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November 2008

Local priest begins duty in Iraq

By Father Dave Reeson

I am very grateful that Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss has allowed me to serve the members of the military as a chaplain in the USAF. My assignment for the next six months is in the International Zone in Baghdad, Iraq.

I arrived on Friday, Oct. 17. The priest I am replacing provided a four-day overlap to help me learn the ropes. I will be the only priest here and I'll celebrate a daily Mass and five Masses in three locations each weekend.

Local priest begins duty in Iraq

By Father Dave Reeson

I am very grateful that Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss has allowed me to serve the members of the military as a chaplain in the USAF. My assignment for the next six months is in the International Zone in Baghdad, Iraq.

I arrived on Friday, Oct. 17. The priest I am replacing provided a four-day overlap to help me learn the ropes. I will be the only priest here and I'll celebrate a daily Mass and five Masses in three locations each weekend.

This is no time to stop giving to help others

We have been on what one writer described as a "worldwide financial roller coaster."

Indeed, the economic turmoil has created a lot of uncertainty and panic. With house values falling, stocks and retirement funds declining, home foreclosures increasing and a limited credit market, there are many reasons for concern.

Now that hard times are here, it's important for Christians to continue their contributions to charities and churches because the number and needs of the less-fortunate will increase in the immediate future.

Family influence brings deacon to Catholicism

Deacon Kelly McGowan loves helping those who want to learn more about the Catholic faith. That's because he once was in that same position.

Raised in a strong evangelical Christian family in Ogallala, Deacon McGowan became Catholic in 1982 after attending Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes and marrying his wife, Melody, who is a Catholic.

Deacon says serving the Lord is 'awesome'

For Deacon Dave Christensen, the call to become Catholic was a powerful one. Coming from no faith background, he and his wife, Linda, raised their children to believe in God, but they didn't practice a specific religion.

It was on the drive home from their daughter's Easter Vigil rehearsal at St. Bernard Church in Omaha - she had participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process and was going to enter the Catholic Church - when they said they were "hit" by the Holy Spirit.

Man's journey of faith leads him to diaconate

In high school, Deacon Richard Jizba decided he was agnostic. Raised a Congregationalist in Omaha and very much into the sciences, he was unsure about God's existence. But after a conversation with a high school friend, he had a conversion of heart.

"I had a friend who said that she knew she was going to heaven," said Deacon Jizba, who serves St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha. "I asked how she could know that and she said, 'Because God loves me.' I think that night at home, I decided I really did believe. I sort of came back to admitting that I was a Christian."

HEARING GOD'S CALL

In the Archdiocese of Omaha, 194 men serve God and the church as permanent deacons. Eleven of them were ordained Oct. 25 by Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss and three more will be ordained Nov. 15 in Norfolk.

To be a permanent deacon, one must be baptized and practicing the Catholic faith, said Father Ralph O'Donnell, director of the urban diaconate program. If single, he must be willing to live a life of celibacy, and if married, he must have the support of his spouse and be in a sacramental marriage, Father O'Donnell said.

Bookstore has Catholic, homeschool materials

Adoremus Books - a new Catholic bookstore - opened its doors in October.

The store, located in the Frederick Square Shopping Center at 2992 S. 84th St. in Omaha, features more than 12,000 books and gift items.

President Tom Heldridge said the business began three years ago as an online bookstore - www.adoremusbooks.com.

Heldridge said the new store will provide access to local customers and a wider selection, including religious greeting cards, Catholic T-shirts, saint costumes and gifts.

Presentations offer chance to ponder God's call

Nearly 1,200 sixth graders got a good look at religious life, thanks to the recent fifth annual Vocation Awareness Days organized by the Omaha Archdiocesan Association for Consecrated Life for students in Catholic schools.

Held Oct. 21-23, 28 and 30, the day-long gatherings took place at St. John Vianney Church and St. Leo the Great Church, both in Omaha, and at St. Patrick Church in Gretna.

Authorization program recognizes lay ministers

Those involved in lay ministry in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Omaha now have the opportunity to officially be recognized by Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss as a minister with a certain degree of competency, said Father Matthew Gutowski, director of the Catholic Faith Formation Office of the Archdiocese of Omaha.

The new Lay Ministry Formation Program allows the laity to be recognized publicly for advances made in formation through a master's degree program and classes taken through St. Cecilia Institute's Academy of Lay Ministry and Social Awareness.

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