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September 2012

Couples renew vows at marriage celebrations

Attending a Mass with dozens of other couples celebrating their anniversaries was a special way to mark 67 years of marriage, said Arthur Kreikemeier of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Dodge.

"It was a thanksgiving Mass to the Lord for our life together," said Arthur, who attended the Sept. 16 Mass at St. Mary Church in Norfolk with his wife, Bernice.

"We've been really blessed," said Arthur, a retired farmer who will turn 90 in November.

Catholic Charities lives out mission; reflects our faith

If asked, most of us would need to plead guilty. We'd have to admit that we often find ourselves on the sidelines complaining about what government did or didn't do, but seldom get involved in making something happen.

But that's not the case for the people at Catholic Charities. They're often right in the middle of the action, trying to make a difference in the lives of the people who need it most.

UNMC study could influence state on Medicaid expansion

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 28 on legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most of the reaction focused on the individual-insurance mandate. That was understandable.

The ruling that such a mandate survives constitutional scrutiny under the government's taxing authority was surprising and intriguing; pretty much a "wow" result.

Burning hearts of love key to faith

"You can't recruit vocations to the religious life unless you have burning love in your heart." These words by keynote speaker Bishop Sam G. Jacobs of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, La., recently kicked off the 25th J.S. Paluch Annual Vocation Seminar in Rosemont, Ill.

As the lecture developed, I remembered a similar admonition by Jesuit Father Walter Burghardt: "Preach with fire in your belly."

Archdiocese blessed by faith formation efforts

Since the 1992 publication of the pastoral letter on stewardship, "Stewardship: A Disciple's Response," many parishes across the country - and around the world - have worked to help us understand our responsibility as stewards of God's gifts by implementing programs focusing on the four pillars of parish stewardship.

Hospitality, prayer, formation and service have become important features in parish life. These efforts are focused on calling us to discipleship.

U.S. bishops continue efforts to stop mandate

U.S. Catholic bishops have been unified and resolute in fighting the Obama administration's mandate forcing private health plans, including those of most religious institutions, to provide coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, some of which can induce abortions.

To this end, the bishops have engaged in vigorous efforts of education on religious freedom, dialogue with the executive branch, legislative initiatives and efforts in the courts to oppose the mandate and defend religious freedom.

Omaha school hosts grandparents' day

More than 400 grandparents and "grand friends" were given a tour of Mary Our Queen School in Omaha, played games and attended Mass with the students Sept. 7.

Students also interviewed their guests during Grandparent's Day, an activity that included first-grader Max Coover taking notes about his grandfather, John Coover, after his grandpa drove to Omaha from Hastings to surprise his grandson.

Enrollment milestone at Roncalli Catholic

It's the largest freshman class in more than 20 years at Roncalli Catholic High School in Omaha. The class' 112 students come from 60 different Catholic, public and religious affiliated schools.

Jeff Dempsey, president of the school, said it has stressed a rigorous college preparatory curriculum in a welcoming, faith-based environment. Technology upgrades and campus improvement projects - including a new football stadium, a six-lane, competition grade track and an activity center - also have helped, he said.

Students donate fresh vegetables

Several members of Cedar Creek 4-H are sharing the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor with the schools they attend: St. Boniface and Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School in Elgin.

The students donated cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and other produce to the schools' lunch programs. They plan to sell pumpkins to raise money to buy more seeds and plants for next year's garden.

School raises money for victim's family

Students at Assumption-Guadalupe School in Omaha helped raise more than $4,000 for the family of a man who was shot and killed Aug. 23 while he sold ice cream on the sidewalk.

Gilberto Hernandez-Vazquez was well-known as he pushed his ice cream cart through the South Omaha neighborhood. No suspect has been arrested in the shooting.

Rob Laird, principal at Assumption-Guadalupe, said students donated $1 each to the family in exchange for dressing in casual clothes Aug. 30, and they held a bake sale and three-day garage sale.

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