2-3 and 4-6) receive gift cards from participating book/gift stores:

Colors of Christmas Participating Sponsors

U $40 in gift cards for first place U $30 in gift cards for second place U $20 in gift cards for third place Plus: The overall winner will receive an additional $30 in gift cards. All nine winners will be featured in the Dec. 20 issue of the Catholic Voice. Staple completed entry form – facing out – to back of entry (please don’t fold) and send to:


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12 « NOVEMBER 1, 2019

Welcoming Jesus into our hearts brings great joy


omething was stirring within Zacchaeus. Perhaps it was the loneliness of being hated and feared by everyone. Or maybe it was a lack of satisfaction with his possessions. Though he may not have recognized it, his eagerness to see Jesus was deeper than just wanting to get a glimpse at a popular religious leader. He runs ahead and climbs a sycamore tree, which gives him a higher perspective. Jesus was probably smiling. He must have been observing the little man’s hurried rush to the front of the crowd and quick ascent up the tree. Jesus looks up and says, “Hurry down. I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus had taken the first step in getting to a place where he could see and be seen. Now Jesus seizes the moment. Grace is always watching and waiting. When the situation presents itself, grace moves quickly and effectively. When Jesus says he wants to stay at his house, it symbolizes that he wants to enter into Zacchaeus’ heart and consciousness and transform it with his own. Jesus wants to dwell within him, to shape his mind according to his own.

Scripture Reflections FATHER DENNIS HANNEMAN Zacchaeus hurries down and happily welcomes him. Without hesitation we can tell that he is in touch with God in his life. His repentance is so complete! He is transformed from a miserly scoundrel to a generous humble servant – all because he goes “out on a limb” (pun intended) and lets Jesus enter his life. What’s interesting here is the deep joy that Zacchaeus is discovering as he welcomes Jesus into his heart and life. Sometimes we assume that religious and moral conversion brings only guilt and anguish. But in Luke’s Gospel, a very different pattern emerges. The sinner doesn’t have to crawl on his knees, whipping himself the whole way. Essentially, a conversion, a change of heart, is an awakening to the truth about ourselves. What we discover is better than any of the substitutes we had embraced. What God has in mind for us is so much better than the way of life in which we had been caught. As we, too, awaken to Jesus’ wonderful truth about ourselves as God’s beloved ones, may our hearts be filled with joy!

SCRIPTURE READINGS OF THE DAY NOVEMBER 4 Monday: Rom 11:29-36; Ps 69:30-31, 33-34, 36; Lk 14:12-14 5 Tuesday: Rom 12:5-16b; Ps 131:1b-3; Lk 14:15-24 6 Wednesday: Rom 13:8-10; Ps 112:1b-2, 4-5, 9; Lk 14:25-33 7 Thursday: Rom 14:7-12; Ps 27:1bcde, 4, 13-14; Lk 15:1-10 8 Friday: Rom 15:14-21; Ps 98:1-4; Lk 16:1-8 9 Saturday: Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9; 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17; Jn 2:13-22 10 Sunday: 2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14; Ps 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15; 2 Thes 2:16–3:5; Lk 20:27-38 or 20:27, 34-38 11 Monday: Wis 1:1-7; Ps 139:1b-10; Lk 17:1-6 12 Tuesday: Wis 2:23–3:9; Ps 34:2-3, 16-19; Lk 17:7-10 13 Wednesday: Wis 6:1-11; Ps 82:3-4, 6-7; Lk 17:11-19 14 Thursday: Wis 7:22b–8:1; Ps 119:89-91, 130, 135, 175; Lk 17:20-25 15 Friday: Wis 13:1-9; Ps 19:2-5b; Lk 17:26-37 16 Saturday: Wis 18:14-16, 19:6-9; Ps 105:2-3, 36-37, 42-43; Lk 18:1-8

How can Buddhist meditation practices be harmful?


e have been looking at “My Soul Thirsts for God, for the Living God,” a document on prayer released by Spain’s bishops in September. In my last column, we discussed the theological foundations for prayer. Now we get into the heart of the document, applying these theological foundations to popular spiritual practices, especially those originating in Buddhism.

The bishops write, “In many spheres of our society, the desire to find inner peace has favored the diffusion of meditation inspired by Zen Buddhism” (no. 11). Critics could rightly point out that Zen is only one strand of Buddhism, and that mindfulness, for example, which is referenced in a footnote, is not particular to Zen. Neither do some of the other popular meditation techniques come from Zen. But this is the term the Spanish bishops chose. Perhaps such usage is common in Spain. Whatever the case, it’s important to look beyond this imprecision and apply their observations to all forms of Buddhism. The bishops hit directly at mindfulness, as well as other forms of Eastern meditation, when they say, “The reduction of prayer to (Eastern) meditation and the absence of a you

Conversation with God CONNIE ROSSINI as its end, turn this practice into a monologue that begins and ends in the subject itself. The Zen technique consists in observing the movements of one’s mind to calm the person and bring them into union with their own being. Understood this way, it can hardly be compatible with Christian prayer, in which the most important thing is the divine You revealed in Christ” (ibid.). This passage contains two important points. First, Buddhist meditation is not directed toward anyone outside oneself. Therefore, instead of the dialog that should comprise prayer, it remains a monologue. It begins and ends with oneself. The second point digs deeper. Buddhist techniques consist in passively observing one’s thoughts. Typically, the practitioner cultivates a nonjudgmental awareness of his thoughts, remaining distant from them intellectually and emotionally. These techniques calm one’s mind and help one connect with oneself. Christian prayer, in contrast, seeks connection with God, especially in the person of Jesus. The Spanish bishops say that these differences make Eastern meditation and Christian prayer incompatible. The mental stillness found in

Eastern meditation brings a sense of peace, but it also can cause one to disengage from the world, instead of intervening to change things for the better. “Therefore, if a person is satisfied with a certain inner serenity achieved through this method and confuses it with the peace that only God can give, it would become an obstacle to the authentic practice of Christian prayer and the encounter with God” (no. 12). Such serenity fosters complacency with one’s spiritual state, instead of moving the practitioner to grow in virtue or a desire to know God. One thinks that passivity is enough for one’s fulfillment. Finally, Buddhist practices create a non-dualistic attitude toward reality. In other words, they blur the distinctions between oneself and the world, “between the sacred and the profane, between the divine and the created” (no. 13). They end in pantheism, seeing everything as God, rather than revealing “the personal face of the Christian God.” “When deity and world are confused, and there is no otherness, any kind of prayer is useless” (ibid.). Without God as other, to whom would one pray? Clearly, Buddhist meditation can obstruct the intimacy with God through Christ, which is the goal of Christian prayer. “My Soul Thirsts” makes one more observation about the possible ill consequences of Christians practicing Buddhist meditation. The point is such an important one that we will devote the entire next column to it.

POPE’S INTENTIONS Pope Francis has chosen intentions for each month of the year. And for 2019, he often includes an “urgent” prayer intention that reflects current events and is announced each month during his first Sunday Angelus address. He encourages the faithful to join him in prayer: NOVEMBER Dialogue and Reconciliation in the Near East That a spirit of dialogue, encounter, and reconciliation emerge in the Near East, where diverse religious communities share their lives together. DECEMBER The Future of the Very Young That every country take the measures necessary to prioritize the future of the very young, especially those who are suffering.

