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October 2011

Parish, school study is on schedule

The first round of evaluations is completed and key findings will be discussed early next month as a Wisconsin-based consulting firm directs a study looking at the needs and resources of 37 parishes and 18 elementary schools in east Omaha, an archdiocesan official said.

All the principals and pastors involved and about 350 lay people participated in small-group meetings in September led by Meitler Consultants, which is spearheading the study of an area largely east of 72nd Street, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese.

Women find shelter, guidance and support at Bethlehem House

When Michelle Wright moved into Bethlehem House in Omaha just before Christmas 2010, she was pregnant with her third child, in the midst of an abusive marriage and living at a local shelter. Her two older children had been removed from her home and Wright was left to figure out how to survive on her own.

But thanks to the support she got from Bethlehem House, which provides temporary housing, support and guidance to at-risk pregnant women, Wright, who now has a home in Omaha, is attending college and has custody of her three children.

Evangelization director is evaluating office's resources and programs

Listening and learning.

That's what William Beckman is doing in his first months on the job as director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, which coordinates youth ministry, religious education and lay leadership.

He wants to evaluate what the archdiocese faces in terms of the challenge of evangelization and education - as well as the effectiveness of the resources and programs his office provides, sponsors or coordinates.

Compassion of organ donation touches family

The kindness, compassion and generosity of people she had never met still overwhelms Nancy Peters, a member of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Omaha.

Total strangers seemed to "come out of nowhere," Peters said, helping her family 15 years ago when her infant son, Michael, needed a heart transplant.

A primary source of gratitude: the donor family who made Michael's new lease on life possible.

Roman Missal focus of 2011 school conference

Setting a philosophical and theological framework for educators as they prepare to teach the importance of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, Christian Brother William Woeger explained each part of the Mass at the 2011 Fall Catholic School conference, particularly the mystery of the offertory.

One key concept is that the bread and wine brought forth for the Eucharist represents the people of God - "us" - whose lives are joined with Christ's and presented to God, said Brother Woeger, director of the Archdiocese of Omaha Office of Worship.

Roman Missal focus of 2011 school conference

Setting a philosophical and theological framework for educators as they prepare to teach the importance of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, Christian Brother William Woeger explained each part of the Mass at the 2011 Fall Catholic School conference, particularly the mystery of the offertory.

One key concept is that the bread and wine brought forth for the Eucharist represents the people of God - "us" - whose lives are joined with Christ's and presented to God, said Brother Woeger, director of the Archdiocese of Omaha Office of Worship.

Embryonic stem-cell work remains focus of concern

Greg Schleppenbach remembers what he calls his "first brush" with the issue of stem-cell research.

Schleppenbach, director of the Bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities, recalled a battle about a decade ago, when the University of Nebraska Medical Center was discovered to be using aborted fetal tissue in research. Attempts to pass a law to ban the research were unsuccessful, and some state senators who were consistently pro-life even defended the research.

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