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February 2013

RCIA candidates, catechumens embrace community of faith

Several candidates and catechumens in this year's Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program said they look forward not only to fully participating in the sacraments at Easter, but also becoming part of a larger faith community - the church.

In an important step on that journey, nearly 400 people publicly declared a desire to join the church and met Archbishop George J. Lucas in the Rite of Election Feb. 17 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. Two ceremonies were held, one in the afternoon for rural parishes and one in the evening for urban parishes.

Faith journey leads to baptism of family of six

Gabriel, Autumn and Micah Lozier leaned over the baptismal font at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Omaha Feb. 9 to watch their father, Dr. Jon Lozier, kneel in the holy water.

With each pitcher of water Father Dan Kampschneider, pastor, poured over their father's head, the children's smiles widened and their anticipation grew. They were going to be baptized next, along with their mother, Jessica, and little sister, Violet.

Devotion helps faithful enter into mystery of the passion, bring perspective to suffering

Stations of the Cross are a major part of Lenten devotions as the faithful commemorate Christ's suffering on the cross and prepare to celebrate his resurrection at Easter, but they are a year-round observance for David and Shannon Spargo and their five young children.

Each Friday night, the Spargos pray the Stations of the Cross during bedtime prayers - or during Lent, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Omaha.

The prayers help bring perspective to personal suffering and they present holy people to look to for spiritual strength, Shannon Spargo said.

Ash Wednesday

People across the archdiocese and around the world mark the beginning of Lent by having ashes placed on their foreheads during Ash Wednesday Mass - a stark reminder of mortality and the universal need to repent from sin. Catholic school Masses were among the observances, including St. Stephen the Martyr School in Omaha, where Jakson Krumwiede, a second-grader, received ashes Feb. 13 from Father Mark McKercher, associate pastor of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish.

Sister of comedian Bill Murray is part of parish's Lenten mission

Bringing a saint's faith alive through a one-woman show about St. Catherine of Siena, a lay member of the Dominican Order, is part of this year's Lenten mission at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Omaha.

And portraying the 14th century Italian is only part of Dominican Sister Nancy Murray's claim to fame. She also is the sister of comedian and actor Bill Murray.

Priests say pope's decision shows love for the church

Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down caught the world by surprise and continues to generate excitement in Rome, according to a priest of the archdiocese studying there.

"I was very surprised to hear the news! He has been the Holy Father for the entirety of my priesthood," emailed Father Scott Hastings. "Right now, it feels like the whole city has been stirred up by this announcement. Everyone seems to be talking about it."

Several other priests who have lived in Rome bring to bear personal experience with the pope as they contemplate his resignation.

Priests say pope's decision shows love for the church

Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down caught the world by surprise and continues to generate excitement in Rome, according to a priest of the archdiocese studying there.

"I was very surprised to hear the news! He has been the Holy Father for the entirety of my priesthood," emailed Father Scott Hastings. "Right now, it feels like the whole city has been stirred up by this announcement. Everyone seems to be talking about it."

Several other priests who have lived in Rome bring to bear personal experience with the pope as they contemplate his resignation.

People praise pope's prayerful leadership

People across the archdiocese expressed gratitude for Pope Benedict XVI's prayerful leadership as he prepared to resign Feb. 28, while praising the pontiff for having the courage and humility to step aside because he felt it was in the best interest of the church.

The Catholic Voice asked 11 people from rural and urban parishes to share their thoughts about the pope's impact on them and on the church. Their responses:

• Taylor Leffler, a seminarian from St. Mary Parish in West Point, spent the past semester in Rome:

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