Join us for an Open House at Mount Michael Benedictine School on Sunday, November 17th from 1:00—4:00 p.m. Registration is available online at


NOVEMBER 1, 2019

» 13

The cross prompted St. Martin to live mercy By DEACON OMAR GUTIÉRREZ For the Catholic Voice

This year Nov. 3 falls on a Sunday. Nevertheless, it offers the chance to remember a number of saints. St. Winifred is one. She lost her head to the evil Caradoc because she would not give in to him, after which she was raised to life again. Then there is St. Malachy. He was so stellar a saint that the great St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote his biography. But on this day we also remember one of the humblest of saints: St. Martin de Porres. Martin was born in 1579 in Lima, Peru, to the Spanish nobleman Don Juan de Porres and a black, former slave named Anna Velazquez. Anna’s dark skin prevailed in the looks of young Martin, much to the chagrin of his father. Don Juan recognized him as his son, but did not involve himself in raising the boy. From a young age Martin was drawn to spiritual matters. The love of Christ crucified made his heart ache with love, which explains why he is depicted most often with a cross in his hand. Anna arranged for her son to apprentice with a surgeon

SAINT OF THE MONTH so that he could make a living. This served him well as he sought to live the Gospel by loving his neighbor. Even at the age of 12, though, Martin’s desire for God propelled him past the avocation of surgeon to the vocation of third-order Dominican. And after three years, he was admitted into the Holy Rosary priory in Lima and was placed in the infirmary to help care for the sick. One day he let a beggar into the priory and gave the man his own bed. The other Dominicans complained that Martin let in such a dirty fellow. To them he replied, “Compassion, my dear brothers, is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate would create.” This tenderness born of deep humility, as well as a supernatural ability to meet the needs of those who came to the priory, won him some respect within the community. In 1603 Martin was allowed to become a professed lay brother, a rarity

because at the time blacks were not allowed to take on the full habit of a Dominican. Martin was the exception. Martin spent his life caring for the sick. He established orphanages and a hospital. He distributed alms and food to the poor. He was so taken by love, in fact, that he loved dogs, cats and even the rats and mice that infested Lima. For him all was love – everything was charity. He was reminded of it every time he stared at his crucifix. When the holy brother Martin de Porres died in 1639, his body was carried by noblemen and prelates to its grave. He was canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. Pope St. John said, “Saint Martin, always obedient and inspired by his Divine Teacher, dealt with his brothers with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. … Thus, he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: Martin of Charity.” St. Martin of Charity, pray for us and remind us that love is the best path of all; for he who serves Christ in quiet corners of the world with eyes fixed on the cross will win the ultimate joy of heaven.


Mural of San Martín de Porres al Jirón Azángaro in the historic center of Lima.


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14 « NOVEMBER 1, 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. BARRETT-Frank J., 87. Funeral Mass Oct. 18 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Ruth Ann (Nealon) Barrett; parents, Irene (Printy) and Patrick Barrett; sisters, Jane, Ellen, Catherine, Moria, Patricia; infant brother, George. Survived by sons and daughtersin-law, Patrick and Laurie Barrett, Thomas and Sally Barrett; daughters and sons-in-law, Mary Barrett, Anne and Dwight Steiner, Karen and Phillip Jeffrey; nine grandchildren. Memorials to Creighton Preparatory School, Marian High School, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Sacred Heart Church in Greeley, Nebraska, or St. Robert Bellarmine Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER BRANIFF-Raymond “Ray”, 81. Funeral Mass Sept. 25 at St. Patrick Church in Tekamah. Interment Tekamah Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, John and Rose Braniff; brother, Bill Braniff; sister, Dolores Krajicek. Survived by wife, Kathleen; children, Kelly (Tom) Olson, Ray (Kris) Braniff, Mike (Susan) Braniff, Colleen (Kevin) Moseman, Beth (Mark) Rasmussen, Tim (Bonnie) Braniff, Pat (Teresa) Braniff, Dan Braniff, Teresa (Lyle) Pille, Joe Braniff, K.C. (Carrie) Braniff, Rusty Braniff, Erin (Scott) Wilson, Mary (Clay) Clabaugh; brother, Tom Braniff; sister, Joann Andrews; 49 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren. Memorials to the family. PELAN FUNERAL SERVICES CAMPBELL-James B. “Jim”, 71. Funeral Mass Oct. 11 at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Inurnment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Fred and Marjorie Campbell; sister, Sally Campbell; father and mother-inlaw, Lou and Pearl Caniglia. Survived by wife, Patti Caniglia Campbell; son and daughter-inlaw, Scott and Jackie Campbell; daughter and son-in-law Erin and Ryan Stubbendieck; three grandchildren. Memorials to the family. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN CARLSON-Marguerite Mary (Luchini), 89. Funeral Mass Oct. 21 at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Interment in Durango, Colorado. Survived by husband, John; family. Memorials to the Callisto & Catherine Luchini Scholarship Fund at Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango, CO 81301. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER DECKER-Susan K., 60. Service Oct. 19 at Pacific Street Chapel. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by mother, Janet; sister, Sharon; brother, Mike. Survived by father, Robert Decker; brothers, Bob (Lyn) Decker, Steven (Bobbi) Decker, Jim Decker (Judy King); sister, Nancy (Jim) Walters; nieces; nephews. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN

FRANKSMANN-Alex J., 84. Funeral service Oct. 22 at West Center Chapel. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Virginia. Survived by son, Brett; two grandchildren; sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ann and Al Barcomb. Memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER GARCIA-Cecilia “Sheila” Barrientos, 69. Funeral service Oct. 15 at the funeral home. Interment St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Juan and Theresa Barrientos; brothers, Mike, Pipes and Alex; sisters, Trini Huerta and Rita Hunter. Survived by husband, Leo; children, David (Donna), Shannan, and Keith Garcia; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters-in-law; John and Suzanne, Nacho, Richie and Vicki, Alfred and Julie, Ronnie and Margie, and Jimmy; sisters and brothers-in-law, Mary and Isaac Espejo, Margie Dolincheck, and Becky and Virgil Patlan; sisters-in-law, Mary Barrientos and Linda Barrientos. BETHANY FUNERAL HOME GIGLIOTTI-Lori K., Ed.D., 54. Funeral Mass at St. John Church on Creighton University campus. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by father, Morris Burnett; sister, Karen Guest; in-laws, Tony and Virginia Gigliotti. Survived by mother, Pearl Burnett; husband, Anthony J. Gigliotti; sisters-in-law, Diane Shymanski (John) and Patty Gigliotti; niece. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER HURLEY-Michael J., 93. Funeral Mass Oct. 10 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Entombment Resurrection Cemetery Mausoleum. Preceded in death by parents, Daniel and Ellen Hurley; brother, Daniel Hurley Jr. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME INDRACEK-Barbara J., 74. Funeral service Oct. 24 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Frank and Marie. Survived by sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and John DiBaise; niece; great-nephew. Memorials to the family. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME JANOWSKI-Richard J. “Dick”, 84. Funeral Mass Oct. 24 at St. Gerald Lakeview Chapel, Ralston. Interment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Joseph and Olga; brother, James. Survived by wife, Donna; sons and daughters-in-law, Joe and Terri, Jeff and Tammi; daughter and son-inlaw Jill and John Dohse; four grandchildren. Memorials to the Ralston Volunteer Fire Department. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER KELLER-Lloyd E., 87. Funeral Mass Oct. 25 at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Janet Carol (Haun) Keller; son, Rev. Daniel Ellwood Keller; brother, Dale Keller; parents, Amiel Edward Keller and Eva Jane (LeGrand) Keller. Survived by daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Richard Lee; son and daughter-in-law, Gregory Keller and Lorena Pulgarin-Keller; four grandchildren. Memorials to the Autism Family Network and St. Vincent de Paul Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

