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December 2009

Questions help avoid rush of the season

It was two weeks before Thanksgiving and the awesome autumn day called for a walk down to the botanical garden. To my dismay, they had already put up their Christmas tree. As beautiful as it was, I couldn't but help ask myself, "What's the big rush?"

No doubt the poor economy has merchants hoping that early sales will help business, and with people out of work, perhaps early marketing means extra jobs. Before we canonize these motives, however, it would be wise to reflect on our rushed, quickened culture and what it is doing to us.

Working in God's time makes giving possible

It is the season of gifts. We begin in anticipation of the greatest gift ever given, that of God's self to the world in the person of the newborn Jesus. We read about the exquisite gifts given to him by the three wisemen. And we sacrifice and keep our own secrets, hoping to gift a loved one or friend with that one special gift, the one they thought would never be theirs to enjoy.

This Advent, give what you are uniquely suited to give

The moment I uttered the words I knew they sounded silly: "What do you get the girl who has everything?" Nothing, of course, suggests common sense. But the Pier 1 employee fielding my question saw I wasn't letting that pesky force stand in my way, as I milled through paper lanterns, artificial apples and $3 bags of "mini river stones."

She suggested the very thing I had sworn off, a bottle of wine, then pointed out a $22 walnut photo tray. This intrigued me. For someone with more pictures than walls, here was a new place to stuff snapshots.

Military veteran priests honored



Priests who are military veterans were among those honored Nov. 13 at a veteran assembly at St. Mary School in Bellevue. Priests honored included, from left, Father Frank Jindra, Msgr. Tom Furlong, Father Frank Lordemann, Father Clifford Stevens, Father Michael Schmitz and Father Carl Zoucha. In addition to the priests, about 50 World War II veterans were honored. Courtesy photo.

Students perform annual production



Fifth and sixth grade students at St. Pius X/St. Leo School in Omaha perform the dinner scene from the musical "Beauty and the Beast Jr." The annual production was held Nov. 12. St. Pius X/St. Leo music teachers, Carol Drvol and Karen English, directed the musical, which is shorter and more age appropriate than the regular version of the musical. Courtesy photo.

Archbishop visits school



Archbishop George J. Lucas pauses for a photo with preschool students at St. Stephen the Martyr School in Omaha Nov. 6 when he visited and celebrated an all-school Mass. Each preschool child held up a sign to spell out 'Preschool Welcomes Archbishop Lucas.' Pictured behind the archbishop, from left, are preschool teachers Margie Crowe and Julie Andresen and Fathers Jim Tiegs and Chi Igboanusi. Courtesy photo.

Playground receives blessing



Father Michael Schmitz, surrounded by students and staff at St. Rose of Lima School in Crofton, blesses the $12,000 playground project at the school Nov. 6 after a school Mass. The project has been in the works for two years, with parents, school board members, staff and volunteers having a hand in fundraising, purchasing and installing the new equipment just north of the upper grade building. Courtesy photo.

School collects items for Catholic Charities

Students at St. Vincent de Paul School in Omaha recently collected a truckload of non-perishable food items for Catholic Charities.

The effort, organized by the school service committee, was aimed at helping the students celebrate Thanksgiving by collecting ingredients for green bean casserole to complement the rest of the Thanksgiving meal Catholic Charities planned for families.

Students also will participate in an Advent baby shower sponsored by the Bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities.

YLO class includes two Marian students

Grace Dickerson and Muireann Greely, sophomores at Marian High School in Omaha, are among those selected for Youth Leadership Omaha Class 17. 

Youth Leadership Omaha (YLO), an organization sponsored by Creighton University's College of Business and Applied Information Management Institute, is an interactive leadership development program that informs, motivates and increases awareness of selected high school sophomores through issue-oriented seminars and interaction with community decision-makers. 

School recognized for evangelization projects

St. Peter Claver Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Omaha received a $25,000 grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute this fall in support of the school's evangelization projects.

Evangelization projects included retreats for incoming juniors, sophomores and freshmen. At the retreats, students learn about the school and its mission, Catholic values and what is expected of all students who attend the high school.

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