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December 2013

Roncalli students plant oak trees

About a dozen students at Roncalli Catholic High School in Omaha helped beautify the school's campus Nov. 7 by planting four oak saplings.

Three tree-promoting initiatives - O!Oaks, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and ReTree Nebraska - helped fund the project, and representatives of the groups spoke to students about the importance of the environment.

Crash injures two priests

The Archdiocese of Omaha is asking for prayers for two priests recovering from injuries suffered in a three-vehicle collision Dec. 2 about a mile west of Fremont.

Father Harold Buse, 63, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Bellevue, was being treated at Alegent Creighton Health Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha.

He suffered a serious back injury but was not paralyzed, said Father Joseph Taphorn, moderator of the curia, vicar for clergy and judicial vicar. "He's banged up pretty bad," Taphorn said. "It's going to take some time to heal."

Funeral planning starts with awareness, family conversations

Funeral planning includes practical concerns such as choosing a cemetery, funeral home and casket, but the Catholic Church wants people to know there is so much more.

There is the spiritual aspect, which among Catholics includes an awareness of the importance of the Vigil for the Deceased, the Funeral Liturgy and the Rite of Committal.

Blessings linger from Fatima pilgrimage

A closing Mass for the month-long tour of a national Our Lady of Fatima statue drew more than 430 people to Holy Name Church in Omaha Nov. 24, the solemnity of Christ the King and the end of the Year of Faith.

And blessings and graces will linger from the pilgrimage, which included more than 25 stops across the archdiocese, said Father John Pietramale, who helped arrange the Year of Faith tour as archdiocesan spiritual director of the World Apostolate of Fatima.

Meeting the Lord should top our to-do list

If we approach it well, Advent really is a special time at the beginning of the church's year. The prayers of the season and the traditional practices of the faith help us return to being single-minded in our devotion to Jesus Christ after enduring the previous year's distractions from holiness.

Immersing ourselves in this season leads us to be expectant for the celebration of Christmas, but, more important, for the return of the Lord either at the end of our lives or the end of time - whichever comes first.

Mass, decorations reflect Advent season's anticipation

Advent is a time of anticipation awaiting the birth of Christ, and visible changes in churches and liturgies reflect the nature of the season, said Father Ryan Lewis, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Omaha.

Running four weeks and marking the beginning of the liturgical year, Advent is significant because it prepares people for Christmas, which along with Easter represents the two most important seasons in the church as the faithful reflect on Christ's birth and his suffering and death on the cross for our salvation, Father Lewis said.

Mission to Guatemala reflects call for solidarity with poor

I had the pleasure to visit a recent Saturday morning men's Bible study at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha. They had asked me to talk about voting as a Catholic and the document from the U.S. Bishops "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship."

It was a great conversation, and in the midst of it one of the participants made a great point. He said, "Whenever anyone says to me that they'd like to win the lottery, I tell them we already did, we live in America."

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