Over a Century of Service…

KILLIPS-James Edward, 75. Graveside service Oct. 16 at Resurrection Cemetery. Preceded in death by son, George. Survived by wife, Liz; children and spouses, Dani and Andrew Dickel, Brigg Killips, and Emily and Kyle Sheldon; six grandchildren: mother-in-law, Margaret Beitenman; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Joel and Katie Guenther, J and Mary Derr, Mike and Maggie Holloway; nieces; nephews; grandnieces; grandnephews. Memorials to Make-A-WishNebraska and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

PISCI-Mary Ann, 68. Funeral Mass Oct. 22 at St. Bernadette Church, Bellevue. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Preceded in death by parents, Joseph and Josephine Pisci; brother-in-law, Harry Sorensen. Survived by sister, Rosary Sorensen; sisters and brothers-in-law, JoMarie and Ed Peabody, Patricia and Joe Daniels; uncle, Ross Pisci; nieces; nephews; adopted brother, Jim McCabe. Memorials to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or St. Bernadette Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

KLEINE-Elizabeth J. “Betty”, 91. Funeral Mass Oct. 16 at St. Thomas More Church. Interment St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Donald E. Kleine; parents, Catherine and William Mulligan; brother, Thomas Mulligan; sister, Marion Mulligan. Survived by sons and daughters-in-law, Donald and Kim Kleine, Mark and Rhonda Kleine; daughters and sons-in-law, Susan and Joe Calabro, Mary Pat and Terry Green; 12 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren. Memorials to St. Thomas More Endowment Fund and Alzheimer’s Association. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER

PODANY-Robert “Bob”, 87. Funeral service Oct. 18 at St. James Church. Interment Forest Lawn Cemetery. Preceded in death by wife, Marilyn Podany. Survived by children, Mike (Sandy) Podany, Jan (Mike) Podany-Buford, Susan (Steve) Wertzberger, Mark (Jean) Podany, Kurt (Stacy) Podany; 18 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; sister and brother-in-law, Mary Kay (George) Johnston. Memorials to St. James Church or VFW Post 2503. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN

KOENIG-Lawrence T. Sr. “Tom”, 90. Funeral Mass Oct. 14 at Mary Our Queen Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Survived by wife, Margaret (Fogarty); sons and daughters-in-law, Larry and Nancy, Mark and Patricia, Mike and Sandy, and Dan and Mary; daughter and son-in-law, Maureen and Greg Reuter; 13 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren. Memorials to Mary Our Queen Church or Alzheimer’s Association. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER KRAFT-Mary D., 90. Funeral Mass Oct. 18 at St. Matthew the Evangelist Church with interment at St. John Cemetery, both in Bellevue. Preceded in death by husband, Sylvester “Pete” Kraft; parents, Leo and Mary Drawl; brother, Frank Drawl; sister and brother-in-law, Rose and Joe Moore. Survived by sister-in-law, Leona Drawl; nieces, nephews and spouses. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME MORELLO-Frank J. Sr., 95. Funeral service Oct. 19 at West Center Chapel. Inurnment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by son, Frank J. Morello, Jr.; sister, Nellie; brothers, Thomas and Joseph. Survived by wife, Marie; daughter and son-in-law, Patty and Jeff Seng; son, Bernard Morello; two grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; sister and brotherin-law, Joan and Jim Swan; sister-in-law, Vera Mae Calandra; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER OWENS-Ann E., 92. Funeral Oct. 24 at Holy Ghost Church. Interment Westlawn-Hillcrest Cemetery. Preceded in death by sons, Greg, Nick and Doug. Survived by daughter, A.J. Nauslar; son and daughter-in-law, John and Johana Owens; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; sister and brother-in-law, Val and David Rye. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME

PRAI-Charles A., 81. Funeral Mass Oct. 15 at Mary Our Queen Church. Interment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by sister, Frances Flagg. Survived by wife, Joan; son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Leslie; sister, Mary Moffitt; brother and sister-inlaw James and Kim. Memorials to Mary Our Queen Church. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER STEFFEN-Donna L., 87. Funeral Mass Oct. 21 at St. Leo the Great Church. Interment Evergreen Memorial Park. Preceded in death by husband, Charles Steffen. Survived by daughter, Gaylene Abrahamson; son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Debra Steffen; three grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; extended family Sandie and Jack Williams. Memorials to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. ROEDER MORTUARY STENDER-Jerry A., 70. Funeral Mass Oct. 23 at St. John Church on Creighton University campus. Interment Omaha National Cemetery. Preceded in death by father, Henry. Survived by wife, Charlene; son and daughter-in-law, Nick and Gloria Stender; daughters, Andrea and Carolyn; two granddaughters; mother, Stella Stender; sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Leroy Jones; sister, Sandi Stender. Memorials to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or Wounded Warrior Project. KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ FUNERAL HOME STOEWE-Judith K., MD, 79. Memorial Mass Oct. 22 at St. John Church on Creighton University campus. Inurnment in Wyuka Cemetery, Nebraska City. Preceded in death by parents, Henry and Fern Stoewe; sisters, Betty Zastera (Bill), Lois Landis (Whoopie), and Margaret Schuster (Al). Survived by six nieces and nephews; cousins; friends. Memorials in honor of Lois Landis to Multiple Myeloma Research, c/o of Karen Hand, 2516 Rokeby Road, Lincoln, NE 68512. JOHN A. GENTLEMAN

FUNERAL NOTICES & OBITUARIES ONLINE Visit Catholic Voice Online at for current and up-to-date funeral notices and obituaries. STRANGLEN-Fred Robert Jr. “Bud”, 73. Memorial Mass Oct. 18 St. Bernadette Church, Bellevue. Preceded in death by parents, Fred and Emily; sister, Linda Whitney. Survived by wife, Kathy; son and daughter-in-law, Sean and Carrie; brother and sister-in-law, Ron and Joyce Stranglen; sister and brother-in-law, Rita and Dennis Munnelly; brother-in-law, Dan Whitney; nieces; nephews. Memorials to the family. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER TEGELS-Timothy D., 54. Funeral Mass Oct. 11 at St. Patrick Church, Gretna. Interment St. Francis Cemetery, Maple River, Iowa. Preceded in death by father, Joseph Tegels. Survived by wife, Jill (Tiefenthaler) Tegels; son, Max Tegels; mother, Anita Mae Tegels; sisters and brothers-in-law, LuAnn and Randy Vanderheiden, Karen and Bob Wood; brothers and sisters-in-law, Bob and Cathi Tegels, Ken and Kathy Tegels, Jerry and Shelley Tegels, and Dick Tegels; nieces; nephews; cousins. Memorials to Nebraska Cancer Specialists (NSC) Hope Foundation or Max Tegels Education Fund (Checks to: Max Tegels, mail to First National Bank of Omaha, 8311 S. 167th Street, Omaha, NE 68136). ROEDER MORTUARY WAGEMAN-Esther E., 85. Funeral Mass Oct. 22 at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Preceded in death by husband, Francis; daughter, Laura Ann; brothers, Gerald, Ed and Fred Blum; sister, Helen. Survived by children and spouses, Julia, Jerry, Patrick and Lisa, Roger and Vicki, Jeffrey and Ann, Diane and Chris Milisits, and Brian and Michelle; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters-in-law, Richard and Lois Blum, Paul and Mary Blum; sisters-in-law, Marlene Blum, Jolene Blum; sister, Joan Wageman. Memorials to St. Cecilia Cathedral Endowment Fund. HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK-CUTLER WELTER-Joseph John, III “Jay”, 70. Memorial service Oct. 22 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Preceded in death by mother, Betty Jean; father, Joseph Welter Jr.; brother, Charles Welter. Survived by brother, William Welter I; nephew, William Welter II. KREMER FUNERAL HOME


Sister Lorraine taught for nearly 70 years Catholic Voice

School Sister of St. Francis Lorraine Quella (Aquinette), who taught in the Omaha archdiocese, died in Milwaukee Oct. 5. She was 97. A funeral Mass SISTER was held Oct. 9 LORRAINE at the order’s St. QUELLA

Joseph Convent chapel, with interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery, both in Milwaukee. A native of Hammond, Indiana, she entered religious life in 1938, professing first vows in 1940 and final vows in 1946. Sister Lorraine spent her life as an educator. She taught at the former Sacred Heart School in Olean from 1942 to 1944 and Our Lady of Lourdes School in Omaha

from 1944 to 1946. She then spent the next 65 years as a teacher at Holy Angels School in Chicago. She retired in 2011 and served in a ministry of prayer and presence at the Sacred Heart retirement community in Milwaukee until her death. Sister Lorraine is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and the School Sisters of St. Francis community.


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NOVEMBER 1, 2019

» 15

Dallas murder victim’s brother offers example of forgiveness By PETE SHEEHAN

Catholic News Service

When I was a young reporter just out of college working for the Niles Daily Times, I covered a murder trial. The case involved, as I recall, a drug deal gone bad and a few people were brutally murdered. One of the suspects pleaded guilty and the other was convicted. Though I’m admittedly foggy about some of the details, I clearly recall an impromptu conversation outside the courtroom with a brother of one of the victims. The man stood there clearly griefstricken but calm and resigned to what had happened. He remarked ruefully that he knew the accused “real good.” Still, he did not speak vindictively. “I’m a Christian. I don’t think that they should have to pay with their lives for his life,” the bereaved brother said, but he expressed concern that at least some measure of justice would be applied, and that society would be protected from the two perpetrators by fitting terms of imprisonment. I regret that I did not have the presence of mind to write a story about this soft-spoken but remarkable gentleman. Still, his attitude toward those two men who had apparently taken his brother’s life has stayed with me. I thought of him again recently when I heard about the tragic situation in Dallas, when police officer Amber Guyger, apparently accidentally entered the wrong apartment in her building and fatally shot a young man, Botham Jean, in his own apartment because she mistook him for an intruder. There were racial dimensions to the case as well, with a black victim and a white perpetrator. By most accounts, the case was agonizingly difficult, with compelling arguments offered by both the prosecution and the defense. Ultimately, the jury convicted the former officer and sentenced her to 10 years in prison. I don’t think anyone is happy with how the case went. There were critics who thought that the conviction was wrong and those who thought the conviction was right but the sentence too lenient. What struck me was that the victim’s brother, Brandt Jean, though tempted to castigate her, told Guyger that he wished the best for her and said that, if his brother were present, he’d want her to give her life over to Christ. He also asked Judge Tammy Kemp if he could give Guyger a hug, which the judge allowed him to do.



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Bishop Edward Burns of the Diocese of Dallas, as reported by Catholic News Service, praised the younger brother. “I pray we can all follow the example of this outstanding young man. Let us pray for peace in our community and around the world,” the bishop said. Judge Kemp, on hearing Guyger say that she did not know how to begin seeking God’s forgiveness, gave the convicted woman a Bible and, at Guyger’s request, gave her a hug. Sadly, the judge was criticized by some for doing so. This case also reminded me of when I was in Northern Ireland in 1994 covering a Methodist-Catholic group that was trying to learn about and encourage efforts toward reconciliation in Northern Ireland, which was in the midst of decades of often bloody conflict. Our group met Gordon Wilson, a Methodist draper, whose daughter, Marie, a young nurse, was killed in an utterly senseless Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombing during a Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, in 1987. The bombing killed 11 people and wounded another 63 – including serious injuries to Wilson himself. In an act that Wilson referred to as coming purely from the grace of God rather than any merit on his part, Wilson forgave those who set off the bomb that killed his young daughter. He asked for prayers and called for no retaliation. I, having lost a sister of similar age six years earlier to natural causes, wondered if I, under similar circumstances, could have been so forgiving. Of course, Wilson did not stop there, but founded a peace effort,


Brandt Jean, the younger brother of murder victim Botham Jean, hugs former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger after delivering his impact statement to Guyger at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas following her Oct. 2, 2019, sentencing to 10 years in prison for murdering Botham. “The Spirit of Enniskillen,” that recruited young people – Catholics and Protestants together – to travel to other countries to engage in conflict resolution. Though he came under some criticism for his prompt forgiveness, others see it as having played a pivotal role in moving Northern Ireland toward reconciliation. True forgiveness is not easy, but every once in a while, we see people who remind us that, through the grace of God, it’s possible. Now, it’s up to us to go and do likewise.




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16 « NOVEMBER 1, 2019

Moms v. Bigoted Blaine


endra Espinoza is a single mom with two daughters. They live in Montana. Both her daughters transferred out of public school and into a Christian school. Kendra’s youngest daughter struggled to succeed in her public school. Her oldest daughter experienced teasing and occasional bullying from her public school classmates. Kendra also wanted her girls in a school that taught the same Christian values she taught at home. To give her daughters the best education possible, Kendra works three jobs to pay tuition. During the day, she works full time as an office assistant. At night, she works two other jobs as a janitor. To further raise money to pay tuition, Kendra has raffled off items and held yard sales. All the while her

daughters have taken up odd jobs to ease the financial burden. It should come as no surprise that Kendra was excited at the prospect of scholarship assistance after the Montana Legislature passed scholarship tax credit legislation in 2015. Montana’s legislation allows donors to receive an extremely modest tax credit of up to $150 for donating to a scholarship organization. While the scholarships can be used for any student hoping to attend a parochial or private school, only one scholarship organization – Big Sky – has been created to serve students. Notably, Big Sky has focused their efforts on families who have children with disabilities or families who experience financial difficulties. In other words, Big Sky was formed to serve families like Kendra’s. Unfortunately, shortly after the Montana scholarship tax credit program was established, the Montana Department of Revenue (MDR) issued a ruling that prohibited families from using scholarship funds at religious schools. The

Faithful, Watchful Citizens TOM VENZOR department cited its state constitution’s Blaine Amendment, which prevents the state from using any direct or indirect public funding for sectarian purposes or to aid religious schools or religious institutions. Kendra and two other moms filed a lawsuit against the MDR. They claimed that the MDR’s ruling – and the underlying Blaine Amendment – violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, they argued that the ruling violated the Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The three moms were initially successful at the trial court level. But the Montana Supreme Court ultimately overturned the trial court, claiming that the Blaine Amendment did not violate their constitutional rights. Dissatisfied, the moms appealed to the United States Supreme


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Court, which has taken their case and will decide it sometime before July 2020. Over the past few months, legal briefs have been filed by the two sides. Numerous organizations and interest groups (called “friends of the court”) have filed briefs either in support of or opposition to the moms as well. In the coming months, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments and allow both sides to make their case. Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is anticipated to be one for the history books, as it has the potential to have far-reaching implications for nearly 40 states around the country that have Blaine Amendments in their state constitutions. The legal question for the court is whether it is unconstitutional “to invalidate a generally available and religiously neutral student-aid program simply because the program affords students the choice of attending religious schools.” In short, is it unconstitutional to discriminate against religious believers or institutions from otherwise receiving funds that other people or institutions may generally access?

As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a major religious freedom case (Trinity Lutheran v. Comer) last year, a policy that “expressly discriminates against otherwise eligible recipients by disqualifying them from a public benefit solely because of their religious character … triggers the most exacting scrutiny.” And, in that case, the exacting scrutiny triggered was the death knell in a funding program that prohibited a religious school from receiving state grant funding to create a safer playground for its kids. The hope is that Roberts & Co. will apply similar reasoning to the Espinoza case and vindicate Kendra and other families like hers. And, in doing so, the Supreme Court can finally toll the bell for bigoted Blaine Amendments that not only haunt our political history but also suppress religious freedom throughout our country. I’ll have more on Blaine Amendments and their bigoted history in my next column – stay tuned! Tom Venzor is executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, with headquarters in Lincoln. Contact him at

Is everything really terrible?

year from now we will have another national election. I’ve been trying to demonstrate in this column over the last several months that we are not as divided a nation as we might be led to believe. We agree that the current abortion legal structure is far too permissive. We agree that immigration is a good thing and that a serious change or updating of immigration law should happen. We even agree on the general outlines of that

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Charity in Truth DEACON OMAR GUTIÉRREZ change. We agree that the environment should be protected and cared for. We also agree that jobs and the economy are extremely important. And, yes, the vast majority of Americans agree that racism is evil and should be eradicated from our society. But it is also true that we agree on some things that perhaps we shouldn’t agree on. What I mean is that we agree on certain public policy matters and perhaps on some cultural trends which are not good for us, or for the common good, or solidarity. One of these areas of agreement is that “everything is terrible.” If you listen to the extremes on the left and the right, the country is on the brink of destruction. Our democracy is dead. The current president, said one candidate currently running for the office, is an “existential threat” to the nation. Do you get it? If he stays in office or wins again, America will be no more. This should sound familiar. It was a “Flight 93 election” back in 2016. If Secretary Clinton won, some on the right claimed, America as we know it would die. But the extremes are always this way. It’s hard to turn out the vote if everything will be okay, I guess. The disconcerting thing is that this attitude has spread. Gallup has a long-running poll on the general satisfaction Americans have with our nation. As of September 2019, 66% of Americans are dissatisfied with how things are going. This is not the worst we’ve seen according to the

poll; still it has me concerned. After all, African American and Hispanic unemployment are at record lows. For the first time in years middle-class wages are increasing. But even if those were not the facts, we live in the wealthiest, most powerful, and arguably most egalitarian nation in the history of mankind. So what is going on? Could it be that we have lost our grip on the most important things? According to the Gallup poll, the last time a majority of Americans were satisfied with the nation was in the Spring of 2003. Before we started back on our path to dissatisfaction, though, we had up to that point enjoyed a positive trend which began right after 9/11 when we lost 3,000 of our fellow citizens. Events like that tend to remind us what the most important things in life are. This year will be difficult, I suspect. We will hear that “everything is terrible,” which is why “our side” needs to win. We will be told that we can’t let the other side win because, if they do, America is over. So, I’m reminded of the words of the psalmist who wrote, “Put not your trust in princes” (146:3). We have a moral obligation to vote. Participation is one of the principles of Catholic social teaching. I just want to invite us to consider the fact that after the election, your kids and grandkids will still be yours, and your spouse will still be there. Because, you see, America is more than just the president. We are America, and in God we trust. Deacon Omar Gutiérrez is director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the Archdiocese of Omaha. Contact him at ofgutierrez@



NOVEMBER 1, 2019

» 17

Are there still unalienable rights?

e hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The United States is perhaps the first major country founded on the basis not of a shared language, ethnic background or dynasty, but of an idea. This line from the Declaration of Independence is perhaps the best expression of that idea – even if it has taken us centuries to learn the lesson that “all men” must include all human beings, regardless of race or sex. We have worked to teach that lesson to the world, not least through our active role


here is an old New Yorker cartoon that shows an angel bringing God a stack of petitions about wars, natural disasters and other calamities. God waves him off with a distracted, “Not now. I’m trying to help this guy make a free throw.”

I’ve been thinking lately about prayers for the sick. My brother Kevin died of leukemia when he was 13. In those days, childhood leukemia was basically a death sentence. You lived 18 months and then you died. That was what happened with my brother. Mother and Dad took Kevin to Lourdes, France, the summer after he got sick. The pilgrimage did not cure his illness, but it helped him to bear it. He is surely in heaven today. And God worked a miracle through his brief life. Kevin was treated at Roswell Park Hospital in Buffalo, New York, about three hours from our home. He was sometimes there for weeks at a time, and Mother and Dad would stay at a hotel. But they noticed that some families, lacking the means to do that, slept in their cars or in hospital waiting rooms. When Kevin died, Mother and Dad bought a house across the street from the hospital and set up a 501(c)(3) organization to care for such patients and their families. The Kevin Guest House was the first hospital hospitality house in America. Since it opened in 1972, more than 50,000 people have

A More Human Society RICHARD DOERFLINGER after World War II in developing and signing the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That document was approved in 1948 without a dissenting vote – though eight countries abstained, including six Communist countries who, according to drafting committee chair Eleanor Roosevelt, objected to its recognition of a right to leave one’s country. For over 70 years, this document has been a beacon of hope to millions forbidden to exercise the civil, political, social and economic rights it articulates. Therefore it says a great deal about our culture that the U.S. State Department this summer

established a Commission on Unalienable Rights, to advise it on more fully realizing the promise of these two declarations – and this action has been subjected to vociferous criticism, including a hostile letter from 178 organizations claiming to represent “actual human rights issues.” These groups say the commission will be aimed at “circumscribing rights through an artificial sorting of those that are ‘unalienable’ and those to be now deemed ‘ad hoc.’” But of course that sorting, which is hardly “artificial,” was a goal of our nation’s founding documents, and of the U.N. declaration emphasizing “fundamental” rights linked to the equal dignity and worth of all human persons. The critics are especially concerned about “LGBTQI and reproductive rights.” Groups signing the letter include abortion giant Planned Parenthood, the

American Civil Liberties Union, Catholics for Choice and others hostile to the dignity and worth of unborn human life. And these groups are appalled that some members of the new commission – including its chair, esteemed Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon – have been advocates for religious freedom, which is strongly affirmed in the First Amendment to our Constitution and in Article 18 of the U.N. document. There is more in the U.N. declaration that I’m sure is upsetting to these groups. For example: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” (Article 16); “Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance” (Article 25); “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”

(Article 26). And Article 29 says that the declaration’s rights and freedoms can be limited by law only to secure “due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others” and to meet “the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.” The idea that some individual desires are not universal and fundamental rights, and that my rights also entail duties – such as a duty to respect the rights (including the right to life and religious freedom) of others – has become anathema to many self-styled “human rights” groups. Which tells us that the time for establishing this new commission is now, if it is not already too late. Doerflinger worked for 36 years in the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He writes from Washington state.

Prayers for the sick Intellect and Virtue


stayed there. It became the inspiration for the Ronald McDonald Houses, begun two years later. Those have helped millions of families. I think God answered our prayers for Kevin. Not by intervening in the natural order of things – though he could have done that, as he did with Naaman the Syrian. Rather, his love made Kevin’s short life a grace for those who knew him and a gift for the

countless sick people whose families can now afford to stay by their side. Of course, we siblings who survived Kevin live in constant dread of blood cancers whenever someone complains of swollen lymph nodes. And this summer, one of our daughters was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. She has been undergoing rounds of chemotherapy. And we have been assiduous about asking family and friends to pray for her. It seems to be working so far. The PET scan last week showed the cancer in remission, and we have been rejoicing in a hopeful way.

What will your legacy be?

Did God cure her? I’m not sure. But I am certain of one thing: From the time of her diagnosis, our daughter has been a model of Christian hope and courage. She has three daughters of her own. Her biggest challenge has been helping them manage their fears. When she told them the news, she said that God was going to keep them all really close to him and hold their hands through the ordeal. One of my sisters (the one closest in age to Kevin) saw the hand of God in all this. Think how important it is to us parents, she said, to raise our children in the faith. Think of the work we do to

that end – praying, teaching, sharing the sacraments, sending them to Catholic school. What would you not give for the assurance of God’s help in this endeavor? Nothing our granddaughters will see in their young lives can equal the lesson in faith they are getting from this experience. The woman they love and admire most is showing them what God’s grace means to her. That is testimony they are bound to believe. It’s an answer to a prayer. Garvey is president of The Catholic University of America in Washington. Catholic University’s website is

When it came time to make an estate plan, Tricia and Mark Weber of Omaha reflected on what they valued most in their lives. Those values became the foundation for their plan for their legacy. “Legacy to us is two fold,” said Mark. “Our first legacy is to leave good citizens, so we hope we have done a good job of passing our values on to our children. Our second legacy is to our community.” The couple have been involved with a variety of non-profit organizations in Omaha that have made an impact on their lives and those of their children, and in particular, Catholic education. That’s why it was important for them to include the Archdiocese of Omaha in their estate plan. “We raised five children together,” said Tricia. “We are very proud of the adults they have become. We attribute much of that success to Catholic schools. Our hope, our bequest, is that we can help other children obtain a Catholic education that they might not have gotten otherwise.” Mark said that clarifying your priorities is a good start to planning your legacy. “If I were to talk to someone about why it’s important for them to give back, first I’d ask who is important during their lifetime. I would encourage people to think back to those who have been instrumental to their own success and how they might give back when they die to say, ‘thank you.’”

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 •


18 « NOVEMBER 1, 2019 EVENTS Fall Craft Fair and Boutique: Nov. 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in St. Mary School gym, 903 W. Mission Ave., Bellevue. Hosted by Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court #2036 Our Lady of Perpetual Adoration. Practical Practicing Workshop: Nov. 2, 1-3 p.m. at The Old Avoca Schoolhouse, 504 Garfield Street, Avoca, NE. Participants should prepare to share music they are studying. Practice techniques will be discussed, shared and implemented. Limited to 10 musicians. Pre-registration required. Cost $20 per musician. Email with questions and to sign up. Creighton Model FertilityCare System – Making Sense of Your Fertility: Introductory sessions Nov. 7 and Nov. 21, 7-9 p.m. at FertilityCare Center of Omaha, St. Paul VI Institute, 6901 Mercy Road, Omaha. Ten people per class, Spanishspeaking teacher available upon request for Saturday appointments. Reservation required. Call 402-392-0842. Omaha Archdiocese Council of Catholic Women (OACCW) Meeting: Nov. 12, 9 a.m. at Holy Cross Parish, 508 Park St., Bancroft. Registration at 9 a.m.; meeting at 9:30 a.m.; Mass at 11 a.m.; and lunch at noon. Convention review, journaling, faithfully departed prayer service and service committee update in the afternoon. Please bring newborn diapers and hard board books for Christ Child Society project. Regina Caeli Academy (RCA) Second Annual Priest Talent Show and Fundraising Gala: Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m. at the Mainelli Center at St. Robert Bellarmine Church, 11802 Pacific St., Omaha. Includes dinner, drinks, silent and live auctions, raffle and performances of priests. Steve Pries of Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) will emcee the event. Proceeds support RCA of Omaha’s local center. Contact Kay Stander at 402-8073336, ext. 2, or for more information. 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.

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

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 or Kent at 402-339-6826 or St. Clare Secular Franciscan Fraternity: Third Sunday of the month, 1 p.m. at Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare, 22625 Edgewater Road, Omaha. Call Ann or Larry at 402-493-6730. Pro Sanctity Adoration: Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pro Sanctity Center, 11002 N. 204th St., near Elkhorn. Pro-life Prayer Vigil: Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. and Monday – Friday, 8-11 a.m. at Bert Murphy Boulevard and Mission Avenue, Bellevue. Call Steve Zach at 402-558-2218.

FAX » 402-558-6614 EMAIL » Notices cannot be taken by phone. DEADLINES » Deadline for the Nov. 15 issue is noon Tuesday, Nov. 5. ON THE WEB » Want to know what’s going on in the Archdiocese of Omaha? Visit Catholic Voice Online – – for more details and an updated list of archdiocesan activities.

Be Not Afraid Family Hour: 6-7 p.m. each Sunday at Christ the King Church, 654 S. 86th St., Omaha. • Nov. 3: Consecration Novena – A Formula for Healing • Nov. 10: Suffering for Growth • Nov. 17: Knowledge of Self • Nov. 24: Knowledge of Mary – Feast of Christ the King • Dec. 1: Knowledge of Jesus • Dec. 8: Act of Consecration

SCHOOLS Scotus Central Catholic Junior/ Senior High School’s Craft Boutique: Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1554 18th Ave., Columbus. Over 100 tables of homemade crafts. Breakfast and lunch available. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for grades 1-6. Contact Carrie Maguire at 402-8719955 for more information.


Parish Mental Health Support Group: Meets first and third Thursday of each month, 1 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 508 W. Angus St., Gretna. All are welcome. Call Rose at 402-896-4693 or Elaine at 402-378-6252.

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 for more information.

LaSalle Club: Single Catholic archdiocesan young adult group. For more information, see, or email lasalleo@

St. Mary Parish’s 53rd Annual Golden Harvest Dinner and Bazaar: Nov. 3, 11 a.m to 4 p.m., 36th and R Sts., Omaha, in the gymnasium. Raffle, silent auction, booths, games, pickles, bake sale, and

German dancers at 1:30 p.m. Cost $11 for adults, $9 for seniors 65 and over, and $6 for children under 12. St. Stanislaus Parish’s Centennial Polka Dance: Nov. 3, 2-6 p.m. at the Polish Home, 201 E. First St., Papillion. Doors open at 1 p.m. Celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Stanislaus Parish. Polish music by the Kava Band and Polish food available for purchase. Proceeds to the parish. Cost $10 for adults, ages 16 and under are free. Call 402-592-5117 for more information. Spaghetti Benefit Dinner for Dave Harris: Nov. 8, 6-10 p.m. at St. Columbkille Church, 200 E. Sixth St., Papillion. To help with medical costs from a brain injury that Dave Harris sustained in a fall. Spaghetti, polka band, face painting for kids. Free will offering. Our Lady of Lourdes Annual Craft Show: Nov. 9, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school gymnasium, 2110 S. 32nd Ave, Omaha. Lunch concessions and bake sale available. Proceeds to Home and School. Free admission. St. Joseph Parish’s Ladies’ Guild Soup Supper and Raffle: Nov. 9, 5-7:30 p.m., 102 S. 9th St., Springfield. Live auction, kids games, raffles. Chicken noodle soup, chili, hot dogs, drinks and dessert. Meals are $8, family $35 maximum, take-out quarts are $6. St. Philip Neri-Blessed Sacrament Parish’s Soup Sunday – A Taste of Home: Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 8200 N. 30th St., Omaha. See the newly renovated church and parish center, enjoy fresh and homemade soups, breads and cookies. Free will offering. 402-255-1289. St. Pius X Parish–Staley’s Chicken Dinner: Nov. 15, 5-7:30 p.m. at 69th and Blondo (behind the church rectory in the parish center). Pies, baked goods and crafts for sale. Cost is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 6 and under. Contact Karen Walag at 402-390-2717 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 and Western traditions. $39.95 annual membership includes materials. Call 402740-0004 for more information. 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 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 or visit • Weekly Contemplative Prayer Group: Mondays, 6:30 p.m. in the chapel. Silent prayer/meditation within a traditional framework of sitting and walking meditation. • World Religions Study Group: First Wednesday of each month, September to May, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Cost: $45. Using the book “World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery” by Jeffrey Brodd. Participants are responsible for obtaining the book. Facilitator is Margaret Stratman, OSM. • Caregiver Solutions Group: First Thursday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m. Facilitator is Nancy Flaherty, MS, CDP. • St. Peregrine Memorial Mass: Third Saturday of each month, 11 a.m. in the chapel. No cost and no registration needed. • Creating a Care Plan for Peace of Mind: Nov. 2, 9:30-11 a.m. Planning short and long term for loved ones. Freewill offering. • A Journey with the Sunday Readings –From Advent to Lent: Nov. 23, 9 a.m. to noon. Scripture, prayer, journaling, quiet time. Learn how to create an ongoing experience of prayer and reflection from Advent 2019 through Lent 2020. A 2019-20 prayer journal will be provided. Facilitators are Joan Houtekier, OSM, and Val Lewandoski, OSM. Cost is $20. St. Benedict Center, three miles north of Schuyler. Call 402-352-8819, email or register online at Rooms $45 single, $37 double, meals are $27.65 per day; tax on rooms and meals. • St. Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich – Mystical Guides for the Spiritual Journey: Nov. 15-17. Begins Friday 7:30 a.m. and ends Sunday after lunch. Learn about the lives and teachings of great mystics. Three-day retreat with Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. from Camarillo, California, and Kris McGregor from Omaha. Program fee $60. Register at or call 402-352-8819.

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KORISKO LARKIN STASKIEWICZ CHAPEL 5108 F St 402-731-1234 BELLEVUE CHAPEL 2202 Hancock St Bellevue 402-291-5000

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Our Legacy of Service Continues

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NOVEMBER 1, 2019

» 19

News from around the archdiocese ARCHDIOCESE

Collection for military set for next weekend Catholics have an opportunity to support the faith of military service members through the National Collection for the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) during weekend Masses around the archdiocese Nov. 9-10. This unique archdiocese serves the spiritual needs of military personnel stationed around the world and in Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. The AMS receives no funding from the military or the government and relies solely on private donors to support the work of Catholic priests who are military chaplains serving military families and veterans. This collection is taken up every three years on the weekend before Veterans Day, Nov. 11.


Mary Our Queen launches expansion Mary Our Queen School in Omaha broke ground Oct. 20 for its new Early Childhood Education and Youth Center, to be completed next summer, in time for the 2020-2021 school year. The center will expand the current preschool facilities from two rooms to four, along with a multipurpose activity space, and provide space to relo-

cate the extended care program currently operating in the school cafeteria. It also will provide space for youth ministry and other youth programs. “It is encouraging to know that the environments for the youth of our parish and school will be improved with the new spaces being built,” said Father Marc Lim, pastor, during the groundbreaking ceremony. “We are blessed with this expansion and it is a reflection of our parishioners for their generosity and devotion to grow our family of faith.”

Roncalli High celebrates homecoming week With a theme of “Western Harvest,” students and staff at Roncalli Catholic High School in Omaha celebrated homecoming week Oct. 7-12. School hallways were transformed into a pumpkin patch, corn maze, apple orchard and ranch, with the main office becoming a sheriff’s office. Activities included a pumpkin pie eating contest, apple bobbing, pumpkin bowling, a dance team performance and an all-school Mass. New activities featured a powderpuff football game for female students and volleyball games for male students. On Friday night the varsity football team defeated the South Sioux City team and Ben Lee and Jo Wilmes were introduced as homecoming king


Celebrating the sacrament of marriage Jim and Marty Feldhaus celebrated 50 years of marriage Aug. 25 with a Mass and a blessing at St. Isidore Church in Columbus. They joined family and friends afterward for a reception and dinner. The couple, members of St. Isidore, were married Aug. 23, 1969, at Sacred Heart Church in Sheridan, Wyoming. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Bill and Ann (Baumert) Cerny will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Nov. 17 with an open house hosted by their children and their families at the Schuyler Eagles Club. Members of Sacred Heart Parish in Olean, the couple were married Nov. 21, 1969, at St. Leo Church in Snyder. They have two children and four grandchildren.



and queen. The week concluded with a homecoming dance Saturday night.


Servants of Mary install new leadership team The Servants of Mary U.S./ Jamaica Community installed new leaders during an Oct. 6 ceremony at the order’s Omaha motherhouse. They are: Sister Jackie Ryan, prioress; Sister Sarah Deeby, assistant prioress; Sister Val Lewandoski, community councilor; and Sister Lisa Sheridan, community councilor. Outgoing prioress Sister Mary Gehringer has provided leadership on both a community and congregational level for the past nine years. She ends her current term of office along with Sister Kerry Larkin, who has served as community councilor for five years.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 9 A.M. - 5 P.M. College of Saint Mary, Hixson-Lied Commons 7000 Mercy Road, Omaha, Neb.

Music therapists Sara Dean, left, and Anne McGuire lead the Madonna School choir during a Mass celebrating the 100th birthday of the late Sister of Mercy Mary Evangeline Randolph, the Omaha school’s founder. The Sept. 25 memorial Mass at St. Pius X Church (Sister’s home parish) was celebrated by Archbishop George J. Lucas, with Archbishop Emeritus Elden Francis Curtiss as homelist. Sister Mary Evangeline founded the school in 1960 for students with special needs.

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS Classified ads will be accepted up until noon on Tuesday, Nov. 5, for the Nov. 15 issue. All classified ads must be paid in advance, unless credit has been approved. Ad requests partially paid will receive an invoice for balance due. If ad requests are not fully paid within 30 days of receipt, any monies received will be returned. Ad requests sent anonymously and not fully paid will be considered a donation, without the ad being published. COSTS: Up to 5 lines $13.00, each additional line $2.50. Approximately 27 characters/spaces per line. Display classified open rate $24.95 per column inch. To place your classified ad, mail to: Classified Advertising, Catholic Voice, P.O. Box 4010, Omaha, NE 68104-0010; or visit


EMPLOYMENT Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kansas is seeking a high school president.

The ideal candidate will be a dynamic, inspirational, visionary leader who is a practicing Catholic and committed to the mission and core values of the school. For a complete job description please visit To apply please send a letter of introduction and a current resume to: Dr. Vince Cascone, Superintendent of Schools. Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, 12615 Parallel Pkwy., Kansas City, KS 66109 and complete the President application process at Deadline is Jan. 3, 2020.


ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT III The Sisters of Mercy West Midwest seeks an Administrative Assistant III to provide administrative support for members of the Leadership Team. Duties include serving as recording secretary for Leadership meetings, maintaining and managing calendars and records, advises Leadership Team Members about time sensitive or re-occurring events; coordinate events and meetings. Assembles and manages highly confidential and sensitive information. Requirements: 7+ years’ prior executive assistant experience. Ability to maintain complete confidentiality. Ability to take meeting minutes that are organized and follow standards specified. Ability to organize and complete all assigned projects in an accurate manner within the requested timeframe. Strong attention to detail. Self-initiator. Ability to cultivate effective working relationships with a broad range of employees and external contacts. Solid computer skills and proficient in Office 365 and Drop Box. Ability to collect and summarize data for reports. Ability to find solutions to various administrative problems. Excellent written, proofreading, and communication skills. Ability to separate key points and actions from supplemental notes. Preferred requirements: Prior experience in Catholic religious congregations of vowed religious, diocesan/archdiocesan offices, or other Catholic organizations. Understanding and appreciation of the mission, traditions, and culture of the Sisters of Mercy. Familiarity with the Catholic Church structures.

Silent Auction • Buy-It-Now • Bake Sale All proceeds will go to benefit student ministry service trips. Open to the public. Auction closes promptly at 5 p.m.

School founder celebration


Send letters of interest and resume to

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Rick’s Handyman Services Big jobs or small, I’ll do them all! Bonded and insured. Parishioner of STM


Johansen Brothers Call Frank 402-312-4000


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Tree Care LLC. • Trimming and removal • Emergency tree & limb removal • Fully Licensed & Insured • 32 years exp., References • Residential/CommercIal

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NOTICES Notice is hereby given that PangaeaExportt, LLC, a Nebraska Limited Liability Company, has been organized under the laws of the state of Nebraska, with its initial designated office at 5816 S. 100th Plz, Apt 3A, Omaha. NE 68127. The initial agent for service of process of the Company is USCA, Inc. 1603 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE, 68102.

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| NEWS |

20 « NOVEMBER 1, 2019

Pew: Number of ‘nones’ now tops Catholics By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – “Nones,” those who profess no religious affiliation, are now the largest subgroup in American society, their numbers having grown in the past decade while the percentage of Catholics in the United States slipped over the past 10 years. In a Pew Research Center “religious landscape” report issued Oct. 17, nones have jumped from 17% of the adult population in 2009 to 26% in 2019. Catholics, meanwhile, have slipped from 23% in 2009 to 20% today. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church can no longer claim a majority of the nation’s Hispanic population. The figure dropped from 57% in 2009 to 47% in 2019, although the latter number still represents a plurality. The percentage of Hispanics who say they are unaffiliated climbed from 15% in 2009 to 23% in 2019, and those who say they are Protestant went up 1 percentage point from 23% to 24%. Amid a number of setbacks for religionists outlined in the study, it did say 62% of those who profess Christianity say they attend services at the same

rate they did in 2009 – at least twice a month. Overall, 65% of respondents described themselves as Christians. However, the study’s numbers also suggest that the overall number of Christians has dropped in the United States over the past decade, from 178 million in 2009 to about 167 million today, while the number of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated grew by close to 30 million. Pew said that in the General Social Survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago – originally the National Opinion Research Center – the percentage of Catholics in the U.S. population peaked at 27% in the early 1970s, the early 1980s and the late 2000s, but slipped to 25% in the early 2010s and 23% in the late 2010s. Protestants peaked at 64% in the late 1970s, but has either slipped or held steady every survey since to the current 48% in the late 2010s. The overall “Protestant” designation that accounted for 51% of the population a decade ago has sunk to 43% now; while the number of U.S. Protestants overall outpaces that of Catholics, there is no one Protestant denomination with more adherents than Catholicism.

Even within none-dom, there are different strains. The most significant rise was among those who espoused “nothing in particular” when it came to religious belief, up from 12% in 2009 to 17% in 2019, a jump of five percentage points. The number of self-described atheists doubled from 10 years ago, from 2% to 4%. Self-described agnostics moved up from 3% in 2009 to 5% today. Gregory A. Smith, associate director of research for Pew, said the results were distilled from 88 “political” polls conducted by phone over the past decade, with 168,000 Americans over the age of 18 reached. The margin of error for any given year of the past decade, he told Catholic News Services, was 0.7 to 1 percentage points. Each of those polls asked this question: “What is your present religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular?” Most, but not all, of the 88 polls also asked: “Aside from weddings and funerals, how often do you attend religious services? More than once a week, once a week,

once or twice a month, a few times a year, seldom or never?” The answer to the latter question also showed a shift over the past decade. In 2009, a majority of Americans, 52%, said they went to church at least once a month, while 47% said they did not. In 2019, those numbers are basically reversed, with only 45% saying they attend religious services at least once a month, and 54% saying they do not. Smith said the political polls ask respondents a lot of demographic details – including the two about religion – so they can identify trends within demographic groups. “Many social scientists have pointed to politics as a factor behind these trends” showing an ongoing disaffection for both politics and religion, he added. The decline in the number who say they are Christian cut across every major demographic group; the smallest drop cited by Pew was 2% among the “silent generation,” those born between 1928 and 1945. Double-digit drops were recorded among both men (12%) and women (11%); women are less likely than men to describe themselves as nones, 23% vs. 30%, and more likely to go to religious services at

least once a month, 50% to 40%. Other double-digit drops were recorded among whites (12%), blacks (11%) and Hispanics (10%); college graduates (13%) and those with less than a college education (11%); those living in the American Northeast (15%), South (12%) and Midwest (10%); and Democrats or those who lean Democratic (17%). The number of white Democrats who describe themselves as religious fell to under 50% for the first time, while black and Hispanic Democrats who profess religious adherence, though down over the decade, are both still above 70%. The density of Catholics in the Northeast, long considered a Catholic stronghold, dipped by 9% to 27%, being eclipsed by nones at 28%. The South, once considered a Protestant stronghold, fell 11 points, although, at 53% of the adult population, they still constitute a majority. Pew said there are as many millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – who say they never attend religious services as there are who say they go at least once a week, both at 22 percent. The full report released Oct. 17 can be found online at https://pewrsr. ch/2MmKOwq.

Marcus Bell, FA

Noah Pfeifer, FA

J.G. Krawczyk, FICF, ChFC

Roy Metter, FIC

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

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

Kevin Weber, FICF

Gretna, NE Call or text 402-630-7877 Serving Gretna and Omaha/St. Wenceslaus councils.

Doug Kelly, FICF

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

Protect your Assets. Get Quality Care. Prepare for the future. Long-term care insurance helps to ensure that financial resources and support are in place when you need them most.

Stewart Havranek, FA

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

Jeremy Borchers, FICF

Troy Foecking, FICF


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



Craig Pfeifer, FICF, FSCP, CLU

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

Ryan Mascarello, FIC

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

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

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

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

Discover the Catholic Difference!

Madison, NE Call or text 402-992-1156 Serving Wayne, Ponca, Hartington, Randolph, Madison, Bloomfield, Pierce and Crofton councils.


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Catholic Voice - Nov. 1, 2019  

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